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View Full Version : Pedal Review: Xotic SP Compressor


Risewithfaith
11-20-2012, 08:49 PM
This is my first real pedal review on here. I posted in an SP compressor thread last night with a short review of the SP. I only played it for an hour, at bedroom volumes, and initially I wasn't impressed and didn't like what it was doing to my low end. But, I got home from work today and was finally able to turn my amp up a bit. I played my tele w/nocaster pickups into a NOS Blues Jr. with JJ tubes.
This is a really good compressor. I figured my disappointment was due to lower volumes, so I'm glad I was able to turn it up. I just want to highlight a few features/perks that I particularly enjoy about this pedal. For reference, I have owned a Barber Tone Press, Keeley 4-knob, and the MXR Custom Comp (which the SP is now replacing).
1. The blend knob is really tastefully integrated into the pedal. I like it more on this pedal than I did on my Barber. It feels like it actually "blends" the clean in instead of having that odd experience of having clean tone replace compression signal.
2. The dip switches and the compression switch really make this pedal versatile. I haven't owned a Diamond, but I have played a friend's and I was able to replicate Diamond-like compressor tones with the switches set to stock, high clean blend, and the compression switch on low. But, after just switching to the mid/high compression setting, and tweaking the attack dip switch, I was able to get very squashed Keeley compression, but without losing the high end. Which brings me to my next point.
3. What this compressor did for my high-end is magical. It has a very EP-Booster mojo to it in the sense that it just seems to sweeten everything. Since I typically leave my compressor on full time, I really like that the pedal does this to my top end. It gives it that sparkle/chime that I love so much.
4. The SP has some serious boost on tap. 10 o'clock is about unity and it gets loud quickly. I appreciate this amount of oomph because I like to boost my signal slightly with my compressor, and the SP only seems to get sweeter the louder it is set. It never distorted or got gritty even at high volumes.
5. This should go without saying, but this pedal is extremely well built. It is just as tough as the EP booster and looks just as good. I love the space it saves on my board and the green LED is a nice touch.

Overall, I think this pedal is a winner. I certainly like it a lot more than the Keeley and the Custom Comp. And I give it an edge over the Barber. Once again, I can't directly compare it to the Diamond so I won't comment on its comparison. With the clean blend, I was able to preserve my dynamics and pick attack, but with everything I love about a compressor. It made my chords and notes ring for days without feeling false, like my tele was actually sustaining that long on its own. Hopefully this review will help anyone who is on the fence or just genuinely curious. As we all know, this is just my experience with my rig. Hope some more people chime in with their experiences as more of these get shipped.

thewordking
11-20-2012, 08:53 PM
Great review. How'd you get your hands on one?

Risewithfaith
11-20-2012, 08:56 PM
I got it through Mad Ape. I was genuinely impressed by how helpful they were.

thewordking
11-20-2012, 09:01 PM
Sweet. Thanks.

dlc1953
11-20-2012, 09:02 PM
Good review! Am waiting for it to get to some of the other Online dealers, because I got some credits to spend!

jason41224
11-20-2012, 09:02 PM
what did you find it did to the low end that you didn't like at first? and this completely went away once you turned up? great review. i go back on forth on whether i should grab one or not.

astainback
11-20-2012, 09:05 PM
Nice review!!
I want to try one of these pedals!!

Risewithfaith
11-20-2012, 09:09 PM
what did you find it did to the low end that you didn't like at first? and this completely went away once you turned up? great review. i go back on forth on whether i should grab one or not.

It felt like it was choking my low notes, but I attribute this to my low end just being choked by the lack of volume. I was playing at 10:30pm-apartment volume. And yes, once I got the amp up a little louder it was perfectly fine.

mjgnyc
11-20-2012, 09:54 PM
Got one on order.

Should be here Friday. I'll mostly be using it to beef up my clean sound.

Gtr65
11-20-2012, 10:07 PM
Thanks so much for taking the time to give such an in-depth review.

Can you comment as to the noise level, i.e., any perceivable hiss/noise added to the signal? That's been one of my pet peeves about compressors, at least the ones I've owned.

Risewithfaith
11-20-2012, 10:13 PM
@Gtr65
This is a pet peeve of mine as well. My Custom Comp was horrible about being noisy, but the SP didn't add any noticeable hiss or static to my signal. I even ran it completely compressed, with my amp cranked, and it was silent.

