The buyer’s gear guide – Compressors

A compressor may not be on the top of your list but it really is a powerful tool for enhancing and sculpting your tone. In this guide we’ll look at a handful of models and how to incorporate these in your rig, with David Gilmour’s tones in mind.

Updated March 2023

A compressor controls the dynamic range of a sound by making the quiet notes louder and the louder notes more quiet. Peaking transients will be smoother, making the signal to appear lower in volume. However, the amplifying of the lower frequencies, will make the overall volume sound more consistent.

Compressors for guitar started to appear in the mid 70s, with the MXR Dyna Comp and Ross Compressor among others. These had two controls – sustain and volume. The sustain is basically one control for all the controls on a studio unit, while the volume can be used to boost the output.

Some modern units also offer more controls and often a blend function, which will retain the attack of your picking and allow you to dial in the right amount of compression.

David Gilmour and compressors

David Gilmour started using compressor pedals in early 1977 for the Animals tour. A script logo MXR Dyna Comp was featured in the Pete Cornish stage board. The pedal appear to have been placed somewhere in the middle of his effects chain, after the gain effects. Perhaps he mainly used it for cleans or, that they simply weren’t used to compressor pedals and set it up much like a studio unit, compressing the entire signal and the front end of the amp, for balance and more headroom.

During the 80s and 90s David experimented with several different compressor pedals in his rigs for different tones and applications, sometimes using two or all three compressors at once, like for the intro on Time in 1994. The pedals were now placed first in the chain compressing the signal going from the guitar to the pedals and effects.

In more recent years, David has relied more on compressors, using them for both boost and sustain. This allows for an overall cleaner tone, with less gain from the overdrive pedals.

Choosing the right compressor

There are mainly two types of compressor pedals. Compressors based around a transistor circuit, like the Dyna Comp, are often favoured by finger pickers for their fast and aggressive compression.

Optical compressors, based around light dependent resistors, are smoother and more subtle, much like the studio outboard units. There are also FET and tube units although these are rare among pedals.

There are no rules as to what type of compression you should use. It all comes down to taste but I would recommend transistor units for single coils and finger picking and optical units for humbuckers and heavier gain tones.

Compressors on the pedalboard

Compressors are usually placed first or in front of any overdrive, distortions and boosters. You want to compress the clean signal from your pickups into the gain pedals for a balanced tone.

Keep in mind that compression is a gain pedal too so don’t be surprised if you need to adjust your overdrives and distortions to balance the amount of gain.

I have played and tested each pedal in this guide, with guitars and amps that are typically associated with David Gilmour.

Effectrode PC-2A
Based on the legendary Teletronix LA-2A tube compressor, the PC-2A offer a stunning sound quality, with smooth and natural compression. Whether you want to add body to your clean tone or smooth transients and sustain to your dirt, this is something you definitely want to leave on for all your tones. Like its studio counterpart, the PC-2A offer a simplistic design, with two controls for peak reduction (compression) and volume, as well as a unique micro tube for that amp-like tone. My favourite setting is with a bit of boost, for driving my other gain pedals and the front end of my tube amps. See my full review of the PC-2A Compressor here.

Gilmour tones: Animals – Rattle That Lock

MXR Dyna Comp
The Dyna Comp is a true classic and the standard for most pedal compressors designed for guitar. It has a transparent tone, with a fast attack, providing that twangy compression especially suited for single coil pickups. MXR offer true replicas of the mid 70s so-called script logo model, with the same character and tone of the original. The so-called block logo model that appeared in the 80s is very similar but slightly darker and the attack feels more aggressive. For David Gilmour’s tones, the Dyna Comp works really well for tightening a Big Muff.

Gilmour tones: Animals – Final Cut

Boss CS
Boss’ compressor is somewhere between the smoother sounding studio compressors, like the Effectrode PC-2A, and the slightly more aggressive Dyna Comp. The CS-3 has additional controls for adjusting both the attack and tone, which allows you to tailor the pedal to match your pickups. The CS-2 that David Gilmour used in the 80s and 90s is slightly darker and smoother and well worth tracking down.

Gilmour tones: About Face – PULSE

Jam Pedals Dyna-Ssor
As the name implies, the Dyna-Ssor is a take on both the MXR Dyna Comp and the Ross Compressor. It has a the fast attack and squeeze of the Dyna Comp and the smoothness and warmth of the Ross, with a very dynamic range and powerful volume compensation and boost. Definitely one of my favourite clones of these two classics.

Gilmour tones: Animals – Final Cut

Demeter Compulator
The Compulator is an optical compressor, based on the old studio units of the 60s and 70s. In addition to a compressor and volume control, the Compulator also feature a trim pot for adjusting the overall gain or volume. This is a superb sounding compressor, great for cleans and milder overdrive tones in particular but really one that you want to leave on most of the time.

Gilmour tones: Animals – Rattle That Lock

Did I miss something? Please use the comments field below and share your tips and recommendations!

397 thoughts on “The buyer’s gear guide – Compressors”

  1. hey bjorn! which version of the dynacomp in your mind is better? im thinking about getting a script version of the dynacomp to replace my block one. is the upgrade worth it? or is the differences between the two just subtle ones at most and i should drop my thought of switching?

    1. Good question. I would say that the difference is subtle and you can get great results with both. Copressors are always about feel more than an actual effect, so this of them as two different pedals rather than one being better than the other. I think the script sound smoother, slightly more transparent and slightly less aggressive but it also depends on what pickups, pedals and amp you use and your playing and picking style.

  2. When you did the presets for the Black Spirit 200, how did you get around the lack of a compressor on the amp?
    Same with the Keeley Dark Side pedal ……. the pedal sounds great but no compressor.
    I am trying to find the best set up for external pedals to supplement the Black Spirit 200.

    1. Compression is a matter of taste and if and how you should use it depends on your pickups, the amp, what pedals you use etc.

  3. Hey Bjorn,
    I am currently trying to decide on a comp pedal, this article has been super helpful.
    I typically use a Boss SD-1 into my little big muff, with either the Boss CH-1 or a slight vibrato effect from my boss katana mkII for my gilmour tones. I have been using the Compressor on the Boss katana and have had it on all the time, but i wonder if it would be worth investing in a real separate pedal for comp. I’m thinking of either the Dynacomp or the CS-3
    Thanks so much

    1. It’s been a while since I’ve played a Katana so I can’t remember if it has a send/return feature for pedals but if you plug the pedals into the front end of ten amp, the built in compressor will be placed last in the chain so a stand alone pedal might be a better choice as you want compressors first, after the guitar. Personally I’d go for the DynaComp.

      1. Awesome thanks so much, I appreciate all the info on this site, as a die hard Gilmour fan this site is the best thing ever ?

  4. When preforming animals live did David have his comp in all the time or only with certain cleans and pedals? On your site you don’t state whether his compressor is engaged or not. Example, dogs. Was the comp engaged the entire song with the od or muff engaged? Thanks.

    1. Hard to tell how he used compression back in 1977. Looking at his board it appears that the compressor was placed last in the effects chain, much like how you would compress the recorded signal on a channel strip or mixing console. It may have been on for most songs or he might have used it for specific parts. Guitarists started placing compressors first, compressing the signal coming from the guitar, in the early 80s when compressor pedals became more common.

  5. Hey Bjorn.. by reading about David’s gear and settings here, I’ve noticed he doesn’t seem to use compressors with high gain or solo tones. Why do you think that is? I have an option comp and I tend to leave it always on. Am I missing out on something? Cheers!

    1. He seems to be using compression with most of his tones from the mid 80s to present. Including high gain sounds. Compression pedals in the 70s wasn’t that common but they most likely added compression in the mixing of the guitar tracks. Compression should be used with care though, depending on what pickups and amp you have.

  6. This is surely not a Gilmour method, but I’ve always gone the Trey Anastasio route putting my compressor (analog man) after two Tube Screamers to keep the level relatively even and allow for guitar volume knob to adjust gain rather than output volume, gives a lot of variation on gain and saturation without the guitar blasting anyone’s ears or being too quiet at different gain amounts. Since I mostly use my amp channels (Mesa Mark iii) for Gilmour overdrive tones (except fuzz which i don’t use the compressor with) the comp sits in front of that and functions as you outline here. If I ever end up with a Muff on the board I’ll have to experiment with it placed after the comp. Cheers for all the info on the site!

  7. Hi Bijorn. I chose Mooer’s yellow comp as compressor, optical compressor. I read that you recommend this type of compressor for guitars equipped with humbucher pick ups, but I assure you that the mooer yellow comp works very well with single coils, indeed, I prefer it as it doesn’t limit the dynamics. After all, even the compulator used by Gilmour is an optical compressor and he uses it a lot on his layers/canvases. Greetings

    1. Absolutely! That Mooer is great and optical compressors works great with all types of pickups. I do think that optical, being less sensitive, works better with humbuckers than transistor compressors like the Dynacomp.

      1. Yes, the Mooer is really fantastic and it doesn’t change the sound or the dynamics of the guitar. I tried other compressors, but the mooer yellow comp was the best sounding one at a third of the price. It is transparent and warm at the same time. One thing I would like to say, if you allow me, is that you should try a compressor at band volumes or at least in a rehearsal room, but not at bedroom volumes. In my opinion the volume amplifier
        “live” has a natural compression and certainly greater than when it is at very low volumes, even without using a compressor pedal. I think that the mistake that many make is to try the compressor at very low volumes and consequently increase the level of the effect, but then when you go to play, that’s where everything changes. Anyway, in my test (if it can be useful) side by side at live volumes, with the mooer yellow comp the sound of the guitar
        It “breathed” and thickened too, while the mxr dynacomp black logo and mxr dynacomp mini killed and squashed the guitar’s tone and dynamics, despite various adjustments or attempts.

