Monday, January 19, 2009

Small Stoned Prophet

The Small Stone is a revered phase shifter pedal from Electro Harmonix, with a most distinguished pedigree, harking back to the glory days of EMS, the groundbreaking british company responsible for such electronic marvels as the VCS3.

Engineer David Cockerell, first hired by EMS to work on early computer systems for music, designed in 1971 a very peculiar (and pricey according to long time user David Gilmour) guitar effect called the Synthi Hi-Fli, featuring advanced phase shifting and vibrato functions, along with that special EMS retro-futuristic look.

Engaged by Electro Harmonix, Cockerell went on to create some of the best guitar effects, including the Small Stone phaser. It is a very straightforward unit, with a rate knob and a colour switch, adding feedback to the 4 stage phasing effect. There has been a number of versions all through the years (some produced in Russia, the Sovtek series), sharing the same basic architecture, with slight differences in tone. Today’s commercial units are the fourth (classic) and fifth (nano) version.

While it is mainly a guitar effect, nothing prevents you from plugging another audio source, which is precisely what French synthesist JM Jarre did, using the first 1974 version of the pedal (seen above, photo from P.A.S.) on his Eminent 310U to create the astounding atmospheric pads of Oxygène (1976) and Equinoxe (1978).

My own Small Stone is the third version from 1980.
The following examples are done with the Prophet 08 only, processed by the Small Stone.

Two Pads

One Pad

The Prophet beat from the previous post, phased to death

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