Comparison of modulated effects

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Understanding the differences between some of the common modulated effects (flanger, chorus, phaser) can be difficult. This page summarizes the basic similarities and differences to help producers gain an understanding of these effects and make the right choices about which to use.

Comparison of common modulated effects

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The similarities and differences between the common modulated effects (flanger, chorus, phaser) are summarized below:

  • Flanger has the strongest and most noticeable effect. Chorus is more subtle. Phasers are subtler still.
  • Flanger and chorus effects create delayed copies of the original signal and mix them back. Phasers use a series of all-pass filters to create phase shifts at various frequencies.
  • Flanger uses shorter delay times (<7ms) than chorus (<20ms).
  • Phasing can be used in a similar way to chorus, but, whereas chorus creates the impression of two slightly detuned instruments playing the same part, phasing sounds more like a single sound source being filtered. [1]
  • Chorus (typically) is not fed back, whereas flangers often are.
  • Phasing and flanging both produce comb filters. However, in flangers, the individual notches are linearly spaced. In phasers, they are uneven. [2]
  • Flangers sound more pronounced and natural than phasers (like the jet plane "whoosh" effect), whereas phasers tend to sound more subtle and "otherworldly". [2]