Pigtronix rotary pedal

ruger9

Member
Messages
9,693
Got an email from Pigtronix on this one yesterday. Not sure if the MSRP was $299 or the street price is going to be $299, but we don't need another $300 rotary pedal that takes up space. There are enough.

We need a $150-$200 rotary pedal that fits into an MXR sized box, or at worst an FD2/KOT sized box. Is the circuit really that complicated that it can't be done? Line 6 did it, didn't they? The Destination Rotation wasn't huge.
 

JonathanGes

Member
Messages
242
Got an email from Pigtronix on this one yesterday. Not sure if the MSRP was $299 or the street price is going to be $299, but we don't need another $300 rotary pedal that takes up space. There are enough.

We need a $150-$200 rotary pedal that fits into an MXR sized box, or at worst an FD2/KOT sized box. Is the circuit really that complicated that it can't be done? Line 6 did it, didn't they? The Destination Rotation wasn't huge.
Hoping catalinbread will make one.
 

lefort_1

Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,719
Got an email from Pigtronix on this one yesterday. Not sure if the MSRP was $299 or the street price is going to be $299, but we don't need another $300 rotary pedal that takes up space. There are enough.

We need a $150-$200 rotary pedal that fits into an MXR sized box, or at worst an FD2/KOT sized box. Is the circuit really that complicated that it can't be done? Line 6 did it, didn't they? The Destination Rotation wasn't huge.

Aside from a purely digital sim, I don't think you'll see that smallbox leslie, and here's why.

There is a metric fucctonne of stuff going on in a leslie from an acoustic engineering standpoint. There's:
- 2 (actually 3) sound soundsources: the bi-angled horns and the lower rotor.
- there's the 'chorusing' of the two voices of the rotors
- the Doppler effect of all three sources moving towards/away from the listener.
- the Leslie pre-amp noise and hiss... this is not to be discounted as it's a huge part of the sound of a real Leslie, to me.
- the volume TREM effect of the speakers pointing towards/away from the listener.
- the Ramp-up and Brake timing coefficients between high and low speed.
- the fact that the upper and lower rotations are NOT in lockstep (the upper rotates faster) means separate time constants must be maintained (or at least allowed).
- There's the design of a relatively flat crossover between to signal sent to the 'horn' and 'lower-rotor' sections... this crossover just happens to be smack in the middle of the 'guitar' section of the audio spectrum, so getting this right is essential lest someone complain about there being a mid-scoop-or-hump.


So far, I can find only one article* about this new Pigtonix box, and they seem to be going about it right... mostly analog ... using a Quadrature LFO to give both sine and cosine forms for out of phase LFO'ing when appropriate. A (potentially) very nice crossover (Linkwitz-Riley crossover, although the implementation and 'order' info hasn't been released, these can be quite flat indeed, and sharp if needed although I do believe there is some slop in the Leslie crossover overlap...)

Also, many of the time constants are large, which means the use of relatively large caps (if you want stability and good very-low-frequency performance you'll see large tantalums or poly-foils). And while SMD pcb design will save space, you can get really nasty parasitic coupling in tightly routed boards when large, low-frequency signals are routed near higher-frequency clocks (like the sample clocks of bucket-brigades) .. you simply must 'give the traces some space' if you want to keep the board quiet.

This all leads to a larger-than-MXR box.

But, go to your local shop and look at the size of a Pigtronix Keymaster. To me, it looks like the Rototron has been housed in the same box and it is smaller than you'd think.... This aint no Mothership. Look at the size of the 1/4 jacks vs the rest of the box. We aren't talkin' Hog v1 here.

Yes, one could argue that multiple boards could be stacked to shrink the space, but that'd require very thin PCB use and, honestly, that's not going to be sufficiently robust for a design that GETS STEPPED ON REGULARLY. So toss that out for now...If we were doing MIL-design, we could do it, but that won't ever come in at the price point you mentioned, not even for a muff circuit.

For me, I'd rather judge this one on it's audible merits, and be happy it's not in a H&K-sized box.

* REF : http://www.sonicstate.com/amped/2014/01/23/namm-2014-rotary-speaker-stompbox-pigtronix-rototron-channels-that-leslie-sound/
 

ruger9

Member
Messages
9,693
While all that is very interesting...

The Danelectro Rocky Road, while simulating a Vibratone instead of a Leslie (most people probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference), after a very simple $2 mod to control the volume/gain jump, is actually a very good one... and it's enclosure is TINY.

Apparently it uses "poppy seed" components, which alot of people on TGP would probably have an issue with, but I haven't had any reliability issues at all with mine, or any plastic Dano I've owned, it sounds great, and it's tiny. And, at it's price point, if anything DOES happen to it, you simply replace it.