  8. Hi Bjorn,

    I hope this question’s not been asked before, but have you heard of the Darkglass Hyper Luminal compressor and if so, what do you think about it? Would it be a great pedal for Gilmour kinda tones?


  9. Hello friend !!! in the setup of the tour of the album The Division Bell in 1994 (Pulse), in the section of the racks of effects there is the Digitech Ips 33B Whammy programmed for this function and controlled by an expression pedal, however I don’t use this effect in any of the songs played in the setlist !!! Could you let me know if this rack was used in any of the songs played on the tour? thank you in advance for your exquisite work in researching the sound of David Gilmour and Pink Floyd.

  10. Hi Bjorn,

    I’m looking for my first compressor and I have 2 options that my cousin owned and he’s giving it to for me.

    I’m currently torn between the old CS-1 and a Joyo Dyna Comp, which one would you think is the better for replicating the CS-2/Delicate Sound Of Thunder tone?


    1. First of all, a compressor alone won’t give you THE tone. It’s a tool you use to further shape and balance your tone. You can very well gat THE tone without a compressor. How a compressor ultimately works and sound, depends on what pickups, amps and other pedals you use, how you pick the strings etc. However, between the two I would say that the Boss is the closest to what David used at the time. It’s also a nice collectors item.

      1. Hi Bjorn,

        Have you ever heard of the Ibanez CP-9 that Gilmour used during Pulse period?

        Would you think it’d be better to do CS-2 than the Boss CS-1?

        1. It’s very similar to both of these. Typical transistor compressor, with a fast attack and hard compression. It’s a bit brighter than both of these.

  11. Hello Bjorn, joining late to the conversation.. do you know the Dr Green Life Support Compressor Pedal? They were made by Hayden Amps.. any thougths? Thanks in advance.

  12. Hey Bjorn.
    Have you had a chance of trying Keeley Compressor Plus. If so, what are your thoughts on it and which album would you say it fits the best?

    Best regards,

    1. I haven’t tried it but I would imagine that it fits pretty much anything from Animals to present, which is the period David has been using compressors.

  13. Have you heard of the Atlas compressor that just came out? Curious what you think because it’s supposed to sample a wide range of compressor types.

    Also, any newer comps you recommend? Thanks Bjorn!

  14. Hello, thank you for all your wonderful resources and time you dedicate here. For living room playing with a Princeton Reverb RI and P-90 Les Paul and Gilmour Strat, would you suggest the PC-2A, Demeter Compulator, or multi-band CP-1X for quieter living room playing? Thanks!

    1. All three will do the job. It depends on what type of compression you’re looking for. Optical compression is more subtle, while transistor based compression is much more aggressive, although they can be tweaked for different attack and compression.

  15. Hi Bjorn, thanks for the amazing content. I have a Sir-Compre Compressor from Friedman. I used to another kind of music style. Do you know yhis pedal? How do you suggest to set its controls for the Gilmourr cleans tones like Shine On You Crazy Diomond nd to dirt tones like Confortably Numb. PS: I didn’t have a Strat Yet, so I need to find a good tone using my Tele, or Washburn N4, or an Epiphone Lucile mod with Slash Seymour Duncan Humbuckers.

    1. I’m not familiar with that particular pedal but compressors should be set to match your amp, pickups, overall tones and playing technique. David uses a lot of compression to both balance his tones and to get more sustain. Be careful with not using too much gain on your overdrives and distortions but match this with the compressor to avoid feedback and noise. I would keep the volume slightly above unity for a bit of boost, which will tighten your tone, and the amount of compression around 60%. Again, this should be set to match your rig.

  16. Hello Bjørn.
    Any idea about the compressor used on SOYCD’s studio version as there were no such pedals available in DG rig in1975?
    For sure, the Abbey Road’s outboard gear was used, but go figure which machine it was! Was it the Fairchild, just like for ABITW, pt2’s solo, it’s unobtainium, even as a replica, but there were many others. It’s likely that today’s Drawmer units may do the job, but I’m not 100% certain about it.

    1. I don’t have any info on what outboard gear they had at Brittania Row. There might be some articles out there. Could be a number of compressors but there’s little doubt that they would feed the signal into the desc and channel strip and then add compressors or drive the channel for more gain and tone sculpting.

  17. Hello Bjorn, ty for your site and advice,
    Looking at the animals album you don’t have the dynacomp listed as David using on live performances. Specifically dogs.
    Did David use his dynacomp on dogs live.
    I use mine on dogs but not on pigs until the mid clean section. Is that correct how David did it live? If not please explain on animals live when n if he used his dynacomp. Thanks so much.
    Jon S.

    1. Hard to tell just how he used it. It’s easy to look at pictures from the more recent tours and see which pedals are active in the switching system but there was nothing like that in 70s. The Dyna also seem to placed later in the chain on the Animals board, whereas compressors are often placed first nowadays. In any case, a compressor is a tool much more than an effect so a Dynacomp alone won’t provide THE tone. It depends on your pickups, amp, pedals and playing and whether or not you actually need compression or not.

  18. Hi Bjorn, I have a “Keeley compressor 4 knobs”, could you help me with the configuration to have a correct pulse tone? Thanks for your teachings.

  19. Hi Bjorn, hope all is well. Would you be able to recommend a couple of compressor options that you’ve heard eliminating the string attack completely? I know for guitar pedals, designers think guitarists like to hear the attack so there is an inherent a few 10s of milliseconds at lowest attack setting but I don’t know any that have near zero millisecond attack. My problem is with low to low-mid sort of thud sound which is very noticeable with hollow body neck P90. Sorry it is not a Gilmour tone application but I thought you may know any compressor with that kind of characteristic.
    Thanks a lot.

    1. Hmmm tricky question. I’m not sure if there are any pedals that allow your to completely roll back the attack. I’m no technical expert though so there might be a good answer to this. I would imagine that a compressor with a blend control will give you some control over the attack or at least amount of compression but it also depends on the guage of your pick and how you pick the strings. If certain frequencies are a problem, then you might also want to consider an EQ.

  20. Hi Bjorn,

    I’m another guy with humbuckers trying to do some Gilmour tones.

    I have this MXR Dyna Comp Mini and maybe it doesn’t work properly with humbuckers as you said it looks “particularly suitable for single coils and clean tones”.

    I thinking to move to Keeley Compressor Plus.

    My setup is a guitar PRS CE-24c with MXR- Dynacomp > EHX Big Muff PI (Russian) > Boss BDw > Boss Chorus 2w > Mooer E-lady > MXR Phase 95 > TC Flashback 2-> Mesa bookgie Mark 5

    BDW The PRS has a single-coil switch but it is not the same as a strat and brings more noise to the signal.


    1. The DynaComp works well with humbuckers too but it depends on what tones you want. I personally prefer something less aggressive for humbuckers.

      1. First of all, let me apologize to not express myself clearly about describing guitar tones.
        Basically, I’m missing high-end (treble) when I switch on the dynacom-mini.

        At end of the chain, I have to use the Mesa Boogie EQ to improve the 2200hz and 6600hz in order to recover some brightness and if I’m using my Vox Ac-10, the treble knob is the option.
        I’m not much a compressor expert and my first assumption is that it should be related to my option to use the humbuckers.

        That’s why I’m thinking of Keeley Compressor Plus or the DrybellUnit67 which has EQ and Booster.

        1. Compressors will tighten the low end and roll off the top end, creating a flatter or more balanced signal. The Dynacomp in it self will not colour your tone but too much compression will compromise the top end. A mistake many does is to replicate David Gilmour’s settings, or settings they see online, for their own guitar, pedals and amp. A compressor is a tool, not an effect, that should be used to enhance a spesific setup. Humbuckers often require less compression because the signal is already fairly balanced. Try to release the compression a bit, roll back the sustain, and see if that helps. Be sure to use the volume on the pedal to compensate for the drop in volume caused by the sustain control. Hope this helped.

      2. Haven’t answered which tones I want. I like Gilmour 70’s tones the ones recorded between “More” and “The Wall” with a special passion for “Dark Side of the Moon”.

