Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Boss CS-1: This is one of Boss's earliest comp pedals, and it uses a very different circuit than the later CS-2 or CS-3. It is an ultra squisher, with heavy compression at even the lowest "sustain" knob setting. Turning the sustain knob up results in a very pronounced "dip and swell" of amplitude. It's a very cool effect, but not something most bassists would use all that often.
 
It does increase sustain, but there is a noise penalty at higher settings. At low settings the noise is not bad at all. At those settings the output level is a bit lower than unity, which is annoying if you switch it on and off; but if you leave it on all the time it's not a problem. At the more "usable" low sustain settings, I have to set the level knob to maximum in order to approach unity gain.
 
The tone has a sort of constricted or congested sound. There is a slight loss of highs and lows; the lows are the same as the modded CS-3, but the CS-3 has better highs and a more open, natural sound. I don't mean to say the CS-1 tone is bad though, in fact it's warm and funky and smooth; but it is not the natural sound of your instrument.
 
In short, between the tone and the action, this is an excellent comp for use as an effect, but it is not suitable for somebody who wants transparency. The construction quality is typical Boss. The footswitch is not true bypass, but the bypass is pretty clean. Also, I found I was able to improve the lows a bit more by changing the resistor and cap values connected to the "normal" side of the normal/bright switch.
 
Price in USD: used $50 to $200 depending on condition, no longer available new.
 

 

 
 
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