Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Visual Sound Comp 66: This pedal is in the Ross/Dyna/Keeley family of comp circuits. I had previously not bothered to review it because I assumed it would be noisy and lose low end, like the rest of those. One of my faithful readers said that was not the case, and that I really ought to give it a try; so now I have done that... but unfortunately my assumptions were correct.
It is quite noisy at all settings, and in fact the noise is a bit worse than most Ross/Dyna types. It has an "always-on" noise gate (with no controls) that shuts off the noise between notes, but (a) it doesn't do a very good job, and (b) the sound of it opening and closing is obnoxious.
It has a tone control, actually it's a tilting EQ, and a switch to engage or disengage the EQ. With the tone switched off, the effect has the mid-hump characteristic of its family. Switched on, the EQ shape is then mid-scooped a bit, with boosted lows and highs. With the tone knob to the left of 12:00 this can give you some prominent low end, however the circuit still cuts off the lowest frequencies just as much as its relatives do. So there's this big hump in the lows, but fundamentals below a low E are gone. This could work fine for live/stage use, where those fundamentals are usually not amplified much anyway.
At somewhat high compression settings it really brings forward your upper harmonics, giving a bright, present, fat sound. So it is capable of sounding really good; but of course that setting includes a swell of noise as each note decays. Although it can compress heavily, it's not so great at peak limiting.
The construction is decent. It's a bit bigger than a Boss pedal, occupying about the same overall footprint area as a Barber/Diamond/BBE-size box. It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC. The footswitch is not "true bypass", but the bypass is clear enough. The pedal I'm reviewing is the newer version in their weird-looking housing. This pedal is also available paired with a Tubescreamer clone, and an earlier edition of that pedal was also available in a differently-shaped housing; I'm betting there is no difference in quality between the various versions.
Price in USD: $100 new, $30-$60 used
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