        1. No compressor stompbox before Animals, then Dynacomp, BUT studio outboard gear was used, this is more than obvious when listening to SOYCD.
          The ABITW, pt.2 solo’s sound might be smth like this :
          LP/P90 > Fairchild 660/670 > Neve > Studer > Neve > Mesa Mk.1 > Mic > Neve > Studer A800 (master tape).
          The clean sounds were often ampless on the Wall studio LP. You may consider getting two Neve racked channel strips with or without the mic preamps : there are many clones and maybe even kits, then consider a LA-2A comp/lim/exp
          The Fairchild 660/670 is absolute unobtainium, I’ve heard about $40k for an original and $8k for a replica. 10 years ago, it was $8k for the real thing and $2.5-3k the replica. Another more reasonable high end studio tube comp/lim/exp might be the Drawmer, even the Manley being way too expensive…
          OK, in terms of budget, it will deprive you from getting your Fender Custom Shop Master Handbuilt Gilmour signature relic but… You can opt for a Vigier Excalibur Supra, you’ll get a much better guitar for cheaper, just fit a pickguard with two Fender ’71 and a DiMarzio FS-1 in bridge posn… Or even better : the Supra SSS comes with two FS-1 and a DP-185 in bridge… Have custom handwound PUs made : neck = Fender’71+FS-1, mid =Fender ’71; Bridge = Fender’ you have both kits at once and you won’t regret: the original Excalibur Supra SSS kit is formidable.
          Use Seymour Triple Shot PU rings so you have the switches on the rings. Get a double-stack pot for tone. Now you have the best “Strat” ever built for less than €3k and you can get the studio gear, rather than a Strat CSMH that hasn’t even the Charvel neck nor the right bridge PU for the Wall/Animals

  21. Hey! Ever try the MXR M228? It’s a Dyna Comp with a few extra knobs. I’m considering that, the Script Dyna Comp, or the Ampeg Opto Comp


      Bjorn I’m finally getting slide down after almost 40 years playing. I notice a lot of slide players use a comp. What settings would be best for playing slide using a script DC with my thinline Tele with Fralins still pole 43 basically a p90 the fits Tele routs. They sound like Tele pups with the volume on the guitar rolled back to about 8, but full blown p90s when the guitar volume is dimed. any suggestions on where to set the 2 controls?

      1. Keith, a compressor should be the set depeding on the amp and its settings. For slide I would use higher value settings than with strumming or picking to get that sustain but again depending on how you’ve set the amp. Using compressin with slide, rather than adding too much gain, is a great way of adding sustain.

  22. Thanks so much for the resources on this page. I have been using a newer MXR block Dyna Comp with single coils, but experiencing some unwanted harshness. I decided to try the Whirlwind Red Box, and boy did that make a difference. I could see the Dyna Comp possibly working with modern humbuckers or stacked single coils, but it was just too bright for my needs.

    1. Yes, the MXR script logo and clones like the Red Box are much warmer and smoother sounding compared to the block logo.

  23. Hello again Bjorn hope you are well…Any thoughts or experience with the Pigtronix Philosophers Tone Micro? It’s an optical compressor with Volume, Tone, Sustain & Blend controls. It Has a Small footprint but do you like it or any optical type of compressor? Is there any advantage or disadvantages to optical compressors.
    Keep up the Great Work! We all really need something positive right now and for me, you provide it.
    Stay Safe Stay Well ?
    Walter H.

  24. Hi Bjorn, love your website, it has been incredibly helpful to me. I have a few different rigs for different styles of music (Les Paul, EVH Wolfgang USA, with a Marshall JVM 100 watt head and cab, etc).

    But I’ve been building a secondary rig for Blues and Gilmour Tones. I recently got a Fender 68 Deluxe Reverb Reissue that I love (it actually has 2 “vintage inputs” that nail the silverface tone, but also two “custom” inputs with a Fender Bassman tone stack (a little thicker, takes pedals better). I play a SRV signature Strat (I know the Texas specials aren’t ideal for Gilmour tones) but I plan on adding another more traditional Strat. I have a Phase 90, Electric Mistress Deluxe, Ibanez TS808 Vintage Tube Screamer Reissue, Analog Boss Chorus, and an Analog Boss DM-2 Waza Craft delay. Been having a great time messing around with Gilmour cleans, and even a little crunch. Finding the right pedal for leads was a nightmare, but I finally ordered the Electro-Harmonix Ram’s Head Big Muff Pi, and its my holy grail, nails that “Comfortably Numb/Money/etc) thick fuzz tone with aplomb (rolling it down offers a wide array of tonal options too!).

    Anyway, I’m looking to complete my pedalboard with a Compression pedal. I’ve read online, tore through your websites info and am down to just a couple options. 1) Gurus Amps Optivalve 2) Effectrode PC-2A 3) YellowSquash Iron Fist 4 knob 4) Demeter Compulator 5) Origin Effects Cali76 Compact.

    My 68 Deluxe Reverb amp has that scooped classic Fender tone, my SRV Strat is mid-heavy and high-output. If money is not an option, do you have a recommendation for which of these compressors might sound best with my rig/what you would buy? Helping nail Gilmour tone (including clean, light crunch, and dirty leads), versatility, and warmth of tone are all important to me.

    Thanks again! Love what you do!

    1. Thanks for your kind words Rory! All of the compressors listed here should get you the tones but I can’t really praise the Effectrode enough. Not because Gilmour is using one but it’s a very good sounding and versatile compressor. It’s transparent and subtle although you can certainly make it squeeze hard. It fist just about anything.

      1. Thanks so much for replying! You’ve really built an incredible resource for guitarists here, and I’ve learned a ton. Will give the Effectrode a try!

      2. Hi Bjorn, sorry to bother again. I’ve actually been having trouble locating an Effectrode here in the US. I’m still looking tho, maybe I’ll find a used one.

        One compressor you didn’t list is the MXR M228 Dyna Comp Deluxe Compressor Pedal. It has clean, tone, output, and sensitivity knobs with an attack button. Plus modern accouterments not seen in the reissue, like an LED, works with a power adapter etc.

        I think it’s new. Heard anything about it?

  25. @Bjorn,.

    I’m stuck in deciding between, JHS pulp, Cali 76 compact, Wampler Ego and Keeley compressor plus. I use boss katana 100 amp, fender MIM.

    I like to be more flexible, as I play Floyd, Ambient sounds, and largely blues.

    Would you help suggest.

    1. I guess you could choose any of these. They’re very similar, with more or less the same features. I often use the Pulp.

  26. Robert W Horton

    When using a noise reducer pedal (boss ns2 for example) with looper, should the dynacomp script or any comp go before the noise reducer or in the loop of the noise reducer.
    Should the signal go, guitar, dynacomp, noise reducer, in loop distortions etc. Or
    Guitar, noise reducer, in loop dynacomp distortions etc.
    love your advice, opinion, and information Bjorn
    Thank you
    Rob h

    1. Depends on what you need really. Some use the NS for certain noisy pedals but you can run the whole rig through it too. Personally I like to keep the rig as open as possible and maybe just gate the pedals that are hard to control. The problem with gating is that you often loose a bit of sustain.

    2. I use a dedicated loop for a Noise Gate > Dynacomp combo, with the Dynacomp set for very high compression. This is good for that really fat, gated compression sound from songs like Cluster One and 5 am.

  27. Hi Bjorn,

    You were testing Dynassor compressor (jam pedals) as a part of Pink Flow multieffect, but i guess its the same than Dynassor as a single stompbox. What do you think about it? Is it a close match to optical compressors or not? Im mostly single-coiler :)


    1. It’s not an optical compressor. It’s basically a mix up between the Dynacomp and the old Ross. Very transaprent and easy to use but not as smooth and subtle as an optical unit.

  28. what would you recommend for slide playing through a jazz chorus amp? i use drive sometimes and phase. but mainly go clean plus reverb. thanks!

    1. What are you looking for? I think the most important pedal for slide is a good compressor to get proper sustain and even output.

      1. yes! that’s exactly what i want. nice long sustain. also something i could have as an always on when i’m not playing slide. just for more clarity. i mainly use single coils.

  29. Hi Bjorn.
    I hope you can help me clarify a question that I have not found clear answers on the Internet.
    What is the benefit of using 2 compressors at the same time, as David did a few times in the 80’s and 90’s? I understand that the result is different from simply using more compression and that slide players use this technique frequently. David used 2 or 3 compressors in Time (Pulse version).
    Some compressors made by Origin Effects use double compression. What’s the deal? How to use it? Heavy compression into ligth compression? Light compression into Heavy compression?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. It’s basically the same as stacking overdrive or distortion pedals. You use the character of one effect with another. Using two compressors will allow you to both have two different types of compression, say a transistor and optical compressor, but also to finely tune the threshold, attack, release etc. In most cases, one will be more than enough, while certain effects, like the intro on Time or slides, can benefit from more compression for added sustain and attack.

  30. Hello Bjorn. My amp has not bright sound. The MXR Dyna Comp Mini cuts off the treble left. Compressor with tone control solve my problem?

  31. Hi Bjorn! First Thanks for this website and thanks for you availability. I come to you today to ask which of these compressors would work on my boss katana 50 with a dark side pedal. I manage to get a great tone but lack a bit of sustain. Also which position should I have it on? Thanks again!

    1. Any of these would do. Depends on what sort of compression you need. Subtle studio-like compression or, hard squeeze. For the Katana, being a solid state amp, I think I’d go for something subtle, like the CS3, Effectrode or Yellow Comp.

  32. Ludovic DE SCHYNKEL

    Hello Bjorn, I’m doing a new pedalboard and I’m looking for a recent compressor. What do you think of the EHX Tone Corset?
    Sorry for my English but I am French hoping you will understand me.

    Have a nice week end

  33. Hi Bjorn!
    Got a compressor and placement question for you. I have a Les Paul with Seymour Duncan Antiquities and I’m going for a David Gilmour-type sound, with a bit of Billy Gibbons mixed in too. I know the Keeley Compressor Plus has a humbucker mode so I’m leaning that way. My question is I have a Keeley Dark Side and I don’t know if the Keeley Compressor plus should go in front of the Dark Side or after. Seems like the fuzz on the Dark Side sounds best right in front of the chain. My current set up is Les Paul>>Dark Side>>JHS Bonsai>>MXR Sugar Drive>>Bogner La Grange>>Boss TU-3>>Fender Hot Rod DeVille 2×12. Thanks! Love your site.

