Pigtronix Mothership 2 Analog Synthesizer

With one of their newest pedals, Pigtronix has brought a super powerful synthesizer into a small package. This pedal represents a major update to its predecessor, allowing for a huge range on synth sounds. While it can be a challenging pedal to tame, especially through a microphone, this little monster can deliver some INSANE sounds that will broaden your sonic horizons.

External Control: EXP/Sub Out
Cost: $$

HornFX Review

Interface:  2.5/5
This is a deceptively complicated pedal. There are 10 knobs and two switches packed on to a tiny surface, but the parameters are intuitively laid out and will become second nature quickly. The main physical issue we found was the visibility of the little dot that indicates the position of the outer knob. It can be very hard to see, especially on a dark stage. With that being said, Pigtronix have a done a great job fitting a lot of functionality on a small footprint.

Versatility: 4.5/5
This pedal has a huge range of sounds. The ability to mix in your dry signal with the effected synth sounds makes for even more options, and in some cases, the most compelling sounds. The synth can speak at a wide range of tonal intervals in a wide range of octaves. If you want to play synth lead lines, or if you want to make absolutely crazy atonal robot sounds, this pedal can do it all. Make sure to take the time to explore the SYNC function and the OCTAVE/MANUAL/UNISON knob, as mastery of these can take your sounds to the next level. The addition of the separate output for the sub makes you even more able to shake the foundations of wherever you are playing; just make sure your system is equipped to handle it!

Clarity of Effect: 4.5/5
No matter what sound you put into this pedal, a fully saturated synth will come out. The clean knob will allow you to mix in your dry signal as much or as little as you want. With the perfect saturation comes some issues when using a mic. This synth tends to have a glitchiness when playing melodic, faster lines. Although some may not want such sonic imperfections, this glitchiness can actually be quite pleasing. The issue is less problematic with a stand mic rather than a clip on mic, but still exists to a degree.

Complexity: Simple

Complexity: Simple

Live application: 2.5/5
This pedal will surely be an excellent live effect for some and a problem for others on stage. Where this pedal succeeds mightily is in its sounds. Truly wonderful sonic options. Depending on your preferences, this could easily be your favorite pedal on your board.Even though an expression pedal can partially mitigate the issue, the lack of presets is maddening. With 10 knobs and 2 switches, there is a lot to change when adjusting on the fly. Presets would make this pedal truly game-changing. Where some will be happy and others will not, lies in the pedal’s personality. Some of the HornFX team really loves the slight glitchy-ness and the imperfections that the pedal puts out, while others would prefer clean and pristine tracking. This is where the individual user must make up their mind. One thing to keep in mind: This pedal requires 18v to power it. Some power supplies might not be able to help you out, although many can. A standard 9v wall plug or One-Spot will not be of help.

InterfaceVersatilityClarity of EffectLive ApplicationTotal Score
2.5/54.5/54.5/52.5/514/20
 

Audio

Sample 1 and 2 basic settings

When you purchase this pedal, Pigtronix gives you a little booklet that contains a manual and (towards the back) a step-by-step introduction to the pedal. We decided to use this method when calibrating sounds on the Trombone as an example for the listener. Sample 1 is a mix of the square wave set to 11 o'clock and the VCO, or triangle wave, at about 12 o'clock. Notice that in all the Trombone samples, we keep the CLEAN knob all the way off, so the only sound you're hearing is the effect. We have also provided recordings with and without reverb. (Note: the reverb was added in Logic in this case for reference).  In the trombone examples, the Mothership 2 is in MANUAL mode (the righthand switch is in the middle position). The TUNE knob is at 12 o'clock in MANUAL mode,  creating an interval of a perfect fifth. The DYNAMIC knob seems to find a sweet spot for brass instruments when set to about 1 o'clock. The OUTPUT knob is also set around 12 o'clock. (Note that for Trombone Samples 1 and 2, the SYNC switch is toggled OFF)


In Sample 2, the GLIDE knob, which was previously on its lowest setting in Sample 1, has now been turned up to 12 o'clock. You can hear that there is a much longer glide between each note as a result of this. Sample 2 also serves to show the listener the differences between the MANUAL setting (we start there with that perfect 5th interval), the OCTAVE setting (about a third of the way through you will here that 5th taken away and an upper octave added), and the UNISON setting (the upper octave goes away and a duplicate of the main voice is added).

Sample 4 is a similar setting to Sample 3, but with the SUB OCTAVE knob lowered to about 9 o'clock.

 

Below are some more samples for your listening pleasure!

Sample 3

For Sample 3, we wanted to illustrate the usefulness and impact of the SYNC switch, which was off in samples 1 and 2. We turned both the TIMBRE and SWEEP knobs to about 1:30 and created a very interesting, almost phased, oscillating synth. We also turned the SUB OCTAVE knob all the way up to get that fat bass tone!

*Trumpet Sample 4


Product Information

FEATURES

  • Triangle, Square, SUB, voices
  • World’s Fastest Pitch Tracking Circuit
  • Variable Amplitude Tracking Sensitivity
  • Glide control for Pitch Following Portamento
  • Hard Sync Function w/ Glide Modulation
  • TRS Expression / TS CV input (0-5V range)
  • SUB output removes sub-octave from main output
  • 18VDC operation (300mA power supply included)
  • True Bypass

Product info from the Pigtronix website