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Wampler Ego Compressor
4.9 4.9 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

This is just a beauty of a pedal, will change your notions of what a good compressor pedal can do for your tones. It quickly became my "if I could only have one pedal" choice. Wampler; "transparent enhancement" that never colors.


9th February 2012

Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal by darkhorse

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Wampler Ego Compressor

I sort of gave up on using compressor pedals a few years back, but the apparent need and use for one seemed to have a place on my board that a clean boost or overdrive could not do.

Having had several compressor pedals in the past and not having one until recently sort of explains none survived the typical 6 mo lifetime of my board configs. But things changed when I started using Wampler pedals. Their versatility just brought a quality and usage I had not really experienced in pedals. They are prone to exceed your expectations for the money rather than disappoint.

Finding the ideal compressor can be a daunting task these days, either going way too expensive or too cheap. True by-pass is a requirement for my board. I use true by-pass in a proper sandwich of high end buffers fore and aft which keeps my tone and signal as if there were no pedals in line.

Use of a compressor pedal can be an art in itself not to “squash” or “squeeze” the signal too much where there is no different in dynamics or response. Popular among country players to bring out more articulation of cleaner faster, subtle parts they like a faster attack compression. For me the most important option is the “blend” control on a compressor allowing you the option of mixing in your unaffected signal with the compression signal. A really nice feature to be sure. I am not a country player but more heavy fusion and I make use of many variants of gains and tones. The Wampler compressor just improves anything you do.

The compressor does what a clean boost can do for your signal, but the added presence, sparkle and ability to bring up the low level signal and hold down the peaks can be a thing of beauty if you figure it out properly and the ability to mix the dry and effect signal is just over the top amazing!

And that brings us to what I consider to be the best guitar pedal compressor anywhere near its price range of $200. You can pay a lot more but you will not get a lot more. Wampler pedals have this uncanny ability to combine and work with other pedals, truly in every sense of the word very transparent pedal designs, you hear the guitar through the Wampler pedal and anything else you use, it merely enhances it.

All Wampler pedals have great build, design and looks, with a quality often metal flaked paint job, top shelf components and controls. The Compressor just immediately impresses right from the start. Taking some time to learn the controls can really have you loving this pedal. It is one of those “if I could only have one pedal” boxes it would be this puppy. Use it to hit the tube front end like a clean boost or combination clean boost compression EQ enhancement. Just great, any sort of clean to all types of overdrive tones it just improves the end result.

Controls:
Sustain-controls the level of compression effect. Less is usually more in using compression, so take some time to get the right feel and use of the effect. Sustain is aptly named here, you can really hear and feel the notes or chords carry on but in a very musical and transparent manner. Does not have that popping feel or alteration of the signal I had not liked in the old comp pedals. You can rig that effect on this pedal if that is what you want but it does so much more in such a beautiful enhancing manner. What I love about all of Brian’s designs is the vast range of ability he puts into them. The compressor can go from no compression transparency clean boost to really carried sustain but retains musical usefulness and feel.

-word of advice, compressors can magnify noise if it is present so in general works better more up front. This compressor can be put anywhere and it works if you just dial it in to the scenario. Super high gains are already compressed to a great extent, most anyway, so using a compressor can be redundant on such levels. Less is more when it comes to compression.

Attack Control -Clockwise increases how quick the compression starts working on the signal. In general fast picking needs a fast attack but you have to dial this in to fit your touch and overall tone needs. A really important control to have on a compressor to be sure.

Tone Control-Rather unique on this pedal is how the tone is voiced. Fully down (counter-clock wise) the tone is out of the signal, as if it were an old style compressor pedal with no tone control. Does not cut or add anything at this setting. Turning it up brings in a delicious sparkle and presence to the tone that can enhance the overall quality of your signal without coloring it. With Wampler it is all about “transparent enhancement” of the tone.

Blend Control-truly the master work of this pedal, the ability to blend the straight signal with the compression at a true 50/50 level at noon. The initial signal is not colored per se’ but is enhanced via having the pedal verses not having it. The mere all the way to dry side improves the tone of your initial signal without bringing in the compression circuit. Being able to mix these two is just something you have to experience on your touch and feel, having the normal dynamics of the guitar plus the compressor circuit to kick in and bring up the fading low level or perhaps overwhelmed notes just shows the beauty of this pedal and the enhancement it brings.

The Volume level potential of all the Wampler pedals I have is pretty much beyond most other pedals I have used, same here with the Ego Compressor. Spend some time adapting this pedal and dialing it in, and you will love it as much as I do. The new manuals offer some great setting tips and uses to get you started.

added:
Got to say had this a month now and it just keeps getting better. Transparent sustain over old tone smashing compression w that noticeable clamp and release. This pedal sounds so natural and organic to the tone you really do not realize it is sustaining your signal way beyond the guitars normal response. The blend control is just the secret, being able to get a 3:00 attack of that marvelous transparent compression mixed with some of the dry signal, just amazing. Truly the best pedal I have ever had in a great many years of hundreds of them.

24th July 2013

Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal by kojak

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Wampler Ego Compressor

In the past, I was not typically a fan of compressor pedals, as most of the ones I had tried either compressed far too much, or were so subtle you wondered why you just dropped a couple of hundred bucks on a new pedal. This pedal is the answer to anyone who ever asked themselves "why do I need a compressor?"

One of the keys to this particular pedal is the Blend control, which surprisingly few comp pedals have. This allows you to blend in as much or as little of the dry (uncompressed) signal as you want, to tailor the sound exactly the way you want.

Another great feature is the fact that you can turn off the compression altogether...why would you want to do this, having just bought a compressor pedal, you ask? The answer is that when you dial out the compression (labelled "Sustain" on this pedal), it becomes a clean boost pedal, allowing you to use the Volume control strictly to boost your level for a solo, or if you want to drive the front end of your amp a little harder. Like 2 pedals in one!

I found this pedal particularly useful with an acoustic with a pickup...usually when going from a loud, strum-heavy song to a quieter finger-picked tune (imagine playing a John Mellencamp or Bryan Adams tune, followed by James Taylor or the like), you would have to carefully adjust volume control, or finger pick very loudly, losing a lot of the subtlety that a quieter song might benefit from...with this pedal, no worries, just pick a tune and play. As a plus, even with fairly heavy compression engaged, there isn't a ton of "pumping," and the signal remains rather quiet. Remember that ANY comp pedal, when heavy compression is selected, will increase your overall noise level and make you more prone to feedback...that being said, this pedal is one of the quieter ones I've used.

One caveat...when you buy this thing, take an afternoon or two or three to play with the settings and see the wild range of options you have. Depending on where you place it in your signal chain, whether you're playing electric or acoustic, as well as your EQ settings, you can have insanely different settings, all of which can work depending your situation. Really take the time to find what works for you. There IS a bit of a learning curve, especially if you haven't used compressor pedals in the past...but I promise you no matter what other gear you use it with, there is a combination of settings that will make you smile. After using this pedal quite extensively (30 hours a week for 2 months), I can say I will never play acoustic again without it if I get my way. Does an amazing job of keeping your dynamics in check, but without choking it or making it sound flat. Absolutely one of the best things you can do to your signal while not affecting tone. I've said this pedal improves tone the same way makeup makes ladies look attractive: the secret is making it look like you're not wearing any. This pedal makes your guitar sound like it just does "that" on its own. Magic.

 

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