    1. I’d place the compressor first. That will level the signal from your guitar into the Dark Side. Be careful with using too much compression with fuzz. Personally I don’t use compression with fuzz because it often kills the harmonics and dynamics of the effect.

  34. Hi Bjorn ,

    Would you always place the compressor first in chain? And before overdrive?
    I’m using the buffalo fx TD-X and I’ve just got 5 pedals including the yellow comp and the EMG dg20’s.
    I’ve been using the G system for years so it’s the first time building a pedal board.
    At the moment my chain is – comp – TD-x – tube screamer- chorus- flanger – phaser – nova delay

    Many thanks

    1. Placing the compressor first levels the signal going into the pedals, which is the “normal” way of treating the signal but my best tip is to try different setups and listen to what sounds best for your taste and rig.

    1. Volume around 2:00 and sustain around 10:00 seems to be a good start. Keep in mind that compression, perhaps above any other pedal, should be set to match your pickups, amp, pedals and not least playing technique.

      1. There are some compressors with input trim potentiometer (like Demeter Compulator) that can be brought higher for low output pickups or simply a lower threshold of engaging compression or vice versa for high output pickups / higher threshold. This acts different than changing compression ratio. If the compressor doesn’t have input trim, what pedal upstream of the compressor do you recommend to be a transparent one simply to deal with this issue? Basically a pedal that compensates for the pickup output so one wouldn’t have to change the compressor variables. Thanks.

        1. I haven’t really experimented with that as I haven’t found that to me a major issue. I guess either combining two compressors or a booster.

  35. Hi Bjorn. My respect for the knowledge you share. You recommend Effectrode PC-2A
    and optical. CS-2 is simply impossible to get. And what do you think about Electro Harmonix Black Finger. Or maybe YellowComp is better? (is cheap). For home use on LH20H, Celestion v 30. Thank you for your reply. Radek

    1. Any compressor would do really and the Laney can handle them all. I’ve described different models and different types of compression in the guide above.

  36. Hi Bjorn, awesome article! I am going to buy a new compressor. I have choosen Mooer yellowcomp and MXR Dyna Comp (box logo). Which one does a better job for gilmour tones? (pink floyd era) The price is not matter.

    1. The Yellow is much more subtle, while the Dyna has that squashy twang. I like them both you can’t really compare them.

  37. Hey Bjorn… What about MXR M102 Dyna Comp? The one that is sold commonly around. I’ve been looking to get a proper compressor pedal but unsure if the current MXR will fit the bill

  38. Hi Bjorn,

    I was wondering if you could give me some advice as to where to place a compressor in my chain. I’ve been experimenting with a dynacomp and noticed that the conventional wisdom of putting it first causes my overdrives to have greatly varied volumes when I stack them and that compensating that result by adjusting the gains and levels on them just cause them to sound the same as one another. However, when I place the dynacomp at the end of my chain, my overdrives behave as they should and the compression evens everything out. I’ve seen some people say that this in not an optimal placement for a comp because it will increase the noise floor substantially but I did not experience more noticeable noise than when I had it before my drives. Am I missing something? I know you say that David has placed his at varying points in his chain throughout the years and was hoping you could shed a little more light into that line of thinking. I’m not trying to nail David’s tones by the way, but would like a generic approximation of his sound. A Gilmorish tone if you will haha. I’m using a Carl Martin Plexitone and a tube screamer as drives into a 1987x set as clean as it will go. I use the TS with the level set high and the drive all the way down, only to drive the low gain setting on the plexitone pedal a little harder. My thought is that using a comp would make my use of the TS redundant? I also have a block phase 90, a Lex and El Capistan a Fultone Supatrem and a clinch fx ep pre that I use here and there as well. I’ve been putting the phaser pre distortion as well. Thanks for any advice you can give! And your new album is fantastic!!!


    1. Thanks for the kind words Ernie! The “rule” is to place compressors first. The reason is that you want to compress the direct signal from your guitar to get an even signal into the pedals or amp. But, there are no rules when it comes to tone. Whatever works for you. There might be a reason why you feel that the compressor should be last. Perhaps your gain pedals needs to be tweaked to match the compressor. Perhaps you don’t need compression on certain gain tones. I don’t know but trust your ears and arrange your pedal board according to what you think is best.

      1. Timothy Fulenwider

        I picked up an Ironfist based on your recommendation and love it! I also place it at the end of my chain when I use it. I find it is more versatile there for me, but everyone is different. Incredible pedal.

  39. So, I emailed a company that does pedal mods about having my Dyna Comp reissue modded for true bypass and the customer service rep asked me to take a picture of the circuit board to see if it was already true bypass and he said it was. As far as I can tell, it’s bone stock and was under the understanding that even the new ones are still mechanical bypass?

    1. The current 76 custom shop does have the led but I think it’s “true hardwire”, which is not true bypass.


    Bjorn, please, can you give me some advice in how to set the Mooer Yellow Comp for some songs with lot of compression like “5 am” and for song with less compression? Thanks you very much.

    1. Compressor settings depends so much on pickups, amp, amp settings, pedals, pedal settings, playing style etc so it would be quite pointless of me to suggest any settings. It’s not like a phaser or distortion. A compressor is that tool you use to enhance what’s ever needed. I’d start with a slight volume boost and a fairly high compression setting to get the rights squeeze.

  41. Love your page greatly! Quick Question: I already own a CS2, but I have been informed I should also get a DynaComp additionally to get a genuine Gilmour sound; to me it would be overkill, no?

    1. Thanks! Well, that depends on what sort of tones you want to create and how authentic you want to be. Obviously, the end result depends on your guitar, picups, amp etc etc but there is a distinct difference between the CS2 and Dynacomp as I’ve tried to explain in this guide. The CS2 is much more subtle, similar to an optical unit. The Dynacomp is perhaps more transparent but compress harder, which is why it’s ofte preferred by finger pickers. You can easily use one and get the tones you need but I like the Dynacomp for the late 70s and early 80s stuff in particular.

  42. Hello Bjørn.
    Do you know of a comp pedal that is “off-shelves” today that is as close to the boss cs-2 as possible? I have the mooer yellow comp. Nothing wrong with it, but I would like a bit more “spank and squash” to my clean tone (looking for shine on cleans). Anyone tried the comp from ALH effects? Signal chain: Strat: cs50/cs69/ssl-5 -> yellow comp -> mxr scrpt ph90 -> boss sd1 -> boss bd2 -> boss rv-6 -> tc flasb2 -> Cornell plexi 7w head with 1×12 cab


    1. I haven’t tried the ALH but the CS3 sin’t really that far off even though it gets a lot of hate… Most compressors these days seems to be based on the Dynacomp or studio optical compressors. The Effectrode PC-2A is also similar to the CS2 in the way that it’s equally transparent and not too squishy.

      1. Thanks Bjørn.
        Funny you mentioned that one : ) I already had order the effectrode, and got to test it today. Sounds really good! Functional with “clean boost”, and “light drive” as well.

    2. Dr.J (Joyo) D55 Aerolite is a CS-2 clone (using a LM13700N instead of obsolete BA662A/CA3080).
      There was no comp pedal for the studio version of Shine On. The probably used one of the Abbey Road studio compressors, e.g. Fairchild 660/670 (clones go for $8000!), LA-2, etc etc…

      1. Other alternatives :
        BEST ONE :
        Aion Electronics Aurora (kit) :
        The CS-2 is a overhauled Dynacomp, so is the Ross Comp. The Aurora can be seen as the ultimate derivative. It’s highly recommanded to drill a hole in the box to access the input trim so you can adapt it in case of high output level instruments (active PUs, synths, etc).
        Pots are Sustain, Release(Attack), Treble and Level.
        the kit can be obtained for €35.50 from Musikding (the PCB can be obtained from Aion for $12, kits on request as their lovely boxes seem sold out), add €6 for a Hammond 125B box, €11 for the drilled 125B, Pot knobs have to be chosen separately due to… about 400 models available from €0.50-4.25 and you can find deluxe knobs up to €30 elsewhere, as well as OKnob models allowing foot action on pots

        CS-2 =
        – Mooer Blue Comp
        – The Amdek CMK-100 Compressor (kit) is related but you may have to add an attack pot
        – The boss CS-2 is more or less a dyna-comp style compressor with an attack control. so any dyna comp pcb project would do, just add in the attack control. some even have it as a built in feature.

        CS-1 (optical) =
        Mooer MCS1

        CS-3 =
        Behringer CS100 Compressor/Sustainer
        Behringer CS400 Compressor/Sustainer
        Digisyn CS-DSP3 Compression Sustainer (Chinese copy?)
        Magnetic Audio FM100CS Compressor Sustainer
        Pyle Pro PPDLCS Compressor Sustainer

  43. Hey, just wondering why the Boss CS-1 is not included. Is this because it is less bright in comparison with the CS 2 and CS 3? Doesn’t it work when trying to achieve a gilmourish tone? Thanks!

    1. I can’t include everything. That would make a very long list :) The CS-1 is fully capable of covering Gilmour’s tones.

  44. I definitely think Wampler Ego (full size) is worth a look. The blend knob is a fantastic feature and its very easy to dial in.

