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28 of the Best Compact Enclosure Compressor Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

Analog.ManBarber ElectronicsBecos FXBondi EffectsBossCompressorDarkglass ElectronicsDiamond PedalsDryBell EffectsEarthQuaker DevicesEmerson EffectsEmpress EffectsFoxpedalFriedman EffectsGreer AmpsJ RockettJackson AudioJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringMad Professor EffectsMXROhmless PedalsOrigin EffectsOvni FXPettyjohn ElectronicsTC ElectronicThorpyFXUtilityWalrus AudioWampler+-
2020GPX28BestCompactCompressors700V2.jpg

I’ve encountered a number of ’Best Compressor’ articles this year which I really felt were not fully representative of the very best of what is out there. That was the catalyst for this feature, along with a couple of new compressors I had not properly featured yet, and the fact that I’ve not done a Compressor round-up for a good couple of years now.

 

Pretty much all the compressors listed here are / were already known to me, while I picked up a few new ones along the way. I also came across two really decent Compressor-specific review sites - ’Compressor Pedal Reviews’ and ’Ovni Lab’ which didn’t directly influence this article but certainly impressed me with their range and breadth of coverage.

 

Much like for my recent 28 Best Tremolos overview there are a significant number of great choices out there of all different shapes and sizes and complexities - while I tend to lean towards the more feature-rich of these (more knobs and switches!). In fact near enough all the pedals featured here are of the feature-rich rather than simple format, but I did make a few obvious concessions in that area. If you’re looking for the simplest of one-knob compressors, then I would likely recommend something like Anasounds Lazy Comp Compressor - while of course I personally prefer a little more hands-on tweakability and range.

 

My own story with compressors started off a long time ago with my thinking I really did not need one! Then I introduced the unadulterated Xotic Effects Mini SP Compressor and experienced the change!, before getting an Alchemy Audio -modded versions of the same with externalised dip-switches / toggles. Next I updated to the Wampler Mini Ego - which was in place for a pretty long time, before I came upon the Jackson Audio Bloom - which actually combines Compressor with EQ and Boost. It’s one of only two of that multi-function type here alongside the DryBell Unit67 (I guess the Emerson Duke Silver too if I’m being generous). While for a long time I harboured thoughts of getting the Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe - which was eventually pipped by the acquisition of the Jackson Audio Bloom - which I am very satisfied with.

 

In my very first guide on compressors, I identified largely 6 key types, as follows :

  • OTA (Operational Transconductance Amplifier) - this is the most common ’Ross Compressor’ type, also MXR Dyna-Comp etc. - typically your guitar compressor pedal is most likely to be of this variety
  • VCA (Voltage Control Amplifier) - these are typically the larger studio rack versions
  • FET (Field Effect Transistor) - the other major type of larger studio rack compressor in its original form, several pedals use JFET and / or MOSFET transistors, which are a more modern, compact form of that
  • Optical - light source / photo resistor attenuation
  • Tube - like the obviously medium-enclosure Maxon RTC600 - tube driven compression gives you that lovely analogue warmth, with some gain on tap too - does though mean a larger size enclosure
  • Multiband - more like a banded graphic equalizer - like the J Rockett IQ Compressor - where you can target individual bands of frequencies with more finesse

There are other terms you will hear in conjunction with compressors - like ’Parallel Compressor’ and Dry/Clean-Mix, along with high noise-floor and Compression Ratio. Compressors typically bring with them a number of signal-chain tone-sweetening solutions, but can also introduce some of their own idiosyncrasies - including higher signal-to-noise ratio and occasionally unwanted additional gain and saturation.

 

The conventional wisdom is to stick the Compressor right at the start of your pedal-chain, while for me my Jackson Audio Bloom actually appears 7th in the order! I identify it as one of my 3 key ’Tone Components’ (Sweeteners) alongside the Jackson Audio Prism Boost, and ThorpyFX Heavy Water Germanium Boost Texturiser. Those 3 are pretty much always-on and provide significantly enhanced and added dynamics, warmth, feel and harmonics before all the dirt pedals come into play - they of course allow for some fantastic stacking possibilites too.

