Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

BYOC 5-Knob: "BYOC" stands for "build your own clone"; they make kits and project plans for you to build your own copies of popular pedal designs. This one is their tricked-out version of the Ross/Dynacomp/Keeley/etc., and I built it from their kit using only the parts and plans they included.
 
It was a fairly easy build. All the parts were present, the instructions were clearly-written and well-illustrated, and the circuitboard was marked clearly. It's not quite as easy as their optical comp, because the 5-knobber has many more parts, and you have to adjust an internal trim pot; but it's still no big deal for a reasonable beginner to assemble.
 
The resulting pedal is a lot like all the other boutique Ross/Dyna types. In fact, it sounds every bit as good as the Keeley, Analogman, and Retro-Sonic. As with the majority of this circuit type, it loses some low end. It doesn't lose the highs, but they are attenuated a bit, above 10 KHz. The noise level is exactly the same with this pedal as with all the similar ones.
 
The knobs here control sustain, attack, output volume, tone, and "ratio"--which in this case is not compression ratio, but rather a blend between the compressed signal and your uncompressed original signal. This provides the same sort of parallel effect as the Barber, Wampler, and Walrus pedals, allowing you to bring back some of your original note articulation and dynamics, as well as regaining some of the low end.
 
The sustain knob controls how much your signal is boosted across the threshold, and it has a decently wide range for different instrument input levels. Of course the higher the sustain, the more it amplifies any noise that was in your signal path. The tone knob emphasizes the low mids when you turn it to the left, and the high mids when you turn it to the right.
 
The parts used in this kit are the same as the ones in expensive boutique pedals, and if you build it properly, then it is a good rugged pedal. It's not visually attractive by itself, but you can decorate it however you want. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC (or up to 18V if you want, for more headrooom), and the included footswitch is true bypass. If you are willing to do a bit of soldering, and you like this type of compressor, then this kit is a very good deal.
 
Price in USD: new $99 for the kit; the used price depends on how well it was assembled and painted, and whether you think it lost value for being used, or gained value for being built already.
 
or on Amazon
 

 
 
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