  45. Hi, Bjorn! Are you familiar with the EHX Tone Corset or any TC Eletronic compressor? I would like to buy the JHS Pulp’n Peel, but it is very expensive in Brazil. In fact, few brands are sold here for a reasonable price and EHX and TC are the most affordable. There are no stores where I can test the products in my city. If you have any experience with compressors of these brands I would be happy to hear your opinion. You do a great job with the site. Congratulations and thank you.

    1. I do think the Pulp n Peel is better. More subtle, responsive and less noise. But, the Tone Corset is very good too and I don’t think you can wrong with it.

  46. Hey Björn! what are your thoughts on the keeley 4 knobs (compressor plus)? have you tried one? just wanna know, been 3 years Reading and visiting this website, keep up your nice work! cheers form Chile

  47. Hi Bjorn! To my pleasant surprise, I found an old CS2 tucked away in a box. But to my ears it is quite subtle and I’m not sure how to dial it in. Do you have any settings you can recommend as a starting point?

    1. Cool! Compressor settings depends on what you need. What sort of amp do you use? What’s its settings? What pickups? Other pedals? A compressor is a tool you use to further shape your tone based on what gear you have and what tones you need. A good start would probably be volume around unity, attack around noon and the sustain somehwere between 10-12 o’clock. You may need to adjust that…

    1. I personally found it too squishy. The sound was too extreme even using the mix/blend control.

      When setting the blend somewhere in the middle the combination didn’t “gel@ so to say.

  48. Emeterio Ayala Duran

    Hi, i have a little cuestion, what do you think about 4 knob keeley comp? It could be a good one for Gilmour Tone?

  49. Hi Bjorn – I’ve recently purchased a CS2 and an MXR Dyna Comp and when I switch them on (using DG EMG) I loose around half my volume. Even with the levels turned up full on the pedals, the volume still does not match my bypassed clean signal. Any idea on what is wrong and how to fix it ? Thanks P.

    1. Lower the compression. Too high compression settings will squeeze the signal too much and you’ll lose the high mids and top frequencies.

  50. Hi there Bjorn!

    First of all, I wanted to thank you for the effort you put into this site and your YouTube channel, it is greatly appreciated and it’s really nice to see a such an in depth review of Gilmour tones in both budget and boutique.
    Now, I wanted some advice on the next pedal I want to buy. I lack of some sort of boost in my clean tones and I don’t know what to get. Currently I have a Keeley Dark Side, Boss DS-1 and a Mooer Repeater. I’m not sure if I should buy a compressor like Mini Dyna Comp or an OD such as Soul Food or something like that (I’m kind of on a budget). I want to use it into my Dark Side as well to boost the fuzz.
    Any orientation is very much appreciated.

    Thank you very much!

      1. Hi and thanks for the feedback. Im currently using a Line6 Spider IV but I’m thinking about buying a Katana 100. I mainly play at home at bedroom volumes so I don’t want to spend too much on a valve amp that I can’t enjoy at full volume. I tried a Fender Bassbreaker 007 but I didn’t quite like the Dark Side’s fuzz on it. As far as the dist/comp thing goes, I ended up buying an Xotic BB Preamp with comp controls on it. It’s working really good for the clean boosts, boost on the fuzz and as well for some crunch sounds with the DS-1 on songs like Have a Cigar or Pigs.

  51. Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks so much for this website. Being fairly new to electric guitar, I am grateful for the guidance that your website provides. It really helped me to find my way through the overwhelming amount of factors and equipment units that affect tone.
    I have a question regarding the PC-2A compressor (I purchased one, and am very happy with it). You mentioned that by maxing the gain while reducing the peak reduction to zero, the PC-2A effectively functions as a booster. I wonder whether in that mode the PC-2A functions fundamentally different from the Effectrode Fire Bottle booster. What do you think? Did you ever make such a comparison? Does it make sense to have both in a rig?

    Thanks again for this wonderful website,


    1. Hi Eyal, sorry for the very late reply. Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoy the site :) Both pedals are designed as a pre-amp capable of driving the front end of your amp. The PC-2A is a compressor that will compressor your tone depending on how high your set the peak reduction. The Fire Bootle is more of a tube amp pre-amp, with different tone options simulating that Fender tone. I guess they’re somewhat overlapping but I think they’re to two very different pedals.

  52. Hi there
    any thoughts regarding the TC Nova Dynamics compressor/gate? Due to its variability (incl. dry blend function) it could be a good compromise between more aggressive and smooth compression?

  53. Have you heard of the Doc Lloyd Photon Death Ray Optical compressor? There is a demo on youtube (though not the best for a Gilmour test), gotta love the graphics on top of the sound.

  54. As I see you do not list the Diamond Compressor…

    I play through a Diamond Compressor on a Blues Junior Tweed (Jensen spk) and as you may guess my playing level or knowledge is quite basic. If I would like to increase sustain, should I look for an other compressor or the Diamond Comp is OK ?

    My muff is the EHX nano Bass Big Muff and according to the reviews and yours in particular I am going to change it for a EHX Green Russian.

    My OD is a Harley Benton Vintage Overdrive and want to add a Boss BD2.

    Am I right to get a better tone ?

    Thank you very much for your patience and keep your good job on your channels and reviews.

    1. I haven’t tried the Harley Benton so I can’t comment on that but the BD2 is well worth checking out. Close to David’s Power Boost and Tube Driver tones. The Bass Big Muff is very cloe to the Green Russian so it might be a bit redundant to swap. For the Fender amp I’d rather check out other, perhaps more versatile pedals. Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different amps. This will probably help with the sustain as well.

      1. I appreciate your reply very much, but main question was about Diamond Compressor if there is another to check out for more sustain.

        Surprised and confused about your comment on the EHX Green Russian and Nano Bass Big Muff that you say are close. I have read wonderful reviews about the Green Russian (including yours) and not so wonderful about the Nano Bass. So, I thought I could’ve made a bad purchase. The main reason wanting to change Big Muff is that Nano Bass is difficult to tame and somehow too harsh and agresive.

        I have read several times your article “tips on choosing the right pedals for different apms”. Maybe I missed something, but to me it is just theorical and does not really help making a decision acquaring one pedal instead of another.

        1. Compressors alone won’t give you more sustain. It can but then the amp, guitar and other pedals needs to be set up accordingly. You should be able to get the sustain you need with the right amp settings. A compressor is a tool that should be used with care and to enhance your tone. It won’t fix problems and sustain depends so much on the amp, pickups, what pedals you use, volume etc. All of the compressors I’ve listed here will work nicely.
          The Green Russian is closer to the original 90s models but the Bass Muff is right up there and I think that the reason you find it harsh is that Fender amps and Muffs rarely go well together. At least not for David’s smooth voilin-like tones. This is explained in the feature you’re refering to and as much as I understand that it’s very theoretical, it’s really all I can say. I’m sure you won’t find the Green Russian much more different but a pedal like a RAT or OCD might work much better on your setup and probably give you more sustain as well.

          1. Just to be honest, I had several weeks of fustrating playing as the tone in my jig was not right, weak, without sustain and erratically noticed some hiss noise and even worse: tone knobs on my strat or Dyamond Compressor seem not to react.
            I pluged my guitar direct to the amp (without pedalboard) and wow, higher output, rich tones, tone knobs very noticeable and sustain back again.
            Checked my pedalboard and found a weird patch cable. Just a tiny ground wire not properly soldered and isolated (I did the soldering), touched the live tip. It seems the “shortcircuit” was not big enough to provoque a clear noise or malfunction, but a big tone headache !!!
            I love back again my Diamond Compressor, EHX nano Bass Big Muff, etc

  55. Hi Bjorn,
    ….about FILTER
    what do you think about ELECTRO HARMONIX mod. TUBE ZIPPER, MAXON mod. AF-9, VOX mod. V847 ?
    Which do you prefer?


    1. ell, you list very different sounding pedals. I used the Vox wah for years and I liked it very much. Haven’t tried the other two.


    Bjorn, have you ever tried Xotic Compressor? For a single coil guitar, Xotic Compressor or MXR mini dyna comp?

    1. They’re very similar but the Dyncacomp is slightly more aggressive I guess and better suited for either chicken picking or hevaily distorted tones.

  57. Congratulation on the site, and as well on your playing, amazing! Gilmourish has been a true companion lately as I am setting up my rig based on Gilmour tones as an inspiration. I must admit that this is the topic where I struggle the most. I have a lot of the reviews, comments, etc. How important it is to have a blend control (like the Cali76)? I love the sound of optical compressors (PC-2A and Gurus) but none have it, and I am really looking forward to getting one of them. I have been experimenting with the Exotic SP and the Hypergravity which both have a blend control and it sounds much better with it engaged. What is your take on that Bjorn?

    1. As I always say – it depends on how you use the compressor and what type of compression you need. A blend control can make it easier to get the right amount of compression but you should be able to do that with a classic two-knob compressor as well. But in any case, you shouldn’t use compression unless your tones needs it.

  58. Greetings Bjorn! With the modern circuit of the MXR Phase 90, there are drastic differences between it and the ’74 reissue like a big of gain added, and a certain harshness well. Unfortunately didn’t know about your website until after I bought it and I didn’t know there were other versions of the circuit, so I am going to sell it and buy either the script logo or ’74 reissue (is the extra for the reissue worth it?). All this seems irrelevant, however, I was wondering if there any any significant differences between the modern DynaComp, the script logo, or the reissue like there are the Phase 90?

