Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

OKKO Coca Comp: This optical comp pedal is handmade in Germany. As with almost all other two-knob pedals, it has one for the amount of compression (here it's called "sing"), and one for the make-up gain (they call it "push"). OKKO claims their circuit works like a reverse sort of compression, raising the level of your quieter sounds without reducing the level of louder ones. It does actually sound like that's what it's doing, although adjusting the "sing" control seems very similar to controls that raise/lower the level of your input signal into a fixed threshold.
 
It doesn't have an indicator light to show when your signal is over the threshold, and the responsiveness of the "sing" control will depend on the output level of your instrument. The ratio also seems to be fixed, and fairly low--maybe 4:1? So it's great for increasing sustain, making harmonics really pop out clearly, and thickening your tone. Unfortunately that also means it's not so good at peak limiting, and cranking up the "sing" will cause any existing hum or hiss in your instrument line to be amplified quite noticeably. However it does not add any noise of its own.
 
There is no loss of highs or lows at most settings; the tone is mostly clean and approaching transparent, although it does thicken/fatten your instrument's tone a bit. At the highest "sing" settings the sound can get a little bit dark, as well as having a "chicken-pickin" dip at the note attack, and choking the low end some; however at low to medium settings those effects disappear completely. The pedals that would bear the most direct comparison here are the Demeter, FXEng Mirage, Rothwell, and BJFE. Of those, the Demeter has a fatter low end; the Mirage is a tad more transparent; the Rothwell is more transparent and resists noise much better; and the BJFE is more tonally versatile. But the OKKO gives more of a nice punchy and chewy singing "presence" to your sound than the others. I think it will especially appeal to guitarists who play with clean tone, tapper/touchstyle players, and maybe fretless bass soloists.
 
The construction quality is very good. The one I reviewed was the first version with a white body and 3D hand-painted logo, and it looked really nice; the current production has a blue body and printed logo, and it's much more boring looking. I haven't heard about any differences in sound between them. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC, and the footswitch is "true bypass".
 
Price in USD: new $235, used about $150.
 
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