Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Old World Audio 1960: This is an optical comp pedal with just two knobs, much like the Demeter, BBE, or BYOC Opto, but with one special feature: it uses a "dual release law" meant to specifically emulate the dual release of the Urei LA2A. This means lower-level spikes will compress with a fast release time, and higher-level spikes will compress with a long release time. This can also be seen as frequency-dependent, since low frequencies tend to have taller peaks, and high frequencies shorter ones. Not everyone will want this action, or even care about it--but it is a key part of the LA2A's behavior, so if that's what you're after then this pedal is worth a try.
 
The action overall is very smooth and even. It can be gentle, and the light-to-medium settings are very natural and unobtrusive. It can also squash hard, with a max ratio of 10:1, and that's where the character of the release time can really be noticed. It's not an ideal peak limiter, because the envelope of compression is slow and will not catch sudden changes. But if you like the sound of steady compression on steady pocket playing, then even the stronger compression here will work for you. It's fairly good at adding sustain. It's not very versatile, but what it can do will suit some people quite well. Of course there's no input level control, so the range of its response will depend on the output strength of your instrument; that said, you can get useful results with a fairly wide range of signal levels, by adjusting the ratio knob, and it doesn't distort easily.
 
There is no loss of highs or lows; in fact it has ruler-flat frequency response across the entire audible spectrum, for most of the range of the comp knob--though it will attenuate the high frequencies a bit at higher settings. There is very little noise, at any setting, although of course like any compressor it can boost noise that's already in your signal path. The tone is clean yet fat, it definitely gives a nice smooth plumpness to your sound, without otherwise adding coloration.
 
The polished casing and abalone knob caps make the pedal look nice. The construction quality is decent, typical for handmade pedals. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC and the footswitch is "true bypass".
 
Price in USD: new $200, used $140 to $160
 

 

 
 
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