Gtr65
11-20-2012, 10:27 PM
@Gtr65
This is a pet peeve of mine as well. My Custom Comp was horrible about being noisy, but the SP didn't add any noticeable hiss or static to my signal. I even ran it completely compressed, with my amp cranked, and it was silent.
That's really great to hear. This just might be the one that I can bond with and leave on most/all of the time. Thanks again---I really appreciate it!

Matt L
11-20-2012, 11:14 PM
Thanks for the review. My Ethos order just came up, otherwise I would probably grab one right now. I love my EP Booster, and would love to have a compressor of the same quality and size right next to it.

Jim Moulton
11-21-2012, 12:39 AM
You said that it reminded you in a way with the EP booster,how? Good review.
Jim

JohnK24
11-21-2012, 05:36 AM
You said that it reminded you in a way with the EP booster,how? Good review.
Jim

This is what I'm interested in too. I have a MXR Custom Comp on my board and have been thinking about adding an EP Booster, BUT...if the SP Compressor is all I'm thinking it will be, I'd like to kill 2 birds with one stone. I'm hoping proguitarshop.com does a review fast or Xotic gets a few more videos of their "pros" made using this little guy.

Risewithfaith
11-21-2012, 06:40 AM
@Jim Moulton @JohnK24
It reminds me of the EP in how it seems to sweeten your tone. It won't replace the EP. It's a different kind of sweet in what it does to the high end. And I ran both my EP and SP on full time and I was really liking how they sound together. They both add something nice, but different, to the overall signal.

Release
11-21-2012, 07:24 AM
Thanks for the review!

Like a few of you, I'm also replacing my MXR Custom Comp with this (and it should be here on Friday).

majorlabeldebut
11-21-2012, 02:55 PM
Great review! I don't have a comp yet but I really like the looks of this one!

JasonElGato
11-21-2012, 03:07 PM
Thanks for the great review! All the Custom Comp users are coming out in force. I also use the Custom Comp into an EP Booster. I find the Custom Comp good but far from great. I'm very interested in the SP Comp.

sleepyone
11-21-2012, 04:04 PM
Another Custom Comp user here!

Great review, I'm interested in knowing if you had the chance of trying it with humbuckers

So far, the Custom Comp has beaten every other comp I've tried, it works well with humbuckers, gets pretty transparent with single coils and it gives me that "dyna" feeling without the over-the-top squash, just enough compression

I might go the SP route if it delivers with humbuckers...

Risewithfaith
11-21-2012, 07:19 PM
@sleepyone
They have suggested dip-switch settings for humbuckers and it sounded better with my '72's humbuckers than the custom comp.

ifailedshapes
12-01-2012, 12:44 AM
I'm torn between this with an EP Booster or a Strymon OB.1. Any thoughts?

Hugh DaMann
12-08-2012, 10:53 PM
I'm torn between this with an EP Booster or a Strymon OB.1. Any thoughts?

I now own both...but a little background first. I'm a big compressor fan and have owned most of the noted ones -- Analogman Juicer and Bi-Comp, Keeley, Diamond, Philosopher's Tone and many others. I love the transparancy of an opto comp (Diamond, Aphex, Strymon) but really like the feel of the Ross style compressor (MXR, Keeley, Analogman,and most of the rest.) Unfortunately, the Ross compressors usually are pretty noisy. It's just part of the VCA circiut. I always live with it for a bit, but then decide I need something quieter.

I loved the feel of the Keeley and always felt it was the most musical of the ones I've played. But I really enjoy the transparancy of both the Diamond and Strymon. The Diamond was probably the best mix of both. After reading these threads, today I decided to go to a local music store to try the SP...

Lately, I've been playing mainly humbuckers, but the store provided me with a modified MIM super strat and a Chickenhead boutique tweed amp clone. After 15-20 minutes, I bought the SP. I've only played it for about 5 minutes here at the house, mainly with a Heritage H535, but also with a PRS NF3.

In the store with the default settings (high end roll-off), it was very true to the sound of the strat. It had the musiciality and squish of the Keeley, but with much more versatility than the 2-knob version I had. It was also very quiet. Not dead quiet, but much, much more quiet than any Ross style I had played. Easily acceptable in any situation.

At home, I changed the dip switches to the recommended settings for humbuckers, which defeats the standard high-end roll-off. I played through a completely clean amp and it was great. the subtle squish was there without the noise floor. I tried it with the NF3 (strat-like guitar) and the high-end was very present, but I really liked it. It was a great funk sound.