    1. Indeed, there is a noticeable difference between the script and block model Phase 90. The script Dynacomp is smoother and perhaps less aggressive than the block model. Not as big difference as with the Phase 90 but I definitely recommend the script model.

        1. As far as I know, the only difference is that the regular has true bypass, adapter powering and led, while the custom shop is hardwire bypass like the original. They should sound identical although the hardwire bypass rolls off some of those highs…

  59. Hello Bjorn!
    I’ve looked to your site for many a purchase and I’m now looking into compressors and I confess I’m out of my depth. I’ve been considering the Dyna Comp mini but also came across the Orange Amps Kongpressor. It has a bit more tweakability but I’m not sure if it will be in the right sonic territory. Any thoughts on the Orange?

    1. I haven’t tried the Orange so I can’t really comment on that. I’ve tried to explain the different types of compression in this feature so in addition to that I think my best advice would be to try to figure out why you need a compressor and what sort of compression do you need. Do you need a transparent one or one that can boost or squeeze really hard? Do you need full tweakability or just the simple two-knob configuration?

  60. Greetings, Bjorn!

    Do you have any thoughts on the Walrus Audio Deep Six? It’s an OTA Compressor inspired by the 1176. I’ve been on the fence between that and the JHS Pulp n Peel.

    Thanks for all your research and love your playing. Looking forward to more of your Gilmour on a budget videos, too! Are you going to build a full pedalboard of pedals under 100?

    All the best!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Ryan! I haven’t tried the Deep Six so I can’t really tell. The Pulp is phenomenal though…

  61. It doesn’t really matter for clean sounds, so my question pertains to dirty sounds. Whether it’s the muffs, the fuzz faces, the G2s or even the Tube Drivers, does David use compressor pedals with his dirty boxes? And if so, is he doing the classic compressor first thing, or is he putting the compressors after the dirt boxes?
    Of course, with a fuzz face, nothing can go first, so the question is moot in that situation.

    1. He often use compression with gain pedals but not as a rule. Depends on the tone I guess although the combination has been more frequent in more recent years. Adding a bit of compression to a Muff rolls off the unpleasant top end. Adding compression to overdrive adds to the sustain and attack. But as always, whether or not you should use compression depends on the amp, pickups, pedals, technique and taste… as explained in the feature above.

  62. Bjorn.
    Another great article, Thank you. I’m new to this site and happy I found it.
    Also, being new to using effects pedals, I feel like the first days of school all over again,
    I have a Pigtronix Philosophers Tone Micro Compressor (Optical with a blend control) first on my board just before my MojoMojo Overdrive and Phaser. All other ambient effects pedals follow…I thought it was an Always On at 12:00 noon for all four knobs and you are done, I was wrong.
    Have you any experience with this pedal or best settings suggestions? What would be the best settings for “Comfortably Numb?”
    TY in Advance.
    BTW I just added a Catlinbread Echorec pedal and what fun I’m having with that one!

    1. Thanks! As I’ve tried to explain in the article above, compressors should be used with care and when you need it. Some like to have their’s on all the time but if you do that it should be based on the fact that you really need it. Compressors used the wrong way can do more harm than good. A transparent compressor with moderate settings is often one you want to leave on whenever you use single coils to balance the signal and beef up the pickups. Hard to suggest settings because a compressors should always be set based on amp, amp settings, pickups, playing technique, what pedals you used with it, taste etc.

  63. Hi Bjorn, have you ever tested out the Philosophers Tone Micro from Pigtronix? I’m thinking of possibly adding a little compression to my board but I only have room for a mini pedal. The dynacomp mini and the xotic sp seemed like obvious choices to me but I’ve read good things about philosophers tone and am curious if it can stack up to those.

  64. Hi Björn! I’m always amazed by gilmourish. My respect!!!

    Do you know which pedals David uses at the Strat-Pack concert?

    I want to try to get closer to this warm delay and the mildly vintage distorted sound.

    Best regards from Germany!


  65. How important is a compressor ? Do I really need one? My favorite tones are run like hell..
    I have a Vick audio violet Rams head , electric mistress xo , and tc electronic alter ego.
    Any tips on getting closer to that sound?

    1. It all depends and I’ve tried to address that in this guide. Do you think you need a compressor? Is there something missing in your tone? Will a compressor take care of that? Understanding what a compressor is and what it does is important to decide whether you need one or not. It’s not a distortion or chorus but rather a tool you use to fix certain issues and improve your overall tone. If you’re using single coils I would say that you should at least consider it.

        1. It’s very nice. Similar to the MXR Dynacomp with a very transparent tone, a bit of top end sparkle and a lot of twang.

  66. Hi Björn,
    I am frequently checking for new and inspiring news on gilmourish-style stompboxes, to spend all my money on your recomendations! :-)
    Keep up the incredible work.
    I was wondering if you had the chance to check out the MXR M76 Studio Compressor. Can you recommend it? I am not sure to go for this one or a more expensive option like the optivalve.

    1. Hi Frank! Thanks for the kind words! I haven’t tried the MXR yet so I can’t really tell. My fav compressor is the Effectrode PC-2A. Check out the JHS Pulp n Peel as well.

  67. I second the Cali76 Compact. I had a Wampler Ego Compressor and started thinking that maybe compression isn’t for me. I’m not knocking the ego but the 76 changed my mind about compression. Probably something to do with being easier to dial in.

  68. Hi Bjorn, is very interesting.

    What’s you’re opinion on the ELECTRO HARMONIX mod. BLACK FINGER ?


  69. I have always avoided compressors like the plague. Too noisy, too artificial, too spanky, too… I didn’t see the point, it ruined my tone, and that hiss… but being an absolute Gilmour fan I kept thinking I should after 40 modest years of playing try to give compressors a last chance… So I came back to gilmourish (last time I was here it was still the old website…) After 6 months of research, hundreds of videos and countless sleepless nights (thank you Bjorn, you convinced me, and also the excellent demos of Sam Vilo on YT), out of the handful of high end comps out there I finally decided to pull the trigger on the Optivalve. To be completely honest, thinking that it is such a high grade pedal that in the worst case scenario I could resell it without too much financial damage if I didn’t like it.
    Always so hard to pick gear that you can’t personally try out, especially with your own setup. From experience I know that great demos done by great players almost always turn into a gear disappointment when I’m the one playing (rings a bell?).
    The Optivalve is expensive, for a pedal that most average guitarists (including myself) would feel does “nothing”. All I can say is O.M.G! It sounds as beautiful as it looks, I just cannot describe it efficiently, but as I read elsewhere, it doesn’t just compress, it enhances your tone in a way that makes it shine. And it is totally silent (technically, I know all comps are silent, they come out as noisy just because they raise the lower volumes and therefore the noise level, I am just translating the feeling for other basic guitarists like me).
    I plugged it into a class A boutique clean amp, and the tone just comes alive, before I even learn how to use the thing, I now understand why this is one of those compressors that some people say is an “always on ” value. So technically this is a compressor, okay, but it sounds nothing like anything I have known up to here, it doesn’t seem to do the same thing. Is it the tube, is it because it is optical… I am no engineer, I have no clue, but as a cromag guitarist I just feel this thing sounds awesome. Whatever it does, and the enhancement of tone is blatant, it does it very smoothly, discreetly, it’s seamless, beautiful, musical, incredible. Shine on you Crazy Diamond will never be the same…
    Thanks Bjorn for your amazing work and dedication!

  70. Hi Bjorn,great site! Amazing job! I need a little help by You, i need a compressor, whats the best choice between yellosquash and diamond compressor? I have a hiwatt, d allen echoes snd pig hoof mkii.
    Thanks a lot


    1. The Iron Fist is similar to the old MXR although a bit smoother and not as aggressive. The Diamond is an optical compressor, with a much more subtle and transparent compression. Based on your setup, I would perhaps go for the Iron Fist but you could go either way.

  71. Christian Julián Berardinelli

    Hi Guys, Is Developed where the JHS Pulp N Peel? In Japan or in USA? Japan is double priced in Ebay
    Thank YOU

  72. Hi Bjorn, greetings for the site, you’re job are amazing!
    What’s you’re opinion on the Diamond compressor? I need a optical compressor.
    Thanks a lot!


  73. Great article. I would love to get your opinion on the BearFoot FX optical comp: Pale Green Compressor, v4.

  74. Hi Bjorn. Do you think the Mooer Blue Comp is a better choice than the Yellow Comp? Or they are the same thing? Thank you very much for this website and the work you do for all the guitarists:

    1. It’s not the same thing. The Blue is based on the old Boss CS1/CS2 I think, while the Yellow is based on the Diamond optical compressor. Depends on what type of compression you want. Both of them will nail David’s tones and fit most of the typical Gilmour pedals.

  75. Hi Bjorn, i’d like to buy a optical compressor, in you’re opinion which the “best” choice between: demeter compulator, effectrode pc 2a and jhs pulp n peel 4?
    I have d allen echoes pu into a hiwatt.

    Thanks a lot


    1. My favourite is the PC-2A. It’s very transparent and subtle but it makes everything sound so good :) The Demeter and Pulp is fairly similar and probably a better choice if you want something more aggressive.

  76. Marcelo Angelo

    Hi Bjorn!
    About using the compressor in solos, like comfortably numb, to improve the sustain, yellow comp, Xotic SP, mxr mini or tone corset?

