Skip to main content

Pigtronix Philosopher King review

Multi-tasking guitar synth

  • £299
  • $429
Hitting the Swell or Fade footswitches brings in the envelope

MusicRadar Verdict

A great choice for bringing something new to your sonic palette.

Pros

  • +

    Ideal for those looking for new sound shaping options on their board. Compression and distortion sounds are great.

Cons

  • -

    Price.

The Philosopher King from USA firm Pigtronix combines a compressor, sustainer, distortion and a polyphonic amplitude synthesizer.

It creates a guitar sound with the compression and distortion and then feeds that into an amplitude modulation section for reshaping.

"The compression and distortion alone is great, but the tone and envelope-shaping opens up new sonic horizons"

Without the envelope-shaping, there's a neat range of compression, with added distortion via the Grit knob, all delivered via a knob that mixes it in with the dry sound for some great blends from really subtle to blistering high-gain sustain.

Hitting the Swell or Fade footswitches brings in the envelope, allowing pick- triggered volume swells that can be controlled nicely by playing dynamics.

The synth functionality adds granular textures with variable timing there's quite a range of tones such as backwards tape-style envelopes, stuttery on/off tremolo and staccato single notes.

The compression and distortion alone is great, but the tone and envelope-shaping opens up new sonic horizons.

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.