A compressor pedal is a piece of gear that helps boost different sounds. A compressor pedal can help make a loud screeching sound quieter or make louder the sound of an acoustic strumming pattern. Compressor pedals are mainly used to reduce the sound range as well as make them subsist in the same space of sound range without distorting the original sound.
Compressor pedals are very important even though their role may seem simple. As a guitarist, having a guitar that can help you improve both your sound and performance can create a huge difference no matter whether it’s a new amplifier, strings or compressor pedal. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean that their impact won’t be felt as they help enhance your play using a little effort from you. In addition, they’re easy to set up and use which makes them a must have for most guitarists.
With that, let’s take a look at some of the best compressor pedals that you can get in the market today.
1. Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer
The Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer compressor pedal even though affordable, doesn’t compromise on its purpose and you can be sure that it’ll be an excellent add-on to your arsenal of guitar equipment.
• A good quality compressor dedicated to enhancing the sound of your guitar both during a practice session and live performances
• Captures all the low and high sounds in real time compressing them appropriately for the best performance
• Ability to give you unique sounds that are new
• Has three decay mode rates allowing you to switch between different sounds depending on what you need to produce
• Can easily be modified to suit your playing needs
• Sold with a power supply
• Suitable for people who are looking for something they can experiment with
• Affordable with a variety of uses
• Blends in quite well with a multiple pedalboard setups
• It’s not a loop compressor pedal hence you will need to press it down in order for it to work
2. TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor
The TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor stands out for being a multi-band compression and comes with the Tone Print technology.
• Comes with the Tone Print technology that enables you to edit various parameters
• Ability to modify multiple parameters means you are able to dial in most compression response that you’d ever want
• It’s a digital compressor pedal that still manages to replicate the vintage voicing control position found in early analog compressors pretty well
• Pairs nicely with brightly voiced instruments
• Buffered or True Bypass
• Ability to merge the unaffected signal with the compressed thanks to the blend control which lets you retain quite a lot of your guitar’s tone all while still gaining from the tightened dynamic range
• You can charge it or use batteries meaning you will never miss a minute of play due to charge issues
• To get the maximum play out of this pedal, you will need to edit your parameters from the Tone Print Software without which you won’t get the most out of it
3. Empress Effects Compressor Analog
Empress Effects is known for making advanced compressor pedals than some of the pedals we have reviewed in our list. While it might seem a bit pricey, it has a few features and functions that some pedals don’t have.
• A full-on packed bundle compressor pedal that improved the sound of your guitar whether on tour or backstage
• Even when modified, you are still able to achieve transparent, crisp and clear sound
• Ability to blend uncompressed signals while comfortably using the control to attack and release
• For maximum effect, the pedal comes with three compression ratios whether you are playing in or out of your studio
• With a simple design, it lets you easily switch between options without causing a fuss unlike other pedals
• It can easily compress and improve any type of signal that can boost your guitar playing skills
• It has easy and accurate controls
• Ability to create amazing soundscapes each time you use it
• Has a single analog path
• It’s pricey
4. MXR M102 Dyna Comp Compressor Pedal
The MXR M102 Dyna Comp compressor pedal seems to be a darling among many of its users as it has numerous five-star reviews from owners on Amazon.
• It is well-priced making it a good budget pedal
• It is bright red which means your compressor pedal will always attract attention given the attractive design
• Ability to capture all the notes you play without any issues thanks to the sensitive controls
• Produces a fantastic tone as the compressor has the ability to even all the uncomfortable, high sounds at the same time amplifying the hardly hearable and quiet sounds
• Suitable for guitar players as it works best with thin guitar strings
• It’s quite simple given that it has one toggle and two controls and isn’t as fancy as other models but still manages to pack a punch producing a balanced sound for both quiet and loud sounds
• Classic and slick design
• Not ideal for bass strings as it works well with thin guitar strings
As mentioned, compressor pedals are designed to balance all your sounds, both quiet and loud. Because of this, a compressor pedal can dampen your play which is something that works for some players and not others. As such, not every artist will opt for a compressor pedal. Some artists can swear by it while others avoid it entirely. As such, it is a matter of preference which will also determine the pedal you end up buying.
That said, compressor pedals are very easy to use and come in different sizes, color, and design. Each pedal is designed in its own unique way, and that means that each pedal will produce a different sound depending on where you place them on a signal chain. Again, where to place the compressor pedal is a matter of individual choice as long as you are able to achieve the sound that you want.