Now, I think the Strymon is an excellent compressor. Even when it's squishing, it really doesn't change the feel of the guitar. And the included boost is really great with its options. But I like to feel the compressor when I have it on. Therefore, my preference is the SP. It depends what you want in a compressor. However, with the pedalboard space you save -- and the coin -- it would be hard to go wrong with the SP. And I get to keep my EP on the board and can engage the boost separate from the compressor, which you can't do with the Strymon.

The real test will come at the next gig or jam, but I'm a believer.

sleepyone
12-10-2012, 11:21 AM
Nice review! Thx for posting, please keep the updates coming, I wanna know how it behaves live using humbuckers!

cwcashiniv
12-10-2012, 11:25 AM
Nice review! Thx for posting, please keep the updates coming, I wanna know how it behaves live using humbuckers!

I will be sure to chime in soon. I play mostly HBs (Gibson LP, Epi Dot) into either a Jackson Britain 3.0 or '69 Super Reverb depending on the application, and I'll be getting my SP today. Can't wait to see how it fares!

Delayed Delay
12-10-2012, 08:42 PM
I've got one coming in... Should've been here today.. Stupid PO.

Hugh DaMann
12-10-2012, 10:11 PM
I love this little compressor. The suggested hb setting seemed unnecessarily chimey for my needs, so back at factory settings I spent an hour and a half playing. Low-ish output humbuckers. Alternated between SP in to an AF2 klone and straight in to the D-clone amp, compressor at various knob and toggle positions. I guess of late I'm mostly playing clean kinda on the verge, using a vintage semi. This is a great compressor, all settings arguably usable. Wouldn't you know, knobs around noon / toggle at lo or mid is a good place to start, and maybe even stay. At some point I may try a 'half-humbucker' dip switch combination. But it's good outta the box. The transparency of the SP is instantly noticeable, no comparison, and it still has vibe, not a clinical pedal. It wins, for me. I have a couple of other TGP-approved comps, and also a Chinese clone that's actually excellent. Xotic will sell a ton of these. I've done a lot of pedal experimenting this year, only to end-up back at a fairly straightforward rig. After all is said and done, at $110 including shipping, the SP is one of the sweeter surprises of the whole process.

I have it in "half-humbucker" mode right now and found it a tad bright with my tele -- livable, but I might tweak it. Can you elaborate a little more on how the standard setting worked with your semi-hollow? My main guitars are either semis or a PRS DGT. I won't have time to mess around with it until this weekend.

Sudsy100
12-28-2012, 08:13 PM
what did you find it did to the low end that you didn't like at first? and this completely went away once you turned up? great review. i go back on forth on whether i should grab one or not.

I was wondering the same thing. I mean . . . at the price it's pretty well a can't-lose purchase, and it sounds excellent from the clips so far.

This may be nitpicking, but I have noticed in most of the clips that there seems to be a pronounced boost in the low end . . . especially the Wav Forms on the Xotic site. It's subtle, but that's what I'm hearing (and on MH's demo too).

I just checked the manual, and the default factory dipswitch settings are for the High Cut and Input Pad/Low Cut filters to be on. Without having one in hand, I'd like to know if disabling the High Cut and/or Input Pad filters either add overall "sparkle" or ramp down the low end to any great degree.

Reason for me is that I'm a rock player by trade, but do some gigs with an R&B/Blues unit now and then, and we're always getting yelled at about volume. I've got an Orange Squeezer style compressor already, but was researching a Ross clone for added options to smooth out the strummy stuff (basically, to make life easier to just sit on top of the bass and drums . . . Delbert McKlinton, Robert Cray, WC Clark, Guy King kinda stuff). I just came across the new SP Booster, and looks as good or better than most of the other stuff I was considering. I've got EP Boosters on various boards, so I like a couple of Xotic pedals (RC Booster and EP Booster . . . not a fan of the AC or BB, though).

Anyway . . . what I don't need is more low end. Of course, I don't want it to sound too thin and pingy either. Just a smoothing out with a tad more squishiness on tap than the Orange Squeezer clone can give. Something to sooth the "uptight DB meter waving bartender & front-row nacho-eater crowd" is the best I can describe. With too much lows, I'm still gonna come out a tad boomy for those types, and am still gonna have to turn up to cut through the mix.

Anyone messed with the internal dipswtiches of the SP yet to see the variety of frequencies you can get? Specifically, can you get more "sparkle" to have in the kit bag?

