PIGTRONIX
FX
Joel M clver steps on three crackdling new
Pintronix FX pedals. W ill they m ake him
snueal. or w ill they just be boar-inn?
John Hornby Skewes
w w w .jh s.co .u k
A
merican effects-builder Pigtronix, distributed in this
country by the venerable John Hornby Skewes, has a
reputation for excellent products that serve the bass-
playing community if said bass players are prepared
to pay a little over the odds. As we've said at least
50 times in recent years, cheap may be cheerful
but quality deserves to be paid for, and in fact we bassists
are lavishly served at both ends of the price spectrum, with
bargain-basement kit often as good or better than your bespoke
expensive gear. With their proudly analogue range of pedals
assembled by hand in the company's Hew York. State HO, Pigtronix
should by rights be among the better products we've had in for
review lately. Let's see.
..
First up, we have the Bass FAT Drive, the FAT standing for
Futuristic Analogue Technology. At £129, this overdrive has plenty
of competition on the market, with several rival bass drive units we
could mention coming in at roughly the same price point. As you
might imagine from the word analogue, a tube sound is the basis of
the drive tone, with that recognisable warm softness at the core of
the various sounds you can coax out of the unit. It's totally successful
in that sense, with the tubey sound a wholly accurate representation
of the noise made by the old glowing valves. As such, don't expect a
fizzy, processed, solid-statey sound to come from this pedal: if that's
what you're after, look elsewhere. We really liked the option of
distorting the top end only, however, achievable by the simple act of
rolling off the tone control. No lack of bass here.
..
Bass compression is not for everybody, no matter what studio
techs and pro musicians always tell you. It's an immensely useful
tool if you're recording or if your band happens to be playing major
venues, without a doubt, but for a kid in a pop-punk band gigging
at the Dog & Duck, it's inessential. If you do feel the need to blow
£165 on a compressor, consider the Philosopher, a rather impressive
pedal that offers a range of useful options. While all compressors
do more or less the same job in bass world, this one takes a slightly
different approach, omitting the common 'attack' control and using
a Blend pot instead. This, says the company, preserves your natural
string envelope more efficiently than the attack control's standard
peak-plus-sudden-decay profile, which makes sense to us, although
we'll understand if you're starting to glaze over at the tech lingo.
In practice, explore the Blend control and you'll be provided with
a variety of very subtly different decay types - the whole point of
compression, essentially. A switch marked Grit adds some subtle
overdrive, too.
We notice that the two pedals reviewed so far supply fairly
cautious effects rather than face-melting ones, a rare thing in the
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
PIGTRONIX PXBEP BASS ENVELOPE
PHASER
PRICE
I £165
MADE IN
I U SA
FEATURES
I Up/Down direction switch,
Sensitivity and Resonance controls, true
bypass
POWER
|
18v DC included
DIMENSIONS
|
2 .4 x 4 4 x 1 "
BGM RATING
B O IL» QU A LITY
SOO N» Q U A LITY
VALUE
more-is-more world of bass FX, but this tendency does not apply to
the highly entertaining Bass Envelope Phaser, also £165. It's no more
or less than the classic phaser at first sight: a gizmo that adds 'the
funk' to your bass sound in a seriously powerful way that no words
on the printed page can possibly describe. Head to Youtube and
search for this pedal plus Doug Wimbish, a big fan of the product: he
explains the effect far better than adjectives such as 'squelchy' ever
could. Two dead simple Sensitivity and Resonance controls supply
the goods, and you can create a different, equally cool envelope by
tweaking the Up/Down direction switch, should you so desire.
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BASS GUITAR MAGAZI NE
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