Once upon a time our beloved MXR decided to create a compressor pedal – just an ordinary unit that would work wonderfully for the majority of players. Their team started collaborating in order to design the perfect circuitry and put together the components that would produce beautiful sounds. They incorporated the material that, in their mind, offered quieter and more transparent operation. I am sure MXR had not imagined just how viral their original Dyna Comp would become.
It blew thousands of minds and quickly occupied countless stages and rigs. It made it to the gigs of the legends, such as David Gilmour and other talented guitarists. Since their original version was so prominent, MXR decided to come out with a new version that carries the same name as its vintage sibling. Though it is not an exact replica, the fact that they share their names automatically means that we shall expect the same quality and performance. And that is exactly why we are here today.
In this article, I will review M102 Dyna Comp and see if it is as good as its older brother. If you are interested, then stay with me and base your opinion on the features, controls and sounds of this fella. Let’s get started!
Before we dive into discussing all the properties in-depth, I want to underline that MXR M102 Dyna Comp is quite similar to the vintage version, especially with its design. It is still mounted in a red, metal case that seems very vibrant and eye-pleasing, even from far away. It has two black knobs on the surface and MXR signature script displaying the name of the pedal and the label of the brand. Though this might be a minor characteristic for you, I personally really like the fact that they decided to keep the old appearance even in the newer models.
More importantly, M102 Dyna Comp has fixed attack and release time. The former is set at 5 milliseconds, with the latter being at 1 second. Some might dislike that since they want to be able to tweak these two parameters themselves. However, once you listen to this bad boy, you will understand how much sense those settings make. Maximum compression is 36dB, which means this fella can go pretty extreme. M102 Dyna Comp has True Hardwire Bypass, but sometimes you can notice some tone suction anyway.
This does not mean that it destroys your sound by any means, it is just a minor flaw that will not be a big deal unless you are crazy about your bypass being 100% “true”. As for the rest, this pedal has typical input and output and a jack for the adapter. It can also be powered with a 9V battery, which is always a nice option to have on hand. The build quality is decent, so you do not have to worry about that. All in all, M102 Dyna Comp is a pretty simple tool that treats your sound like a real gentleman and caresses it with love and affection.
There is not much to say in the control section, but that does not mean M102 Dyna Comp is a dull unit that cannot be tweaked. It has two knobs that modify different parameters of your sound, which is how you can change the amount of the effect. That ability is crucial since you have to find a sweet spot if you want to make it work. Otherwise, it won’t make any sense. I am sure most of you already know this, but I always try to include the information that might be useful for novices as well. With that in mind, I will discuss these two knobs and let you know what the outcomes of their modifications are.
So we have Output and Sensitivity (these names might be a bit unusual, but they are not anything new). The former modifies the volume of the effect and allows you to set its level in line with anything else that is going on in your chain. Meanwhile the latter changes the ratio of your compression. This means that it alters the amount of your compression and sustain added to the dry signal. Of course, we also have a footswitch with a complementary LED, which shows you whether the pedal is working or not. And that’s it. I am sure you will appreciate the simplicity of this little fella.
MXR Dyna Comp Sound
There was a reason why original Dyna Comp became so popular. And there is a reason why M102 Dyna Comp is pretty renowned today. Yes, I am talking about their sound. I will leave the former out of this review since it is not our focus, but I will do my best to explain the latter. As you figure out all the cables, connect it to your instrument or your chain and plug it in with the amplifier, the very first notes indicate the quality sound you can get out of this bad boy. It can add a certain amount of girth to your signal, which makes it warmer and rounder, and steeps it with definition.
It is quite easy to shift between all sorts of different types: rhythmic percussions with fast clicks or just subtle compression. Depending on what you prefer, you can easily tweak M102 Dyna Comp to your liking and achieve an array of versatile tones. Are there more diverse options on the market? Of course, there are, but if you compare sonic quality, you will see that this bad boy stands out a great deal. And after all, quantity does not matter that much if the rest is compromised, right?
On the whole, MXR M102 Dyna Comp is just as amazing sonically as its vintage sibling. It has very distinctive sonic essence that cannot be substituted by other typical devices. Its transparency and almost inaudible operation will make you fall for it in seconds. What I mean is that its effect will be noticeable for you, but the audience will not feel any artificial touches. And that is the whole point, in my opinion. Good luck!
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