EDIT: I think Hugh DaMann (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/member.php?u=5266) already chimed in about what I was asking:

"At home, I changed the dip switches to the recommended settings for humbuckers, which defeats the standard high-end roll-off. I played through a completely clean amp and it was great. the subtle squish was there without the noise floor. I tried it with the NF3 (strat-like guitar) and the high-end was very present, but I really liked it. It was a great funk sound."

Also, he said: "I have it in "half-humbucker" mode right now and found it a tad bright with my tele -- livable, but I might tweak it.

That seems to answer my question about "sparkling" it up if needed. Is that what others who've tweaked the dipswitches have found?

Hugh DaMann
12-28-2012, 08:56 PM
I have it set to standard mode now and am largely playing either semis or my tele into it. It was too bright in "half-humbucker" mode. I think you'll get the smooth result you're looking for and it won't boost your low end as you fear. I should be perfect for the R&B stuff you listed.

Sudsy100
12-28-2012, 09:13 PM
I have it set to standard mode now and am largely playing either semis or my tele into it. It was too bright in "half-humbucker" mode. I think you'll get the smooth result you're looking for and it won't boost your low end as you fear. I should be perfect for the R&B stuff you listed.

Thanks, Hugh. I came to that conclusion just now and am literally on the ordering page. But, I really appreciate you confirming it.

It took about 2 weeks of research for me to decide to buy The Hartman "Orange Squeezer" clone, and seeing as I'm not a huge compressor guy, a lot depends on having the right ones. Not saying the Hartman is the be-all-and-end-all, but IMHO it was a good choice. It's doesn't do much "squishy", which was the whole point, but it certainly tames things nicely. A Ross style comp (it'll be the SP) simply gives me both options. And . . . with a bit of LOL at myself . . . after getting yelled at too many times for playing at "normal" volume or lower with the Blues/R&B thing, a couple of comps on the board will be a lifesaver (if not a sanity saver). I can now safely strummy-strummy my way through "Givin' It Up" with no remorse ;)). There's always a smokin' version of Superstitious, Boom Boom or Honey Hush to give Mr. DB Meter fits . . .

Cheers!

Suds . . .

Jim Moulton
12-29-2012, 05:09 AM
I had a Hartman for a couple of years,v1 could give you some nice squish,v2 was more of a boost with a pinch of comp. Xotic SP should do both.

Sudsy100
12-29-2012, 06:07 AM
I had a Hartman for a couple of years,v1 could give you some nice squish,v2 was more of a boost with a pinch of comp. Xotic SP should do both.

Bang-on how I'd describe the Hartman V2. Don't use it as boost much, but it's got just enough comp to smooth things out . . . those omnipresent 9th, 7th and up-the-neck chords sit a little less aggressively in the overall. Adds a little something extra to the middle/neck/in-between Strat & Tele positions too.

Really looking forward to the SP Comp. Like you said, it sounds like it definitely will do light comp, medium comp and squish. Should be very cool for the obligatory electric 12 "once a night ballad" too.

Jim Moulton
12-29-2012, 06:22 AM
What kind of electric 12 do you have? Some chorus might sweeten that up a bit too. I'm probably going to end up with one of these SP comps some sale day.

Sudsy100
12-29-2012, 07:03 AM
What kind of electric 12 do you have? Some chorus might sweeten that up a bit too. I'm probably going to end up with one of these SP comps some sale day.

The 12 is the dog of the harem, unfortunately. It's a MIC Dano DC-12. All my other axes . . . Gibbys, Fenders, Wolfgang and BC Rich are USA. Would rather buy quality, or at least the assumption of "quality control", than cheap out. Been fairly lucky so far buying newish stuff from the 90s onward. There's been a few mutts which I dumped, but the JB Strat, 76 Explorer RI, 61 SG Reissue, 1998 Wolfie, USA Tele, etc are all winners. Wish I had all the old axes from the good ol' days, but don't we all? Cripes we could buy houses with the gear that passed through our hands (the *one* that got away was the 1957 Blackie Strat I bought when I was 16). Ouch!

Anyway . . . I was gonna plonk $650 down for an early 1990s MIJ Fender 12 while back, but it got snatched 1/2 an hour before I had a chance to drive to the guy's place and say "here's the dough" $#%$#^@. I tried a couple of the current MIJ Fender XII's, but the necks just didn't seem friendly and the sound was kinda woody to my ear. I guess the Dano does the job for the three or four songs it gets used for (a couple of Blue Rodeo tunes in one band, Damn Your Eyes by Etta James in another, and sometimes Unchain My Heart by Cocker). The middle position is the only useable one on the Dano.

