Part phaser, part vibrato, part gain stage, the October Audio MNTNS does a bit of everything.
You might remember October Audio from my review of their fantastic NVMBR Fuzz pedal back in 2021. That pedal was a mainstay in my rig for a long time, thanks to its versatility and wide range of sounds despite simple controls. They’ve taken that to a new level with the MNTNS Phaser, which was released to the world in January 2023. Part Phaser, part Vibrato, part Op Amp Boost, this pedal has been strapped to my studio board and is not coming off. In fact, they didn’t send me one, I bought one and am reviewing it out of my genuine affection for the circuit. So I’ll keep it a bit more brief and informal.
What To Know…
You have a small toggle to switch between the gain – phaser – and vibrato modes of the MNTNS pedal, with another toggle immediately above to choose between 2 or 4 stages of phase. The two big knobs control the amount of gain/boost added, and the speed of the LFO for the modulation. Last but not least, there is a feedback switch, which uses feedback in the circuit to create a more resonant phaser sound.
How Does It Sound?
Using my trusty RWM Double Cut Tele and Universal Audio Dream ’65 I plugged in and did my best to show off those features and all the combinations they can produce. I’ve been using this for weeks now as my go-to phaser and overall modulation on my studio board. You might have heard it in recent guitar demos like the EART, Jet, or RWM Guitars.
It’s honestly really fun for me to screw around with because it is so different than my Phase 100 and can do some many different things. With the boost function it serves almost as an extra gain stage with plenty of crunch and brightness to help that phaser cut through the mix. And the MNTNS is also just a really good phaser, capable of beautifully subtle sounds for more mellow picking patterns, or violent swooshes of phase.
As an avid Clash fan, I of course could dial in Rudy Can’t Fail and Jimmy Jazz sounds with ease. But I also sometimes just twist the knobs, and engage the pedal to see where it takes me. Especially with lead lines, I’ve just used the MNTNS as a “make better-er” pedal. It became a core part of a song I’m working on, providing a pulsating lead line over a driving, punk chord sequence. It is just fun, and versatile, and looks cool. What else do you need to hear?
Is It Worth $159?
Yeah it is. It’s a lot more fun and versatile than the Maestro Orbit Phaser I ranted above in January, which cost about the same and had far less features. This is a creative, intuitive pedal from October Audio that can fit into a lot of genres and styles. MNTNS is the phaser that can be as simple as an MXR Phase 90, but also so much more. It’s well built, from a cool builder, and sound good. Buy it.