Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

EMMA Transmorgrifier: This pedal has a very hi-fi quality to it, with a flat, tight, uncolored sound. It has a bright clear high end, really crisp and airy; unfortunately it does lose some of the low end, and is not fat or full-sounding on the bottom. There is more noise than I would like, but not so much that I wouldn't use it. For comparison it is a bit noisier than the typical Ross/Dynacomp types, or the modded Boss CS3, at seemingly equivalent compression settings.
 
It has a ratio control, but it has no markings to indicate the range or settings of that knob. There are no controls over the input level or threshold, and no LED to indicate signal over the threshold. The fixed threshold seems to be very low, with your signal over the threshold pretty much all the time, because the compression can be intense even at low settings of the Ratio knob. On the plus side, it does a decent job as a peak limiter.
 
Note that the recommended settings in the instructions that come with the EMMA are insanely heavy squashing settings only suitable for lead guitar type effects, or country "spank". A realistic ratio knob setting for bass is around 9:00 or 10:00, anything higher is all noise and smash. Reducing the level of your instrument signal going into it may improve the range of response. The attack and release controls are fully useful across their range though, and they are good features to have.
 
The footswitch is not "true bypass", but the bypass is clear sounding. The housing is the same medium size as Barber or Diamond, and it runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC. The construction quality is pretty good.
 
Price in USD: new $229, used $100-$140
 

 

 
 
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