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Hands On Review: The World of Pigtronix

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There’s a familiar slogan that was used by Apple in the late ’90s: “Think Different.” Pigtronix is another company that could just as easily use that slogan. Founded by guitar players who wanted to create unique analog effects pedals, Pigtronix makes a line of pedals that at first seem familiar, but the more you dig into them, the more you find those twists and quirks that set them apart as truly unique tone tools for creative musicians. (Note: I said musicians, not just guitar players — these pedals are useful in all sorts of studio and live applications.)

I received a large box containing all 11 of Pigtronix’s pedal offerings. I’ve checked out demos of the pedals before and have been very impressed, but I have to admit that I wasn’t prepared for just how much fun these pedals can be. The company’s products break down into a few broad categories:

Gain/Distortion — These pedals include the brand-new Class A Boost, a clean boost/preamp pedal; the Aria, a diode-based overdrive with a 3-band EQ; the PolySaturator, a multi-stage distortion with a 3-band EQ; and the Disnortion, which provides fuzz and overdrive wired in parallel, along with an octave-up effect. Each of the pedals provides a different take on overdrive or distortion. Both the Aria and the PolySaturator cover the more “conventional” sounds, with the added EQ capability. The Disnortion can take you in entirely new directions.

Compressor/Sustainer — Both the Philosopher’s Tone, a compressor/sustainer with built-in distortion, and the Philosopher King, which combines a sustainer effect with an envelope generator, can give you tons of sustain and dynamics control, while also allowing those little “extras” that can give you a signature sound.

Modulation — The EP2 Envelope Phaser and the Tremvelope provide a new take on their respective effects, with much more dynamic control over the sounds produced. If you really want to “play” your mod effects, you can do it with these boxes.

Delay — The Echolution is an incredibly advanced multi-tap delay that gives you tons of control. If you can’t get the delay effects you want with this pedal — from a single repeat to a wash of stereo rhythmic taps — the problem isn’t with the pedal!

Synth — The Mothership is a crazy pedal. It can create synthesizer-type sounds without requiring a special pickup or a modification to your guitar. It can also reach into the extremely wacky world of ring modulation for totally off-the-wall sounds. If you’re looking to push the boundaries of what guitar can do, the Mothership is the one for you.

Studio — Why relegate your pedals solely to guitar? With the Keymaster, you can easily interface your pedals with your studio gear for a wide range of processing possibilities on your recorded tracks. But you can do even more than that. The Keymaster has series and parallel loops as well as a crossfade control for blending effects. It’s a super-versatile routing solution for your pedalboard too.

To sum up, I love these effects. They all sound great in the conventional sense, but then there’s always that unique Pigtronix twist that opens up new tonal vistas. These are awesome creative tools.

Mitch Gallagher

About Mitch Gallagher

Sweetwater Editorial Director, Mitch Gallagher, is one of the leading music/pro audio/audio recording authorities in the world. The former senior technical editor of Keyboard magazine and former editor-in-chief of EQ magazine, Gallagher has published thousands of articles, is the author of seven books and one instructional DVD, and appears in well over 500 videos on YouTube. He teaches audio recording and music business at Purdue University/Indiana University, and has appeared at festivals, conventions, and conferences around the world.
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