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Overview

Rather than attempt to recreate a vintage effect, the Pigtronix Echolution blends analog and digital signal processing to create a new platform for delay alchemy. Starting with a fantastic preamp and analog tape emulation filters, all bets are off once the modulation and multi-tap functions are let loose.

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Product Specs

Brand
Model
  • Echolution
Finish
  • Graphic
Year
  • 2010s
Made In
  • United States

From the Price Guide

More Information

The Pigtronix Echolution delay is what Doc Brown would have built for Marty McFly if he built him a pedalboard to go along with that enormous 8 foot speaker and tiny Hondo Chiquita. In the spirit taking a proven, classic design and injecting with futuristic capabilities, Pigtronix took the best pre-amp and analog tape emulation filters and added a battery of digital signal processing tricks on the back end to create the endlessly amusing Echolution. The unit offers true stereo output to maximize the sonic landscapes it creates, and also has options for a remote switch and expression pedal when stompbox karate is needed in live settings.

Though it can't be called truly analog, the Echolution is essentially a tape echo simulator (analog) put through a digital modulation processors. The result is unique and specialized delay that avoids the cold, digital precision often associated with quantized echoes. The Echolution can get a traditional warm tape machine sound if desired, and few listeners would realize it was coming from a digitally enhanced frankenstein firing on just one cylinder. The curtain is pulled back, however, once six parallel echoes starting spiraling in time according to the Golden Ratio, blanketed with rich modulation.

Navigating The Knob/Switch/Button Forest

Like most pedals with a lot of things to touch and twiddle, there is a method to the madness. The pedal is nicely bifurcated, with all the modulation stuff on the left and the more familiar delay controls on the right. Hit engage in the middle and the beast is awakened, initially providing a warm analog tape delay controlled by the Blend, Drive, Feedback and Hi-Cut knobs on the right. The Tap Tempo function can operate in the common hit-the-button-in-time way, or in Multi-Tap mode, which is where the six switches in red with fractions under them come in. Flip any one or combination of these switches, and you'll additional repeats at an interval of time that takes your tap length and divides it by the fraction next to the switch. The Phi symbol unleashes spirals of repeats following the mathematical golden ratio. Before even touching the Modulation Delay button, the right side of this unit is an incredible tool on its own.







Once you hit the Modulation Delay button on the right, you can thicken up the echoes by adjusting the Tremolo and Chorus knobs. The LFO Speed will control oscillations while Delay Time will expand or contract the time it takes the echo to hit. Rather than have the knob cover the whole spectrum from 0 to 12 seconds, there are three windows of delay time that the knob can control, selected by the switch in green with S, M, and L next to it. That's right, those letters stand for short (10 ms - 120 ms good for chorus, reverb and slapback sounds), medium (100 ms - 1.2 sec good for tape echo simulation) and long (1 - 12 sec good for boomerang-like layers and soundscape creation).

The only remaining controls are the three switches in blue. The Loop and Reverse modes can be controlled by a remote switch to provide reverse echoes or captured phrases. The Trails switch allows your last echoes to naturally fade after disengaging the pedal.

This seems like more of a studio toy than a tool for a live rig. Does anyone actually use an Echolution on stage?

Yep. Richard Fortus of the current Guns 'N Roses lineup tours with one, as well as the Aerosmith crew, Keith Urban, Weezer, the Mars Volta, Uli Jon Roth, Bob Weir and even bassists like Marcus Miller. You may want to invest in the expression pedal and remote switch extensions if playing an Echolution live, but it is completely worth it.

How does the Pigtronix Echolution stack up to other comprehensive delays like the Boss DD-20 or Strymon Timeline?

Both the Boss DD-20 Giga Delay and the Strymon Timeline are completely digital, while the Echolution maintains an analog pre and tape filters. The DD-20 doesn't offer much in the way of lush modulation. It's more of a pragmatic unit, dishing out replicas of classic sounds and offering extremely long digital delay when needed. The Strymon is incredibly precise and quantized, an amazing unit, but it's in a different price range than the Echolution, making the Pigtronix a nice middle ground with room to innovate, warm sound and a decent price tag.

What do the Echolution 2 and Deluxe models add?

The Echolution 2 essentially takes the features of the original Pigtronix Echolution and makes it programmable and communicative with software and MIDI applications. Additional modes, such as Ping Pong, Listen, Freeze, Jump and Ducking join the familiar Reverse and Trails modes. The Deluxe Model adds more surface-mount controlling for easier operation.