Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

T-Rex Comp-Nova: This pedal has a very smooth, natural sound. It does not noticeably color the tone, and at moderate settings it does not lose much of the highs or lows. However if you turn the compression up to max, the high and low frequencies can sound choked. There are no artifacts when crossing the threshold. The noise level is reasonably low--it's about the same as most decent pedals. Note: this review is very old, and in hindsight I suspect this is another OTA (Ross/Dynacomp) type with the same sound and action as the rest. I'll have to get another one to confirm and update this review.
 
The "attack" knob is a bit confusing because it does regulate the attack speed, but the instructions that come with the pedal say the attack knob controls "sensitivity" and the amount of the signal that gets compressed, which would normally be called the threshold. I'm still not entirely positive, but adjusting this control does seem to affect both the attack time and the threshold. However the attack is a bit slow at all settings, meaning the compression will always allow some of your initial transient spikes through. Because of that, this comp is useless as a limiter, and will not suit anyone with an aggressive playing style. However it is excellent at providing a nice fullness of tone and improved sustain, and adding a bit of "shine" to your sound. Also that slow attack time means a more natural-sounding note attack, which works especially well for fingerstyle playing.
 
I like this pedal for solo fretless and acoustic tones. It has no input gain control, so I'm finding it works better with low-to-medium output instruments and worse with high-output ones. There are many different settings on this pedal that sound good, but the controls are very interactive and I'm finding it surprisingly tricky to dial in.
 
The footswitch is not "true bypass", but the bypass is quite transparent. Note however that the bypassed output level is higher than unity gain, so you will probably need to adjust your other gain stages. The housing is the same medium size as Barber and Diamond, and the construction quality is good. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC.
 
Price in USD: new $199, used $80 to $130
 
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