Price paid: C$ 55
Purchased from: Long and McQuade
Ease of Use: The Super Comp is a fairly basic Compressor featuring only 3 knobs: Output, Attack Level and Sensitivity. Output is essentially the volume control for the pedal and sensitivity controls the amount of compression applied to the signal. Attack level, meanwhile, is a fairly powerful control- it allows you to adjust the amount of initial Pick attack attenuation achieved via compression. You can go from not attenuating the Pick attack what'soever (full right) to having almost no Pick attack at all (full left). I bought the pedal used, so there was no manual with it, but it is a super easy pedal to use. I find it best to have the Output and Sensitivity knobs set opposite one another (so that if Output is at 10 o'clock, Sensitivity would be at 2 o'clock) and tweaked from there. Such settings seem to be a pretty good place to start. From there, I usually have the attack dialed almost all the way up to keep notes crisp.
The best part about this pedal is that it has a somewhat limited range of adjustment- it just isn't possible to dial in any particularly awful settings. Yes, you can make a bad sound, but it requires very extreme settings. This is good because it keeps the pedal sounding decent even if it gets kicked on-stage. // 9
Sound: I use this pedal almost all the time with my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster. I found that the amp sounded just a little too open, lacking focus, regardless of what guitar I used (usually an ESP Eclipse, G&L ASAT Classic or Ibanez RG870QMZ w/ DiMarzio pickups). The amp just lacked a little bit of focus and sounded a hair unruly at times. I use the Compressor to provide very gentle compression just to even out the dynamics of the amp a little bit, rather than using it to get really squishy solo tones. I also use the pedal with my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe to help make country-style chicken pickin' licks sound more balanced.
Anyways, the pedal is fairly quiet in most situations. Like any compressor, it does have a habit of sometimes boosting noise levels by inadvertently boosting unwanted noise along with quieter notes. It isn't a huge issue so long as the signal chain is pretty clean before the pedal (I run the pedal right after the guitar). When I ran the pedal in the effects loop (which over compressed my tone), I found the noise to be more of an issue. However, it is fairly quiet as far as compressors go.
The overall sound of this Compressor is pretty mild. It can do some fairly squished tones at extreme settings, but it is definitely voiced to produce a more subtle effect. Used gently, it helps to control your tone just a little bit, while providing a hair more body and sustain to your natural sound. The pedal can also be used to provide better balance when chicken pickin' or Travis picking, which makes is a great pedal for country players. Used with distortion, the pedal tightens up the highs without getting farty on the lows. Overall, it is fairly transparent and you really don't realize that it's on until you accidentally turn it off. Very nice.
The key feature for this Compressor is the Attack Level control. It allows you to dial in how much the initial Pick attack is compressed, allowing you to have a really sharp initial attack that gradually compresses. This allows you to keep a clear and precise attack while enjoying the benefits of a little bit of compression. Conversely, you could tame really bright and biting pickups by backing off the attack level and using a little bit of compression. This is very useful for creating a nice smooth jazz tone. Essentially, the Attack Level knob allows you to tailor the pedals abruptness to suit your liking, vastly improving the pedals versatility. // 8
Reliability & Durability: The pedal is pretty well bombproof. It has a heavy metal casing and the knobs are pretty solid. I've gigged the pedal a bunch of times, and I have yet to have an issue. My only real concern is that the batter is very hard to access (you need to remove the entire back-plate!). I use an external power supply (which annoyingly is located next to the input jack- just copy Boss and put it on the top already), so I'm not too worried about the batter, but this could prove to be an issue for some guitarists. There's really no reason not to have a quick access batter compartment of some sort. However, I see no reason why the pedal itself should suffer any issues whatsoever. // 9
Overall Impression: I am generally very happy with this pedal. I've long believed that a little bit of subtle compression goes a long way in improving a guitar rigs sound. This little pedal is easily one of the better pedals that I have tried over the years - it just does its job well without fuss or grief. Obviously, there are more intricate and powerful pedals and rack-mounted units available, but they are often more expensive and unnecessarily complicated. As a basic compressor, the super-comp is pretty much perfect.
In the 6 months I've had the pedal, I don't think I have played a gig without it, and it tends to stay on all night. It does a great job of providing you with a slightly improved version of your existing tone, while helping you punch through a mix a little better. I am quite happy with this pedal (I actually own 2- one lives on my pedal board the other at my practice space), and I will continue using them heavily. They just seem to give the right balance of performance and simplicity. // 9