Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Seymour Duncan Double Back: This pedal comes from a brand mostly known for their pickups. It was recently discontinued, but is still in stock at some stores. It is a VCA-based comp, and it's typical of VCA comps to be fairly transparent, and to not have a lot of squashy shape to their envelope, and both of those are true here.
 
The main selling feature, which they call "DoubleBack", is just a clean blend so you can mix the compressed and uncompressed signals. Same concept as used by Barber, Pigtronix, and Wampler. The difference here is a switch which allows you to blend in just the highs, just a hump in the mids, or the full-range signal. Each of these is honestly different and useful, I am enjoying this feature a lot more than I expected to. I especially like the mid-hump setting, it brings back a lot of the bite and tone energy that compression sometimes dulls.
 
The other controls are volume (output level), attack, and sustain. Sustain here is a ratio control, going from 1:1 to 20:1. You can get a lot of extra sustain if you want, using a high ratio--but as with most other sustainers, that comes with a lot of noise. However at lower sustain settings, good for general moderate compression, the noise level is very low. The good news is that the low-noise range of the sustain knob is up to around 12:30, where on most other sustainer pedals you can't turn it up higher than 9:30, which means this one has more usable range of sweep for adjusting the response you want.
 
The action is smooth and unobtrusive. It can do some moderate peak limiting, though not for extreme cases. There is no loss of highs or lows, and the tone is neutral--not fat or exciting, but clean. A very high-output bass may cause some distortion, so in that case you'll need to adjust the level of your signal before it gets to the Doubleback's input.
 
The pedal is a bit larger than the Barber or BBE size, but not nearly as big as the Markbass. The construction quality is pretty decent, and it runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC. The metallic orange finish looks much better in person than it does on the web. The footswitch is "true bypass". I actually think this pedal is a fantastic value for the money! Recommended for people who want more clarity and "bite".
 
Price in USD: used $45-$100, no longer available new.
 

 

 
 
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