I always throw some CE-2 and some light to moderate analog delay on it. Adding some light comp squish/sparkle with the SP will be excellent.

I know it's totally OT, but there seems to be a huge gap in Electric 12's from the $450-$800 category for crap, as opposed to the $1,500-$2,500 for a used or new Ricky. If there's a decent non-MIA 12 out there for around a grand, I'd probably buy it in a second. The newer Fender XII's should be that guitar, but maybe finding "the right one" and replacing the pups might be a plan. Dunno . . .

Jim Moulton
12-30-2012, 06:07 AM
Those ce-2s are the magic of the chorus family, I could live with a ce-5, but you have the best imho
jim

Sudsy100
12-31-2012, 03:07 AM
Those ce-2s are the magic of the chorus family, I could live with a ce-5, but you have the best imho
jim

Thanks, Jim (well . . . I guess we can thank BOSS for making the MIJ puppies in the first place, and slap them up the side o' the face for discontinuing them ;)).

I don't let price dictate what goes on my board . . . shown by the Hartman and SP comps . . . but have generally gravitated toward what we'd call higher-end, or the dreaded "boutique" stuff over the last few years.

I live in a city (Victoria, pop 300,000) after moving from Toronto (pop, about a zillion) about 10 years ago, so at least 75% of the stuff I buy I have to base on clips, research and guesswork. The MIJ CE-2, PH-1, SD-1 and old OC-2 Octaver were no-brainers for the more common brands I have.

But, some of the winners hands-down in the "boutique" category (IMHO) are:

RMC Picture Wah - ended my endless search for a Wah. Since I bought it a year ago, 5 or 6 people in town have ordered one after hearing it.

Machine Head Pedals 72 Degrees Overdrive - great pedal, can't recommended it enough.

Catalinbread RAH - not exactly god's gifts to guitar players, but a great foundation OD.

LP Kalamazoo - great for chunky, sustained leads . . . plays very well with others.

Suhr Riot - great high gain pedal. Only use it 3 or 4 times a night, but it saves my butt every time I turn it on.

Xotic EP Booster (of course) - use two of em . . . one at each end of the chain. Best cleanish boost for the money out there IMHO.


Will report back when the SP Booster arrives to add to the reviews and comments. I'm 99% sure it'll be great, but these topics really help people like me who can't "try before they buy", so giving back to the community is a good thing.

Scott . . .

Jim Moulton
12-31-2012, 05:12 AM
Hi Scott,
You have an interesting set of pedals, The nicest electric to cross my path was a '59 Fender Esquire for 100 bucks ,somebody had put shellac all over ,they also had cut a hole in the place where the neck pickup should have been,and put in a Gibson humbucker and rewired the circuit, actually, not a bad job, very versatile, on the bridge pickup, I could get some sweet clean and country sounds made for a compressor. On the other end, The Gibson humbucker had an awesome fat melodic sound, which was great for Allman Brother Leads and chords, however, they just did no sound right when they were both on, so I never used the middle position. I got tired of ugly so I sanded all of the shellac off and left it natural with a coat of some kind of plastic coat, to leave it with a shiny luster, I was really surprised at how good it came out, great jam guitar, had it back in the 70s and played witha couple of guys at partys playing mostly covers of the jam bands, I had a 30 watt Ampeg amp with spring reverb, great for the esqure, had a clean sound like a fender amp. I wished they had never stopped putting in spring reverbs, well enough blabbing,Tell me about this machine head overdrive pedal you have, when you have time.

Sudsy100
12-31-2012, 06:35 AM
Hi Scott,
You have an interesting set of pedals, The nicest electric to cross my path was a '59 Fender Esquire for 100 bucks ,somebody had put shellac all over ,they also had cut a hole in the place where the neck pickup should have been,and put in a Gibson humbucker and rewired the circuit, actually, not a bad job, very versatile, on the bridge pickup, I could get some sweet clean and country sounds made for a compressor. On the other end, The Gibson humbucker had an awesome fat melodic sound, which was great for Allman Brother Leads and chords, however, they just did no sound right when they were both on, so I never used the middle position. I got tired of ugly so I sanded all of the shellac off and left it natural with a coat of some kind of plastic coat, to leave it with a shiny luster, I was really surprised at how good it came out, great jam guitar, had it back in the 70s and played witha couple of guys at partys playing mostly covers of the jam bands, I had a 30 watt Ampeg amp with spring reverb, great for the esqure, had a clean sound like a fender amp. I wished they had never stopped putting in spring reverbs, well enough blabbing,Tell me about this machine head overdrive pedal you have, when you have time.

