Rothwell Love Squeeze: This pedal comes from a lesser-known boutique builder out of the UK. It is designed for ultra transparency, and it delivers amazingly well. Though it is based around JFET transistors, and has the word "Squeeze" in the name, it is not an Orange Squeezer clone.
The action is very natural and smooth, with no artifacts, and the tone is about as uncolored as is possible. There is no loss of highs or lows; at first I thought it might be rolling off a bit of the highest and lowest frequencies, but after further testing I discovered that actually it was my other compressors that were hyping the highs or the lows; the Rothwell was not exaggerating (or losing) anything.
I would most closely compare the Rothwell to the FXEngineering Mirage and the Aphex Punch Factory, those being among the other "most transparent" pedals I've tried. Of course the construction of the Aphex is nowhere near the quality of the Mirage or the Rothwell, which are both solidly-built yet uncomplicated. All three are about equally transparent at normal compression levels. The Aphex turns to mud at high comp levels. The Mirage and Rothwell stay clean, however the Rothwell is capable of a greater amount of compression than the Mirage.
The ratio is not very high (I would guess around 5:1), so it won't limit really big signal peaks, but with the comp knob at max it does manage a certain amount of limiting. It works well with a wide range of instrument output levels.
There is no noise, even at maximum compression. I consider that a small miracle. I don't know what more to say--this is just the most transparent, lowest-noise comp pedal I've tried. I guess I could complain that it doesn't add any magical heft or sparkle to the tone, and it's not very versatile in terms of types of compression effect; but really, there are other pedals I recommend highly for that sort of thing. This pedal is for people who previously did not like compressors because of the squashing, tone coloration, and noise.
The construction quality is quite nice, and it has a clean professional appearance. It takes standard Boss-type 9V DC, and the footswitch is "true bypass".
Price in USD: new $199, used $130 to $160
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