The Constellator's secret lies in its built-in modulation effects, which provide just the right amount of ambience to your playing. Dial in everything from barely audible tonal variances to other-worldly sonic textures. The possibilities with this guitar pedal are vast!
If you've been looking for an analog delay pedal to add to your setup that packs plenty of punch while staying affordable, then the Pigtronix Constellator is worth every penny.
Don't just take our word for it, though; hear what this pedal can do in action with my original sound samples and see how it can make you feel like an astronaut blasting off on your next great adventure!
If you’re wondering whether Pigtronix knocked the analog delay guitar pedal out of the park with the Constellator Modulated delay, then let’s not waste your time…yes, they did.
This tiny, well-built pedal has many proper tones to be discovered, and I found it incredibly inspiring. The built-in modulation effects can add a subtle texture to your tone or make you feel like you’re flying through outer space.
If you’ve been considering adding an analog delay to your pedal board, the Pigtronix Constellator is worth the money.
The rest of this article will dive into my unbiased opinion of my experience with the Constellator and give you some sound samples so you can see what this thing does in a raw context.
Table of Contents
My first thoughts on the Constellator Modulated Analog Delay
I’ve been a massive fan of delay pedals ever since I was a beginning guitar player. However, I often gravitated towards digital delay pedals, which offered various delay styles, tap tempo functionality, and various features. A staple that I used for years was the now-discontinued Line 6 Echo Park.
While I love digital delays for their predictability and functionality, there is something different about playing through analog circuitry over a digital algorithm.
The Pigtronix Constellator Modulated Analog Delay instantly clicked with me as I plugged it in. It is incredibly responsive and can create subtle depth under your dry signal to warbly, saturated, and weird. This is thanks to the built-in modulation circuit that gives you a wobbly vibrato or pitch-shifty chorus effect.
I found the Constellator extremely musical, morphing seamlessly into your guitar’s tone. After receiving my demo pedal from Sweetwater and messing around with what it could do, I wrote four new guitar riffs!
I can’t think of any better testament to a piece of gear than that.
As you’ll hear in some of the sound samples later in this review, this delay does the slapback echo, and the long ambient “spaced out” sounds as good as any pedal out there. Also, in true Pigtronix fashion, the added modulation effects can take this micro guitar pedal into some exciting sonic landscapes.
It’s also a well-made guitar pedal with some heft and great feeling potentiometers. It feels like this pedal will endure being stomped without any issues. I don’t think twice about leaving this pedal out in the open where my kids could pick it up and drop it; it would survive.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with the Pigtronix Constellator for being an inspiring and simple-to-use delay pedal.
- Easy to operate and difficult to make sound bad
- Even though it's small, you can get a ton of useful tones out of it
- Added Chorus and Vibrato modulation takes your tone from subtle to other-worldly fast
- All-analog design is built like a tank and will inspire your creativity
- No tap tempo
- No recallability that is useful for consistent performances (especially live)
What are the benefits of an all-analog delay pedal?
I’m not an electrical engineer and won’t begin to pretend like I know what’s going on underneath the hoods of both analog and digital delay guitar pedals.
However, Pigtronix’s marketing claims that the Constellator Modulated Analog Delay is built with a replica of the Panasonic MN3005 Bucket Brigade Devices analog delay chips. This tech is used in iconic vintage delay pedals like the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man (1).
And while the responsive and “alive” feeling you get running your guitar’s signal through a “vintage” circuit may be a placebo effect compared to the high-quality “modern” replicas in DSP-tech like the UAFX Starlight or Strymon El Capistan, you can’t deny how hard it is to make this pedal sound bad.
I think analog also has an advantage over its digital brothers from another mother in its simplicity. There’s a limitation that is almost freeing with the Pigtronix Constellator Modulated Analog Delay. You have to work within the constraints of the Bucket Brigade Device, which helps dial in your tone quickly and get back to what’s important…writing music.
How the Pigtronix Constellator Works (With Original Audio Samples)
The Constellator has a simple layout and design. Still, as I’ve found with other Pigtronix Guitar Pedals, they always give you a little extra salt and pepper to flavor your tone’s to whatever you prefer.