Wowser . . . an 59 Esquire for $100! No matter the condition, that's a fantastic score. The fact that it was "worked on" . . . even better considering the price. That meant you could do what you wanted to it with no guilt or penance. Bet it was a sweet from the way you describe neck sound. Makes me think whoever had it first wanted a Tele, but ended up with a cool hybrid. BTW--what Ampeg did you have? I haven't owned personally one, but used a late-60s Reverberocket here-and-there about 10 years ago before I sold it for the owner. Have a hankering to grab one for a while now. Once every month or so, the bug bites.

I know what you mean about the middle position too. Funny . . . lately I've been working hard on making more use of that one. On the SG & Explorer, been setting the bridge pup at about 4 and the neck at about 6, and just working with the sound to see what mojo comes out. Hard sound to snag compared to just riding the bridge pup's volume and tone, but it seems to pay off for certain tunes. Ordered a brighter neck pup for the Paul to try to get a honkier middle position outta that too . . .

Here's the URL for Machine Head 72 Degrees:

http://www.machineheadpedals.com/72.html

The demo by Burgs is pretty close to what it sounds like, but it's way more versatile than that. I don't wanna oversell it, but it's definitely got something special that echos all the reviews. It's sometimes been described as a "better Tubescreamer" 'coz it retains articulation but doesn't cut the lows or bark the mids as much, but I've found it to be a very unique unit with it's own flavour. Most people who own one tend to love it, but for some reason that I don't understand, it's not everyone's cup of tea. IMHO, it's an absolute no brainer pedal. I tail back the drive a wee tad more than Burgs (about 11:00 o'clock), and it stays smooth, a "tad" crispy, but very, very musical. Like I said, it works perfectly with other pedals too . . . even high-gain jobbies. Also, it doesn't seem to be fussy about where in the chain you place it. If I had to keep only 5 stompboxes, the 72 Degrees would definitely be one of them. The maker (Keith) is a super cool guy. He doesn't pretend to "clone" anything, and is very up front about his philosophy of making stuff that has it's own character. It might be a tad pricey at $162 shipped within the U.S., but IMHO that's pretty fair compared to a "box store pedal". He makes them all himself near Baltimore, and I think the only store that front-ends for him is a place in Rockville, MD.

I'll shaddup about it now ;) . . . but I truly dig it when a guy like Keith, who really loves music and is very dedicated, makes these kinda gems as almost a labor of love. They show up on eBay for $130 to $150 sometimes, but I decided to send my $$'s to support the dude who makes them. Don't regret it for a second, and the 72 Degrees hasn't left my board. Knocked my 1983 original TS-9 into the gear closet in a nanosecond.

Edit: Just to be 100% honest, I have to admit I'm not crazy about the MHP high-gain units. I know Keith is making them for a specific target market who may indeed like them, but I much prefer a crunchier, "less-dark" high gainer (even the CMATmods Brownie "Marshall In A Box" pedal has more articulation, and the Suhr Riot smokes and sizzles beautifully) . . . but IMHO the entire MHP OD-style line is excellent.

S . . .

Jim Moulton
12-31-2012, 06:55 AM
WOW, initial reaction is like, that is what I'm looking for, have to sell something first, I love Brett's demo's, like awesome. Have a good day, getting ready to split!
JIm

Sudsy100
01-01-2013, 02:33 AM
WOW, initial reaction is like, that is what I'm looking for, have to sell something first, I love Brett's demo's, like awesome. Have a good day, getting ready to split!
JIm

I'm really glad and definitely reassured that you heard the same qualities in that demo that convinced me to buy it. You never know with those demos . . . some guys make things sound too good, and others seem to make everything sound like crap (I'll leave the parties unnamed, but if you're curious to see whether we have the same take, PM me ;)). And some guys get it bang on (BK, for one). I did read literally every review on the 'Net before I bought it as well.

To sum up the 72 Degrees, I don't want to be the one to push anyone to spend their money based on my opinion, but in a totally objective, 99% accurate and unbiased statement, I think I can safely say it's a really, really good unit. I personally think it's a freaking great pedal for any kitbag of stompboxes, but I'll stick with "really, really good" to be totally fair (how's that for covering one's butt <gg>).