 

To have the Compressor in this downstream position means it needs to be very carefully calibrated - as otherwise you will get a lot of additional gain and noise artefacts that you really don’t want in your signal-chain.

 

So as it stands, my Jackson Audio Bloom is my current and favourite compressor and as will be revealed - likely to remain so - even though there are numerous equally impressive compressors in this listing that I really like the look of - none though have that immediate footswitchability of the Bloom!

 

I will provide further details and guidance on each as follows - in alphabetical order by brand :


Analog.Man Mini Bi-Comp Dual Mode Compressor - $335

Type/s - OTA + Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer

 

So as I am wont to do on occasion I start off this selection with a rather select curiosity in that it features not just the unique Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer style of compression, but marries that with the classic Ross / OTA type. Meaning that via the dual footswitches you can flip-flop between Ross and OS modes, or stack both together. I've selected the 5-knob variety which retails for a little more than the 3-knob default, and it externalises some of the otherwise internal trimmers.

 

The 5 Controls are:

  • Volume Ross = OTA Left Compressor Level
  • Volume OS = Orange Squeezer Right Compressor Level
  • Mix = Clean > Compressed Blend
  • Sustain = Degree of compression sustain
  • Atk : Attack = Speed of Attack

This is a pretty unusual compressor in many ways - and one I think I may consider adding to the rotation at some later point in time.


Barber Electronics Tone Press Parallel Compressor - $140

Type - FET

 

Barber Electronics has delivered a really articulate and relatively simple Parallel FET style compressor with the simplest of controls. Many like it for its generally typically subtle elegance.

 

It has 5 Controls :

  • Left Toggle = Speed - Left is fast, Right is classic mode
  • Right Toggle = Brilliance - flip to Right for more Brightness
  • Volume = 2 o'clock unity typically
  • Blend = adds up to 15dB of clean boost
  • Sustain = Degree of compression sustain

Becos FX CompIQ Stella Pro Compression Pedal - €249

Type - Blackmer VCA

 

Easily the most feature rich and closest in format to a full studio compressor - with no less than 13 really well though out controls. I feel if you are really serious about Compression then surely this has to be your first stop-off along the way. Obviously may be overwhelming for some, and possibly overkill for others - in which case go for the Becos Mini Comps which greatly simplify the same experience. This is just a fantastic engineering achievement all-round and a real heavy-weight addition to the Compressor Pedal landscape. I will undoubtedly be checking this out further myself at some point in the future.

 

13 Controls :

  • Ratio = 1:1 > ∞:1
  • Threshold = -40dB > +10dB
  • Attack = 0.12 > 12 ms/dB
  • Gain = -6dB > +20dB
  • Tilt-EQ = Low > High
  • Release = 1.2 > 120 ms/dB
  • Knee = Hard/Soft
  • SCF Side-Chain Filter = Normal/Low/Deep
  • EQ Pivot = High/Low
  • Timing = Manual/Auto-Fast/Auto-Slow
  • Mix = Wet > Dry
  • Saturation = Minimum > Maximum
  • Level = Minimum > Maximum

Bondi Effects 2026 Compressor - £239

Type - Blackmer VCA

 

A much loved but still somewhat under the radar VCA style compressor with a clever mix of Manual and Dynamic / Automated controls. At one stage I was seriously considering this when I was likeliest to get the Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe at the time - I was sorely tempted by this one though, and came very close to getting this one in.

 

6 Controls :

  • Ratio = 1:1 > ∞:1
  • Threshold = -50dB > +10dB
  • Level = ±20dB
  • Attack = 0.15 > 15 ms/dB
  • Release = 1.5 > 150 ms/dB
  • Mode = Manual/Dynamic (Auto Attack/Release)

Boss CP-1X Multiband Compressor - £125

Type - Multiband / Multi-Dimension Processing

 

This rather rare Multiband Compressor type was actually my very first candidate for compressor pedal. In fact had it been more readily in stock in the UK at the time I would very likely have one of these. As it was it just seemed to take an age for it to get into distribution and by that time I was fully converted to mini compressors then. This of course makes use of Boss/Roland's proprietary DSP framework MDP Multi-Dimension Processing where the compression targets individual frequency bands to different degrees. Some people shy away from this because of the DSP element - but this is a very capable and pretty great sounding compressor nonetheless.

