Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Providence Bass Boot Comp: Providence comes from Japan, and their earlier pedals appeared to be commonplace knock-offs as seen from many other brands, but some of their recent designs -including the Boot Comp- step up the game to aim more for the boutique market. This one is another entry into the "five knob $200 all purpose" category. I am not positive what type of circuit design it uses, because honestly I didn't feel like completely disassembling it to see the circuitboard better; but my impression is that is an OTA (Ross/Dyna type) but with the threshold control separated out, which is very uncommon for that type. So it could be a VCA with a feed-back design which sustains like an OTA.
The amount of sustain will depend on the combined setting of the Sustain and Threshold knobs. Turning up the Threshold knob actually lowers the threshold, resulting in more of your signal compressed, meaning greater sustain. On the other hand, turning that knob down (raising the threshold) with a high Sustain setting will allow you to use the pedal as more of a peak limiter than a sustainer. So think of the Sustain as a ratio control.
The other knobs include Attack time, output Level, and Mix (clean blend) which mixes in your uncompressed signal to undo some of the loss of tone or articulation that can result from strong compression. All of the knobs have a usefully wide range of control.
There is no real loss of low end, though the mids are a bit stronger overall; the highs roll off in a mild slope above 1 KHz. The noise level is quite low at most settings. The tone is dry and uncolored; it doesn't take anything away, apart from rolling off some highs, and it doesn't add any flavor or "magic". It does the job in a utility manner, and overall I would recommend this as a decent utility pedal.
There is an LED to indicate the amount of your signal over the threshold. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC and the footswitch is "true bypass". The construction quality is pretty good, though the paint chips easily, and the cosmetic appearance is not exciting.
Price in USD: $199 new, about $120 used.
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