Price paid: $ 259
Purchased from: robertkeeley.com
Sound — 9
I'm currently using this Compressor as a part of a pedalboard in progress, going into a Mesa Boogie Lonestar Classic 2x12 amplifier and mainly using an Ibanez Jem7v as the guitar going into it. It is the first pedal in the signal chain. The tone is not altered in any significant or undesirable way. To the extent that it might alter the tone, it improves it in my opinion. It does add a little bit of noise if I use it in conjunction with an Overdrive or distortion pedal, but not in any overbearing or intolerable way and this is something that can easily be fixed with a noise gate or Hum Debugger at the end of the signal chain. I find myself leaving the pedal on most of the time. I use it to get a really tight clean sound with lots of sustain that very closely approximates the kind of sounds that Eric Johnson gets for his chordal playing. I also use it in conjunction with my Xotic BB Preamp (with the gain low, not much higher than 9 o'clock) to push it a little more, and this gives me a really nice, full lead sound. It's never dissapointed me in terms of general sound quality.
Overall Impression — 9
I love the way that this pedal enhances both clean and overdriven sounds. It is definitely a keeper compared to, say, the Boss Compressor. Ideally, I would want it to be completely noiseless, but I'm not aware of any Compressor that truly is completely noiseless when going into an amp at any significant volume level. It can be useful for just about any musical style, as a clean booster, for lush chordal sounds, to kick distortion to the next level. If it were stolen or lost, I'd definitely get the exact same pedal again if I could.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've owned this pedal for about half a year and it has not given me any problems yet. I have used it for gigs (more specifically, open mic nights) and it did its job well. When I used it through the Dr Z amps at the open mic nights that I play at, it wasn't any less good sounding. I recall accidentally dropping it on a wooden floor one time but it wasn't really damaged internally or externally.
Ease of Use — 10
I have had no problem using this pedal. The function of the knobs are well explained in the manual, which includes a variety of suggested settings for different uses. The fact that the attack and clipping knobs are actually on the front of the pedal to be useful in comparison to the 2-knob version because it seems like an unnecessary task to have to actually open up the pedal from behind to make adjustments. Since my guitar has very high output pickups, it is very convenient to have the clipping knob in the front in order to reduce the input signal.