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Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone Compressor/Sustain/Distortion Reviews

4.5 stars based on 13 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Charlie Davis

    The only compressor I've ever used that left my attack and note clarity alone, but gave me endless sustain. Even a grit knob for a little extra sizzle for solos! Simply the best guitar compressor I've ever used.

  • from Midwest April 12, 2015Music Background:
    40 years a musician

    pigtronix philosophers tone pedal

    I can't say enough good things about this pedal. Put this way: I have two vintage bogens I use for natural tube overdrive. My Philosophers Tone pedal can nail that tone every time!! Between the dirt and sustain settings you have a myriad if options. I love this pedal and if someone stole it I'd Hunt them down and make them listen to hours of Barry Manilow's music!!!!

  • from Orrville, OH January 14, 2015Music Background:

    A Simple Choice

    The most important pedal on my board! This pedal could stand alone & provide dynamic, consistent tone/sound. This is what I often refer to as a "foundation" pedal. Meaning that all pedals just sound better when layered on this. I have never regretted spending the extra money to purchase this pedal.

  • from Monument, Colorado February 25, 2013Music Background:

    Philosopher's Tone

    Wanted a way to create a really solid tone for my set up and had zero clue how to do it. After a bunch of costly trial and error on my own, went to Sweetwater where my Sales Engineer, Greg Savino, suggested getting the Philosopher's Tone and combining with an Ecstasy Red Overdrive Pedal. I was able to get a great tone out of my setup without blasting the volume through my amp, (Made my wife extremely happy.). Sweetwaters Sales Engineers, (Greg Savino is mine, did I say that?), are the best. Greg helped me purchase a recording set up and these pedals. They listen carefully to what you have as far as a your rig and tailor a solution that will work for you. Thanks Greg!

  • from Warren, RI March 5, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone

    Wow - This is the best compressor out there. You also get distortion and a treble EQ. Just try it and you'll wonder how you ever got along without it. GREAT PEDAL and worth the price!!!!

  • from February 13, 2012Music Background:
    gigging Pop-rock R&B Band

    Philosophers stone rocks


  • from atlanta ga February 7, 2014Music Background:
    long time player

    pigtronix philosophers tone

    very versatile with the built in compressor and blend function. i really like the blend a lot. it's a very nice feature that gives useable results and not something i've seen on other OD pedals. overall i am very pleased with the pedal tone and versatility.

    plenty of gain and grit (overdrive) for most music.

    BEWARE... this pedal does not use a battery so you must have a power supply.

  • from Florida October 11, 2013Music Background:
    home player. studied music in college.

    a fine product (follow up)

    I recently wrote a four-and-a-half star review of the Philosopher's Tone compressor I bought from Sweetwater. I mentioned that I didn't need the distortion feature, and that the distortion on the Philosopher's Tone didn't enhance the clean sound I was looking for, which a little "grit," as Pigtronix calls its distortion on the Philospoher's Tone, usually does in my experience. However, I didn't mention that I thought the pedal would be better if there were a button to turn the distortion off and on, rather than having to turn the dial and thus depriving you of the option of easily switching from distorted to undistorted tone. Yesterday, I received the latest catalog from Sweetwater and found the Philosopher Twin, made exclusively for Sweetwater. I wish the sale person had mentioned this product if it was available at the time I bought the Philosopher's Tone. I would either have bought that one or gone with the Wampler, which in my other review I said I originally chose over the Philosopher's Tone. Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying--Sweetwater has been great to me with replacing or accepting returns of products. I cannot praise them enough on this score and have done so in several emails to them. I'm not looking to return my PT. It's been over 30 days, and although it the packaging and the product are suitable for reselling, I no longer have the receipt. But that's okay, since I'm happy enough with the product. As I said, I just wish the sales rep had mentioned the Philosopher's Twin, assuming he knew about it, which I cannot attest that he did. Check that: the sales rep probably could have told me about the Philosopher's Twin, given that it's featured over the Philosopher's Tone in the last catalog I just now dug up. The Philosopher's Tone is mentioned on a line below the Philosopher's Twin, but I didn't see any reviews of it on the Internet, possibly because it's exclusive to Sweetwater and there wasn't a picture of it in the catalog. The video demonstrating the Philosopher's Tone plays up the distortion feature, something the Wampler video obviously didn't, since it has no distortion feature, which is why I initially wanted the Wampler. In fact, the videos for the Philosopher's Tone and the Philosopher's Twin are the same and both play up the distortion feature. In truth, I can't understand why anyone would want distortion (or "grit" or whatever) on a pedal dedicated to something else altogether. You have to wonder how it affects the overall function of the pedal. All in all, though, I still have to rate the Philospher's Tone with four and a half stars, or four stars at minimum, because in my admittedly limited experience it deserves to be thus rated for the compression effect alone. The Philosopher's Twin has been rated five stars, though. I could more easily have found that out if it were listed on the contents page on the Sweetwater web site. I think that carrying both the Philosopher's Twin and Philosopher's Tone offers the customer a legitimate and useful option, considering the difference in price and features, which aren't quite precisely described in the product details: The Philsopher's Tone doesn't have "ratio" and "threshold" controls, though it does have a volume control--a sort of an input and output combined--a knob that's nice to have. Nonetheless, if I had it to do over again, I'd buy the Wampler and return that product if it seemed a real loser. I kind of doubt that would be the case from what I've seen on the Internet, the videos for it on Sweetwater, and the consistent five-star reviews on Sweetwater. I snoozed somewhat, but I still can't say that I lost. I like the Philosopher's Tone and perhaps I'll find myself using its distortion feature along with the gain and lead selections on my Hughes & Kettner preamp. The gist of this follow up to my first review is merely to point out that I might have been better informed on the two types of Pigtronix compressors, which may have influenced my purchase, either of which Pigtronix compressor I chose or whether I even bought the Pigtronix over the Wampler compressor. Thanks for reading this review, if in fact you made it to this point. I wouldn't blame anyone who thought I was being too picky and unfair to Sweetwater's sales personnel. But I did hours of research on which compressor I wanted to buy and $200 to $300 isn't chump change, at least to me. I think in the future I'm going to trust my own judgment, availing myself of Sweetwater's excellence in customer satisfaction to assure me that I make the best decision when selecting future products to buy, which I almost certainly will acquire from Sweetwater.