This section will show you what each knob does on the pedal. More importantly, it will provide sound examples of what happens when you’re conservative in approach and push it to its limits.
Each sound sample below was recorded with a Fender Vintera ’60s Jaguar HH Modified going into a Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone, into the Space Rip, and a Supro Delta King 12” guitar amp. To record, I used a 47 FET replica into a Universal Audio Apollo Twin X. No processing was used on the signal.
The time knob adjusts the speed of the repeats. Turn it counterclockwise, and you’ll get some excellent slapback delays that add depth and dimension to your tone. Move it clockwise, and you’ll get some spacious and ethereal long delays.
One of the cool things about analog delays is if you adjust the Time Knob while there is a signal, you’ll get those cool pitch-shifted effects that can be a great way to start or end a song.
Take a listen…
The Mod Knob increases or decreases the amount of modulation that is introduced to the delayed signal. Depending on if the Feel Knob is depressed or not will determine if it’s a Vibrato or Chorus modulation effect.
The cool thing is you can turn the Time Knob down and use the modulation as stand-alone effects.
Both effects can take your delayed tone into far-out places, or you can keep it modest to add a bit of intrigue.
Take a listen…
The Repeats Knob determines how many delays you get. If you overdo this, you’ll put the Constellator into self-oscillation mode. This is a cool effect but one you want to avoid when you’re in the middle of a riff.
Take a listen…
This controls how much delay you add to your dry signal. This helps you use the Constellator as a spice or as the main dish of your tone.
Take a listen…
What I Love
The Pigtronix Constellator Modulated Analog delay pedal is inspiring to play through. We often forget that the gear we purchase is supposed to be a tool to help us connect with our instrument. Often we can get swept up in the hype of the next thing and forget to make music.
The Pigtronix Constellator checks so many boxes for me as a player that I can’t help but sing its praises:
- It’s easy to operate and tough to make sound bad
- There are tons of tones you can discover, but it isn’t precise enough to make you tweak for hours
- It takes up no space on your pedalboard
- You can turn the delay to its fastest repeat (which is nearly inaudible) and use the modulation as stand-alone effects…making the value of this box even greater
If you don’t already own a delay pedal or want to expand into an analog delay pedal, you should pull the trigger and give the Pigtronix a spin.
What I Don’t Love
Ok, there are a couple of things about the Pigtronix Constellator that need to be called out.
Because this is an analog delay, you sacrifice the predictability and recallability of other digital and DSP-based delays on the market. So if you’re a guitar player who plays live a lot, you may find the Constellator cumbersome because you’ll have to adjust and tune it by ear manually. This can lead to inconsistencies in your performance and undesirable results if you accidentally turn a knob too far in one direction.
Also, there is no tap tempo function, so you have to dial in your repeats by ear.
What does analog delay sound like?
Traditionally, analog delays would produce warmer tones, be slightly more saturated as the delay repeats, and often adds a natural wobble. While a digital delay would have a clean and clear repeat that is often more predictable and decays in volume and not tone.
However, many digital delays on the market can get close to an analog sound. One of the most famous brands for doing this is Strymon.
What’s the difference between the Pigtronix Constellator and the Pigtronix Emanator?
Pigtronix has two analog delay pedals in its lineup, and the differences between the two may be unclear.
The Emanator is a limited-run, Guitar Center exclusive pedal with the same build as the Constellator. However, the Emanator doesn’t have the modulation effects and is $20 more expensive for some reason.
Where should you place the Pigtronix Constellator in your pedal board signal chain?
Placing the Pigtronix Constellator near the end of the signal chain gave the best results. Like most time-based modulation, you don’t want to avoid feeding the output signal into other processors like compressors or overdrive to prevent the mess of “sonic soup.”
The Bottom Line
I absolutely love the Pigtronix Constellator Modulated Analog Delay and how it quickly unlocks new ideas and creativity.
There are tons of sounds that you can get out of this little box, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking to add depth, dimension, and emotion to their guitar playing.
I hope you enjoyed this Pigtronix Constellator review, and be sure to check out the latest price at Sweetwater today!
Happy music making!