Strymon Zelzah Multidimensional Phaser: What is it?
The Zelzah is Strymon’s debut phaser pedal, and for many guitar players, it has been a long time coming. Those looking for that particular flavour of psychedelic chew hitherto had to refer to the comprehensive library of modulation sounds available on the Mobius.
The Zelzah, however, is one of Strymon’s more compact units. Its enclosure is the same size and similar format to pedals such as the Flint reverb/tremolo and BlueSky Reverberator. But as you might expect from the digital guitar effects pedal specialist, there’s more than meets the eye. There’s more than just phase shifting on the menu.
Here, Strymon takes a pair of four-stage and six-stage phasers and runs them side by side in the one unit, with dedicated footswitches for each, and then piles on a plethora of controls to take tailor those sounds just as you like them. The phasers can be run independently or together, in mono or stereo.
Like its digital siblings, this is a MIDI-compatible stompbox with 300 presets. Its functionality can be enhanced by an expression pedal or control switch. Its sounds can be extended, too, with Strymon promising chorus, flanging, vibrato and tremolo depending on how you set the pedal up.
Strymon Zelzah Multidimensional Phaser: Performance and verdict
The four-stage phaser is found on the left-hand side of the pedal, with controls for Speed, Mix and Depth, and a three-way toggle to select from a trio of sweeps. There’s Classic Sweep, which as the name suggests, presents the four-stage phaser as we know and love it – a heady vintage sound courtesy of a warped-triangle LFO.
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A super-versatile modulation unit that's not going to bogart too much pedalboard real estate, with a pre/post operation, what's not to like?
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it’s not a million miles away from a standard JFET phaser with add ons. There’s a signal boost control, adding a bit of warmth and body, and a useful mix control.
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Another multi-modulation from Strymon that offers a contemporary twist – not to mention functionality – to some classic sounding effects.
Barber Sweep still has that four-stage sound to it but gives the impression of the sound continuously rising or falling. Finally, the Envelope Phaser turns the Zelzah into a de facto envelope filter / auto-wah pedal. In this mode, it is your picking dynamics that controls the sweep of the phaser.
The six-stage phaser is built around a newly designed algorithm and has knobs for Speed, Depth and Voice, with the latter controlling over 30 parameters at once to let you cycle through vintage phaser sounds to sounds that take the Zelzah into adjacent modulation types. A three-way Resonance toggle (our options: Off, Mild, Strong) helps add a deep flanging quality to the effect.
As mentioned above, both phasers can be run together or independently. By default, the six-stage runs into the four-stage, but you can also run these in parallel, the effect of which can be even more dramatic if you’re operating a full-stereo rig.
With so many sounds to acquaint yourself with, the presets can be a godsend, and the MIDI connectivity is essential.
The phaser pedal is having a moment just now, with all manner of vintage-inspired designs having been released in recent months. Strymon’s presentation of the effect is a little different, and with many players seeing the different types of modulation as interchangeable to a degree, it makes a persuasive case as an all-purpose modulation pedal... A Multidimensional Phaser, if you will.
MusicRadar verdict: The Zelzah takes its two phasers and offers such comprehensive control over both voicings that it becomes a powerful all-in-one modulation, complete with presets, and with the top-quality sounds we have come to expect from Strymon.
Strymon Zelzah Multidimensional Phaser: The web says
"Not all players will want a dedicated phaser pedal, many relying on the sort of multi-effects pedal that will ‘do’ phasing alongside other modulation effects. However, as phaser pedals go, you won’t go far wrong with the versatility that the Zelzah provides: two distinct phaser flavours and many ways to use them, as well as the flanging and chorus that you might have got in a multi-effects unit."
Guitarist (opens in new tab)
Strymon Zelzah Multidimensional Phaser: Hands-on demos
Strymon Zelzah Multidimensional Phaser: Specifications
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Phaser pedal
- FEATURES: 4- and 6-stage phasing, selectable true or buffered bypass, Class A JFET input circuit, 300 presets, MIDI control, support for instrument and line level signals, expression pedal input
- CONTROLS: 2x Speed, 2x Depth, Mix, Voice, Sweep selector switch (Classic, Barber, Env), Resonance selector switch (Off, Mild, Strong), Input selector switch (Mono/Stereo), 4-Stage footswitch, 6-Stage footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input (TRS stereo), standard outputs (L & R), EXP/MIDI, USB
- POWER: Supplied 9V DC adaptor, 300mA
- DIMENSIONS: 102 (w) x 114 (d) x 44mm (h)
- CONTACT: Strymon (opens in new tab)