Analogman Compressor Review & Demo

I’ve been pretty vocal on this site about my disdain for compressors. Well, it’s not really disdain…I just can’t really find a proper use for them in my rig. Some people get great sounds out of them, and that’s totally cool. They’re just not for me at the moment. (At the moment, of course, because as is my habit, next week I’ll probably be raving about them.) The Analogman did not change my views on that for the moment……but it did come close. I used to have an Emma compressor (handmade in Denmark…mmm…everything sounds better from Denmark…no, it doesn’t…but it does give you the ever sought after ‘foreign pedal bragging rights’, which is of course way better than good tone), which in my humble opinion, sounded better than some front of house rackmount compressors. And this Analogman was definitely comparable to the Emma.

AnalogmanCompressor.jpg picture by rypdal95

Basically, a compressor constricts your tone, which is why I don’t like them so much. I’m a ‘guitar signal purist’ to a fault, sometimes. But they can be very useful in giving you sustain on lead notes, making your highs less shrill and your lows less boomy and just generally making all your volumes and dynamics more equal to each other, giving your overdrives a sustainy-clean-but-gritty metal tone, and also just giving your overall tone an eq’d boost…kind of cleaning and focusing your tone. Some people just leave them on all the time for this. And the Analogman did all of these functions quite well.

Compressors are also commonly used for that spanky ’80’s pop tone and country chicken pickin’. I mention this because you can pick out in the video how I try to demo these two styles on my guitar and fail very miserably. You can tell I have no idea what style to play with a compressor on. hehe But you can also hear how transparent it is. By nature, compressors kill your tone. The magic comes when you can just kill the things you don’t like about your tone, and let the rest of your true tone shine through.

So here’s the demo:

Good times. I’m such a poser. You can hear how it effects the tone, but doesn’t absolutely kill it, though. Which makes it a really good comp pedal. Props to Analogman. And I still don’t like compressors.

Splendid.
Karl.

74 thoughts on “Analogman Compressor Review & Demo

  1. FIRST!
    Heh…. you gave in.
    I like the sound about 3:08. Reminds me of how your SIB Varidrive 2nd channel sounds. (Course, that could be the whole computer-youtube thing)
    One of the best uses for the compressor is to use as a lead boost and treble boost for the leads.

    Its not for everyone! 🙂 I just love the clean sound, and how during soft worship and can get some nice Jazzy licks off.
    (so hit me up if you go to sell it!)

  2. agreed, I use mine with the compression all most all the way down and the output set to boost. It’s a boost that adds sustain. I love my Maxon CP101 but having a tone knob could be nice!!

    Funny story, when I got my comp my band mates wanted to hear my new toy so I A/B-ed it and I could see them looking around like, “should we tell him it doesn’t do anything?” Haha. They were expecting some sort of effect, not transparently adding sustain. Oh well, at least I knew it was doing something…

  3. @mike – that’s funny man!

    i never tried to use a compressor nor had the inclination to get one. but all these posts about compressor makes me want to get one. please stop fueling my GAS 😉

  4. Larry–ya, youtube’s own compression makes demo’ing a compression pedal almost a moot point. hehe And ya, they definitely have their uses, and this one is one of the best I’ve heard.

    And bro, so sorry, it just sold on Gearpage! I’ve got a done of other stuff for sale right now, hit me up if you’re interested. Some Mad Professor, TC, Sobbat…good times. hehe Not like we all need any more encouragement to buy gear! 😉

    Mike–haha That’s funny. Ya, most band members I’ve had won’t notice an effect unless it’s a flange or something. hehe But that means you’re doing your job of blending, and not letting the effects take over.

    How’s the Maxon?

    Rhoy–I’m totally with you…I’m not much into compression, and this one that I demo’d is already sold. I just can’t find a use for it. Hey! I actually said something ‘against’ buying gear! Good times! 😉

  5. Hey, could you tell me the difference between buffers, compressors, and noise gates (if there is any. I’m kinda new to these). I get a lot of high gain hiss from my pedal board as well as a little hiss from my guitar that is ever so annoying. I keep hearing about the ISP Decimator G Sting noise gate. You know anything about em? I’m ordering some loop masters that you recommended so hopefully that will help. But I was just curious about buffers/compressors/noise gates.

    Thanks,
    J

  6. Hey, J. A buffer is a pedal or a circuit within a pedal designed to help ‘push’ your signal through the cables or effects chain. The more signal path you have (i.e. the more effects and cable length), the more your signal gets bogged down and loses punch and clarity. Buffers are supposed to give the signal the extra push through the chain so that you don’t lose anything.

    Compressors are an actual effect. They compress your sound so that it’s not as ‘big.’ So, they can be really good to give you more punch, and added clean edge, or some really upfront lead tones. They also add sustain. However, to emphasize frequencies in this way, they also have to detract from other frequencies. So it’s fairly difficult to find one that sounds like it isn’t just destroying your tone. For me, compressors are nice in very small doses, or very mild settings.