 

4 Controls :

  • Level = Output Level
  • Attack = Speed / Intensity of Attack/Release
  • Ratio = 1:1 > ∞:1
  • Compression = Degree of compression sustain

Darkglass Hyper Luminal Compressor - £229

Type - VCA

 

Bass effects specialist Darkglass has produced something of a stalking-horse compressor here which cleverly marries mechanical and touch controls with 3 different compression modes. And while initially developed for Bass, you can use the connected Darkglass App to flip the pedal to Guitar Mode and take advantage of these quite distinct flavours of Compression. This is another pedal that has piqued my interest on more than one occasion, and were I a compression devotee, I would certainly look to adding one of these to the collection. It may very well happen one of these years, but is highly unlikely to do so in any kind of hurry!

 

6 Controls :

  • Blend = Wet > Dry
  • Time = Speed of Attack/Release
  • Output = Level
  • Compression = Degree of compression sustain
  • Ratio = 1:1 > ∞:1
  • Compressor Mode = Bus (Solid State Logic Bus Compressor) / FET (1176) / Sym (Super Symmetry 116 GeV Compressor)

Diamond Pedals Comp Jr Optical Compressor - £209

Type - Optical (Vactrol opto-isolator)

 

You can tell the Diamond Pedals Optical Compressor is significant by the fact that Mooer modelled their Mini Yellow Comp on exactly this pedal. I in fact included the Diamond Compressor in my Colour Wheel article as The representative for that tone of yellow in all of pedaldom. It's a very simple and elegant style of compressor - and very much Diamond's own take on this format. It also benefits from the smart EQ-Tilt control - I think these may have been the first compressors to make use of that . Recommended for those looking for a simple and elegant solution to their compression needs!

 

3 Controls :

  • Compression = Degree of compression sustain
  • EQ = Tilt-EQ - More Treble/Less Bass and vice-versa
  • Volume = Output Level

DryBell Unit67 Compressor + EQ + Boost - $289

Type - 1176 Style FET, Parallel Compressor

 

This Compressor + EQ + RangeMaster style Boost is one of 2 fairly similar extended range pedals in this listing - possibly you could include the Emerson Custom Duke Silver also in that company where you're getting quite a bit more than just a compressor. This pedal arrived shortly on the scene after I had acquired by Jackson Audio Bloom, and I thought it shared several similarities while being more mechanical / manual and probably more likely to appeal to the more vintage style of player. The fact that the main boost element is RangeMaster style is rather unique, and the way the Unit67 controls work together make it actually a pretty unusual and unique pedal. Had I not gone for the Jackson Audio Bloom, I feel pretty sure I would have quite likely gone for one of these in its stead.

 

It has 7 Controls :

  • Boost = -7dB > +22.4dB
  • EQ = Range/Low/High
  • Input = Low Compression (+4dB) / High Compression (+10dB)
  • Range = RangeMaster Mid-Range Spectrum, Unit is 12 o'c
  • Low = Low Frequency Control : -15.8dB u> +9.3 dB unity @ 12:30
  • High = High Frequency Control : -13.2dB > +7.2dB unity @ 12:30
  • Sustain = Parallel Compression Level / Dry/Wet Mix

EarthQuaker Devices The Warden V2 Optical Compressor - £205

Type - Optical

 

Pretty much everything EarthQuaker makes is fully pro grade and worthy of consideration, while its Optical compressor doesn't always feature so readily in compressor pedal roundups. It's a highly competent example of the Optical type with plenty of range and controls. Some people really like it, while it is likely overlooked by the majority for one reason or another - it's been pretty much a staple classic within the EQD range for the last 6-7 years.

 

It has 6 Controls :

  • Tone = Treble Cut > Boost
  • Attack = Speed of Attack, CCW is fast
  • Release = Speed of Release, CCW is fast
  • Level = Overall Output
  • Ratio = 1:1 > ∞:1
  • Sustain = Intensity of Compression

Emerson Custom Duke Silver Parallel Compressor with 3-Band EQ - $199

www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1165407700318156

 

Type - FET/VCA? (Unspecified)

 

This one seems to have been launched late last year from what I can see - I believe it's still in stock at Sweetwater, but seems largely sold out elsewhere. Moreover there are no proper demos available - besides the above references brief clip from the Emerson Facebook page. This is sort of in the DryBell / Jackson Audio ball-park with its combination of 3-Band EQ and Compressor, while it doesn't have the specific boost component of the other two. This is one of the more recently released of these compressors, and I thought it opportune to include it in this selection despite the lack of references!

