Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Frantone Sputnik: This pedal has more of a clean and bright quality compared to Frantone's syrupy funky Sandwich. Its tone and action are a lot like the T-Rex Comp Nova, which in turn is an OTA (Ross/Keeley/Dynacomp) type but with better low end. In other words it is good for bright sustain and clarity, but is not much of a limiter and is not very versatile.
 
There is no loss of highs or lows. It's not noisy per se, but as with most sustainer-type comps there is a rise of background hiss as each note trails away. This is a result of having a very low threshold. Also I found that the settings which sounded best to me in terms of shiny articulate tone were ones where the threshold was very low, meaning more hiss once the very slow release lets go.
 
The threshold range is only suitable for low-to-medium output instruments; notes from my high-output basses were 100% over the threshold at all times. So if your instrument has high output, you'll need to either turn down its onboard volume control or use another pedal to attenuate the signal before going into the Sputnik. While it's no peak limiter, it's pretty good at evening out levels from string to string.
 
As with all Frantone pedals, the Sputnik is beautiful to look at and built very well; it's really too bad Frantone went out of business. The housing is the "medium" Barber/Diamond size, it takes standard 9 DC, and the footswitch is "true bypass".
 
Price in USD: $10-$50 used, no longer available new.
 

 

 
 
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