  77. Would love to see a review of the Kongpressor by Orange. Its an optical compressor that doesn’t cost too much and gets really good reviews. Would be interested how it compares to the iron fist.

    1. I have the kongpressor, and I can absolutley say it’s the pedaI i am most happy about. It can be a straight up eq pedal, or a compressor, or both. You can compress the sound, add some “chime”, or trebble, change the agressiveness of the attack, and change the release time of the note. I have the solid state Orange CR60, and that pedal gives it some serious tube like warmth. It also has the 12 db of clean boost, so if you max the clean channel volume out, and add the 12 dB of clean boost, you get some sweet overdrive. Which when I first did it, I was surprised my amp could react that way considering it is a solid state. It really makes David’s clean solos like Shine on, and Another brick pt 2 pop. It also works well with my BYOC triangle as a clean booster. The pedal just does so much! Bottom line is get it if you dont have it already. You won’t regret it.

  78. I have the Mooer Yellow Comp. I also have a Boss Equalizer. They were just used buys to just try them out. I never used either much and meant to list them to sell.

    One day, on a whim, I decided to hook my acoustic Yamaha APX 700 II to a Bugera V22. It sounded blah. then I hooked the compressor and the EQ and after about an hour of trial and more trial with compressor and BOSS EQ and the guitars own EQ knobs, I found a combination that sounded really good, very very good. I added a chorus and a reverb (TC electronics both) to the FX loop of the amp and the whole thing is just awesome.

    I took a future purchase of an acoustic amp off my wish list :-)

  79. Hi Bjorn, excuse me for my english…

    I always use the compressor, for the cleans and overdrive solos. But when I want that distorted sound and so much gain I combine Wampler Plexidrive + Carl Martin PlexiTone Single. Do you recommend using the compressor too on that occasion?

    Thanks and Happy New Year!

    1. Depends on what you want to achieve with the compressor. Do you feel that you need it? I’m always careful with compression on high gain sounds because the tone is already compressed a lot. Especially if you get some of that tube and speaker compression too from playing loud. I often kick in the compressor for certain things though, like for creating dynamics in a solo or adding a bit of sustain.

      1. Exactly! I feel the high gain sounds are too much compressed, that’s why I think adding a compressor is just adding noise.

        Thanks for your help!

    1. Depends on what you’re looking for. Costs very little and it sounds great. Clearly based on the old Klon, with a nice boost, mid range and gain character. Works very well with Fender, Vox and other “scooped” amps. Can be a bit overwhelming with Marshall and Hiwatt.

  80. Márcio Gasparin

    Hi, Bjorn .. have you tested the EHX Tone repair? Would it be a good fit for Gilmour’s sound? My pedals are: mooer phaser, vick audio 73, mooer black secret, tol, mooer chorus and canyon delay..Strat and Bugera v5. What does Bjorn tell me? Thank you.

        1. Ah right! Yes I definitely think that one will suit David’s tones. Very transparent and dynamic and it also got a bit of boost, which will come handy. The best feature though is the blend control.

  81. In looking at DG Pulse effects – he actually has three Compressor pedals CE2, MXR and an Ibenez in his rack
    My question – did he use these in combination with each other ? If so, why ? Thanks Paul

  82. Did you ever get a chance to try the Wampler Ego? Do you normally turn off your compressor when going through higher gain stomps, like a muff?

    1. Haven’t tried it. You should be careful adding compression to high gain tones, because they’re already compressed but it always depends on what tones you want. Adding a bit of compression to Big Muffs makes them sound smoother and you can also get a bit of high end roll off.

      1. Thanks. I was trying it different ways yesterday. I was trying to figure out how I could use it to reduce the amount of dirt. I definitely don’t like it in front of the 73 Ram’s Head. It kills the picking dynamic and makes the sustain drop off and sustain again in a weird way. I dig it in front of the ToL and the Plexidrive. Both of those are set either noon or just below. It also adds a nice fattening effect to my Hi Gain channel of my amp. I’ve got that channel set to a bluesy tone. If I start stacking the ToL, Plexi, or hitting the amp harder it just gets too much.

        Probably a second discussion, but I can’t seem to get a good sound stacking the 73 Ram’s Head with either of my other two pedals. It does sound good on its own if I get the level knob in the sweet spot going straight in my amp. My amp is set to clip only when I hit the strings hard or engage the boost on my Music Man Luke 3. The level knob seems to control the squareness of the muff sound. It rounds out as I turn it up. I just wish I could tame some of added clipping in upper frequencies. Maybe a touch of eq pedal would be better than trying to stack it with a boost?

        1. Stacking is always tricky because how you should do it or what fits depends on so many things. Also, I don’t think you should focus too much on the fact that David’s stacking his pedals. Keep in mind that his gear is very different from yours and it’s also been modified to meet his taste and demands. It’s also something very different to be playing huge arenas compared to bedrooms and clubs. You don’t have to stack or boost a Muff and the term boosting is a bit misleading since David’s not really boosting but rather blending effects for specific tones and character.

      2. Good point Bjorn. I should try compressor with different Muff pedals to see if I make the tone more balanced out and perhaps more widely usable. I was thinking a multi-band compressor perhaps gives more option to balance out the tone, something like TC Electronic Hypergravity. The blackbox Russian that I have has such a big bass that I imagine a full range compression would not sound good on it, but with tweaking the amount of compression for each band and adjusting the crossover frequency, that could potentially be a relief to find solutions to such unbalanced tones, and perhaps Fender amp users will appreciate using Muff pedals even more. Cheers.

        1. That might do the trick but you might also want to consider a EQ to better tame those frequencies. More efficient imo.

        1. Mad Professor Forest Green is an OpAmp based optical compressor. It’s a Mad Professor’s take on the BJFe/Bearfoot Pale Green Compressor. Same circuit except the Compressor/Sustain switch. The switch engages parallel compression mode in Sustain position. In Compressor position pedal is the same as PGC. I have MP Forest Green HW (Hand Wired) version. It’s a nice compressor. More versatile than PGC. Try it if you can. If you’ll need more details check review.

          1. Some more comments:”The switch engages parallel compression mode in Sustain position.” In this mode some dry signal is blended into the output to preserve original attack.

  83. Hi,

    I was thinking about a EHX silencer or similar noise gate,( my Boss BD2 is way too noisy) and a Compressor. I see the Iron Fist you recommend hase this function, as well. Do you think I can skip the purchase of a dedicated noise gate and trust the ironfist will do that job ?


  84. Hi Bjorn,
    Have you tried the Carl Martin Classic Opto-compressor, or the Carl Martin Andy Timmons Signature Compressor?
    I found really good reviews of them, considering it’s low price!
    Best, Andre

    1. Haven’t had the chance to try it yet but based on the samples I’ve heard it sounds very promising. I would imagine it’s close to the Effectorde PC-2A with that typical studio quality tone and the ability to go from very light to tight squeeze, with the optical circuit.

  85. Brooks from Texas

    Bjorn, Have you taken a look at the new Keeley Compressor Plus? I was thinking about upgrading my Boss Compressor to the Iron Fist when I saw the Compressor Plus. Did some research and picked one up about a month ago. Its great, I didn’t realize how much of difference it made until a few weeks ago in the middle of a set I could really hear it doing its thing. I love it, check it out here.

  86. I have a mooer blue mood (clone of Boss BD2 with keely mod) that ued to sound OK on my Bugera v22. Just OK. It went the maybe-sell-them-at-some-point shelf

    got a mooer yellow compressor and, for fun, placed it after the mooer blue mood, set the blue mood knob to the best position I could on its own, then played a bit with compressor knobs, with compression knob around 10 o clock and volume and eq around 11. The mooer pedal came into life — everything sounded better defined, solos, strums, arpeggiated chords

    Tried it after mooer black secret — same enhancing effect

    It’s become an always on pedal in my set up

    and the mooer blue mood found a place because of the compressor, I use the blue mood with compressor after it when I want to strum chords. They work very well together

  87. Hello, Björn! What would you say about the DIAMOND compressor CPR1 COMPRESSOR ?? How would you rate him? There is a choice between Diamond and MXR Dyna Comp (script) CSP102SL. Thank you!

    1. The Diamond Compressor is optical and based on typical analog studio units, similar to the Effectrode PC-2A. It’s a smooth and subtle compressor although you can drive it pretty hard. The Dynacomp is much more aggressive and typically used for single coils, clean tones and finger picking but it works great with high gain effects too.

  88. hi i was wondering what effects david used with his steel guitars ? im using a lap steel ona few songs and was wondering about how he got his tone

    1. Back in the 70s, he mostly used either a clean tone with delay or a Fuzz Face with delay for the heavier parts. These days it’s mostly a Tube Driver with delay and perhaps some compression. Check out the Album Gear Guides and click on the “songs and settings” banner on each album to see the setup for each song.

  89. Hei Bjorn! Have you tried the MXR M291 Dyna Comp Mini? It’s supposed to have the orignal CA3080 IC chip, same as was used in the vintage Dyna Comps, but obviously this doesn’t instantly mean it sounds the same. I was thinking of buying the script one, but then I came across this mini model, which would fit my already too crowded pedalboard. If you have tried it, please share your impressions! Always looking forward to your opinion.


    1. I’ve only had the chance to try it briefly and I’ve yet to do a proper A/B between the mini and the original script but the mini sounded very nice. Again, hard to tell for sure but to me it sounded very similar to the script model. Smoother and more headroom than the block logo.

