Daphon/Wholenote E20CM: Wuhan Daphon of China, also operating as Wholenote, has been a manufacturer for other brands of musical equipment for a long time; but they have recently begun marketing products under their own brand names, cutting out the middleman. They still sell these designs as OEM to many other brands too, so you will see identical-looking pedals with brand names such as Gibson Maestro, Avondale, Castle Rock, Chord, Da Aqua, DG, Dimavery, Dot On Shaft, Roberts, Swamp, and Tony Smith. They're all exactly the same, just with a different name stamped on them.
Most (maybe all) of their pedals are just copies of other brands' popular effect designs. This one is a Dynacomp/Ross/Keeley etc. type with the same CA3080 chip. It sounds and acts like most of them do, with the same level of background noise and the same loss of lows. It's not as fat-sounding as the better boutique versions, but it's just as good as any of the middle-of-the-road versions, including MXR. The knob labeled "comp" is an attack control. The tone is mostly uncolored. It does a very good job of making your signal "pop forward" a bit, especially in the upper mids, but it's not so great at heavier compression, and it won't act as a peak limiter at all. Consider it useful for enhancing a clear tone rather than for strong dynamic control.
The good news is the housing is super rugged. It's a brick of metal, and the footswitch has a nice solid action. The pots seem sturdy too, and the components are traditional "through-hole", making it easy to mod if you want. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC. The footswitch is not true bypass; the bypassed tone is clean but it loses a bit of the highs.
Price in USD: new $40, used $10 to $20
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