Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Dr. J Aerolite: Dr. J is a boutique-marketed sub brand of Joyo, a Chinese manufacturer that has become well known in the last couple of years for their cheap-and-cheerful copies of popular pedal designs. The Aerolite aims to compete with the Wampler and other boutique versions of the OTA (Ross, Dynacomp, Keeley, etc.) type of circuit.
 
It features a Mix knob for blending the compressed signal with your original uncompressed signal. This allows you to regain some of the dynamics and tone lost under heavy compression, while still getting much of the sustain and punch benefits. This can be used for a dramatic tonal effect when the comp is set to mash strongly, or to get the most gentle/unobtrusive results possible when the comp is set lightly.
 
There is a toggle switch labeled Input which selects between high, medium, or low input gain (a fixed amount of boost). High gain will give the most intense effect, with the most smashed dynamics; while low gain will give a more natural effect, retaining some dynamic range. The knob labeled "Comp" also controls how much your signal is boosted over the threshold; so you could look at the Input switch as "coarse" and the Comp knob as "fine" controls over how much your signal is boosted and thus squeezed.
 
The Attack knob has a decent range, while release is fixed at a very slow time. The action is basically exactly like most other common Ross/Dyna types: fairly smooth smashing, meant for sustain. The noise level is also about average for this type of circuit. It's not great as a hard peak limiter, but the heavier comp settings are really good for making your harmonics pop out clearly.
 
It has a hard, bright tone that emphasizes the high mids. At all settings there is a hump in the mids with some rolloff of lows and the highest highs; at stronger Comp settings this is only a mild shape, but at lower settings it is exaggerated, with the lows cut a lot. It's not suitable for bass, but it would be great for a guitarist who wants to help their solos cut through. I would only recommend this pedal if you want that "hard and bright" sound; it is not really competition for similar pedals that have a more natural or transparent tone and frequency range.
 
The housing is an unusual size, 95mm x 80mm, so it is smaller than pedals like the Barber or Diamond, but still takes up a little more pedalboard space than the usual small MXR size. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC. The construction quality is pretty good, and it is surprisingly light weight. There is no LED to indicate the amount of compression. The footswitch is "true bypass".
 
Price in USD: new $115, too soon to say what the used price might be.
 
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