Fan­tas­ti­cal flangers

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -

Le­gend has it that John Len­non once asked pro­ducer Ge­orge Martin how Ken Townsend’s ADT worked. Tongue planted firmly in cheek, Sir Ge­orge ex­plained that, “We take the orig­i­nal im­age and split it through a dou­ble vi­bro­cated splosh­ing flange with dou­ble neg­a­tive feed­back”. From that point on, Len­non de­manded “Ken’s flanger” at ev­ery turn. Hardly a song on Re­volver es­caped it.

Sir Ge­orge’s non­sen­si­cal ex­pla­na­tion wasn’t all gib­ber­ish. A flanged sig­nal is in­deed split into two, with one sig­nal de­layed by a small yet slightly vary­ing amount. This cre­ates peaks and troughs in the re­sul­tant fre­quen­cies much in the same way as a phaser. Flang­ing is in fact a type of phas­ing, but its peaks and troughs are har­mon­i­cally re­lated.

Even­tu­ally, me­chan­i­cal trick­ery would give way to ded­i­cated flangers like MXR’s 117 – the first such prod­uct, re­leased in 1976.

1976 also brought the very first TC Elec­tronic prod­uct, the Stereo Cho­rus/Flanger pedal, com­bin­ing two re­lated ef­fects into a much-cov­eted pedal and kick­start­ing what would turn out to be a most il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

1976 was a good year for flangers. Elec­tro-Har­monix sub­jected gui­tarists to their Elec­tric Mis­tress, while Ty­co­brahe gave them the Pedalflanger. Even Even­tide Clock Works got in on it with the FL201 In­stant Flanger, a rack­mount­able so­lu­tion for pros.

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