Hotone KOMP: This tiny, adorable pedal is yet another Chinese "copy" of the Diamond comp. It is optical, has similar controls, and is painted yellow (well, gold-ish). It looks like a little "Robbie the Robot" wind-up toy. So cute!
To get the obvious question out of the way, no it does not sound exactly like the Diamond. It has a similar smooth action and low ratio, but the tone is not quite as clean or pretty. It cuts the lows significantly, at all settings, much more than any other typical guitar comp. And it is slightly more prone to amplifying noise in your chain.
I think it has a little more "pop" and interesting sound than the Mooer Yellow, its direct competitor. Partly that may be because the Hotone has a hump in the EQ shape at around 300 Hz, regardless of tone knob settings, along with the cut low end. Also, even tiny adjustments to the volume knob produce big volume changes, so it was tricky to match the levels of the two pedals, and the Hotone seems to have higher gain. The tilting EQ of the tone knob is not as symmetrical as the one in the Diamond or Mooer, acting quite differently in the highs vs the lows. There is not any setting even close to "flat" EQ. That doesn't mean it's bad though--you might like the inherent EQ shape.
The little pushbutton in the middle, labeled "Spark", is mysterious; it cuts the lows a bit more, and seems to add a touch of brightness, but it does not boost the highs. Maybe it adjusts the phase or attack time? It's hard to tell.
The Hotone is almost 20mm shorter than the Mooer and other 1590A-sized micro pedals. The housing is a dense chunk of metal, but the knobs and pots are flimsy plastic. The metal roll-bar on top will protect them to an extent. They say the footswitch is "true bypass", though it is not a 3PDT switch. The blue on/off LED is underneath the big clear plastic knob at the top of the pedal, and when you switch it on, the light shines out the front like a Batman signal or LED "ground effects" for your car.
So is it worth buying? Well it is basically a toy, a very cool-looking toy. But it's not too bad as a usable and decent-sounding guitar effect too.
Price in USD: new $79, probably half that used.
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