Carl Martin continues to give us some great pedal designs that are well thought out and offer tonal options and audio solutions that guitarists actually want. That’s why he was happy to seek suggestions from Andy Timmons in the newly designed format of the ever-popular Compressor/Limiter pedal.
TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
Essentially, what this pedal offers you is two compressors in one chassis. And wouldn’t it be nice if you had all the flexibility and control of two totally independent compressors in one small bow, but that isn’t really going to happen due to size constraints. So, what you get is a single compressor/limiter with a switchable section that allows you to jump between two preset variations with differing levels of compression and make-up gain. Personally, I would have loved to have seen a threshold setting for both of the two variations, as you can dramatically change the behaviour of a compressor when dialling in a different threshold. But, you can’t have everything on one pedal, and the fact that the threshold and response controls are supplied on 6mm miniature pots give you an indication that the space is pretty tight in there already. So, let’s not get too fussy here, especially given that many other popular compressors don’t even offer this much level of control for a signal setting option.
PULLING IT BACK
With an appropriate threshold setting to suit your playing needs, you can now start to squeeze the dynamics as you need for the two separate presets. This is a really nifty concept, as it allows you to find one setting that is going to be better suited to rhythm work, and another that really makes your solo and lead work jump right out, and brings a little extra sustain into your notes too. There is plenty of make-up gain available in this little unit, so if you do want to get carried away and really squeeze your sound for one of the presets, getting the volume back up to where it needs to be isn’t an issue. These run on a standard 9-volt power supply, but there is some new Carl Martin circuitry inside this beast that ramps it up and allows it to operate at 12 volts to ensure the headroom is there. What you will notice with this pedal is that it is not just one of those single knob wonders that decide all the settings for you. So, a heavy abuse of the threshold will bring the input volume right back, as it starts compressing very early and riding the compression control will keep your sound very tight and without dynamic variance at all. A softer approach with a slower response setting will deliver a more natural, organic compression that subtly rolls off any harsh peaks, but still presents all the feeling and emotions that you want in your playing.
For more details on the range of Carl Martin products, head to innovativemusic.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Two separate compression settings in one pedal
High headroom in a pedal that runs on 4-volt power
Great control in taming dynamic response
Shared threshold control