PSA: Great Deal On An Optical Compressor

JasonE

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Hey Folks!

I ended up pulling the trigger on an optical compressor pedal based on a thread on TGP. I wanted to throw a note up here in case anyone may be looking for a pedal like this. It is the Mira Compressor Pedal from Walrus Audio. They severely over built these expecting a much higher demand and it didn't sell as well as they thought it would so they are blowing them out. It is normally a $279.99 pedal that is now selling for $103.99 at Sweetwater. This pedal works really well and I love the sidechain filter they put on it. It is a no brainer purchase at this price IMHO.

They keep selling out of them and getting more stock in. I have only had mine for about a week and I have seen them sell out twice. This price is below what they were selling for used on Reverb. Here is a link if you are interested.

 
What is interesting is that when they go out of stock at Sweetwater, like they are right now, the price goes up on them on Amazon. The Amazon listing is the Walrus Audio store. The current price on Amazon is $139.00. IMHO, the pedal is worth that but knowing that Sweetwater will get them back in stock and sell them for $103.99 would keep me from buying it from Amazon. When they go back in stock at Sweetwater, the price on Amazon will come down to $103.99. I have seen this happen twice now.
 
What is interesting is that when they go out of stock at Sweetwater, like they are right now, the price goes up on them on Amazon. The Amazon listing is the Walrus Audio store. The current price on Amazon is $139.00. IMHO, the pedal is worth that but knowing that Sweetwater will get them back in stock and sell them for $103.99 would keep me from buying it from Amazon. When they go back in stock at Sweetwater, the price on Amazon will come down to $103.99. I have seen this happen twice now.
That Is Interesting...I Will Wait For The $103.99 :)
 
My goodness that looks tempting.
I have been pretty impressed with how well the pedal works. You can get it set to a very subtle compression all the way up to a quick tight squeeze. The sidechain filter is something I have not seen on a pedal and I like what it does.
 
With them blowing these out they are getting a lot more pedals in the wild. I am betting it will be a good thing in the end. The pedal delivers IMHO. I think this will help get them some street cred and bring them more sales. I am also betting the prices go up on these after they sell out the excess.
 
I always question whether I need a compressor. I’ve never owned one as a stand alone piece. Have had them in some rack gear but can’t say I’ve messed with them much.
 
I always question whether I need a compressor. I’ve never owned one as a stand alone piece. Have had them in some rack gear but can’t say I’ve messed with them much.

Actually, I can relate. Partly it's because I'm a humbucker player, and a humbucker pushes the first gain stages of an amp into natural compression.

I love the LA-2A compressor which is an optical tube compressor. It's all I use for vocals or electric guitar. But I use it when tracking or in a mix, not in front of the amp.

Still, I'd like to try an optical compression pedal at some point. Seems like it might do some interesting things.
 
I typically use a compressor when playing into a clean amp. It helps with evening things out and giving me a little sustain. I prefer to not have them set too strong. I don't want to hear it grab the transient and squish it. I want it to come in slower and keep things in control and release smooth so I don't hear it let go. I want to have the thought that my tone really sounds full and even when I have it on and I don't want to really hear it working. This pedal does that. Optical compressors are a little smoother when they engage. This pedal has the right controls on it to get it to do what I described. If you want it to give you that hard squeeze sound like used in country chicken picking music, it can do that too if you set it more extreme.

I set this pedal at 100% compressed signal and don't use any of the original signal with the blend knob. IMHO, if you get a good compressor set right, you really don't need or want any of the unaffected signal in your sound.

There are a few other uses for a good compressor pedal.
Used early in your signal chain it can help even out volume differences between guitars or pickup changes.
Used after your drive pedals it can allow you to change or stack drive pedals and maintain a more even volume.
Used in the effects loop of a tube amp will allow you to set the compressor lower and cut back the volume on an amp that is running the preamp harder to get the tone you want at a lower volume and will still have the feel of the cranked amp.
With some amps it can be used as a solo boost that will help add some volume and clipping depending on the amp and where the compressor is placed.
 
I typically use a compressor when playing into a clean amp. It helps with evening things out and giving me a little sustain. I prefer to not have them set too strong. I don't want to hear it grab the transient and squish it. I want it to come in slower and keep things in control and release smooth so I don't hear it let go. I want to have the thought that my tone really sounds full and even when I have it on and I don't want to really hear it working. This pedal does that. Optical compressors are a little smoother when they engage. This pedal has the right controls on it to get it to do what I described. If you want it to give you that hard squeeze sound like used in country chicken picking music, it can do that too if you set it more extreme.

I set this pedal at 100% compressed signal and don't use any of the original signal with the blend knob. IMHO, if you get a good compressor set right, you really don't need or want any of the unaffected signal in your sound.

