Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

GLX/Beta Aivin CS-100: Elder Audio Manufactory of China produces a series of clones of Boss pedals, and they are distributed worldwide under a variety of brand names including GLX, Beta Aivin, Harley Benton, Boston, and Boss-Hog. The pedals are identical with each brand; only the label changes. Their CS-100 pedal is a clone of the Boss CS-3.
 
It's a very close clone, basically the exact same thing as the Boss. It not only has the same circuit and controls, it also uses the same quality of components, including metal pots and jacks. Compare against the Behringer version (also called the CS-100) which is all cheap plastic, including fragile plastic pot shafts, and which uses SMT (miniature surface-mount) components, making it very difficult to mod. The Beta Aivin uses traditional through-hole components, and they are spaced apart on the circuitboard enough that modding is very easy. I even think some of the component numbers (e.g. C13) printed on the board are the same as the Boss.
 
I've been A/B'ing the the Boss and the Beta Aivin intensively, and the only difference I can hear is that the Boss has slightly more energetic-sounding highs, while the Beta has slightly lower noise. There is no loss of highs, but the lowest lows are rolled off, and the low end is generally "tightened up". The tone otherwise is fairly uncolored. The compression action is very strong, this circuit is designed with a very high ratio, making it good for extreme sustain or peak limiting. However note that stronger sustain settings do get noisy fast. At lower sustain the noise is not bad.
 
The bypass switch is a bit dodgy, it works but it seems a bit touchy and doesn't click with a positive solid action. That's the only flaw I've found so far. It's not "true bypass", but it is a decent clear-sounding bypass, same as the Boss.
 
Price in USD: new $50, used $10-$30
 

 

 
 
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