Price paid: $ 199
Purchased from: Make'n Music
Sound — 10
The sound quality can only be described as pristine. The word-of-mouth reputation building around Diamond, and around this pedal in particular is no surprise after the first test run with this pedal. At home practice volume or full gig volume, the pedal added no noticeable noise, whatsoever, and the sound quality of the compression and the EQ tilt are both studio-grade. No bad setting could be found on this pedal.
Overall Impression — 10
It's hard to imagine ever calling anything perfect, but compared to its brethren, the Diamond Compressor pedal sets the bar. The pedal does its job extraordinarily well, with absolutely no additional noise audible in the signal, the EQ tilt, the volume setting, standard 9v battery and power adaptor operation, in a tough, durable and small pedalboard-friendly format. This is a well-designed and well-executed product.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Again, Diamond shows why they have generated such a buzz, based on the quality of their craftsmanship. The Compressor is in a Solid Metal housing, with a tough, durable surface and solid, high-quality controls. Further, the control knobs have a very smooth taper from end-to-end, and everything has a thick, industrial feel to it.
Ease of Use — 10
The Diamond Compressor (Model CPR-1) is about as easy to use as you can get for an effect pedal. There is a battery compartment (standard 9V), as well as a connection for a standard 9v 100mA power connection, which will work with any Boss or Ibanez style power supply (sold separately), or any standard connection to a power supply such as the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power series, or Dunlop Brick, or BBE Supacharger, as examples. A total of four controls include knobs for Compression, EQ and Volume, and a standard toggle switch for ON/OFF. Let's look at each of these in more detail. The Compression knob, unsurprisingly, sets the amount of compression to be applied to the incoming signal. To explain this a bit further, the idea behind compression is to "squish" the signal, which creates the effect of evening out notes, where loud notes are softer and soft notes are louder, so that overall chords sound more equalized in volume. This also translates into how much increased sustain the user can expect when holding a note. The EQ knob is an interesting concept. It has a zero position, with a slight indent you can feel when turning the knob, to lock it in. At this position, the knob is not doing anything to the signal. However, as you turn to the left (bass), or to the right (treble), you start to apply what Diamond calls an EQ "tilt" to the signal, which shifts the overall frequency to "more bass" or "more treble". This can go from very subtle to very extreme, depending on how you dial it in. This does a very nice job of shifting the balance when playing through amps considered "dark" or "bright" by nature. For example, this increases the treble and brightens up the sound when playing through a Bogner XTC 101B. It adds a bit of complexity to trying to dial in your tone, but it's a nice Tool to have above and beyond a traditional EQ pedal. The Volume knob is simply that, the volume of the signal as it leaves the pedal. In effect, this actually allows you to reduce the output level of your signal before it hits the preamp, let's say if you want to reduce very high output active pickups, or if you want to use this as a clean boost to increase the output of pickups with a more Vintage voicing. Even if you find yourself in a situation where you don't need a compressor at all, you can still use the Volume knob on its own and just toggle the pedal on as a solo boost. Finally, while the ON/OFF toggle Switch is self-explanatory, it's important to note that this is a true bypass pedal, so when disengaged, the signal is completely unaffected.