There are a few other uses for a good compressor pedal.
Used early in your signal chain it can help even out volume differences between guitars or pickup changes.
Used after your drive pedals it can allow you to change or stack drive pedals and maintain a more even volume.
Used in the effects loop of a tube amp will allow you to set the compressor lower and cut back the volume on an amp that is running the preamp harder to get the tone you want at a lower volume and will still have the feel of the cranked amp.
With some amps it can be used as a solo boost that will help add some volume and clipping depending on the amp and where the compressor is placed.
Your first scenario is probably how I’d want to apply it most of the time. I could see some potential in using for that quacky clean funk ala Chili Peppers. Probably be worth experimenting with on my H9 to see if I’d find in useful. I primarily use that for verbs and delay so if it seems like something I’d use, a dedicated pedal might be in order.
 
Your first scenario is probably how I’d want to apply it most of the time. I could see some potential in using for that quacky clean funk ala Chili Peppers. Probably be worth experimenting with on my H9 to see if I’d find in useful. I primarily use that for verbs and delay so if it seems like something I’d use, a dedicated pedal might be in order.
One thing to be aware of is that there are a few different types of compressors. They have different characteristics in how they work. I am not a big fan of the Ross compressor. They are usually too strong and hard to get a smooth compression out of them. They do the fast hard squish used in country music very well but are much harder to get a nice smooth compression out of. I ma not sure how many of the different types of compression multi effects units and modelers offer. I haven't really looked in my Kemper and FM9 deep enough to see. I don't use those units as much as I do my pedals and amps.
 
One thing to be aware of is that there are a few different types of compressors. They have different characteristics in how they work. I am not a big fan of the Ross compressor. They are usually too strong and hard to get a smooth compression out of them. They do the fast hard squish used in country music very well but are much harder to get a nice smooth compression out of. I ma not sure how many of the different types of compression multi effects units and modelers offer. I haven't really looked in my Kemper and FM9 deep enough to see. I don't use those units as much as I do my pedals and amps.
After a quick search, not much for glowing reviews of the H9 compressor so probably a bad gauge of usefulness.
 
I have an old Aphex Punch Factory Optical Compressor pedal that I used years ago with my bass. For kicks I just hooked it up to my pedal board wheich leads to a question. (Keep in mind the footswitch on this pedal is acting up a bit.)

i've never used a compressor on my guitar but of what I can tell, the pedal seems (to a degree) to smooth out an overdriven sound. Seems to take a touch of the "spikyness" out of the stop end. It's very subtle but I think that's what I'm hearing unless my old ears are playing tricks on me.

There's only two knobs on this compressor, Drive and Volume. For all I know maybe that's all you need.

Can a compressor smooth out the top end to an overdriven sound?
 
I have an old Aphex Punch Factory Optical Compressor pedal that I used years ago with my bass. For kicks I just hooked it up to my pedal board wheich leads to a question. (Keep in mind the footswitch on this pedal is acting up a bit.)

i've never used a compressor on my guitar but of what I can tell, the pedal seems (to a degree) to smooth out an overdriven sound. Seems to take a touch of the "spikyness" out of the stop end. It's very subtle but I think that's what I'm hearing unless my old ears are playing tricks on me.

There's only two knobs on this compressor, Drive and Volume. For all I know maybe that's all you need.

Can a compressor smooth out the top end to an overdriven sound?
First, a classic optical compressor like the LA-2A is a two knob device: Input level and threshold.

A compressor is essentially an automatic volume control that reacts to the amplitude (volume) of the incoming signal. It reduces the volume of loud sounds, and makes soft sounds louder. As you might guess, this kind of evens out the volume of what your ears perceive.

The hotter you push the input level of the incoming signal, and the lower you set the threshold, the more it operates on the amplitude of the signal. This can be balanced and adjusted in various ways to do different things depending on how you set the knobs.

The compressor isn't taking the harshness out of the top end, like an EQ. What your threshold is set to with your bass is merely reducing the amplitude of the attack portion of the note. Read on for the explanation.

The threshold control tells the compression circuit how low or high the signal volume has to be to attract the attention of the compression circuit, engage it, and reduce the level of the signal. The lower the threshold (and/or the higher the input level), the earlier it 'grabs' the note and squashes down the amplitude of the note attack, hence "less spike."

The higher the threshold the input level, the more signal the compression circuit allows through, so you hear the attack of the note.

If, for example, you wanted more transparent compression, for example on a vocal or acoustic guitar track, you'd set the threshold level at say, -10 db, or thereabouts, and you'd hear the note attack.

If you want to squash down the attack of the note to reduce the spike caused by the note attack, you'd set the level lower, like maybe -30 db, or so. Your ear perceives the lower level of the note's attack as "more dull, less spiky,"

Thus for vocals, you might want to allow the transients through and only engage the circuit at a higher volume level. If you want that Nashville chicken pickin' thing, you might want to set the threshold lower.

Etc. Carry on!
 
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