Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Jacques Fat Burner: Fat is right! This is compression as an "effect", not as a subtle or transparent gain control. It is a squasher, a sustainer, and a thickener. It reminds me of the Boss CS-3, except with fatter tone, more versatility, and better low end. Like the CS-3, it can also be pretty hissy at all but the lightest settings. But most other compressors would be equally noisy at this level of serious squash.
 
Tonally, it can be a bit furry or even muddy, but the lows and highs are not notably rolled off. The "Muscle" knob adjusts the sound from smooth to biting, though I am not exactly sure what its actual function is. I suspect turning it to the left speeds the attack and softens the knee, while turning to the right slows the attack and hardens the knee. I like it at 12:00, but there are usable sounds at all the settings.
 
The Fat Burner also includes a decent headphone amp for practice, with its own output jack. This doubles as a +10dB boost for overdriving your tube amp if you like. The two outputs are buffered from each other, so it makes an excellent Y splitter to two amps or two signal paths.
 
Though Jacques is a French company, the pedal housings and switches are made by Exar of Poland, which is why Jacques and Exar pedals look alike. For many years they were a metal housing with a plastic footswitch-plate and plastic knobs. In 2012 both brands switched to a new design with a metal footswitch and more modern appearance. In the old design the Jacques pedals had a good-quality buffered bypass while the Exars had "true" bypass using a relay system. In the new design they both use Exar's relay true bypass. Unfortunately in 2012 Exar also went out of business. So I do not know who will make Jacques pedals now, or in what ways they may change.
 
Price in USD: new $130, used $70-$100.
 
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