  • from Florida October 10, 2013Music Background:
    home player. studied music in college.

    fine product

    Like three of the other reviewers here, I bought the Philosopher's Tone compressor at the urging of Sweetwater. After doing some research, I was going to buy a Wampler but was persuaded to try Pigtronix's offering in a compressor pedal, even though I explained that I had no use for the distortion feature, which is the reason I favored the Wampler over the PT. Of course, I could have returned the PT, no problem, as my sales rep emphasized, and I've usually found that a little "grit," as its labelled, can enhance a basically clean tone. I can't say that this was the case with the PT, at least in my judgment, which is why I deleted a half star. I've had only one other compressor, and that was part of a rack DSP, so I'm not an expert by any means. The PT absolutely improved the sustain and overall vibe of my Jaguar, which is what I was looking for in a compressor, as I told Sweetwater. Even though I have no use for the distortion, I'm not sure some other knob providing, for instance, "attack," which the Wampler has, would really add anything in place of the grit sound. It would be great to A/B them. As it is, the PT is a welcome enhancement to the sound of all my guitars to varying degrees. I'd definitely recommend that someone in the market for this type of device give it a try. The inclusion of a power source make the PT a somewhat better value than most other compressors in its general price range.

  • from Hyde Park, NY USA September 15, 2013Music Background:
    luthier and part time gigging guitarist

    jackpot on my first compressor

    I had never used a compressor pedal before, but this was a great recommendation from my sales rep, Robbie. It's footprint is small, it's got sensible functional adjustments with suggestions on how to use them. It's quiet! The potential maximum sustain is ENDLESS. The only reason I took off a half star is that I'm not totally sold on the sound of gain from Germanium components, but the benefits of all the other features is going to keep this on my board for quite some time.

  • from Hampton, VA USA May 9, 2012Music Background:
    Guitarist, recording engineer, project studio owner

    Philosopher's Tone makes the difference

    Great tone box. If you have a one channe amp this would be like adding a second channel with some crunch in it. It also acts as a great boost box. The grit is not really a distortion in my opinion but does provide some nice color to the tone. I gave it a 4.5 because I would have prefered this pedal in a portrait format instead of landscape. The cable input and output orientation is a little annoying.

  • from Moriah Center, NY USA February 15, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer / Semi Pro Musician


    I bought this based on the recommendation of my Sweetwater Rep Alex! All I can say is Thank You!!! This thing is amazing! Soooooo smooth... Responds really well... The "grit" knob is a great tool as well... Love this thing! Buy it, you won't be disappointed! I gave 4.5 stars only because I wish it was configured in the portrait orientation instead of landscape... It doesn't fit great on my pedalboard compared to my other pedals... I know I could buy a different pedalboard and probably avoid the issue... It's just an opinion... However, take my word for it, this is worth every cent!!!!

  • from Sioux Falls, SD April 16, 2014Music Background:
    40 years of writing, recording, and performing.

    Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone Does What I Was Expecting...Almost.

    The Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone is a very quiet and very useful compressor. I am using it to fatten-up my general tone and to even out my playing dynamics. It is well built and doesn't take-up a lot of pedal board space. The sustain knob adds clean sustain without changing the sound of your guitar while the grit control adds a bit of fuzz but not a lot more. I prefer this compressor over the competition because of it lack of noise, sustain, and ease of use. It's a great pedal.

  • from Charlotte Nc July 13, 2012Music Background:

    Philosopher's Tone is Plato's deepest thought!

    Sounds great when placed in the right place in effects chain! No grit necessary!

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