 

7 Controls :

  • Sustain = Degree of Compression Sustain
  • Level = Output Volume
  • Low = Low Frequencies Control
  • Mid = Mid Frequencies Control
  • High = High Frequencies Control
  • A : Attack = Speed of Attack/Release
  • M : Mix = Dry/Wet Mix

Empress Effects Compressor MKII - $249

Type - FET

 

I believe this is the newest of the compact compressors - just recently announced at NAMM, and yet to make it's full proper debut. It essentially miniaturises the format from the previous medium-size enclosure, and still manages to add a few extra cool features along with top-mounted jacks. Empress is very well known for its compressor, and many rated highly this one's larger predecessor. I'm proud that this site's ongoing influence is encouraging builders to aim for more compact pedal solutions where possible - and this is an exemplary candidate for that approach. It's one of relatively few here that has a proper segmented VDU LED metering element, in fact the only one with a full 15 segments! Definitely one worthy of consideration when it finally materialises in a month or two!

 

8 Controls :

  • Input = Compressor Input Level
  • Output = Output Volume
  • Attack = Speed of Attack : 50μs > 50ms
  • Release = Speed of Release : 50ms > 1s
  • Mix = Dry>Wet Mix
  • Tone = EQ Tilt High to Low Frequency
  • Ratio = 2:1 / 4:1 / 10:1
  • Side Chain High Pass Filter = 120Hz / Off / 240hz

Foxpedal Refinery V2 Compressor - $189

Type - OTA

 

I'm a big fan of Foxpedals, even though their product development has somewhat stagnated of late. They nevertheless have a number of really attractive and appealing pedals already in their range - including this 6-controls compressor. I had considered this for a while back in the day - up against the Bondi 2026 and Origin Cali76 - but went in a different direction in the end. One of the best looking designs out there graphics-wise!

 

Controls :

  • Attack = Speed of Attack : Fast is CCW
  • Release = Speed of Release : Fast is CCW
  • Level = Volume Output
  • Ratio = 1:1 > ∞:1
  • Bright = Brightness Switch : On/Off
  • Blend = Dry > Compression Mix

Friedman Sir-Compre Optical Compressor - £169

Type - Optical

 

Dave Friedman's signature take on compressor obviously plays close to his amp roots, with a very specific grittiness ability right at the core of the circuit - where you can easily segue into overdrive territory. Optical compressors tend to be more honed towards their cleaner side - while Dave is obviously bucking the trend here with his particular variant. I'm not seeing many of these in stock at the moment - while of course I prefer the much prettier limited edition version as pictured.

 

5 Controls :

  • Volume = Output Level
  • Treble = Shapes High Frequency content
  • Gain = Ability to 'Overdrive' Compressor
  • Compression = Degree of compression / sustain
  • Tight = Shapes Low Frequency Content - CW tightens up the signal

Greer Amps Lamplighter Optical Compressor - £219

Type - Optical

 

Another well-loved Optical style compressor with elegant 3-way control over the Attack Speed. There's quite a number of pros who seem to like this particular variety. I'm only just now realising quite how many optical varieties there are in this listing!

 

Controls :

  • Volume = Output Level
  • Compression = Degree of compression / sustain
  • Treble = Degree of High Frequency content in signal
  • Release = Speed of Attack/Release : Medium/Fast/Slow
  • Comp Mix = Dry > Compression Blend

Jackson Audio Bloom - Optical Compressor + 3-Band EQ + Boost - $329

Type - Optical (LA-2A)

 

This is of course my current favourite, and the only one that allows you to instantly switch between modes using the two footswitches. Press and hold the left one and you can step between 6 colour-coded dynamically controlled Attack and Release profiles - with two featuring slide-guitar style dual compression. You press both footswitches to activate or bypass the 3-Band EQ. And holding down the right one allows you to fade in our out of the boost. This is such a clever pedal really it's a marvel that there aren't more similar to it. The elegance of using it, much like my VS Audio Alchemy Chorus means that I'm very unlikely to ever want to move away from such a conveniently controlled experience - and It sounds amazing too! I largely tend to live around the Magenta Mode.