BTW--I came across a thread where you were bantering compressors, and the Hartman in particular. So . . . I just opened my V2 up for the first time and started fooling with the trim pot. I always used it as it came from the factory, but ya know . . . after fiddling around I got it to produce too much compression! I know, I know . . . you were saying how it didn't have enough, so I was curious. That trim pot is mighty sensitive in the middle, but towards the max counter clockwise and clockwise it's dramatic (counter clockwise turns the entire pedal off . . . I didn't know that!). I came across reference to a FAQ by Theo, but it seems to have disappeared.

Anyway . . . now I'm trying to figure out where the factory default was #%#$%^ LOL. I thought I eyeballed it pretty well for reference, but now I'm not sure. My ears are tired, so I can't tell any more. And of course, after adjusting the ratio knob as well, I'm totally lost.

No problem . . . I think I have it close where it was, but there's definitely more compression on tap with the V2 than I thought. It's not the kind you could use everyday, but if you tweak it a certain way, you can hammer down on a clean 9th chord as hard as you can, and the compression cuts the volume in half (to be conservative). Maybe as much as 60% or so. Now I gotta find the quantum setting of the original factory default to keep using it as the mild-comp/mild-boost as I was. Oh well . . . that's what we get for being gearheads.

To keep the thread OT . . . all this gab is while I'm waiting for the Xotic SP Compressor to arrive so I can give a first-hand review (just for the record :o)

S . . .

Sudsy100
01-01-2013, 05:01 AM
Heya, Jim . . .

I did some extensive tweaking of the Hartman trim while adjusting the Ratio and Gain to try to get a handle on the trim's possibilities and functions. The scan here is pretty rough, but I drew out the settings for reference (I couldn't get any decent pictures of the trim pot . . . it's too small. Here's a rundown of 8 different tweaks.

For the reference point on the trim, I marked the lower right line of the "X" with an * when trim was rotated entirely clockwise. Meaning, if there's a * next to a line, that line corresponds with where the lower right axis would be when rotated totally clockwise. if the "X" is set to a +, the star would be on the right side of the horizontal line of the +

Hope that makes some kind of sense.

http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll259/Sudsy100/Gear/HartmanCompressorDipswitchSettingsinclRatioandGain 01Tweaked900-2013-01-01.jpg


As you can see from Diagrams 1, 2, 7 & 8, the trim pot is super sensitive. The difference between noon, 1:00 O'Clock, 2:00 O'Clock and 3:00 O'Clock is pretty dramatic.

1. With the Trim at noon and the Ratio at 11:00, it's pretty well neutral with almost no compression (ramping the Ratio didn't make any difference).

2. With the Trim at 1:00 and the Ratio at 11:00, it's pretty well a boost with an very slight compression that's almost impossible to hear (ramping the Ratio didn't make any difference).

7. With the Trim at 2:00 and the Ratio at Full, it's max compression that squishes a ton, especially the harder you strum.

8. With the Trim at 3:00 and the Ratio at Full, it's max compression that squishes a ton, especially the harder you strum . . . but it starts distorting at this setting.

Oddly, with the Trim set to Max and the Ratio set to max (as in Diagram 6), it results in almost no compression. A very slight boost, but that's it.


Bottom Line . . .

I'm guessing the factory default might have been the Trim set from 11:00 to noon, with the Ratio meant to be set at the same 11:00 to noon and the Gain at noon. This gives the "slight compression when strumming hard and moderate boost" sound we've come to know the Hartman as.

If the Trim is set closer to noon, and the Ratio is also set closer to noon, you get a lighter compression but a decrease in volume that you have to compensate for by raising the gain a tad. This is also the "Hartman sound", IMHO . . . but with less compression and more clean boost.


The tests were done on the Blackface channel of a Phaez dual stage Daisycutter played through one of my 1x12 V-30 cabs (that particular model is called a Winona by Randy Fay). It's been custom built with 6V6's instead of EL84's which ramps it up to about 30W instead of 18W. It's a freaking gorgeous head, BTW. The Blackface channel is extraordinary, and the Daisycutter side can do everything from blues to The Who to AC/DC to classic rock saturation to a "T".

S . . .

Jim Moulton
01-01-2013, 08:49 AM
Scott,
good work, Hartman, V1 did not have an inside trim pot, you just adjust everything on the outside knobs, my inside trim must have been broken, I never noticed any difference when I adjusted the inside trim pots. Let me tell you how he developed that, it wasn't a diy pedal, He took an original Dan Armstrong plug in compressor, that a friend gave him and he backbuilt into the Hartman compressor, so it probably is one of the most accurate armstrong clones.

analogmike
01-01-2013, 10:28 AM
You can't go by clock position on the bias on an Orange Squeezer clone, the position depends on the diode and FETs used. See my Juicer manual for how to dial it in by ear.

