There is a good chance that Roy from Greenhouse effects is directly responsible for the sound of your favorite pedal. He has been quietly building effects behind the scenes for years, toiling away designing and laying out circuit boards for the the likes of JHS, ZVex, and Caroline Guitar Co. Over the last decade or so, he’s also been crafting his own line of effects - small, versatile, and vintage voiced - and the Sonic Orb is no exception. It's a classic, oozing phaser that nails the simplicity and tone of my favorite phaser, the famous “Tall Font” Sovtek Small Stone, while eliminating the terrible buffered bypass, volume drops, and huge enclosure that make the Small Stone all but unusable on a board. Now I’m not saying that the Sovtek Small Stone was a direct influence on this pedal - just that it captures whatever magic my old Small Stone had, and surpasses it not only in practicality but in tone and versatility.
The Sonic Orb has five controls: Rate, Depth, Q, Volume, and a Slow / Fast switch. The Volume control allows you to match the bypassed and active volumes (unity) preventing the volume dip problematic in many phasers. Rate and Depth do exactly what you think they do, but with a wider range of sounds within their sweep than you are accustomed to. The Slow / Fast switch not only changes the speed of the phase but seems to really accentuate certain frequencies of the Q control. The Q knob is what’s unexpected in a phaser, shifting the frequencies phased from bass to treble. It’s always subtle on it’s own, but interacting with the other controls, it really draws out some unique and unexpected sounds, especially when paired with a drive pedal or fuzz.
With a wide range of phase, the Sonic Orb oozes smooth viscous shifts that slide up your chords, cling to the notes and melt away… or it can do fast. Like almost ring-mody, lofi tremolo fast. But the real test of a phaser for me is how well it plays with fuzz. The Sonic Orb loves fuzz, smoothing out and compressing the ragged edges while maintaining the raspy, grainy quality of your nastiest fuzz. It adds body, depth, and movement to a thin vintage fuzz, and behaves like a gentleman, swirling beneath the surface of a thick modern fuzz, making the Greenhouse Effects Sonic Orb an excellent and versatile option for any player.