Suhr Koji Comp: Suhr is well known for the quality of their high-end guitars, so naturally when they released a line of pedals the guitar world took great interest. The name of this one is intriguing: "koji" is a fungus used to ferment soy beans and sweeten sake, so I guess the idea is that the compressor will do something similar for your sound?
It has very clean natural tone, with no loss of highs or lows at all, and no humps or valleys in the middle. There is a toggle labeled "Voice" which selects between three EQ settings. One setting is flat, another boosts the highs, and the last one boosts both highs and some high mids. These boosts are subtle, really more about changing the character of the voicing rather than anything dramatic. For example using one of the treble voices can increase articulation and cut, without sounding harsh or affecting the lows. All three modes are pleasant and useful on both guitar and bass. It has very low noise at most settings.
Knobs include Comp, Attack time, Level, and Mix (clean blend). Each has a decently wide range, and it was easy dial in useful and good sounding results. The action is smooth and unobtrusive, and doesn't dip or do any funky effects. While it does add sustain, there is not an obvious swell or wash on the decay of the note. The high end of the Comp knob gets you stronger squeezing, but it's not ideal as a clean peak limiter. As with the majority of other pedals having just one knob that changes both ratio and threshold by boosting the input, it's best suited to overall smoothing and thickening rather than surgical control.
I got some noticeable distortion when feeding it a hot (high amplitude) signal, especially on low bass notes. Sometimes it's tricky to identify exactly where the signal is clipping; it could be the pedal itself was clipping, or it's possible that it was simply allowing peaks through to clip other stages like my headphone amp. I tried using 18V power and did not see any change in the distortion. Again though this was only an issue for high output instruments.
It has one LED to indicate both "on" status and the amount of compression. It just has three stages though, green for no compression, yellow for a medium amount of compression, and red for maximum; it spends most of its time in the red, so it's not particularly informative, but it's certainly better than not having a meter.
The construction quality is excellent and the paint job is attractive. The housing is the small MXR size, and it runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC, or up to 18V. The footswitch can be either a relay based "true" bypass or buffered bypass, selected with an internal toggle switch. The buffered mode is transparent. Suhr pedals have an extra mini jack and toggle on the back for use with a remote switching system, for guys who keep all their pedals in a rack, using a customized footswitch floorboard or digital automation.
Price in USD: New $200, used from $115-150.
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