Classic 4-stage sounds are just the tip of the iceberg for this uncommonly powerful stomp—but its looks can be deceiving, too.
Waveform knob facilitates an alluring variety of phase tones. Lots of parameter control.
Secondary functions can be difficult to keep track of. Some sounds don't feel as rich and dimensional as the classics.
Flower Pedals Castilleja Phaser
If you're looking for a middle ground between straightforward, vintage phase sounds and the parameter depth of a programmable device, Flower Pedals' Castilleja could be a godsend. Its orange exterior hints at classic 4-stage phase sounds of yore, but its multifunction controls are more powerful than they appear.
Of particular note is its ability to blend between adjacent waveforms (up-ramp, sawtooth, sine, square)—my favorite feature—to open up sounds ranging from lush and hypnotic to trippy and disorienting. There's also tap-tempo and expression control, momentary and "drift" ramping modes, and switchability between phase and vibrato/chorus modes.
Those who crave vintage phase richness and simplicity with a little more flexibility may wish Castilleja's many functions were a little easier to follow (e.g., with more labels on the unit itself) or involved fewer switch maneuvers and LED colors. And, depending on your phase tastes, the 3-position feedback/resonance control's oft-sqwonky tonality and auto-wah-like effect in drift mode may feel a little redundant with other effects on your board (or with effects you intentionally don't have).
That said, the opposite may well also be true: Castilleja's almost-dizzying tweakability may eliminate the need for other devices and facilitate a unique blend of modulation sounds you might not otherwise find—with fewer foot maneuvers and less real estate, to boot.
Test Gear: Gretsch Broadkaster, Squier Telecaster with Curtis Novak JM-V and Tele-V pickups, '76 Fender Vibrolux Reverb, Goodsell Valpreaux 21