Fromel Velvet Vice: This is an optical comp from a relatively new name in the handmade-boutique pedal world. Just as side note, you should check out the Fromel "Shape" EQ pedal, I love it.
The Velvet Vice has very clean, nearly transparent tone, with very low noise. There is no loss of highs, and only the lowest frequencies are rolled off a bit. There is a knob labeled just "C" for the compression amount, and an "L" level knob, and an "R" release knob. The compression action is very smooth at low C settings; it can get extreme and weird at high settings. At low settings its sound and action closely resemble the Diamond CPR-1. The C knob seems to both lower the threshold and increase the gain into the threshold a bit. The result at higher C settings is a steep dip below unity, followed by a dramatic swell back up to a high level as the compression releases.
The range of the R control is from "slow" to "extremely slow", just a bit under one second at the fastest, up to several seconds at the slowest. The release time also varies depending on how deep an amount of compression is applied. Hitting it with a big spike results in a longer release. Because of this, there were times when an errant spike would cause all of the notes in a run to be below unity level for a second or longer. So the most consistent levels were achieved with lower C settings and fewer spikes from my playing. I felt that the ideal use of this comp is for adding a bit more fullness to your tone, and possibly adding some extra dip-and-swell motion to slow and sustained notes.
The construction quality is typical of small-run handbuilt pedals. The surface/finish has a very crude, raw, industrial look--the housing is etched by hand, and each one looks a little bit different. The housing is just slightly larger than a Boss. It has an awesome vivid violet-colored LED, and it runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC. The footswitch is "true bypass".
Update: Fromel is redesigning all of their pedals, and going to an all-new production method. So this pedal is currently off the market, and of course I will have to review the new version when it comes out.
Price in USD: Hard to say! I can't find any listings for used ones that have sold, and I don't know what the price will be when the new ones become available.
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