Pigtronix Space Rip: What is it?
Those players looking to fill that analogue pulse width modulation synth hole on their pedalboards but with little space to spare will do well to check out the Pigtronix Space Rip.
The Space Rip does a fine job of challenging whatever preconceptions you might have that outer-limits synth sounds are beyond the capabilities of the mini guitar effects pedal.
This, folks, does as the name suggests and generates a synth wave that you can add modulation to. Describing how this might sound without plugging in might be challenging but rest assured this is all mercifully easy to use.
There is a quartet of dials for Rate, Mix, Tune, and Sub, a button switch for selecting the shape of the oscillator’s waveform, and another for selecting the octave setting for the oscillator. The default octave position has the first oscillator doubling the notes you are playing, the second is an octave down, but once you depress it, everything shifts down an octave, with that second oscillator now operating two octaves below the notes you are generating.
The dials are relatively self-explanatory: Rate sets the speed of the modulation; Tune changes the pitch of the oscillator; Mix blends wet and dry signals.
Easy, but what does it sound like?
Pigtronix Space Rip: Performance and verdict
Well, it’s something different, that’s for sure, and that itself is something to be celebrated. With a choice of sawtooth or square waveforms, you’ve got two core sounds to take you through the wormhole but many options of how you can travel.
Take the scenic route with the Rate control, which keeps the modulation out of the way at its lowest position before dialling in a rhythmic chop as its most extreme positions.
With the Mix knob at halfway, some of these tones sound as though there’s some demonic fuzz pedal possession going on, but when you max it out and take the dry signal away completely you can have some huge analogue synth lines to play with.
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We had the most fun in the octave and unison modes, but on the whole, it’s easy to find good synth tones from this unit, even if the number of controls on the front is initially a bit overwhelming.
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Overall, whether you want synth on its own or as a textural add-on for layering with your guitar sound, this pedal delivers it simply and cleanly, with blends to be explored that - when then sent through distortion and delay/reverb - can sound absolutely massive.
Turn the rate up three-quarters, Mix all the way with Tune and Sub at halfway and the octave-down mode is selected and everyone bar your guitar amp’s speaker cone will think it’s awesome.
As you dial in more of the Sub control, that octave effect becomes more pronounced and you can really park this down low for some weirded-out pseudo-bass guitar parts. If you are using the Space Rip for solo parts or for a melody line, roll the Sub control all the way back.
The Space Rip has a superb tracking engine but bear in mind it is monophonic and like all synth pedals it rewards careful technique.
That said, the accidental magic of a synth squawk mid-solo the gate choke of an analogue synth bassline coming out of your Fender Telecaster can provide all the inspiration you’ve been waiting for.
And once you’ve augmented it with whatever else is on your ‘board, the Space Rip can also be the launching pad for more outré sonic adventures not charted on the owners manual.
MusicRadar verdict: One small step for your pedalboard, one giant leap for electric guitar tone, with the Space Rip offering lots of fun with its saw and square-wave analogue synth sounds and massive octave effect.
Pigtronix Space Rip: The web says
“Used properly, the Space Rip is a righteous tone generator, with power, girth, and versatility that belie its size. From gnarly fuzz-bass (with an alarmingly low rumble when the octave switch is dipped) to Velcro-ripped leads and guttural vowel-like ooze, the Space Rip can spice up your sonic repertoire.”
“Experimentation is key, with thick synth bass, ripping gated fuzz-style riffs, and whining high-pitched leads all on offer. Due to its nature, we found the Space Rip to be a magnet for Minimoog funky lines, but there’s a lot of room for processing the sound after the fact with delays and a way for filtered synth sounds.”
Pigtronix Space Rip: Hands-on demos
R. J. Ronquillo
Pigtronix Space Rip: Specifications
- TYPE: Analogue pulse width modulation synth pedal
- FEATURES: Sawtooth /square wave voices, octave/sub octave
- CONTROLS: Rate, mix, tune, sub, shape, octave
- CONNECTIONS: Input, output, power
- POWER: 9v PSU only (not included)
- CONTACT: Pigtronix