 

7 Controls :

  • Volume = Output Level
  • Blend = Dry > Compression Mix
  • Compression = Degree of compression / sustain
  • Bass = Low Frequency EQ
  • Middle = Mid Frequency EQ
  • Treble = High Frequency EQ
  • Bloom = Boost Level / Blooming Boost

6 Compression Modes :

  • WHITE = Ultra-Fast 2.5 ms Attack
  • GREEN = Fast 7.5 ms Attack
  • MAGENTA = Medium 50 ms Attack
  • BLUE = Slow 120 ms Attack
  • AQUA = Slide Mode / Dual Compression
  • ORANGE = Aux Compressor / Adjustable Dual Compression via internal trim-pots

JHS Pulp N Peel Compressor V4 - £217

Type - Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer Clone

 

Funnily enough I could probably have named the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer as the 7th key type of compressor - as we have two such on this listing. The Analog.Man Bi-Comp as above, and this very aptly named JHS version which has quite a following too.

 

5 Controls :

  • Volume = Output level
  • Compression = Degree of compression / sustain
  • EQ = Tilt EQ - proportion of High to Low and vice versa
  • Blend = Dry > Compression Mix
  • Dirt = Added gain grit

J Rockett IQ Multiband Compressor - £179

Type - Multiband

 

One of 3 Multiband Compressors in the listing alongside Boss's CP-1X and TC Electronic's Hypergravity. This however is the only one that give you precise manual control over each of the 6 frequency bands available. Actually a really clever compressor where to select exactly what frequency's are to be targeted for Compression, and to what degree.

 

8 Controls :

  • Volume = Output Level
  • Mix = Dry > Compression Blend
  • Band 1 = 100Hz
  • Band 2 = 200Hz
  • Band 3 = 400Hz
  • Band 4 = 800Hz
  • Band 5 = 1.5K
  • Band 6 = 3.2K

Keeley Compressor Plus - £129

Type - VCA

 

One of 4 brands which have become synonymous with Compressors - alongside Diamond, MXR and Origin Effects no doubt - with Becos FX likely to join that gang at some stage in the future. Keeley though probably has the honour of the most ubiquitous Compressor pedal of all - the 4-knob Compressor Plus! Thousands swear by this, and it remains a perennial favourite in all its different editions and colourways.

 

5 Controls :

  • Sustain = Degree of compression
  • Level = Output Volume
  • Blend = Clean > Full
  • Tone = Adjusts Brightness
  • Single Coil / Humbucker = Dynamic Attack/Release settings per pickup type

Mad Professor Forest Green Optical Compressor - £165

Type - Optical

 

The Forest Green is yet another Optical style compressor, but does something clever with the Compression/Sustain knob where you can switch between modes, and either manually set or dynamically render Attack/Release values. This is of course based on the Björn Juhl BJFE original which is still very highly regarded.

 

4 Controls :

  • Level = Volume for Compressor Mode, Level of Sustain in Sustain Mode
  • Compression = Degree of Compression
  • Tone = Full Range CCW, Tighter at 12 o'c with less low-end, Reduced Upper Treble when CW
  • Compression/Sustain = Standard Compression or Sustain Modes on the dial - with Dynamic Attack/Release values - further fine-tuned by internal trim-pots

MXR M76 Studio Compressor - £182

Type - FET

 

While MXR is more famously associated with its Ross / OTA style DynaComp line of compressors, my preferred one from the range is this FET Style Studio variety. It has a really smart control topology with sort of the maximum range available from the minimum of controls.

 

5 Controls :

  • Release = Speed of Release
  • Attack = Speed of Attack
  • Ratio = 4:1 / 8:1 / 12:1 / 20:1
  • Output = Volume
  • Input = Compressor Input Level - impacts gain

Ohmless Pedals Yara V2 Optical Compressor - $219

Type - Optical

 

I included this cool Optical variety in my last Compact Compressor Pedal overview which is now a good 2 years old. Possibly I've overdone the Opticals this time around - but there are certainly lots of decent examples within that category!

