Xvive W1 Wave Phaser
By Phil O'Keefe |
Phase shifter pedal with touch-sensitive envelope control
Xvive is a relatively new effects brand who have released several pedals in a variety of categories since first appearing on the scene back in 2012. Designed in America, they have some very experienced people on their design team, and even though they've been in business for a relatively short amount of time they've already come up with some very interesting pedals. Today we're looking at a new Phase shift pedal in their Professional "W" series - the Xvive W1 Wave Phaser. It has a few unusual features that you won't find on most other phasers, so without further ado, let's dig in and see what makes it unique.
What You Need To Know
- Part of their professional W series of pedals, the Xvive W1 Wave Phaser was designed in the USA by a very experienced design team consisting of Howard Davis, Darius Mostowfi and Ray Heasman and is built in Shenzhen China. The unit measures 4.75" L x 4" W x 2" H, including the knobs and switch.
- The housing is aluminum and is painted orange with black and white graphics. The W1 Wave Phaser has white lettering that contrasts well with the orange paint job, so it is easy to read.
- The 1/4" input and output jacks are mounted on the sides of the pedal. Input impedance is 10M ohms, and the output impedance is 1K ohms.
There are five black aluminum knobs on the W1 Wave Phaser. Let's take a look at what each does:
- LFO Speed sets the speed of the Wave Phaser's low frequency oscillator. The range of speeds available is fairly broad; you can set it for very gradual "hardly moving" shifting all the way up to speeds that are fast enough to simulate sci-fi space ray gun sound effects.
- Feedback Resonance can be thought of as a depth control and sets the "amount" of phase shifting effect you'll hear when the pedal is activated. It can give you anything from imperceptible to very heavy amounts of phase shifting, depending on how you set it.
- Envelope Sensitivity adjusts the Wave Phaser's sensitivity and response to your picking dynamics. In order for this control to have any effect you'll need to make sure the Env LFO Sweep control isn't set to the full LFO setting (see below.)
- Env LFO Sweep sets the W1 Wave Phaser to strictly LFO operation like a standard phase shifter when turned fully clockwise, and for full envelope control when turned fully counter-clockwise and adjusts the relative balance between the two at intermediate settings, allowing for both LFO and touch sensitive envelope control simultaneously at whatever ratio you prefer.
- Output Level adjusts the overall output level of the pedal when it is active. The range is sufficient so that you can set it for unity gain with the bypassed signal, or so that the phased sound is softer or a bit louder than the bypassed signal. Unity gain is at about the 3 o'clock position on the Output Level control.
- There is also a toggle switch that allows you to select between Up and Down envelope sweep directions.
- The Wave Phaser includes a internal compander (compression / expansion) circuit for noise reduction, which helps keep the pedal nice and quiet and free from excessive hum and noise.
- The W1 Wave Phaser has no internal switches or trim pots or other user-adjustable controls inside, so there's no need to open the box.
- Bypass is true hard wire (true-bypass), and a bright blue LED illuminates when the effect is active.
- The W1 Wave Phaser requires an 18VDC power supply with a center-negative 2.1mm plug. The power jack is located at the top of the pedal. Polarity protection is installed, so even if you get it wrong the Wave Phaser will not be damaged. No power supply is included, and the unit can not be powered with batteries. The Wave Phaser draws 50mA of current.
- Four rubber feet come pre-installed on the bottom of the pedal, which you'll need to remove if you use Velcro to mount your pedals to your pedalboard. For those who use bike chain links as mounting brackets, you'll need to use links bent 90 degrees (and leave the pedal's rubber feet in place) since the pedal's four assembly screws that you'd typically use as link attachment points are side mounted.
- Since there is no way to power the W1 Wave Phaser via batteries and no power adapter included, you'll either need to already own an 18V DC power supply of some sort - either a separate adapter such as the optional Xvive 18V 200mA adapter, a voltage doubling Y cable wired in series with two 9VDC supplies (or isolated outputs), or a multi-outlet supply with an 18VDC outlet - or purchase one with the pedal.
This is an excellent sounding phase shifter that can add anything from subtle to over the top motion to your sound. The tone is thick and chewy, with very little added noise present, except for a touch when you boost the output to the max.
The Wave Phaser is a solid choice for basic phase shifting duties, but the inclusion of the envelope control capabilities gives it another dimension entirely, and a truly expressive and unique sound that I haven't previously encountered in a phaser. For those times when you want something more traditional, you can get all the normal two-knob type phase shifting effects from it easily too.
The W1 Wave Phaser strikes me as almost being part phase shifter and part auto-wah in terms of some of the sounds it can make. It's really quite warm and lush sounding, with plenty of headroom. While you'll need to make sure you have a 18V DC adapter on hand or purchase one to go with the W1, that's really the only major drawback to this pedal, and its combination of features, reasonable price, expressive touch-sensitive effects and quality sound means it's bound to start showing up on lots of pedalboards. Try one out if you get the opportunity!
Xvive W1 Wave Phaser ($188.00 MSRP, Distributed in the USA by Dana B Goods)
Xvive's product web page
Xvive W1 Wave Phaser demo video
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Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.