Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Ibanez UE 303B: This is an old analog multi-effect pedal, featuring an envelope filter, a chorus/flanger, and a compressor. It was made for bass, and the comp section is essentially a CP-9 adjusted for bass frequencies.
 
It's got a punchy, beefy sound--somewhat dark and warm, but not muffled. The threshold knob is "backwards", in that the "low" marking is the highest threshold, and the "high" marking is the lowest threshold; if you turn it up to "high", the entire signal is squashed. As with many comp pedals, increasing the compression also increases the noise quite a bit, especially on the swell as your note trails off. But at lower settings, the noise is quite tolerable.
 
The CS-9 chorus and the killer-sounding AF-9 envelope filter are the real reasons to buy this unit, but the compressor works and sounds pretty nice for a vintage pedal, especially at gentle settings.
 
The footswitches are not "true bypass"; if you just disengage the individual compressor switch, the "bypassed" signal still has a dark (tone sucking) quality, but if you switch off the "master" footswitch the bypassed tone is more clear. The switches on very old pedals like these are likely to need a cleaning in order to work properly; it's not super easy to disassemble them, but it is do-able. It is powered by an attached AC cord, no batteries or wall wart needed.
 
The size of the unit is actually MUCH larger than three single pedals side by side, it's a whole pedalboard by itself. I'd recommend getting the three individual pedals plus a small "true bypass" loop switcher instead; however doing that will usually cost a lot more in total than this package does.
 
Price in USD: $200-$250 used, no longer available new.
 

 

 
 
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