Sudsy100
01-01-2013, 04:19 PM
Scott,
good work, Hartman, V1 did not have an inside trim pot, you just adjust everything on the outside knobs, my inside trim must have been broken, I never noticed any difference when I adjusted the inside trim pots. Let me tell you how he developed that, it wasn't a diy pedal, He took an original Dan Armstrong plug in compressor, that a friend gave him and he backbuilt into the Hartman compressor, so it probably is one of the most accurate armstrong clones.

Very cool to know, Jim! Was the V1 the same housing and cosmetics as V2? I tried to find pics to see, but the standard V2 box was all I found.

That's strange about the trim pots on yours . . . I hope it wasn't busted :(. The changes are subtle for sure. After all, I think that's why we both bought it, and it never goes to the heavy Ross-squish territory. When I was testing the trim settings, I had to really strum hard to hear some of the differences. Just FYI--I'm no compressor expert by a long shot, but when I rotated the trim all the way counterclockwise, there was definitely no sound at all coming out of the pedal.

Now that my brain and ears have more-or-less returned to normal . . . I'm virtually certain the factory setting was the lower right leg of the X set to 11:30. Returning it to that setting seems to make it sound as out of the box. I ended up leaving it at about 1:00 for a tad more response when strumming at medium strength, but WTH . . . it was excellent at default!! I'll probably change it back next time I can play it in a full volume environment.

Cheers . . . and Happy New Year, Jim!

Scott . . .

Sudsy100
01-01-2013, 04:33 PM
You can't go by clock position on the bias on an Orange Squeezer clone, the position depends on the diode and FETs used. See my Juicer manual for how to dial it in by ear.

Thanks a million, Mike!! Your bias instructions really helped . . . not just for any specific compressor, but for a better overall understanding. Looks like I got it about 75% right, but it's a real fine-tuning endeavor. I wasn't strumming continuously while adjusting . . . that suggestion alone would saved a ton of time and grief.

BTW--I'm the guy from Victoria, BC that ordered the Dark Peppermint Fuzz from you a week or so ago (it's already shipped). Really looking forward to that one! It's my first buy of one of your pedals, and although a few players here have some of your stuff, the city's too small to be able to test much in-person. Did a lot of research on the Dark Pep, and I love the way it adds beef to the Red Peppermint.

Happy New Year, and thanks again for the Comp info!

Scott . . .

Sudsy100
01-02-2013, 03:35 PM
OK, I'm ready to pull the trigger on an SP. Where can I get that magic $110 deal?! I see $130 everywhere.

I'm in Canada, but when I order new pedals it's usually from Prymaxe in NJ. They offer free USPS First Class shipping to Canada (and free shipping within the U.S. of course), and have running "Coupon Code" discounts . . . usually 15% off or something similar.

I don't know where the other poster got his for $110, but my guess it was a coupon offer price. But, Xotic (and about 7 or 8 pedal makers) aren't eligible for the discounts at Prymaxe . . . probably because of the distribution agreement with those manufacturers. So I paid full price . . . $132 shipped.

S . . . .

straightblues
01-02-2013, 03:42 PM
OK, I'm ready to pull the trigger on an SP. Where can I get that magic $110 deal?! I see $130 everywhere.

I got mine from Mad Ape. They gave me a special price. Call them they might do the same for you.

NHBluesMan
01-02-2013, 04:06 PM
what did you find it did to the low end that you didn't like at first? and this completely went away once you turned up? great review. i go back on forth on whether i should grab one or not.

i see in your sig that you're using the VS Comp 66- i replaced my Comp 66 with the SP and couldn't be happier! i was able to dial in the exact tone i had from the Comp 66, but then got it alittle bit sweeter with the blend knob.

I love the VS Comp, but with the size difference and blend knob, the SP wins out for me

neutronrobot
01-15-2014, 11:07 PM
2. The dip switches and the compression switch really make this pedal versatile. I haven't owned a Diamond, but I have played a friend's and I was able to replicate Diamond-like compressor tones with the switches set to stock, high clean blend, and the compression switch on low.


Thanks for the informative review!
I know this was written over a year ago, but I just picked up an SP Compressor today and was looking up information about it.
Could you please tell me what you meant by "High Clean Blend" above?
Is this keeping the internal switches stock, the level to low and having the blend more in the 9-10 O'clock "cleaner" range of the blend sweep?