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MF MD HG Warehouse SaleLast Chance 01-23-15
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Pigtronix Philosopher King Compressor and Sustainer Guitar Effects Pedal White and Blue 

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The Pigtronix Philosopher King is a compressor, sustainer, distortion and polyphonic amplitude synthesizer. Combining Pigtronix's award-winning Philo...Read More

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A state-of-the-art stompbox designed to re-shape the essential nature of any sound source.

The Pigtronix Philosopher King is a compressor, sustainer, distortion and polyphonic amplitude synthesizer. Combining Pigtronix's award-winning Philosopher's Tone circuit with a next generation envelope generator, the Philosopher King takes tone several steps further with a full set of ADSR (Attack/Decay/Sustain/Release) controls including swell, fade, hold level, speed range, one-shot mode, selectable auto reset, CV i/o and expression pedals for swell and fade times.

With the Swell and Fade functions switched off, the Philosopher King provides transparent optical compression with endless sustain on tap. Adjustable compression (ratio), sustain (threshold) and treble (2k cut / boost) controls allow the musician to tailor the nature of the effect to meet the needs of the material at hand. From a subtle dash of added punch to massive, over-the-top howling sustain, the Philosopher King delivers clean, powerful optical compression. The grit control blends in a layer of sweet harmonic distortion that plays nice with other gain pedals as well as amplifier-generated tube distortion.

The Philosopher King's swell function provides a pick triggered volume swell effect. The volume swell can be reset at any moment by muting or held open by continuous playing. This "slow gear" type effect is smooth and controllable with variable timing from extremely fast to very slow.

The fade function can be used independently of the swell and is also pick triggered. A major new feature of the decay cycle in this pedal is the ability to fade out from peak level only partially, bringing the audio down to a predetermined level, set by the hold control. The hold level is then maintained until the player releases the note to close the cycle. With the auto reset turned on, the cycle will begin again immediately, creating undulating amplitude modulation and even pulsating tremolo stutter effects at faster decay settings. With the auto-reset turned off, the player determines the exact timing for the beginning of the next cycle.

Another new feature is the one shot mode, which causes the Philosopher King to run through the swell / fade / hold / release cycle regardless of what is played after the cycle is triggered. In this mode, the Philosopher King creates complex waves of amplitude modulation on top of the music coming from your instrument. A trigger input jack allows the swell and fade functions to be controlled by an external source such as a band mate or drum track.

  • Optical Compressor with Outrageous Sustain
  • ADSR Envelope Generator for Guitar
  • POLYPHONIC (works with chords)
  • Grit control for F.A.T. Distortion
  • 2K Treble Cut / Boost
  • Expression Pedals for Swell and Fade Times
  • Pick Triggered Volume Swell
  • One Shot Mode & Auto Reset
  • CV in / out
  • Trigger Input for External Rhythm Source
  • Pigtronix 18VDC adapter included
  • Circuit Design by Howard Davis

Order a "How does that dude do it?" pedal today.


Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
PigtronixPhilosopher King Compressor and Sustainer Guitar Effects Pedal

(based on 3 reviews)

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Reviewed by 3 customers

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(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Apples to Apples

By coltonius

from Dallas, TX

About Me Experienced

Verified Reviewer


  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Selection Of Effects
  • Responsive
  • Versatile


    Best Uses

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    Comments about Pigtronix Philosopher King Compressor and Sustainer Guitar Effects Pedal:

    When it comes to compressors I have traditionally favored Keeley- the heavyweight champ in this arena. But when my 2 Knob broke (sad day), I decided to play the field. Since I run a bright setup (solid ash Tele into AC30) I needed a compressor with a bit of warmth.

    Enter the Philosopher King.

    Consider the Keeley Compressor to be a Fuji Apple- bright and crisp, the kind of apple you'd want to eat fresh and slightly chilled. That makes the PK a Golden Delicious- honey sweet and PERFECT with cinnamon in a warm apple pie. I love the warm, balanced compression of the Philosopher King a little more than the bright, crisp compression of a Keeley.

    The fun doesn't stop there: I'm rating this 4 out of 5 because the Grit really IS garbage. But chances are, you've already got a great Drive/Distortion so it's not really an issue.

    The Swell function... well, it swells. If you have a Volume Pedal this is a bit redundant, but it does excellent auto-swells nonetheless. The Fade function is where you can have the most fun- anything from infinite sustain to deep trem with the twist of a knob.

    This is so much more than a compressor and worth every square inch of space it commands.

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    Philosopher King

    By Jan Miller

    from Delaware

    Comments about Pigtronix Philosopher King Compressor and Sustainer Guitar Effects Pedal:

    Again, the distortion is lacking to useless and the swell is interesting but not killer. But the Compressor-sustainer is what I've been looking for.
    What I bought this for was the compressor/sustainer. Good things first... it DOES sustain the notes nicely and I am almost immediately addicted to it for recording my guitar. The ringing tone will not have the upper harmonics of your pickups, even if you turn the treble control on the unit all the way up. That being said, it did turn a cheap non-sustaining jazzbox guitar of mine into a beatutiful sustaining pleaure to play, so it was worth it just for that.

    I haven't played too much with the Attack-Decay section but you will probably have some fun messing in that area. I had hoped that i would be able to hit a note and have it swell like you get with an overdriven tube amp but it won't quite do that. When you set the swell from low to high, you will still hear a bit of a pluck which will quickly get chopped and then begin to swell in volume. To me it kills the whole reason for the effect; don't expect it to act like an automatic volume pedal. I was thinking I could run my guitar into a stereo mixer, send one out clean and then one through the unit, so then the swell will start to be noticeable as my natural signal fades, but I haven't tried it yet.

    The reason I knocked the rating down a couple of points was the distortion. I would have rated the unit higher if they left it off. You might be able to use it a little to put some grit on your guitar, but beyond that it sounds horrible. I just don't understand why Pigtronix would bother to put it on the unit sounding the way it does. I mean really, how long have distortion boxes been around, and how hard is it to make one knob sound a bit decent??
    I have to say the unit looks great and all the switches and knobs look like they will stand up to regular use. I've only had it 2 months, so I can't comment further.
    I'd say it's pricey for what you get. But once you get used to it, it's hard to put down.

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    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


    Unique pedal

    By Anonymous

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about Pigtronix Philosopher King Compressor and Sustainer Guitar Effects Pedal:

    Philosopher King pedal: This is really 2 pedals- A Philosophers Tone compressor and a wave synth in one. The compressor is killer good, can't beat full analog. Really adds a new life to your electric sound. You get wonderful new accented harmonics warbeling around, really fun! Downside is that it's a bit of a signal hog, by the time you have twisted up the controls enough to get a balance between engaged and bypass, there's not much headroom left. I play humbuckers, I can see a single coil maybe needing a pre-amp. The wave synth allows you to control attack, sustain and fade of what you play, with or without the compressor. You can get reverse effects, trem, chopped or ambient swells and fades easily. Is a tweakers delight as you can plug in 3 exp pedals and control all the parameters on the fly. The compressor stage also includes a distortion knob, but it's pretty fizzy so I wouldn't rely on it as your main distortion maker. Overall I really like it, the compressor section is really great, and you can go off the deep end with the wave synth if that's your thing. A little spendy, but you get some really yummy tone for your $$$$. Earns a permanant place on my pedalboard.

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