Price paid: A$ 200
Purchased from: 555 Guitars
Sound — 10
Humbuckers on all my guitars. 1st in my pedal chain, as recommended. Usually a univibe will follow into my tube amp. The compression on this baby is very transparent as long as your not boosting your signal too much, I like the sustain knob at about 2 o'clock. This ensures my picking isnt too rubbery from the compression, and the sustain on my guitar increases nearly 3 times longer. The blend knob is self explanatory, all the way left is all dry and all the way right is all wet. The grit knob opens up a very nice fuzz. what's different is instead of distorting your signal, it opens almost a parallel signal that has the fuzz so you will always hear your clean sound which is awesome. I really love it clean next to the fuzz but it also works well with another distortion too, fills the harmonic gaps in my amp distortion without making sound like a Krank amp with the gain all the way up. The treble knob is a cut/boost which is neutral at 12 o'clock. I find it a little weak in what it does but it still is noticeable, don't think you'll have an ehx Screaming Bird with it cranked though. And finally the volume knob, I have it at 12 noon. This is a slight signal cut but not much and it is dead silent. At about 2-3 o'clock you start to get background hiss, more if you have the grit on. All the way left will kill the signal, and all the way right is a 20db boost according to the manual. This thing sounds amazing to me, and aptly named too "philosopher's tone" if you love tweaking your sound, these 5 knobs are a great addition to your arsenal. I would have gladly paid twice as much as I did for the sound quality this has.
Overall Impression — 10
Playing for 10 years now and I'm a definite gear head. I grew up on Grunge and metal, and have been progressively moving to hard rock and now into clean sounds. Whatever style you play from hi gain to clean this thing sounds great, and the little additions of the treble and grit knobs make it that much more versatile. I went to the shop only to test it out but after hearing it I just couldnt leave it there, even though I couldnt afford it. If it were lost or stolen I would easily buy another for double the price, this thing has become like the Holy Grail to me. Biblical not ehx. It can't run on batteries and the jack says 12-18v but in the shop the had a 9v one spot, though I did read on the internet it has more headroom if you feed it the full 18v (which is the rating on its Original jack) and sooo affordable too. Think about how much you've spent on other pedals. This thing isnt expensive but it will stand out in quality against all your other pedals. Couldnt wish for anything more except a way to get over it, so awesome sounding, so well built, so tweak-able yet very intuitive, can't get over it. If your not satisfied by this compressor, your going to have a hard time finding a better one. Great job Pigtronix.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This thing looks extremely well built. I've only had it a week and I don't gig, if I did though I know I could rely on this unit. The painted finish looks much nicer than any picture or video and the Original US wall wart doesnt't seem flimsy, it also came with an australian adaptor too which is great. I hate the after market adapters I normally get.
Ease of Use — 6
Not too many reviews on this unit out there so here I go. Now this is my first Compressor so please be gentle on any "well duh" moments. 5 knobs: grit(distortion), sustain(threshold), blend(mix), treble(hi cut/boost) and volume(signal cut/boost). If you know your way around a Compressor I'm sure this will all be second nature but it did take me a while to make sure all the levels I was dialing in were usable. The manual was very easy to understand even though it didn't say much, and it also had presets to help you find basic tones.