• Pros: This is a versatile compressor with a lot of attitude. Build quality is somewhat better than lower-end MXR pedals.
• Cons: The internal controls are a pain to get at.
• Overall: This is a more fully featured compressor from MXR. It can get many sounds that the Dyna Comp cannot and compares well to other compressors in its price range.
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.
For clean picking, the Custom Comp was a joy to use. It could do everything from subtly enhancing clarity to completely flattening my sound, and everything in between. Compared to the Dyna Comp, the Custom Comp was more present and could produce higher output volumes. Its character actually reminded me more of an 80s Ibanez CP-9 than Dyna Comp. The internal attack and tone controls allow the Custom Comp to provide a wide range of compression settings for strumming as well. I was easily able to find settings that could even out my volume nicely, but retained the dynamic impression of my attacks.
I was also happy with the Custom Comp’s perfomance in front of a distortion chain. Getting good settings for a subtly distorted sound was more difficult than I would have liked, but the pedal was outstanding as a controlled boost. The Custom Comp can add a fair amount of gain to your signal if you want it, so getting your signal to a level that coaxes just the right amount of distortion out of your amp or pedal is easy.
The Custom Comp is a very versatile compressor. Removing the back plate to get at two of the knobs is annoying, but if you know where you want them, you’ll never have to worry about them drifting out of place. The Custom Comp also features true bypass switching, which is a plus for many guitarists. I found that this pedal is a lot more than a souped-up Dyna Comp. It performs well compared to most pedals in its price range.