Old Japanese Flangers

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by Vesperado, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. Vesperado

    Vesperado Active Member

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    In a word, kick butt.

    I've heard a few youtube video demos recently, so I acquired some new gear, and I must say I couldn't be happier.

    The Yamaha FL-01, from their PSE series of yesteryear (1980), is probably THE flanger sound which every flanger aims to emulate, though it was a later design, it is probably the most capable I have yet acquired to date. You get Leslie rotary organ on tap all the way to that super modulated flange heard on countless records. The pedal can operate from 9 to 15V (need to replace a .1u ceramic cap off the input opa to get past 12V) if you really are serious about headroom, but 9V is just fine for all the clean swirl you could ask for. I removed the plastic door for the interconnect jack and connected a barrel jack to battery snap adapter, wired it for reverse polarity, and fed the end through the door; it works. Panasonic MN3007 bucket brigade.

    The Maxon Flanger FL-303 mkI (1976) is the most "vocal" flanger I have heard, which uses the Reticon SAD1024 bucket brigade and runs at 18V. You can dial in swirly chorus or get that EVH tone which launches you like a rocket. The Reticon gets PRETTY CLOSE to a "zero" sweeping pass with the dry signal, something which Panasonic chips don't do. I lucked out on finding one with a working Reticon, and it wasn't cheap, but worth every penny imho. Some Reticons are plagued with heterodyne noise, I have a DOD 460 Mini-Chorus which suffers that, but this one doesn't have any, so call me double fortunate on that account.

    The last one is a Nady (Guyatone) PS-018 Jet Flanger (1984). It boasts the widest range on all parameters out of all my flangers, but no self-oscillation like the FL-01. I can dial in some crazy "swooshing", but where this flanger really shines is when stacking my FL-01 into it, the swirl bliss this thing produces is out of this world. Because the MN3207 is employed, it's rise is not as "resonant metallic" as MN3007 circuit, but produces a more "consistent" effect throughout its sweep.

    All three can stack before or after dirt or modulation, or stack all three together for some swirl bliss!

    I now have decided to flip every other flanger I have in my collection, once you go old-hat, you don't look back! The others I have are mere kids toys in comparison.

    Anyone else have a hidden Japanese gem of a flanger out there?
     
  2. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Ibanez FL9 is also great.
     
  3. secretsoundz

    secretsoundz Member

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    I also dig the old Maxon flangers.
     
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  4. Vesperado

    Vesperado Active Member

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    I have a Maxon FL-9 (MN3207) but am getting rid of it, it cannot hold its own anymore now having known these...
     
  5. Gutch220

    Gutch220 Well-Known Member

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    I just use your regular Boss FL-3. I like it's versatility, "stereo-ness", tone, and its dual input for bass which is really the BF-2.
    As for old flangers, I like the (made in Japan) Pearl FG-01 flanger, but I can't justify spending a ton of money on several vintage flanger pedals. It's just not a big part of my sound, so the FL-3 fits me perfectly.

    upload_2020-11-6_18-46-28.png
     
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  6. MonstersOfTheMidway

    MonstersOfTheMidway Well-Known Member

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    Older Japanese flange pedals are unique. Unfortunately, I don't own any right now, but I used a couple years ago and was impressed. Since I didn't and still don't use flange much, I did buy any back then. But each flange effects seem to have it's own special little tweaks that I can't really say "if you've heard one, you've heard them all."

    Thanks to those sharing/posting pics.
     
  7. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

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    Japan - Arion
    (U.S. - A/DA)
     
  8. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese seam to use the right op amps in thar pedals
     
  9. Sapient

    Sapient Life Coach & Birthday       Planner Silver Supporting Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    I use the FL9 and CS9. I think they are both great. Most of it is probably because they look so cool.
     
  10. Wildeman

    Wildeman Well-Known Member

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    I had a old purple Boss one, shoulda kept it.
     
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  11. Phony iommi

    Phony iommi Well-Known Member

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  12. Vesperado

    Vesperado Active Member

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    Figured I share an update on the FL-9 seeing how I commented on it earlier. It is not an all around flanger, unlike the other ones I had described at the top of this thread, but what I have observed is that it is pretty good, not awesome, but pretty good at 80's metal. There is a slight vocal quality to it if you dial it in right (little delay, half regen, over half way on depth is where I've noticed it). It has the filter matrix function as well. So it seems there might be a use for it after all in my arsenal; I've decided to keep it. FWIW I run my modulation before my dirt.

    On a separate note, I have just received my Ibanez FL-301. Once I get a chance I will share the results on here.

    Other flangers that seem interesting, and which I would like to try out, are the Ibanez SF-10 (MN3207) and the Locobox "Electra" 505F (the same as the Rolling 506F/Austin AE-30/Washburn AF-4) which has the rare MN3209 (9V). From what I hear on YT is a metallic-esque flange, probably due to 256 stages, and methinks would shine with distortion. I know the Yamaha CH-01 has the MN3009 (15V), but I wouldn't know of any other pedal which employs the -09 series bucket brigade. I would be interested to hear from any of you who might have some experience with a -09 type flanger!
     
  13. El Gringo

    El Gringo Well-Known Member

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    I want to ask you what does the BOSS BF-3 do versus the BOSS BF-2 ( the one i have ) ? I think it has a new feature ?
     
