REVIEWS

Pigtronix Ring Modulator

Published 4 years ago on October 20, 2018

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

One very interesting feature is the “trem” switch. What this essentially does is slow the carrier wave down to the kind of speeds more commonly found in tremolo pedals, but it’ll still track the pitch of what you’re playing - meaning the tremolo will speed up on higher notes and slow down on lower ones.

Nick Jennison

PROS:

Probably the most musical ring modulator pedal on the market

Loads of interesting oddball sounds

Extensive connectivity

CONS:

Won’t be everyone’s cup of tea

Very pricey for such a specialised pedal

Guitar Interactive star rating: 3.5 stars

Pigtronix Ring Modulator

MSRP (UK) £TBC  (US) $249

The Ringmaster from Pigtronix is a ring modulator synth designed to create analogue harmonizer and tremolo effects that can be made to follow the notes you play. Expanding on the “Intelligent Ring Mod” found in the original Mothership pedal, Ringmaster adds LFO and Sample + Hold modulation sources, pitch following tremolo and well as wave shaping for all your uniquely ring modulating needs. Nick Jennison puts it to the test.

The humble Ring Modulator (aka, the effect responsible for the voices of the Daleks) is something of a marmite effect. While it is, in essence, a type of tremolo, it’s less TR-2, more R2D2. The reason for this is that the tremolo effect goes so fast that it enters the audible spectrum, creating a gritty, glitchy sounding “note”. This “note” interacts with the notes you’re playing, creating the oddball sound we all know and some of us love.

The problem is, the “note” is essentially fixed, and doesn’t change based on what you’re playing. If you tune the ring modulator’s carrier wave to 440 cycles per second, it’ll produce an A regardless of which note(s) you play on your guitar. This means the interactions between what you’re playing and what the ring modulator is putting out is somewhat random. This is where the Ringmaster comes in.

Masters of the weird and wonderful, Pigtronix have created something rather special in the Ringmaster. It’s like a ring modulator, but it’s capable of tracking the pitch that playing. This means that you can get a consistent interaction between what you’re playing and what the ring mod is doing, all over the fretboard. This is similar to the way ring modulators work on many synths (where the carrier wave tracks the notes being played), and it makes the whole experience so much more musical.

The Ringmaster’s rather intimidating interface offers hours of tweakery if you’re willing to get your hands dirty. If you’re part of the 1% of guitarists who thoroughly understand the operation of a device like this, you can be very scientific about the settings, but for most of us the best results will be had by “tuning” the pedal as the manual suggests and then start turning knobs I search of cool sounds.

One very interesting feature is the “trem” switch. What this essentially does is slow the carrier wave down to the kind of speeds more commonly found in tremolo pedals, but it’ll still track the pitch of what you’re playing - meaning the tremolo will speed up on higher notes and slow down on lower ones.

The Pigtronix Ringmaster is a rather specialised pedal, but if you’re into your oddball effects then there’s a whole wealth of cool sounds in there. The pitch tracking functionality is unbelievably useful for creating musical results out of an otherwise rather dissonant effect. Of course, if you want dissonance you can always turn it off, and the Ringmaster will do that too.

SPECS

18DVC included

True bypass

Ring Mod and Tremolo modes

Pitch-tracking “Follow” function

For more information, please visit:

pigtronix.com

 


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