The simplicity of the interface makes it an attractive piece for the live scenario. It has four knobs; input/compressor; ratio; level; and a discrete attack knob that is linked to a switch, which you can use to toggle automatic attack. The knobs are conveniently arranged in gain stage order of right to left starting with the input/compressor knob, then ratio, and then finally level. Though this may seem counterintuitive, your signal runs from right to left so it makes sense to me.
I first tried the pedal with a Gibson 335 and found it clean and subtle on a jazzy tone. The compression was nice and transparent and didn’t seem to alter the tone much switching between chordal and lead playing. The EQ switch, which is supposed to affect the high end frequency didn’t seem to do a great deal, but that’s probably due to the Gibson 335 more than anything. As I cranked the compressor I got a really nice sustain in my chordal playing and was able to adjust the attack manually to suit what I was doing, though in most cases flicking it to auto worked fine. As I increased the input/compression I found it didn’t really affect the tone and was quite surprised with the clarity throughout. I found myself tweaking my output level and compressor with my foot as I played to get the desired effects. This probably has a lot to do with the world class Rupert Neve transformer in the componentry.
Like all good audio gear, the real test is how these gadgets deal with higher frequencies, and low of course, and switching to my Stratocaster was when I really felt the pedal come alive. Immediately I noticed the musicality of the pedal; the EQ switch boosts the tops in all the right places as you flick between the three settings, and the attack knob made smashing out chords really fun. It instantly gave me a Prince/James Brown-style sound from my Strat that I had never achieved before.
Flicking the amp to a dirty channel was even more impressive. With a few little tweaks I was able to get some nice sustain without it sounding like a trick. My Strat is quite noisy, but the pedal seemed to negotiate that pretty well, as I was assuming the lack of a ‘release’ knob might be it’s downfall in this department.
Being a studio nerd, I took this pedal and ran some of my mono synths through it and then straight into my interface and Ableton Live on my computer. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality and cleanliness of the signal in the controlled studio environment. I am a guitarist who hasn’t really used compression pedals much in the past as I end up bypassing them in real life scenarios, but this thing feels like I have an A grade bit of gear at my feet. Initially I assumed a compression pedal was something I didn’t really want, but now I do kinda want this thing on the floor at a gig, and in the studio to run my synths through. Very impressed.