  14. Vesperado

    Vesperado Active Member

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    Got to try out the Maxon for Ibanez FL-301 (18V). Mine was made in 1981. It's not quite an all around flanger, but what it is good at is preserving your guitar's tone and can be dialed to make it almost indistinguishable when engaged, affording a nice subtle flange for shredding, seeing how it does not employ a compander.

    Employing a MN3007 BBD, it runs at 12V internally due to a voltage reducing IC, yet it takes 18V via 2x 9V batteries or a 3.5mm jack. Critically listening to it, it *slightly* scoops the mids of the guitar, but otherwise passes all the freqs through without coloration. Another noticeable characteristic is that the Regen does not affect the Width of the effect whatsoever, as if they run independent of one another. No other flanger of mine does this. The Width does not have much range, either, compared to the others I own. To be honest, I was expecting more shimmer due to the MN3007 (1024 buckets), but the shimmer can be had with an increase of the Regen, however, don't expect the sparkle of a Guyatone Jet Sound or Yamaha PSE. There is a Feedback trimmer underneath the hood, which I assume sets the range for the Regen control on the outside, but did not mess with as I did not feel the need to re-bias the unit; it arrived preset by the last owner.

    In short, it's a worthy purchase. The flange is not 'vocal' like, like my FL-303 mI, but if I could compare it to something, it reminds me of a Dixie cup with a string 'telephone' whenever the Regen is dialed up. There is a hint of metalic flange depending on how you set it. But, like I said, its application seems to be more suited for a subtle effect before distortion.

    I have a Ibanez SF-10 (MN3207) waiting to be tested, and a Locobox FL-01 (MN3209) on the way.
     
  15. Vesperado

    Vesperado Active Member

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    My first look at the SF-10 today, where to begin?

    It's a -10 series Ibanez flange, with the name "Swell Flanger". The 'Swell' seems to denote something eccentric about its effect: the Feedback when dimed nearly self oscillates (not quite near the self-oscillation found with the PSE FL-01, however). Theres a duality to it: it has some wobble (detune) and width, as you would expect from a chorus. You might call it a chorused-flange. However, the PS-018 Jet Sound wears the hat for best chorused-flange low-voltage BBD circuit imho.

    Produced in 1986, it employs a MN3207 (10V max) and a JRC4558D dual opamp. There are three trim pots underneath the hood: (1) Regen range, (2) Delay Time range, (3) circuit bias, yet not for the BBD, that seems to be set to 5V via hardwired components checking the Vdd.

    It's a versatile flanger being a low-voltage BBD circuit, yet quite distinct from the Maxon FL-9 in that it does not produce a vocal-esque effect, nor is the sweep consistent throughout; the high summits seem to escape the width and then reenter it upon the descent and increase in feedback as they hit the valley and rise back up, similar to the PSE FL-01. A thick flange occurs at the trough. But if I were to choose between the two, the palm would go to the SF-10 due to its superior versatility over the FL-9. Not only so, but its 'swell' characteristic is what I would call Wow Factor; the combination of wobble, width, feedback sparkle, does immerse you deep into the 'jet'. No compander here, just the dual opamp: set it before your dirt and launch off into the galaxy of stars, or dial in some chimey chorus, or get a siren blowing through your 100W stack...

    Cool little pedal.

    Locobox enroute, and an ADA MN3010.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
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  16. Rozman62

    Rozman62 Well-Known Member

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    I had an old Ross flanger in the late '70's that was pretty expressive.
     
  17. Vesperado

    Vesperado Active Member

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    So I got to try out my 1980s Locobox FL-01 today. Very nice flange. MN3209 @ 9V, 256 "buckets" compared to the 3x07's 1024. Along with the Guyatone/Nady PS-018 Jet Flanger and Maxon/Ibanez FL-301 Flanger, it is superior before high-gain. It's got sparkle and an even sweep, never over-dramatic, but consistent and smooth from rise to fall. It's good with clean, too, but really takes the stage when stacked before high-gain. It can do the filter-matrix thing as well.

    The Maxon/Ibanez FL-9 lacks in the low-end, probably akin to a TS-9's tone circuit, but I haven't bothered checking a schematic so don't quote me there. The Ibanez SF-10 is ok, but something about it's trough makes it unusable for high-gain applications, plus it exhibits the most noise out of all the Panasonic BBD flangers pictured below, even after reflowing major solder joints inside. Methinks if one could modify the FL-9 or SF-10, they might be worthy of double duty, but stock only work well for clean imo, as they both have sparkle and a slight vocal quality with the FL-9.


    Of course, none of these come close to my 1976 Maxon FL-303 mkI. That's got the Reticon SAD1024 BBD, so its excluded from the above comparison. But I have long ago crowned it King of my flanger collection.

    Some other Japanese flangers (that I don't have because I have yet to hear a descent sound clip of one) that might be worth checking out are the Yamaha SDS FL-100, MN3208, and FL-10 mkI & II, MN3207, the Arion SFL-1, MN3207, Boss stuff, Ross stuff, earlier Guyatone stuff, and probably others, too. Hoping my thread will help direct some pedal collectors aright upon those which I have tested. But if I were to flip more pedals, the Maxon FL-303, FL-301; Guyatone PS-018; Locobox FL-01; and Yamaha FL-01 indefinitely stay with me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020

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