Difference Between Flanger and Phaser

Flanger vs Phaser

Flanger and Phaser are not common words used in our daily lives. These are effects in music that are produced to give a subtle twirl to sound. These effects are similar in nature to effects in lighting that are made to change the monotony and create something interesting for the ears of the audiences. There are similarities in these two effects confusing many people. This article attempts to differentiate between these two musical effects, to let readers know when it is Flanger that they are experiencing and when it is Phaser that they hear.


Phaser is a technique of processing audio signals that filter the audio signals and produce troughs and peaks to create a sweeping effect for the listener. Audio signal is split into two courses. One of the paths keeps the same amplitude of the signal while altering its phase. The changes made in the phase are dependent upon the frequency of the signal. When the two kinds of signals are allowed to meet, this creates the effect that is known as Phaser effect. In the case of electric guitar, Phaser effect is the famous shimmering effect, also called pedal effect. It is not just electric guitar that makes use of Phaser as this effect is seen also in strings, piano, acoustic guitar, and even Synth pads. What is known as Phaser today was earlier referred to as phase shifters.


Flanger is a musical effect that is created by creating a delay in the input signal for a small time period of just a few milliseconds and then allowing it to get mixed with the original signal that was original. This process creates a filter called comb filter having notch frequencies that are related harmonically. You get to hear the effect of a jet plane passing over your head when the time delay is varied as this causes the filter to oscillate back and forth. Flanging was used for the first time in 1960’s when tape recording machines were used to record audio signals, and the sound engineer pressed the supply reel flange to cause it to slow down. Though this was tape flanging, the method is still caused Flanger.

Flanger vs Phaser

• The two effects called Phaser and Flanger are quite similar to each other though they differ in the manner in which they affect the sound waves.

• In a Phaser, original signal is combined with a slightly delayed signal. This causes cancellation of some of the frequencies which creates this sound effect.

• In Flanger too, delayed sound signal is used to create a sound effect. It was originally achieved when an engineer pressed the flange of the tape machine to slow down the supply of reel.

• There are fewer notches in Phaser than in Flanger.

• Phaser effect appears to be random while Flanger effect is consistent.