T-Rex Squeezer: I first reviewed the Squeezer in 2007, and here in 2009 I have bought another one to see if my impressions are any different now. Partly I did this because I had said in my review that this pedal was just way too noisy, like a waterfall; but T-Rex themselves said they had no idea what I was talking about, they claim it has zero noise, and also a reader told me his is not noisy at all. So here we are.
To get the big question out of the way first, yes there is some hiss, but it's not as bad as I had said. At most settings the hiss is tolerable--about the same as a Boss CS-3. The amount of noise I heard the previous time may have been due to external forces such as the wiring and EMF in the place I lived then. While there is only a light amount of hiss at low Gain knob settings, it gets really noticeable with the Gain around 12:00 and higher. I found that I was able to reduce the noise significantly by feeding the Squeezer a very clean and hot (high amplitude) input signal. So whether you have major problems with hiss will depend on your environment and the signal you feed it.
It uses one 12AX7 tube for a make-up gain stage. The tone is actually very crisp and "hi-fi", and not at all the sort of fat/warm tone that people hope for from tubes. There is no loss of highs or lows. It's worth noting that sometimes the fat/warm sound in other devices is from a rolloff of the highs, so the clear high end of the Squeezer might be working against that perception.
It has a full array of parameter controls, and each has a wide useful range of function. It can cover everything from subtle smoothing up to heavier squashing and some moderate peak limiting. The knobs turn very easily, and two of them are located close to the footswitch, so you have to be careful not to accidentally turn the knobs when stepping on the switch. Try wrapping a rubber band around the stem of the pot (below the knob cap) to make those knobs harder to turn.
It's quite difficult to access the tube, so don't plan on swapping in different tubes. Also they installed a little orange LED in there to light up the tube, so you will think you're getting some legendary tube warmth, even though really it has little effect on the tone.
It runs on a 12V DC wall wart, and needs 260 mA minimum. The housing is the "medium" size of Barber or Diamond, and the construction quality is fairly good. The footswitch is not "true bypass", but it's quite clean sounding.
Price in USD: new $219, used $115 to $170
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