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Pigtronix Phi Echolution and EP2 Envelope Phaser Pedal Reviews

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Pigtronix Phi Echolution and EP2 Envelope Phaser Pedal Reviews



Phi Echolution
Download Example 1
Rhythmic Delay with hi cut feedback repeats
Download Example 2
Haunting delay using volume pedal before Echolution
Download Example 3
Psychedelic reverse delay
Download Example 4
Phi engaged with multiple taps for complex rhythmic delay
All clips recorded with 2008 Fender American Standard Strat into 65Amps Tupelo with SM57 through Chandler LTD-1 preamp direct into ProTools.
The Phi is a studio quality delay that offers the benefits of analog and digital in a stompbox format. Make no mistake, this is not your typical delay box. It goes beyond the normal delay fare and offers up a wide palate of cool and ultimately useful sounds. The layout is a little scary at first because there are so many controls on the pedal, but with a little bit of time it all becomes clear. Again, there is no doubt the folks at Pigtronix are players because they've thought of some very clever ways to achieve great-sounding and complex delays very easily.

You can think of the Echolution as two separate delays. On the left side of the pedal is the Modulation Delay with controls at the top for Tremolo, Chorus, Delay Time and LFO speed. On the right is the Tap Tempo Delay with a Tap Tempo footswitch at the bottom and global controls for Blend, Drive, Hi-Cut and Feedback above. In the middle of the pedal are two rows of five mini switches (same as the EP2) that set up various states for the pedal. The modulation delay time is a 3-way switch for setting the range from short to medium to long. The Tails switch is a toggle that lets the delay repeats to continue on after stomping the engage switch--perfect for wrapping up a solo and elegantly rolling right back into rhythm playing without the delay. A Reverse switch makes the delays come back like a backward tape echo and the Loop lets the content loop indefinitely. There are also five other switches that control the style of subdivisions for the repeats, which is super cool in combination with the tap tempo. You can choose between 1/3, 2/3, ¼, ½ and ¾ or any combination of them. This makes for complex polyrhythms, as well as many other interesting rhythmic delays. The "Phi" switch is the real genius, and differentiating factor in the Echolution, as it applies what is called the Golden Ratio. There is some math involved to explain it but it can be summed up as "The Rhythm of the Universe" and is sort of in between. It changes all of the ratio switches to new values and lends an interesting blend of rhythmic changes and movement—very natural and very cool.

In Play
I plugged my Les Paul Custom into the Echolution and ran it into the front end of an early '70s Marshall Superlead. Using the manual's sample setting of an Echoplex conjured up a very familiar sound--like an Echoplex! The Drive control is a very effective component of the sound, and when pushed hard it simulated that front-end crunch that I love so much about the early Echoplexes. The Tap Tempo easily set up the tempo and a flashing red LED showed that it had accepted my input. Knowing there was a bank of switches waiting to be tweaked, I spent a great deal of time experimenting with the various subdivisions. It was apparent that you could get lost in all of the possibilities, and it was a blast to hear the combinations.

After a while I put up a drum track and engaged the Phi switch. Everything shifted from the delay settings I had, but they worked so musically and felt natural in a way that's hard to explain. While they weren't perfect, that was exactly what made them so appealing. It's like having complete control of the settings but them having a mind of their own that works within your definition. The Reverse switch brought on psychedelic reverse tape delays and made me want to play sitar licks and trip out for a while, which is just what I did!

Switching over to the Modulation Delay side, I tried various settings that created a lush stereo chorus as well as a very cool tremolo delay. The tremolo delay was literally a tremolo on the delay notes, and not the main input, which I'd never heard before. Some of the rotary speaker simulations didn't float my boat and I had a hard time adjusting them to get that vibe, but to me that's a bit of a throw away considering what the Echolution's strength lies in, which is killer delay. The only thing you can't do with this pedal is save a preset. With so many options, it would be nice to be able to store your sounds and call them up on stage, but that's not in the cards. Still, no analog delay does that so it's hard to call a strike against it.

There's so much more the Echolution can do than I've had the opportunity to cover here so I recommend you take one for a test drive. My guess is you'll leave the store with one...it's that good.
Buy if...
you want a killer delay with a huge variety of options.
Skip if...
you need to store your delay settings.
Rating...

Street $469 -Pigtronix - pigtronix.com
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