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

Check on Amazon

Boss CS‌-3 Compressor-Sustainer Pedal


  • Built like a tank
  • Practicable
  • Great bang for the buck


  • Can develop some hiss
  • Not fully transparent

Among numerous amazing brands out there, Boss is one of those who always creates products with a certain pattern: their units are always of good quality and durable as hell. They maintain affordable price point and the majority of their devices can do a decent job at producing various effects. These are the reasons why they have become so prominent among legendary musicians, novices or professionals. Their niche on the market has not been substituted by anything else, which means they retain popularity regardless of the criticism they sometimes receive. Though they are judged, you will not find a list of best effects pedals without their name on it (and that fact speaks for itself). Today we are not going to talk about Boss as a brand. But rather pick out their compressor, CS-3 Compression Sustainer in particular and discuss its capabilities. Below we are going to judge this pedal by three categories – features, controls and sound – and let you be the judge. On this journey, we shall see if this specific stompbox follows the main pattern of the brand and lives up to our expectations. I do not want to waste too much of your time, so I will stop beating around the bush. Let’s get started!


Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer is a typical deal that you get with compressor pedals. It has all the features that are needed to balance out your sound, attenuate loud and harsh strums and accentuate quiet notes. It does also have tone shaping options, which is always an amazing addition to the pedals of this ilk. The design of this bad boy is similar to that of its siblings, meaning that it has bulky enclosure with wide footswitch and Boss logo. It comes in blue and can complete the color palette if you own other stompboxes from the brand. It goes without saying that it is built like a tank and will withstand even heavy abuse and frequent accidental drops. CS-3 Compression Sustainer has buffered bypass, which means it will not be completely ignored by your signal as it passes through the chain (if the pedal is disengaged). This fella has LED indicator, which lights up as you press the footswitch and turn on the stompbox. But its brightness will become dimmer when the battery starts to drain. While we are on the subject I want to mention that we have typical powering options – power supply, an adapter or a single 9V battery. The compartment can be exposed by turning the thumbscrew on the bottom, which means you will not need any tools for that process. This fella can work with electric or bass guitar, making it even more flexible. As you can see, CS-3 Compression Sustainer will not leave you feeling as if you lack something. It has all the essential tools for creating perfectly compressed sound and adding sustain to it.


The control section is comprised with four knobs that are quite straightforward. These encoders are the tool that you can use in order to shape your compressed signal. They rotate very smoothly and are rather simple to tweak. I would say that you will not even need manual to tweak this fella, but for the sake of this review, I find it necessary to underline the functionalities of each knob. So let’s get to it!

The first one is, of course, Level, which modifies the output volume. This way you can make sure that your affected signal is not lower or higher than the rest of the chain. Next comes the Tone knob, which changes the color of your sound. This means that it can accentuate higher frequencies and create sharper, brighter tone. Then we have Attack, which alters the amount of attack in the picked notes. In other words, it will maintain the intensity of your picking as you increase the settings and produce drive. Last but not least, we have Sustain, which modifies the amount of time that your sound lasts before it fades away. It certainly has a footswitch that you will need more than you would think. It has wide footprint and is very convenient to press in order to activate or turn off the device. All in all, though it might take you some time to explore the settings and find the options that fit your sound, the overall layout is not too difficult to grasp.

Boss CS3 Sound

Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer is able to create awesome compressed sounds. It can develop some noise at certain settings (nothing the noise gate cannot solve) so beware of that. But if you do your homework and experiment with different options, you will be able to produce the tone that you had been looking for. This pedal is not 100% transparent, but its color is almost inaudible. At extreme settings it can be rather ruthless and aggressive, which can be interesting to explore. The sustain on this one is amazing. It elongates your notes beautifully and can boost your signal a great deal. It rounds up your sound and outputs even, uniform tone. The ability to change the frequency response is a nice addition for precision and accuracy. On the whole, CS-3 Compression Sustainer has a pretty decent sonic background. It has a character of its own, which is something any of you might find useful. And you will never know unless you try, will you?


To summarize everything said above, Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer is exactly what you would expect from the brand. It is one of best options for the price and performs decently regardless of the circumstances. Durability makes it worth every penny and the ease of utilization makes it your best friend. If you are looking for a reliable compressor that will stay by your side like a loyal partner, then this baby might be just perfect. Good luck!

Check Availability

Click here to view more from 10 Best Compressor Pedals.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.