Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Boss GT-6B: This is a large and comprehensive digital multi-effects pedalboard unit. It offers four different compression modes, modeled on four popular comps: the Boss CS-3, MXR Dynacomp, dbx 160X, and Urei 1178.
 
The Boss, MXR, and dbx models are believable and useful, and thankfully the Boss and MXR ones don't lose low end the way the real originals do. The Urei model to me sounds just like weak mush; I don't know how accurate it is, but if you want a vintage warm/fat comp model with balls, this is not the one. But the other three models here sound fine. The tone overall is good enough for most gigging situations, but probably not as detailed or "natural" as might be desired by a jazz artist in a recording studio, for example.
 
I liked the sound quality of the GT fairly well, but my tone sounded better when I unplugged from the GT and went direct through a DI box. There is not much loss of lows or highs unless you compress the signal very hard. The noise level is quite low, as long as your settings are not extreme of course. The CS-3 model can get noisy quickly at higher "sustain" settings, just like the original.
 
With a little experimentation these comp models can be set up to give your sound greater clarity, punch, or some decent extra sustain. The key is to pay close attention to both the threshold and ratio, because overcompression with this unit can sound muddy and dull. As with all of the digital units I have tried, it's not so good at peak limiting. You can get heavy squash at a high ratio, but a strong resonant signal peak will still blast through, unchecked. I was able to eventually dial in settings which did a pretty decent job of peak limiting non-extreme signals, but it took some fiddling and experimentation to get there.
 
Each comp model has three parameters to control, so it's slightly more adjustable than a two-knob comp pedal, but still simple. However the comp patch is in a chain with other effects patches, and there are several steps to assembling that chain. The main downside of having as many features as the GT-6B has is that it can be difficult to navigate, and it can take quite a bit of effort to dial the several combined patches in together and make sure their levels are reasonable.
 
The construction seems reasonably durable and stage-worthy. The bypass is not "true bypass", but it is fairly clean, no issues. It takes a proprietary 14V AC wall wart for power, so it will not work with any of the usual pedal power supplies.
 
Price in USD: used $100-$200, no longer available new.
 
or on Amazon
 

 
 
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