A phase lock loop sampling technique has been developed in order to perform detailed measurements for the flow field downstream of a turbomachinery rotor. Measurements have been carried out in the vaned diffuser of a low-speed centrifugal compressor using a triple hot wire anemometer. The phase lock loop technique employed in this work has provided a comprehensive representation of the complex three-dimensional unsteady flow in these diffusers. The diffuser vanes were found to have a significant influence on the flow in the vaneless space. The mixing out of the blade wakes is enhanced and accordingly the Reynolds stress levels drop rapidly between the impeller exit and the vane leading edge. The results provide an insight into the flow mechanisms responsible for the losses and hence can be used to develop better design strategies in the future. The flow also exhibits high levels of anisotropy, especially at the mid-vane positions. This suggests that basic Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) models, including standard one- or two-equation models, might not be sufficient to accurately model the flow in centrifugal compressor diffusers.