Now, I'm coming from the
"keep-it-simple-give-me-a-good-sounding-box-that-just-works" camp,

not the
"I-want-a-computer-in-a-box-that-I-can-tweak-into-leslie-tones-that-don't-even-exist-coming-out-of-a-real-leslie" camp. ;)
 

lefort_1

Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,719
Actually, the Rocky Road is the one with the Computer-in-a-box implementation (an HE83015 microcontroller).
Doing things the old-school, analog-sim method is what takes up space. And from what I can see on the Rototron's knobs, there's nothing that there to take yououtside of nominal Leslie 127 functionality...do you see something in that pic that I'm missing?

also, re : the size... the Keymaster-sized Pigtonix enclosure is almost the same as an MXR Strereo Chorus or Phase 100
PG = 5.7" x 4.7" x 1.5"
MXR = 5" x 3.75" x 1.5"

So, considering what Pigtronix has packed in there, I don't think they've done too badly.
 
Last edited:

shoepedals

Member
Messages
3,792
Don't forget that you also typically run a Leslie in stereo and have at least two foot controls. This one also has expression inputs. Jacks take up space that can't be avoided. Probably based on number of ins and outs the Lex is the smallest you could get and do it right but an analog Leslie would most likely not fit in there.
 

ruger9

Member
Messages
9,693
And from what I can see on the Rototron's knobs, there's nothing that there to take yououtside of nominal Leslie 127 functionality...do you see something in that pic that I'm missing?
It's wasn't a criticism of the Pigtronix specifically, just that generally some of these new leslie sims give you controls over balance, EQ, etc.

I didn't realize the RR was a "computer"... I gotta say, I've been thru:

RotoSIM
Rotosphere (twice, still have one)
Lex
Roto-Machine
Destination Rotation II
...and probably some others I'm forgetting...

...and I'll be damned if the little [modded] Rocky Road doesn't hold it's own against all of them. And it's cheap, small, no tweaking required. It just works.

I actually was just about to sell my Rotosphere because for MY uses, the RR does just as good a job... better in some ways, not quite as good in others. I have a Roto-Choir en route, as well as a Soul Vibe (not quite the same thing, I know...)
 

Lampasas

Member
Messages
1,882
I have a Roto-Choir en route
I'll be interested to hear what you think about this one. I bought one when they came out, thought it sounded a bit too flanger-y, have been thinking lately though that I might have been too hasty in passing it on. I've also tried a bunch, none have stuck around for very long.
 

ruger9

Member
Messages
9,693
I'll be interested to hear what you think about this one. I bought one when they came out, thought it sounded a bit too flanger-y, have been thinking lately though that I might have been too hasty in passing it on. I've also tried a bunch, none have stuck around for very long.
Yeah, it seems I haven't found "The One" yet.... And the Rocky Road isn't "the one" either, but if NONE of them are "it", then at least the RR sounds good, is small, and is cheap. Actually, if the RR didn't cut the bass response (it does a little) it's be darn near perfect for me.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,890
I owned on of the vintage units this is supposedly based on and it sounded really good. About the time the Rotosphere came out, I sold it and bought one of those, then a Vibratone cabinet… If you read the ad copy you can see that they're building a pedal that has at least a phaser, flanger and delay plus preamp simulation, all built into one enclosure and partially synced. Not much way that's going to turn out small. But the whole question will be, how does it sound? And for that we're going to have to wait.

One thing that everyone that builds Leslie sims seems to miss (except Digitech), is that, because there are 3 physically separated sound sources, in the room you're never going to be completely accurate without 3 amps (i.e., not stereo). The Digitech RPM (which is digital) has the ability to send the rotor signal to a central amp (which is sort of phased) and the two high frequency signals to stereo, which is a bit more accurate.
 

Dandolin

Member
Messages
846
Nice summary of the challenges in building an analog 122/147 sim, lefort.

I'd add something I've heard elsewhere--supposedly, the frequency response of the Leslie horns is pretty poor below 1khz, and the crossover is fairly hard at 800hz, so there is to some ears a built-in scoop or hole to the sound of the classic horn/rotor design, which may or may not be compensated for elsewhere in the circuit.

I like your take on it--I for one am all ears--I have and like the Tech 21 Roto Choir, which I think has been hampered in gaining more popularity because the controls are so sensitive, making for frustration for set-it-and-forget-it types, and for somewhat mis-representative demos. That said, I'm always looking and listening--my ears have yet to be fully satisfied, and I will say I am not hung up on re-creating the 122/147 in a room sound--I figure there was always a lot of variability in that because of the well, difference in rooms. Plus my personal experience includes a lot more recorded Leslie than real, live Leslie (I do run a Motion Sound horn-plus-simulated-rotor rig when space and time allow).

