Review: MXR Phase 95 Pedal

(Image credit: Jim Dunlop)


There is no denying the importance and popularity of the MXR Phase 90. Since its inception in 1972, the MXR Phase 90—and just about every other variation of this pedal from MXR including the Phase 45, script and block logo Phase 90s, Phase 100 and EVH Phase 90—has been the most sought after and widely used phase shifting pedal among guitarists because of its sheer simplicity of use and smoothly liquid phase sound that adds velocity and depth, all of which has made this pedal a time-honored classic.

Now, it is also safe to say the brand new, jam-packed and versatile MXR Phase 95 will soon be regarded as an instant classic as well.

The MXR Phase 95 successfully combines four iconic MXR pedals (a block logo Phase 90 and 45, and a script logo Phase 90 and 45) into a single mini-pedal without sacrificing any of its rich phasing tone.

The MXR Phase 95 is so surprisingly compact it’s hard to believe they crammed this much phasing firepower into a single pedal that measures one-and-one-half inches wide and three-and-one-half inches long. The Phase 95 features a Script switch (indicated by an amber LED) that removes feedback from the circuit, a single mini speed knob that controls the rate of effect, a 45/90 switch that toggles between Phase 45 (red LED) and Phase 90 (blue LED) modes. An included Dunlop nine-volt adapter powers the pedal.

I have to tip my hat at how convincingly MXR recreates the syrupy sweet two-stage phasing of the Phase 45 and the more concentrated four-stage phasing of the Phase 90 for the Phase 95. With each toggle of the switches, it’s absolutely mesmerizing to explore the layer upon layer of densely packed phasing that’s available.

Beginning with block logo Phase 45, the effect is beautifully subtle and mellow, it’s the perfect way to hint at the phase effect. Turning on the Script switch distinctly enhances the Phase 45 effect, creating an instant uni-vibe-like swirl with lush warmth. I can pretty much hang here for most of my phasing. Moving over to Phase 90 block logo sound, I can absolutely hear how the effect intensifies.

It’s a widely deep phase, and only becomes more aggressive and swooshy as you turn up the speed. Once you engage the Script toggle on this setting, it’s all Van Halen from here. It’s the second half, tapping section of “Eruption” where the phasing is incredibly rich, and builds with pronounced highs and articulate lows. It’s all so good you realize it’s a pedal you can’t live without.


It’s not a question of if but when you should put the MXR Phase 95 onto your existing pedalboard for some of the greatest hits in lush phase sounds in a mini pedal.

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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.