[review] DOD 201 Phasor (by Bieke)

DOD started making pedals in 1974 and the company was named after its founder and head engineer, David Oreste Di Francesco.  One of the first DOD pedals was the DOD Phasor 201, it was very similar to the MXR Phase 45. Anyhow, the early DOD pedals were very popular because these simply were great pedals. Still are, the pedals made in the seventies and early eighties are really sought after and hard to get.

There are at least four different versions of the Phasor 201: gray, yellow, blue and a blue reissue. Each version has a slightly different speed range, but all are capable of producing pleasant phase tones.

At some point, the DOD company was sold to Harman International, also known for other familiar brands like Lexicon or Digitech amongst others.

Harman decided to reissue the Phasor 201, but it will only be available for a limited time. This calls for a review.

DOD 201 PhasorTHE LOOKS

Looks familiar to the old blue Phasor, but the reissue has a light aluminum casing, about the same size and shape as the older Phasors. Graphics are the same as well, a nice seventies look, but the reissue has a very cool blue metal flake finish, a matte black bottom plate. There is no battery lid, but they added a 9V adapter plug and a blue status LED. True bypass switch as well.

One control, for Speed. Plain and simple.

THE SOUNDS

Apparently the 201 is a 2 stage phaser. This produces a more organic sound than a 4 stage. This also means that It does not do seasick, spacecraft, jet phasing or swooshing sounds, it is more a subtle throbbing sound. Turning the speed control clockwise, the 201 pulls of a sweet univibe sound, and fully clockwise it even does a convincing Leslie sim.

You can control the speed of the phasing, but the depth of the phasing is fixed. That did not bother me at all. Depth controls on 2 stage phasers are not really useful. If you unscrew the bottom plate, you will find there is a trimpot on the PCB, this is not a depth control, it is more a feedback control, a slight tweak to the right should give a more noticeable phase shifting, a tweak to the left should soften the phasing (tweakers beware! Mark the original trimpot setting before you start messing with it). I did not touch the trimpot, pedal sounded just fine to my ears.

DOD 201 PhasorThe 201 adds a gentle phasing effect to your tone. So easy to get a useful and great sounding phasing effect with just the speed control, set to zero it will produce a slow sweep, around noon it has a subtle shimmer and warm phasing sound, very musical effect. I was surprised how dynamic it sounded, the low end rolls off when you strum chords and the higher strings swell and chime in a pretty way. My favorite setting around 1 o’clock. Soft phasing that does not alter your tone. Further clockwise it does a soft univibe sound, without the warble, and all the way up it is rotating cabinet sound, not over the top, but really gentle.

This makes it the perfect addition for your overdrive and distortion sounds, do not expect that EVH type phasing, but especially the slower speed setting adds a superb touch to distorted rhythm or lead parts.

THE VERDICT

Surprisingly good phaser, I mean phasor. Stunning. Sounds great at any setting.

Lovely pedal.

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