Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Carl Martin Comp/Limiter: This pedal is capable of a wide range of compression settings, from totally smashed-out slow squeeze, to mild compression, to sharp "hard knee" limiting. It offers more controls than most pedal comps: Threshold, Comp (ratio), Resp (response, which affects attack and release times, as well as the knee), and Gain (makeup gain for output volume). This is definitely one for the knob-tweakers, and patient listeners. People who want to plug-and-play will be frustrated by this pedal, as it requires quite a bit of adjusting to get the setting that works best for your needs.
 
It is capable of strong peak limiting, however it can be tricky finding the right combination of attack time and threshold settings where your peaks are stopped adequately without mashing the signal too much. At max settings your tone can have an artificial sound to it until the limiter lets go, and there is sometimes a little "pop" artifact when the limiting engages.
 
Where this unit excels is clean, non-extreme, "natural" compression. At more moderate settings, this unit is smooth and transparent. The sound is surgically clean, but rather dark, as it does seem to roll off some highs. It adds no noise at all at unity gain with moderate settings. If you turn the output gain up higher than unity, though, it can noticeably amplify the noise in your signal path.
 
I would recommend this pedal very highly to someone who wants clean dry sound and very low noise, as long as they don't mind the dark tone and the time spent dialing it in. The footswitch is not true bypass, and your tone stays the same (highs rolled off a bit) when the pedal is switched off. It has about the same "medium" footprint as the Diamond, Barber, and FEA pedals, but it's much taller. The construction quality is quite good. It is powered by a permanently-attached AC power cord, it cannot be run on batteries or any other power supply.
 
Price in USD: used $100 to $175, new $249 to $269.
 
or on Amazon
 

 
 
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