Don't be fooled by its (9.53 x 3.81 x 4.45)cm mini size, the Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone packs a punch loud and clean enough to knock off whatever compressor is currently on your electric guitar pedal board.
Taking in 9V and a current draw of 35mA, the internal transformer bumps the internal power to 18V for that clean maximum headroom.
VOLUME: Compensates for any volume loss. Moderate gain.
SUSTAIN: Controls the amount of compression and sustain. Broad range.
TREBLE: Neutral at 12 o'clock. Up to 6db cut/boost at 2kHz. For fine-tuning of the high ends.
BLEND: Controls the mix of original and compressed tone. Unique parameter.
18V headroom. Louder, bigger sweep of Volume knob and compression/sustain. Little to no noise
Pocket-size; Fits any pedalboard
I tested the pedal with a single coil stratocaster and humbuckers Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. Running through the pedal into a Fender Blues Junior and cranking up the volume to maximum, I expected a lot of buzzing and noise, since noise is inevitably amplified by the nature of compressors. To my surprise the only buzz produced was a light 'hiss' in the background. Considering that you'll almost never have to pump the compressor's volume to max, it is safe to say that this compressor is amongst the top quality guitar effect pedals out there.
While that was remarkable, the biggest catch for me was how clean this compressor gets. Tweaking the 'Treble' and 'Blend' knob, I managed to find a sweet spot where there was almost zero difference in tone when the pedal is on or off. Most compressors I have tried tend to color the original tone to some extent, even the boutique ones. The sustain was very prominent when tested with power chords and strumming simple guitar chords. Nevertheless, the 'Blend' knob offered a spectrum of tonal differences through the parallel mixture of the compressed and uncompressed tone.
Who is it good for
The Philosopher's Tone Micro is best if you
shred in solos a lot (Boost and compression in 1 pedal)
play rhythm a lot (Noiseless compression for steady volume)
shoegaze or ambience or church music (The sustain plays nicely with wet reverb!)
Hold chords and want sustain
is looking for noise free compressor!
own a mini pedalboard
Who is it bad for
You probably wouldn't want to use it for Jazz and Blues. Echoinox Artist Daniel Purnomo (@livemusicsingapore) tested the pedal with his jazz licks and fingerstyle and it triggered me so bad. The compression and sustain took away all of his grooves along with the dynamics intended for specific notes, a technique especially common in blues.
But then again to be fair, all compressors will probably clip your grooves. It is also why jazz and blues fingerstyle guitarists don't use compressors
5 minutes with this stompbox and you'll immediately understand why its predecessor, the Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone, won awards. This micro version packs all of that good stuffs into the size of your palm.
This pedal defines what noiseless compression and sustain is. The way a compressor is meant to work makes noise almost inevitable, but David Koltai apparently found his way around it. The 18V headroom stretches the 4 parameters wide enough for virtually any tone you can visualize. I personally love it as a boost to cut through the mix, or for steady rhythm volume and also ambient sustains. Musical compressors like these are hard to come by.
Buy it today at $189, only at Echoinox online music store in sunny Singapore! This pedal will end your search for the ideal compressor.