I am sure you have experienced the excitement of finding the perfect gear. It feels like it was meant to be, since you are filled with different emotions as you look at it. It has everything you ever asked for, looks extremely fancy and the demos are out of this world. Unfortunately, that is the process of trial and error, since finding such devices is not an easy task. Sometimes, our expectations are not met and we end up being disappointed and frustrated. But most of us keep searching and that is the best thing one can do in our position.
Even though I was talking about the musical equipment in general, I had effects pedals in mind. Since these wonderful creatures are mostly affordable, it is quite easy to be tricked and be left with not-so-good units. But what we are discussing today is something that will not disappoint anyone. Yes, you are right, we are going to talk about Xotic Effects SP Compressor. This fella is somewhere in the middle of the price spectrum, but keeping in mind all of its features and capabilities, it is affordable as hell! Let’s dive right into it, get specific and meticulous and find out, what’s so great about this pedal!
As you take Xotic Effects SP Compressor out of the box, it looks like a very simple thing. It does not seem versatile, but rather leaves the impression that it is a one-trick pony. In reality, that is definitely not the case here. This sneaky little pedal has wonderful features hidden under the hood, which turns it into an extremely diverse unit. It is based on the legendary Ross compressor, meaning that it is equipped with OTA (operational transconductance amplifier).
This also indicates that it strives to emulate some of the best sonic characteristics of the mentioned device, but still maintains its own character. Additionally, SP Compressor can add up to +15dB of boost and can be used for that purpose as well. It has true bypass, which makes sure your signal stays intact and untouched when the pedal is disengaged. Let’s not forget that it has internal dip switches that give you all the control you ever asked for. This way the brand decided to maintain their smaller enclosure without compromising tweakable options. While we are on the subject I would also like to underline the micro size of the pedal.
Regardless, it is quite heavy, which means that the insides and outsides are all comprised with high-quality material. This bad boy has transparent knobs, which look very sleek in my opinion. SP Compressor can be supplied with a battery or an adapter – thumbs up for that. And one last thing, it can be utilized in conjunction with Xotic Voltage Doubler in order to enhance the headroom and achieve cleaner sounds.
Even though I did briefly mention the appearance of the control section, I would still like to add more. Yes, the transparent knobs look sleek and fancy, but they have downside as well – if you were to perform on a poorly lit stage, you would not be able to see a thing. It is really hard to distinguish between different settings due to such a design. But I think that is a small price to pay for the possibilities SP Compressor gives us. As you already know, it has three main controls on the surface and four dip switches on the inside. Let’s see what each of them does and if such an interface makes sense at all.
I want to start with the exterior. Volume modifies the level of the output and makes sure your affected signal aligns itself with the rest of the chain. The blend creates the perfect recipe by mixing together your original and compressed sounds. This way you can retain the character of your instrument or get crazy and saturate it fully with the effect. We also have a toggle that shifts between HI, LO and MID settings. It basically alters the intensity of compression and allows you to be either subtle or quite extreme.
Moving on to the inside, we have four dip switches that are numbered 1 to 4. 1 and 2 are best buddies and work together in order to set Attack and Release time. By messing around with their combination, you can achieve various compression sounds. 3 is a High Cut Filter, while 4 is in charge of the Input Pad. The latter tailors the pedal to high output instruments and eliminates the change of signal clipping i.e. distortion. Since it is quite inconvenient to change these internal settings mid-performance, it will probably be best to set them the way you want and forget about their existence (but it is totally up to you).
Xotic SP Compressor Sound
Xotic Effects SP Compressor comes with default settings. You can start off with that just to make sure you do not get entangled in all the options and parameters. And the good thing is, it sounds amazing right out of the box. It is clean and transparent, similar to its knobs. It has a broad range of different characteristics. When you set the toggle to LO, you can achieve that clean boost. As you move to the MID, you are exposed to subtle and well-rounded compression that would suit all your needs, styles, and preferences.
HI allows you to enter the extreme territory, leave the clean realm, and experiment with noisier settings. This would be the perfect option for those who employ distortion or overdrive. The internal pots allow you to take tonal control to a whole new level and tweak its every property. That way you will know what is going on in every aspect and change whatever you dislike. SP Compressor has versatile features that could fit to almost every musician. It is a powerful tool with extraordinary sonic capabilities.
This is the case where the features, controls and sound speak for the pedal itself. I cannot add anything else rather than summarizing and underlining what we have already discussed. Xotic Effects SP Compressor can truly work wonders and shape your tone in a way that will blow your mind. It is one of those pedals that you miss very much if they are not in your rig. And trust me, you do not even get the half of what it can do with mere words. Try it out and you will see what I am talking about. Good luck!
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