Best Compression Pedals of 2015

Looking for the best compression pedal? We’ve tested all the top compression pedals, spoken with other musicians, read all of the relevant forums, blogs and manuals, and put our findings in one convenient place. There is no perfect compression pedal for all guitarists, but here are a few of our top picks for 2015:

Visual Sound Comp 66 Review3Admin2015-05-16 09:05:51Visual Sound has gone for looks over sound quality with this cute looking stompbox, but are they going down the right route? The Visual Sound Comp 66 is the offspring of the Route 66 American Overdrive stompbox, an overdriver that incorporated a compressor. The company’s marketing blurb claims that owners of the Route 66 American Overdrive believed the compressor channel to be so good that it deserved a dedicated stompbox of its own, hence the development of the Comp 66.

Visual Sound Comp 66 Review

Visual Sound has gone for looks over sound quality with this cute looking stompbox, but are they going down the right route? The Visual Sound Comp 66 is the offspring of the Route 66 American Overdrive stompbox, an overdriver that incorporated a compressor. The company’s marketing blurb claims that owners of the Route 66 American Overdrive believed the compressor channel to be so good that it deserved a dedicated stompbox of its own, hence the development of the Comp 66.
Continue reading…

 

Behringer CS400 Compressor Review

Most Behringer pedals are cheaper knockoffs of a Boss counterpart. In this case, the Behringer CS400 Compressor Sustainer is a clone of the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer. Behringer manages to offer its pedal at a third of the price of Boss’s by using cheaper components. The CS400’s chassis is made out of plastic, the pots have plastic poles, and the plastic jacks are connected only to the circuit board, not fastened to the chassis in any way. The build quality of the CS400 could be described using two words: flimsy and cheap.
Continue reading…

 

Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Review

The Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone is a high-end compressor with a couple of unique features. Unlike most compressors, it sports a blend knob that allows users to mix their dry signal with the pedal’s compressed output. The Philosopher’s Tone also offers on-board distortion with its ‘grit’ control. Overall, the build quality of this pedal was very high. The LED on the one I tested was not centered well in its bezel, but I noticed no flaws otherwise.
Continue reading…

 

MXR M-132 Super Comp Review

Unlike many of its competitors, the latest version of MXR’s classic compressor comes with an ‘attack’ dial, as well as ‘output’ and ‘sensitivity’ knobs. The goal of this is to alleviate that squishing tone found in earlier compressor models and with a bit of tweaking, the MXR M132 achieves this quite well. However, be careful. Once past noon, we thought the sustain had an artificial quality about it. Best keep it on low settings for a more natural tone.
Continue reading…

 

MXR M-102 Dyna Comp Review

The MXR Dyna Comp is a very ubiquitous compressor pedal. It’s not hard to see why. It excels at what it does at a reasonable price. The controls are simple: just output and sensitivity (compression). This can be viewed as a deficiency, but the Dyna Comp’s proponents see it as a matter of taste. For example, MXR’s popular Phase 90 phaser pedal is loved by many because it’s single knob is so easy to use. Similarly, the Dyna Comp offers an attractive, if somewhat pared down palette of sounds in a very accessible design.
Continue reading…

 

Keeley Compressor Review

Firstly, to avoid confusion, this is the 2-dial version of the popular and highly acclaimed Keeley Compressor. In fact, many stompbox devotees would rate this shiny little box firmly in their top ten pedals of all time. And rightly so! Outwardly the Keeley Compressor might look very basic, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to do and it does it very, very well.
Continue reading…

 

MXR Custom Comp CSP202 Review

MXR’s CSP202 Custom Comp is a relatively new addition to their lineup. On the surface it looks like a Dyna Comp painted white, but the Custom Comp is a different animal altogether. Inside its slightly lighter chassis are two small pots controlling attack and tone. The footswitch has been replaced with one of much higher quality as well, though the general build style remains the same as any MXR pedal.
Continue reading…

 

Maxon CP101 Compressor Review

Coming from the same company that made the superlative Ibanez Tubescreamer, you’d expect the Maxon CP101 to be a real contender and certainly, when it came to the test, we had no complaints. Even at minimal settings, like any decent compressor should, the Maxon CP101 Compressor thickened out guitar tone nicely and managed to remove some of those weird noises that happen when you hit a string by mistake.
Continue reading…

 

Boss CS-3 Compressor Review

Boss has a solid reputation among musicians for building rugged professional gear at a reasonable price point. Their compressor stompbox, the CS-3 Compression Sustainer has been a reliable choice for guitarists for over two decades. I found this pedal to be very versatile. It adequately added definition and sustain to distorted tones, and was able to even out my strumming volume effectively.
Continue reading…

 

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Tube Compressor Review

Although targeting both the six-string and four-string markets, Electro-Harmonix’s Black Finger Compressor is really one for the four-stringers. At its heart are two 12AX7EH tube valves, which, no doubt, are the main reason for the above average price tag. However, those valves are the reason behind the authentically vintage sound produced by the Black Finger.
Continue reading…