Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Henretta Engineering Orange Whip: This is a clone of the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer, and the main selling point compared to other OS clones is its very small size, about 2" (50 mm) square.
 
Compared to the squashing action of its peers, this one falls somewhere in the middle: it has some dip-and-swell, but not an exaggerated bouncy effect, more of a smooth sustaining swell. It reduces the dynamic range pretty significantly, so it will suit people who like their levels more consistent and who want subtle tapping and plucking to pop forward more. This also adds some "fatness" to the tone. There is no loss of highs or lows, even down to an open low B. However the strong compression will rob the intensity of low frequencies, even though they aren't technically rolled off, so it's better for a tight, bright sound.
 
It is designed for an "average" guitar's output, and there's no easy way to adjust its response to higher or lower-output instruments, so how well it works for you will depend on the signal you feed it. Very high-output instruments will get some distortion. The noise level is average, not bad, and of course the longer you let each note sustain, the more the noise rises up. This is normal for most sustainer-type compressors.
 
The Henretta has no knobs on top, just a footswitch and an on/off LED. An OS type usually has a volume knob, and some include a knob to adjust the bias of the circuit, which affects the amount and flavor of the compression. This one, being so small, has both of those as tiny internal trim pots. They come pre-set by the maker for a setting that is probably the best for most peoples' tastes, but the option is there to adjust them, if you have patience and a tiny screwdriver. I preferred a bias setting for slightly less intense squashing, about 1/8th of a turn counter-clockwise. The bias trim pot in particular is a hassle to adjust, so this pedal really is for somebody who won't want to fiddle with settings.
 
The construction quality is pretty good. The adhesive label seems like it might not last all that long. The parts are crammed in there quite tightly, and some patch cord plugs may actually be too long to fit all the way in the jacks without jamming up against the components. If you have that happen, the maker suggests putting an o-ring or other spacer around the plug to keep it from inserting so far. The G&H plugs I use do fit, but just barely. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC, but no battery option due to the size. The footswitch is "true bypass".
 
Price in USD: new $125, used $70-$85.
 
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