Spaceman Effects relaunches its cult classic six stage phaser as the more compact but equally powerful Explorer

Spaceman Effects Explorer Phaser
(Image credit: Spaceman Effects)

Spaceman Effects has scaled down the enclosure size and rebranded its Explorer Deluxe six stage phaser as simply the Explorer.

Named after the first satellite the US put into orbit in 1958, the Explorer features the exact same circuit as its larger, out-of-production and now eye-wateringly expensive predecessor, and it takes up less of your pedalboard real estate.

The control setup offers a comprehensive suite of dials to shape your tone, with the Portland, Oregon effects pedal specialist’s tasting notes promising electric guitar tones that are “sometimes liquidy smooth, sometimes chewy and lush, the fluid frequencies squiggle and flourish like the unrelenting ebb and flow of the sonic tide”. 

Erm, you get the idea – it’s an all-analogue phase-shifting pedal that can cover a lot of musical situations. There’s even an expression/CV input for controlling parameters on the fly and turning the Explorer into a potent performance tool with pseudo wah pedal tones.

The enclosure is dominated by a large amp-style jewel light, and a trio of silver-faced dials controlling Rate, Range and Shape, the latter offering a choice of five waveform – Sine, Ramp Down, Ramp Up, Triangle, and Square. These dials are complemented by mini-knobs for Res (aka feedback), Mix for the wet/dry mix, and Vol, for output volume.

The Shape control features a sixth mode, Manual, which sees the LFO disconnected and the phase sweep frozen. Here, you can use the Rate control for altering the phase sweep manually, or sweep the phase shift stages via the expression pedal input. Alternatively, the expression pedal can control the Rate in any of the LFO modes.

The Mix knob gives you a lot of control over the sounds. Set it at noon for the deepest phase sounds. More subtle sounds can be found when turned counterclockwise, and if you max it out you can have 100 per cent wet pitch modulation and enter the seasick world of vibrato. 

Range, meanwhile, controls how much of your low-frequencies are phased. When set low, only the higher frequencies get phased, while turning it up you can get deeper phaser sounds.

Spaceman Effects has also endowed the Explorer with some alternate wave shapes to dig into. Simply apply power with the footswitch depressed to select from a trio of arpeggiated shapes, a four-step pattern, a MW waveshape or Inverted Manual Mode for some bizarro phase-shifting sounds.

The Explorer can be run on a regular 9V DC power supply, or up to 24V should you need more headroom. It is available now in a trio of finish options, and is priced $279. See Spaceman Effects for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.