Swirl Mk. 1

Skreddy Swirl (released 6-23-14)(Replacement for the Paradigm Shift?)(How many made?)(Highest known number – )

Swirl Mk. 1
Swirl Prototype Guts

Marc Says (via his site)?

A real vibe uses darlington transistor pairs and and mixes the band-passed signals in a very similar way to an op-amp. Even its input stage is remarkably op-amp-liike. I’m using op-amps and photoresistors along with LEDs to drive them. I’ve found that the LFO’s characteristic asymmetric sweep isn’t as much due to the incandescent bulb but more to the reverse-log taper that a photoresistor has. In order to get a photoresistor to do a symmetrical sine wave, it has to be tapered with shunt resistors, which just so happens to be the same exact method you have to use to make FETs have a linear response as well. Doing that with a phaser circuit bounds the LFO to its higher sweep range, which is why what we call a “phaser” typically has that midrange-to-high frequency sweep sound. Leave out or minimize the tapering resistors, and the full LFO sweep is very intense and whumpy, like TOO intense really to even sound musical. Hence, the designer of the Uni-Vibe spread out the values of the frequencies being modulated throughout the four stages of the phase shifting to soften the effect. But the Uni-Vibe’s frequency range is still very full and emphasizes the lower end and the vocal midrange zone, rather than the higher frequencies of what we commonly describe as a phaser.

The technology looks different, mainly due to the discreet transistors and the incandescent bulb, but the actual electronic effect is very much the same.

TL/DR: A Uni-Vibe really is a phaser–just tuned different to a modern phaser.

I’ve discovered the way to get that Breathe sound. Run it into something that cuts a bit of low end and emphasizes the mids. So you get that nice rotary phase effect but without the low end throb. So any low-cut/mid-hump overdrive that you can set for a cleanish sound basically. Sounds to me like Gilmour used a small combo with maybe an 8″ speaker on that track.

Everybody really did love the Swirl a lot; it melds so well with the HFD for the Trower sound it’s almost ridiculous (hint: turn up the HFD’s fuzz and mid boost, and turn down its sharpness for thicker saturation, use Strat’s middle pickup–same tone recipe for EVH but with a humbucker and LMS instead of single coil and Swirl). What was amazing was just how dramatically and totally different worlds the LMS and Swirl are from each other; one’s like the psychedelic era, and the other one’s like the disco era.

Yes. After re-engineering the LFO’s design for a smoother sweep and all of the eq and unity-gain refinements I put into the Little Miss Sunshine, I figure the old “mix” and “dwell” controls for the Paradigm are basically moot now. One sweet spot is all you need with this one, and it’s dialed in. It’s way better to have two completely different 1-knob phasers available than to try to make one flexible enough to try to fit every purpose. The Phase 90 and Uni-Vibe sounds are so radically different, it would be a futile exercise unless one were to house it in a huge box with lots of switches and knobs, in which case a majority of the available sounds would be crap anyway.

“Check out my Uni-Vibe flavored small box phaser. You’ll be amazed at the amount of vintage mojo packed into such a tiny space. I consciously voiced it a little bit smoother in its sweep than a typical 1969 specimen just so it’s less floppy and somewhat more refined as it cycles through its range of moving frequency interactions. It’s like you’ve found the smoothest classic Uni-Vibe and dialed the intensity in to just the sweetest spot where it’s usable for everything you could ever want it to do at every speed without sounding clunky or distracting–just lovely and enchanting. Yes, it is optical, and yes, the sweep does have that funky asymmetry you would want and expect. It is very vocal and lush and has just the right amount of throb without overkill; it truly adds to and beautifies and interacts with your playing.”

The Paradigm Shift can be modded almost completely to Swirl specs, but the Swirl has a few components that do not exist on the PS circuitboard. The most significant of those are the resistors that smooth out the shape of the sweep ever so slightly. The PS, even modded to the new “smoothness” spec, will exhibit a bit of floppiness in its sweep (which really is like a vintage vibe’s sweep shape, for the most part), where I’ve taken the Swirl and eliminated that tiny bit of “falling off a cliff” floppy part of the sweep and smoothed that part out better. It’s not because I hate that vintage clunkiness; I just wanted the Swirl to be a tad bit more refined. Like I said in an earlier post here, though: that subtlety is basically lost as soon as you run it through dirt. So it’s just an improvement with regard to running it clean and wanting it to be a bit less intrusive and overwhelming than a vintage vibe.

It’s not a Univibe. (Univibe is a trademarked term.) It is a phase shifter that is configured like and tuned to the same frequency notches as the Univibe design. It’s a bit modernized (op-amps instead of discreet, boot-strapped gain stages, and LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs), and it has a fixed intensity and fixed volume, both of which were fastidiously tuned by myself; and of course it has a speed knob instead of a foot controller. It was designed for maximum utility and versatility with a few improvements over the original (better, more transparent frequency response, better input impedance, ultra low noise, and of course smaller size). The lack of 2 extra knobs is made up for (IMHO) by the fact that it’s already dialed in to what you’d probably end up setting up a vintage Univibe to sound like if you had one.