For me though, varitone/single rotor sims don't scratch the itch, and I don't much care if the audience thinks it's good enough--I want us both to get off, if ya follow me.

I always liked the sound of the H&K, but shy away from its bulk and from reported noisiness--I think the Pigtronix design holds some potential--if it can tickle my ears, I'll consider it, even at a large charge.

(But then again, modulation's where I tend to get spendy--I don't have quite the delay/reverb jones as some others--I tend to be easily satisfied--and while I'm a long-time fuzzaholic, I avoid spending t0o much on any individual fuzz. But with pitch vibrato, phaser, trem, ring-mod, my ears are really picky, and my imagination gets fired up, and I get fixated, so I'll head uphill. Leslie has been my longest held obsession, so these have been somewhat exciting times. And I agree, the existence of cheaper options notwithstanding, the complexity of the effect justifies expense.)

Still, I can't see going to Ventilator-level outlay, so yeah--rock on Pigtronix.
 

stringman340

Member
Messages
471
Yeah, it seems I haven't found "The One" yet.... And the Rocky Road isn't "the one" either, but if NONE of them are "it", then at least the RR sounds good, is small, and is cheap. Actually, if the RR didn't cut the bass response (it does a little) it's be darn near perfect for me.
What if....the Rototron ends up being "the one"? ;)
 

mcnabbanov

Member
Messages
1,821
yea pigtronix should really work on downsizing their enclosures. love the original echolution but its as big as an m9!
 
Messages
1,879
Only on TGP do people nitpick over the size of a pedal.

The SOUND is what counts.......especially on a leslie sim.
For me, it's about accuracy and authenticity.

That's all that matters really.
There seem to be a lot that want their cake and eat it too, i.e., have an authentic leslie sim, AND have it in a tiny enclosure, AND have it be priced cheap.
lol.
Really?
As if we aren't spoiled enough with all the gear that's available right now.
And then when a small leslie sim is introduced, people bitch about lack of features.
The insatiable attitudes and entitlement are funny.

Anyway, as far as SOUND, Neo Instruments are still at the top.
 

79stratman

Member
Messages
870
Only on TGP do people nitpick over the size of a pedal.

The SOUND is what counts.......especially on a leslie sim.
For me, it's about accuracy and authenticity.

That's all that matters really.
There seem to be a lot that want their cake and eat it too, i.e., have an authentic leslie sim, AND have it in a tiny enclosure, AND have it be priced cheap.
lol.
Really?
As if we aren't spoiled enough with all the gear that's available right now.
And then when a small leslie sim is introduced, people bitch about lack of features.
The insatiable attitudes and entitlement are funny.

Anyway, as far as SOUND, Neo Instruments are still at the top.

Well, I guess I am guilty as-charged. I have been through a list of rotary pedals also, with the Rotosphere being my favorite tonally. But DANG...it takes-up way too much space. I have a decent-sized board, but it simply can't tolerate the footprint of a pedal that large anymore. I don't use it that often. When push-comes-to-shove, something has to give. To my dismay, it had to be the tonal quality. If it were a pedal I used even 40% of the time, I could probably justify keeping it there. But, I can't.

This was my main motivation in watching the introduction of the Rototron. It seemed like it had great potential to bridge the gap between great rotary tones and a slightly smaller footprint. In years past, I would have simply been on the waiting list for one, in order to give it a whirl, so-to-speak. Now, things are much tighter. I can't really afford to make the wrong choice. I will need to defer the initial reviews and user reports to those who are able to acquire one.

If there were only an amp and pedal rental store down the street, instead of a video store...I would be thrilled! Now, I can only sit back and vicariously absorb the experiences of others until I am in the position to get one of my own.

So yes, your are correct about tone being a priority. Tone is where my heart is. The physics of space define what I am allowed to put there. The Rototron looks to be at the very limit for available footprint vs tonal offering of a full-featured rotary pedal.
 

Fizz

Member
Messages
73
I owned on of the vintage units this is supposedly based on and it sounded really good. About the time the Rotosphere came out, I sold it and bought one of those, then a Vibratone cabinet… If you read the ad copy you can see that they're building a pedal that has at least a phaser, flanger and delay plus preamp simulation, all built into one enclosure and partially synced. Not much way that's going to turn out small. But the whole question will be, how does it sound? And for that we're going to have to wait.

One thing that everyone that builds Leslie sims seems to miss (except Digitech), is that, because there are 3 physically separated sound sources, in the room you're never going to be completely accurate without 3 amps (i.e., not stereo). The Digitech RPM (which is digital) has the ability to send the rotor signal to a central amp (which is sort of phased) and the two high frequency signals to stereo, which is a bit more accurate.
3 separate sound sources? bass rotor, treble rotor, what's the 3rd?
 






Trending Topics

Top