Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Pros:

  • Great quality
  • Transparent sound
  • True bypass
  • Noise free operation

Cons:

  • Does not have a release control

Why the hell would you need a dedicated compressor with your bass guitar? This instrument is pretty basic, so why would you want such a powerful device next to it? The answer to these questions has several dimensions. Firstly, I would say that bass isn’t a basic guitar by any means. It can have a strong character regardless of its position in the band: it can be in the background or be the star of the show. Either way, it can change the game quite a bit. Secondly, compressor is something that can benefit any type of instrument and music. Its craftsmanship can take things up in high gear if you know how to achieve wonderful results. The reason why you’d need a dedicated bass pedal lies in the frequency range. Since basses cover lower spectrum, they require a stompbox that is designed to work in that area. Otherwise, you might lose your precious bottom-end and, thus, destroy your sound. It’s a safer bet to invest in a bass compressor – for instance, Aguilar TLC Compressor. This puppy will convince you that music is all about taking risks and doing things that aren’t conventional. Though it takes courage, once you pair your bass with compressor, you’ll notice that it was worth a shot. If you’re interested in the features, controls and sound of TLC, then keep on reading!

Features

Aguilar TLC Compressor is designed to be a perfect match for your bass. Its circuitry is capable of recognizing even the lowest notes – giving you the opportunity to stop worrying about anything and start playing. Its intuitive features will force you to play around endlessly and, without even noticing, create masterpieces. How it does that? – you might wonder. This bad boy utilizes Trans Linear Control (TLC – hence the name) circuitry, which is the combination of exponential current-voltage transistors. Though these words might not mean anything to you, they indicate on the character of the circuit and let us know that this puppy will deliver quality performance. It has a compact design, which means it won’t cause any discomfort if you decide to place it on your pedalboard. Its small body will make itself at home anywhere, and, thus, provide you with the ability to perform even with the most awkward setups. More importantly, TLC Compressor has a wide array of options to choose from. What I mean is that its controls have wonderful range. Threshold varied from -30 to -10dBu, compression ratio can be altered from 2:1 to infinity, Attack goes from 10ms to 100ms, while the volume can be adjusted from –infinity to -3dBu. We shall not forget that this pedal is designed for the scenarios, where everything can go wrong. For this reason, Aguilar has included the circuitry which will make sure your signal still bypasses the unit even if your battery gets drained unexpectedly. Speaking of the batteries, if you don’t enjoy this method, you can always utilize an adapter with this one. Finally, TLC Compressor comes in a steel enclosure, which won’t even have cracks if you drop it on the concrete. It is really durable, which is just a cherry on top for this package.

Controls

One more thing that Aguilar has kept in mind while developing this product was the pleasure of bassists while using this instrument. What I mean is that they included all the necessary controls and designed the layout which would be intuitive. By doing so they made sure the process of tweaking would be enjoyable for the majority of their customers, which is wonderful if you think about it. To prove my point, I’ll discuss all the available controls below and show you what parameters can be altered with this one.

I’ll start with Level. I’m sure you know what this control does since it can be seen on every other unit out there. However, I don’t want anything to be ambiguous for you so I’ll still tell you: it changes the overall level of the output and lets you make up for the drop in volume (if that occurs). Threshold alters the input volume at which compression comes into action, Attack determines the amount of time that passes after you play your notes and before the effect will start operating, while Slope adjusts the ratio of compression. Certainly, we also have a footswitch that turns the unit on and off.

Sound

Aguilar TLC Compressor might disappoint you if you’re looking for a unit that will transform your sound completely. It’s not the sort of a device that will add countless dimensions and be an ultimate effects pedal on its own (I’m implying the tonal consequences). Rather, it’s virtually transparent. It doesn’t color your tone – everything you emit remains in the same palette. However, it does alter the dynamics and remove peaks brilliantly. Low and high frequencies sound full and dimensional, even though this puppy doesn’t accentuate the midrange. Your bass guitar won’t lose its character when paired with this one, as it manages to thicken the bottom-end quite a bit. The response accuracy is great, which is one of the reasons why TLC Compressor sounds so good. If you utilize heavier compression, you might encounter some volume drop (or lose high-end), which can be easily compensated with the help of Level control. As you increase its settings, everything will return to the perfect shape. One of the biggest virtues here is that this fella is basically noiseless, especially compared to its counterparts. Thank you, Aguilar, for TLC!

Conclusion

To sum up everything said above, TLC Compressor from Aguilar is one of the best options for those who are looking for a simple box of tools. Its transparency will be an added value for some, or be a deal-breaker for the others. However, each unit has its own peculiarity which can easily be turned into a virtue, depending on what your preferences are. TLC Compressor is noiseless, durable and powerful while offering a wide array of choices in terms of sound. What else could we ask from such a compact pedal? Good luck!  

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