"Dirty" compressors: Of course most people don't want any distortion from their compressor, and I usually criticize the distortion I hear from units that are supposed to be clean. But there is a very desirable quality from a pushed/driven tube amp, that includes qualities of both compression and distortion (soft and hard clipping); and there are a few comps that either distort as an accidental side-effect, or that are designed to be able to distort as part of the compression circuit, or that have a separate OD/distortion circuit added on, that can be used for that "amp-like" effect--so here is a list of a few of those units, with brief commentary. For more detailed info, check their individual reviews.
Arion SCO-1: Unintentionally makes nasty lo-fi sounds.
Blackbox Oxygen: Just terrible.
Celmo Sardine Can: Very versatile; absolutely fantastic on guitar, not so great for bass.
dbx 166: It's a very good compressor, and the "limiter" makes a really great distortion effect--but a terrible clean limiter.
DDyna Bass10: Super versatile and unique; its quirky qualities will not suit everyone, but you should try it out.
Durham Sex Drive: Fantastic flavor for all genres and instruments, though it does turn down the lows a bit.
Electro Harmonix Bass Metaphors: Mediocre and disappointing.
Empirical Labs Distressor: Its famous effect is equally loved and hated by pro engineers; good on all instruments, and versatile, but quite expensive.
Focusrite Bass Factory: The compression and EQ are excellent and extremely versatile; the distortion is OK.
Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone: I wasn't a huge fan of the original version; but the "germanium gold" one, custom-modded for a higher threshold, is one of my favorites for dirty squashing.
Tech21 Comptortion:Just terrible.
Valley People Dyna-Mite:It doesn't have an actual distortion per se, but it does have a dirty, aggressive quality.
VFE White Horse/Stallion: Very useful, nice-sounding, versatile; good on all instruments, but quirky in its action.
Most digital multi-fx pedals also feature these two effects, but usually the compression and the overdrive/distortion are the two worst sounds in the unit. But who knows, you might find a combo you like in a digital multi. I'll add more devices to this list as I discover and try them.
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