Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

PreSonus Comp16: This is a line-level mono unit in a 1/3 width rack format. It features sixteen presets which are not user-adjustable. The preset memory is digital, but the audio signal processing is analog.
 
Only one of the presets is meant for bass guitar, and it actually sounds quite good, with nice big lows, clear highs, very low noise, and minimal artifacts. Its ratio is fixed at about 3:1, for a very gentle compression. All of the other settings were useless for bass, as they clipped in a buzzy unpleasant way. Of course they might be fine for other instruments and purposes, but to be totally honest I didn't test the Comp16 with anything but bass. Two of the presets are labeled "limiter", but it distorts too much while trying to limit peaks.
 
Compared to the older Presonus BlueMax, the Comp16 has much better highs and much lower noise, but it has only the one non-adjustable "good" setting for bass, while the BlueMax had a lot more versatility. The Comp16 has an illuminated needle-type VU meter, which looks really cool, but this one is functionally useless. It has both 1/4" and XLR in/outputs, but it needs a preamp--it will not work well with your guitar/bass plugged straight in. It runs on 16V AC only, from a wall wart supply.
 
After owning this unit for only a few months, the preset-selection knob (rotary encoder) started to fail, working only intermittently. I can't recommend it if the digital parts are that unreliable.
 
Price in USD: used $30 to $50; it's discontinued, but can still be found "new" for $80 to $100.
 

 

 
 
All text on this page written and owned by Cyrus J. Heiduska, 2006-2014, all rights reserved.
Copying is prohibited, but please feel free to link to this page using the link text "compressor reviews".