 

5 Controls :

  • Volume = Output level
  • Compression = Degree of compression
  • Blend = Clean > Compression Mix
  • Tone = Full Range CCW, Tighter at 12 o'c with less low-end, Reduced Upper Treble when CW
  • Release = Speed of Release

Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe - £269

Type - FET

 

Origin Effects has no doubt become the favourite Pro Pedalboard Studio Style Compressor - with the Cali76 Compact Deluxe leading the charge in so many ways. It's been on my wishlist a number of times, and shortly before I acquired the Jackson Audio Bloom, I was right on the cusp of getting this - it really could not have been closer. A couple of years back the Cali76 was the golden standard pretty much, while I feel there are a number of enticing alternatives that have arisen in the interim - including the very formidable Becos FX CompIQ Pro Stella. There's something about the build quality and looks of this pedal though which makes it a perennial classic, and I feel it will still dominate pro pedalboards for many years to come.

 

6 Controls :

  • Dry = Amount of Dry, uncompressed signal at the output
  • Out = Output level
  • In = Amount of input preamplifier - impacts gain
  • Ratio = 1:1 > ∞:1
  • Attack = Speed of Attack, CCW is slow
  • Release = Speed of Release, CCW is slow

OvniFX Smoothie Opto Optical Compressor - $210

Type - Optical

 

I had come across Ovni FX several times in passing, but had never fully realised what I was dealing with until now. The Smoothie actually has quite the cult following - particularly among bass players, but has also found support from many a guitar players. Some of the early enclosures look a little rough and ready, and the plastic sticker decal on the top surface still looks a little DIY in many ways, but it conceals a really great-sounding compressor whose every batch sells out near instantly. In fact there are none available right now as far as I'm aware, but surely more due to be made soon for 2020. The Smoothie originally came in VCA variety I believe, while most of the more recent ones seem to have been of the Opto Optical type.

 

6 Controls :

  • Attack = Speed of Attack
  • Sustain = Degree of compression sustain
  • Tone = Tilt EQ : More Treble/Less Bass and vice-versa
  • Compression Volume = Output Level
  • Threshold = Input Threshold : 0db/-20dB
  • Direct = Amount of Dry/Clean signal

Pettyjohn Electronics Crush Compressor - discontinued - $369

Type - VCA

 

This is the one compressor in this listing which has actually been recently discontinued - but there seem to be a fair few examples still in distribution. Pettyjohn Electronics is all about proper studio-grade equipment, and I felt that it was well including this one in the roundup. Note that both the Origin Effects and Pettyjohn enclosures are slightly larger that exact 'compact' dimensions, but I always feel they are near enough to be included in the same category. The entire pedal construction exudes quality, and of course the internals are made of the very best components. Pettyjohn famously gives you lots of upgrade options - so you can select different configurations which better suit your preferences

 

Controls :

  • Level = Output Volume
  • Ratio = Medium/Hard/Light
  • Compression = Degree of compression
  • Tilt-EQ = More Treble/Less Bass and vice-versa
  • Release = Medium/Short/Long
  • Clean Mix = Clean > Compression blend

TC Electronic Hypergravity Multiband Compressor - £115

Type - Multiband

 

Of all the Compressors here the TC Electronic Hypergravity is likely the most versatile overall by virtue of its sleek TonePrint App. Although there are just 5 controls on the pedal itself, the TonePrint app lets you calibrate the the frequency targeting to the finest degree. Some have a mixed experience of TonePrint pedals - particularly those that allow just one variety of TonePrint onboard the pedal at any time - but if you know what you're after, I don't think anything else gives you quite as much granular control.

 

5 Controls :

  • Sustain = Degree of compression sustain
  • Mode = Spectra / TonePrint / Vintage
  • Level = Output Volume
  • Attack = Speed of Attack
  • Blend = Clean > Compression Mix

ThorpyFX The Fat General Parallel Compressor - £219

Type - Optical (OTC-201)

 

This is one of the simplest and most elegant Compressor pedals in this roundup. Thorpy ensure that not a single control goes to waste - and in fact that the maximum usable range is squeezed out of the pedal. This is in fact a celebrated Dan Coggins collaboration, and the successor to his own Lovetone OCT-201 pedal. By virtue of its parallel signal path you get all the benefits of compression with none of the downsides. This is the antithesis to something like the Becos Stella, but has found legions of fans who love it for its consistent dependability and minimal signal-colouring. It's one of just a handful here that I would consider adding to my Compressor rotation.