    And noise gates are pedals or rackmount units designed to cut out certain frequencies…hopefully the ones that are causing the buzz and hum. Some of them just target known hum frequencies, and others allow you some flexibility in choosing the frequencies yourself. However, these can also suck the living daylights out of your sound.

    So, the Loop-Masters will help with keeping your signal pure, and not losing any punch, clarity, or high end. But noise is something different. The best thing to do is to isolate where it’s coming from. Plug into your rig like normal and listen for hum. Then plug directly from your guitar into your amp and see if the hum is gone. If not, you might have a tube going bad, or something grounded improperly on your guitar. If it does go away, it’s your board, and more than likely from one of your pedal’s adapters. I’d suggest, in that case, getting the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+. It powers all your pedals (most of them) from 8 isolated outputs; it reduced my hum and noise by a ton!

    Also, check for bad cables, and plug in your pedals one at a time to see if there might be one that’s causing it. And always make sure that your board and amp are plugged into the same circuit breaker/power strip.

    🙂 Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions on the noise, or if you tried my advice and it sucked. hehe

  7. Hey Karl, thanks for the info. So I tested everything like you said and it is definitely coming from either the amp (solid state 🙁 still saving up for a tubed) or my guitar (fairly new fender tele). I tried using different instrument cables (lava, George L’s and planet waves) and it didn’t make a difference so I know it’s not the cables. I plugged straight into the amp and the hiss is there. And I also noticed that when I take my hands off the guitar it gets louder. Any advice on how to take care of this problem?

    Thanks,
    J

  8. Okay, cool. Hums are horrible to deal with, but it’s always good to know you’re making progress. So, you’ve ruled out the pedalboard. If the hum is getting less when you touch the guitar, it’s a grounding issue. In essence, you’re becoming the ground when you touch the guitar.

    Usually that’s an open wire or bad shielding in the guitar. Sometimes it’s the amp. And sometimes it’s just plain bad building wiring. Is the hum consistent whether you play at home or at church?

    More than likely it’s the guitar. You might be able to tape something up or re-solder something. I’m left to making guesses since I can’t see it. But a good tech should be able to fix it.

    And then…there’s the fact that some teles and strats are just buzzy. lol That’s the unfortunate thing, and hopefully that’s not the case! 🙂

    If you have the ability to take it to a tech, that might be a good idea.

    Cheers, brother!

  9. Karl, what are you doing with a compressor? I thought I read some where that you don’t believe in compressors haha.

  10. hehe I don’t at the moment! 🙂 I got this months ago in some multiple pedal trade, and while I had it, I figured may as well do a demo and review. hehe Remind myself why I don’t like them.

  11. I use to think that a compressor was the “most optional” pedal in the pipeline. I changed my mind recently when I got rid of my digital pedals (Digitech, BOSS, …). I replaced that with a Tonebone. Then I realized that for some type of lead work the compressor really added the little extra sustain needed to make the guitar really sing. The main appications for a compresor for me are:
    1) Add sustain to distorted lead parts.
    2) For clean slide guitar parts.
    The one you demo sounds pretty good.

  12. Some of my favorite compressors are those which incorporate a ‘drive’ control as part of the compressor, enabling you to dial in some additional harmonic content to your guitar signal. For the longest time, I used a Visual Sound Route 66. The compressor side of the pedal was on all the time.

    I’ve since changed gears and replaced the Route 66 (which I still very much like and recommend) with a Durham SexDrive pedal (the pedal’s name for session player Bob Sextant). This pedal is also a big part of Brad Paisley’s sound. Out of all the pedals in my floorboard, the SexDrive is on all the time set to soft compression with just a little bit of the drive dialed in. It’s still ‘clean’, but the additional harmonics just ‘lush up’ the overall sound quality. You can see several demos at YouTube (here’s one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXnoE-vk2XM).

  13. Jslarochelle–good point. Compressors can be a very nice adder of sustain. It’s just that personally, I tend to like sustain that comes from the amp’s tubes a little better. Usually, if I’m not getting the sustain I like, it’s time for new strings, a fret dressing, or a new amp. hehe 🙂 But that’s just my extremely humble opinion. There’s a ton of way better guitarists who just love compressors, and get great tones out of them!

    I do totally agree with using compressors on slide parts. To get ‘that sound’, you really do need a level of compression going on. Great comment, and great points! Cheers!

    Mike–the SexDrive is supposed to be a killer pedal. Edge from U2 uses one as well. I guess I’m just still not a clean boost/tone-shaping pedal type guy. Well, at least for this week. 😉 Next week I’ll be all about the SexDrive and other compressor/tone-shapers. Don’t worry. I’m a guitarist. hehe 😉

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