 

4 Controls :

  • Treble = Degree of Brightness
  • Sustain = Amount of compression sustain
  • Mode = Blend (Parallel Compressor with Mix)/Juicy (More Punch with hint of Dry)
  • Balance = Dry > Compression Mix

Walrus Audio Deep Six V3 Compressor - £179

Type - OTA

 

This is yet another really solid compressor which still falls somewhat under the radar. It pretty much has everything you would want of a modern compressor - while the vogue in some circles though has gravitated towards FET, Optical and VCA styles. You still see this on a smattering of pro boards though which nicely underlines its credentials.

 

5 Controls :

  • Level = Output Volume
  • Tone = Bass Cut - CCW More Bass
  • Sustain = Degree of compression sustain
  • Blend = Clean > Compression Mix
  • Attack = Speed of Attack

Wampler Ego Compressor - £189

Wampler Ego Compressor - £189

Type - OTA

 

For the longest time the Mini Ego version of this was my favourite compressor pedal. Using exactly the same circuit, but with 2-way toggle switches in place of the full range Tone and Attack knobs of this full-size version. I often wondered why the Mini could not have Mini Knobs in place of those toggle, but to be fair, I never seemed to miss them - the Mini performed quite brilliantly for my needs. And its older sibling still has a very loyal following. Possibly it needs a couple of updates, as there is really quite some feisty alternative around nowadays. Nonetheless one of the best sounding Compressors out there.

 

5 Controls :

  • Sustain = Degree of compression sustain
  • Tone = Adds Sparkle and Brightness as you turn CW
  • Attack = Speed of Attack, CCW is Fast
  • Volume = Output Level
  • Blend = Clean > Compression Mix

Final Thoughts

So I guess the question is which of this illustrious company do I really like the look of, and would consider worthy / useful in being added to my rotation. There is no change in the Jackson Audio Bloom being my overall favourite - no one else comes close to the immediacy of playback options there - and to have everything footswitchable is just genius!

 

I think if you're looking for the very best Studio Style Compression you should probably be looking at the Becos FX Stella, Empress Effects Compressor MKII and Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe - with possibly the Darkglass Hyper Luminal being worth a look-in too.

 

For simplicity and elegance in use then I guess you're looking at the Analog.Man Mini Bi-Comp, Barber Tone Press, Diamond Comp Jr and ThorpyFX Fat General. And as thousands will tell you - you really cannot go wrong with a Keeley Compressor Plus.

 

Then for the remainder it's going to be a mix of price, availability, looks, features and personal appeal. When I started down this route, I kind of knew what compressors did on paper, but I had no experience of signal-chain placement and calibration.

 

Over the years I have come to regard the Compressor as one of The essential components in my signal chain - and the Jackson Audio Bloom is exactly at the right level for me. In terms of personal further acquisitions - the Becos Stella and Thorpy Fat General probably head my list, but I would also quite like the Analog.Man Bi-Comp Mini for the two specific flavours it offers. And I really rather like the look of the Darkglass Hyper Luminal and Empress Effects Compressor MKII - so those would be my own top picks.

 

I think if most players applied themselves properly they could find good use for a decent compressor - I would never leave the home without one!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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"Tiago - yes for sure it would be more versatile "...
03-Mar-2020
12 of the Best Compact Tube Screamer-style Pedals
"Thanks, I am currently undecided between the F"...
03-Mar-2020
12 of the Best Compact Tube Screamer-style Pedals
"The Jackson Audio Broken Arrow would be my own "...
02-Mar-2020
12 of the Best Compact Tube Screamer-style Pedals
"How does the Jackson Audio Broken Arrow tube "...
02-Mar-2020
The Kind of Pedal we would love to see Strymon do next
"In terms of doing an Iridium Deluxe - I would "...
18-Feb-2020
Waiting