    1. It’s similar to the old Ross and MXR compressors but it’s got a few additional features, which makes it very versatile. Excellent pedal.

    2. My first Xotic was purchased around 2017, I sold it, then got another one late 2018. The first was better, more articulate, responsive, and better sparkle could be dialed in. I would recommend getting one made around 2015-2016 if you can, you’ll save a few bucks and get a better pedal.

  90. Hi Bjørn! what to choose: Demeter Compulator or Vick Audio R-Comp? what compressor is better at your look! I sit I listen and it seems to me that Demeter Compulator sounds is more melodious or I am not right?! I apologize for English, I hope you understood… thanks!

    1. Depends on what you want. The Demeter is more subtle and it’s got a nice boost. The R-Comp has a much more noticeable attack and, like the Ross and DynaComp, it’s great for those twangy single coil tones.

  91. Hi there!
    When you’re using fuzz, do you also use
    à Compressor?
    I was wondering if I should put my before the compressor (ironfist). If you don’t, I bet there is no need to place the fuzz before or after the comp.
    Planned order: strat-> ironfist-> 73 ram’s head->{sun face? tree of life?}->Powerbooster-> vibe (like it after distorsion)->phaser->eleclady->nova delay->laney lionheart
    (Don’t own all of these yet but someday…)

  92. Michel Giroux

    Hello Bjorn,are you familiar with the Ross Gray Compressor?If so,how does it compare with the original MXR

    1. I had a ross gray and a dynacomp, and got rid of the dynacomp quickly. Even if they were based on similar circuitry, the dynacomp sounds nothing like the ross gray, i suspect it has to do with the chemicals in the cans and subtle circuit differences which make major sound differences. I just got an SP, i would say the sound quality is good but the effect itself is not smooth enough on the attack, havent noticed any bloom yet either. Its just a digital take on a compressor. Imo, a great compressor gives you the option of keeping more attack and signal dynamics, but adding a warm sustain with bloom. A compressor should also add sparkle and be suitable for always on no matter what you are playing through it. I’ll play with the SP dip settings, but dont have high hopes at this point. The SP is like a big mac, and the ross gray is like prime rib, heheh. I cant believe these pedal designers cant figure this out. And sorry, you havent played a compressor pedal until youve played a ross. It took me decades to appreciate it. Not being a snob, just sayin.

    2. get a ross gray if you can. or, if looking for a clone, just get a 2-3 knob that has a sustain knob, and a quiet signal, you’ll actually have an upgrade. lastly, if you are trying it before buying, listen for a “bloom” which is the note recycling/reamping after the initial signal’s own sustain. its like a subtle burst of juice on the signal. pigtronix also has an optical compressorat at a reasonsable price which is supposed t be transparent and dead quiet.

      i knw this subject a bit, and think gilmour would agree, if you want initial note attack and squish, and quiet, the MXR, if you want long sustain, sparkle, and don’t mind a little noise, you want ross. thats pretty much the forte’s of how those two are made. stuff often gets re-amped with effects after the initial recordings, and concert gear if often different from studio gear.

      The Xotic sp is not bad, quiet and clean, but i use it at the lowest setting. you can get similar but not exact sounds to both ross and mxr with it. the sustain is passable, the coloration is pleasant and clean, but not ideal. i’m picky as hell because i was spoiled by the Ross. i would go as far to say gilmour was handed a defective, noisy, or last leg ross, or it simply wasn’t available to him in the uk at the time he went with the mxr. otherwise, he couldn’t have cared to much. I believe noise would have been the deciding factor, my ross had a relatively clean signal. the internal trim setting is also a factor, i experimented until i dialed it in right. i know exactly where to put that sucker, because i tried it on a knock off with a similar component/circuitry, and hit the bingo jackpot, same effect…

      A fucking Dyna Comp sounds nothing like a Ross, lol there i said it. Not when dialed in to what i consider best advantage (yeah subjective.)

      it may be true that a ross was intended as a dynacomp knockoff, but that’s in a competitive/marketing sense, not a practical sense. there may be circuit similarities, rip-offs, and parallels, but also important differences.

      Lastly they all say they are built like a ross or a dynacomp circuit, but they are not, and i doubt half of them grasp why a ross sounds different from an mxr. minor circuit/component changes can make major differences in electronics, especially in relation to something as subjective as audio, throw in variables of amplification, other devices, and instruments, playing techniques.

      Consider an echoplex. i heard guys play shit on echoplexes in the 1979-80 range that i’ll probably never hear again. there’s a million devices that do echo, but there was probably only one batch that could do that shit. hell i had a new deluxe electric mistress xo flanger (sold it) i could make it fucking talk and laugh under high distortion,really way out, but it couldn’t do the kewl old shit i wanted it for, lol. get it? the silver box rules that line.

    3. i’ll try to make this my last point on this (impossible.) I screwed up in my speculation based on I completely forgot the implications of passive vs active pickups with compression. This variable has a major impact on what works best, and I suspect that (you could easily verify by searching this web site’s gear for tour and studio section) Gilmour was already starting to use or using active pickups in his guitar, which it’s quite likely that the dynacomp was better suited to the active pickups.I think with the Ross’ noise, as well as it’s particular type of tone flavoring that it’s just a mismatch with active pickups or high level outputs. Unfortunately I never used my Ross with an active pickup guitar or if I did, I dismissed the Ross or the guitar immediately as the signals just don’t work well together. I’m using an SP now, and although it’s okay with actives it doesn’t do much when going high gain, which Bjorn astutely notes above. The SP, as well as the Ross and many others enhance your tone much better with passive pickups. The actives are already semi-compressed. Ironically, the SP has an internal DIP switch setting which is supposed to help pre-process the signal when using high output humbuckers or actives and guess what? I’m using an EMG active 57/66 set (love em) and find that the internal high output setting on the SP does not work favorable, for me anyway. I am using the SP with the standard setting for any pickups, but prefer the low or middle setting, and I blend at about 40-45%. This way my pick attack is not affected much (not squished) but I get way enhanced sustain, even for actives.

      I A/B’d the hell out of the SP before coming to the determination for this. I went with the audience in my decision to get the SP, as I was torturing myself, as many do, over making the right decision on what to get, etc. The SP can give you rough, usable approximations of many of the compressors discussed in this section, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, low noise, treats the signal well, and is highly flexible in that it works well with actives, passives, and acoustics, and always on. It’s a practical swiss army knife for your various needs. Will it give you the killer, perfect tone you are striving for? Highly unlikely. Will it enhance your sound and be useful 6 months to a couple of years from now? Highly likely it will.

      Here’s a little ol tip i recently discovered, when using actives with compression try using a standard carbon zinc 9 volt instead of an alkaline, The signal won’t be as hot, and will work better with your compressor, heheh. My guitar shipped without an alkaline, and I don’t know if the manufacturer was trying to save money (likely) or found out about the better results. So, here I am trying to make the actives sound more like passives, because, or course, the grass is always greener. Of course, if you’re an 18volt double battery guy this won’t matter much, just hit yourself in the head with a sledgehammer and you’ll have more than enough compression for all of us, lol!

  93. Hi Bjorn, I’m thinking about exploring the use of a compressor to use with my Tele thin line (single coils) and an old ’67 ampeg reverberocket ii that I am restoring. It would be mainly used for clean, slightly overdriven tones. I find that just plugged straight into the amp there is something missing somewhere and I think that compression might smooth things out a bit without the added color of an OD pedal. The dynacomp and whirlwind sound like they’d be good based on your reviews, but what about the exotic SP? Forgive me if you’ve already reviewed it somewhere. Thanks!


    1. You can get nice clean tones by plugging the guitar straight into the amp but it requires that the amp is set up properly and, based on my personal taste, I don’t think tube amps come to life unless you push the pre-amp just a little bit. That will create the compression you need. You might also want to roll down the guitar volume control just a hair to round off that sometimes harsh top end. Mind though that this does not work that well on solid state amps. A compressor allows you to have better control of the amount of compression you need but which to choose depends on what sort of compression you want. The intro of this feature explains some of the differences.

      1. Thanks Bjorn. I agree the amp sounds much better when pushed, but I don’t have the opportunity to do that in my home that often. I guess my real question is will a compressor get me a similar response from the amp when I’m plugged straight in at bedroom levels, or would I be wasting my time? I’m not looking for overdrive but just a nice even, warm clean tone. Thanks again, your site is one of the best on the web!

        1. A compressor can compensate to some degree. You can create a similar effect to the compression you get from hot tubes and speakers that are driven hard but how a compressor ends up sounding, depends on your pickups and the voicing of your amp.

          1. Ernie Botelho

            Ok great that’s all I needed to know! I will do a little more research as to which comp might be the best compliment to my Tele and this particular amp and take it from there, or maybe look for one that has a lot of versatility. Thanks again Bjorn, you do us all a great service!

    1. I got the sp finally, very versatile jack of all trades, master at none. clean signal, and can always on. I’m happy with it for the price, but Its not the answer to everything. i’d put it at 8-9 of 10. by the way, if tracks were reamped or signal chain routed in the studio with different effects in the chain, who the f would know besides the engineer/producer/artist, for 5 minutes tops? You can’t document everything analog or you wouldn’t get anything done, lol. so much subjective speculation, but yes good cause, meaningful purpose. Gilmour is a demigod of sorts, heheh.

  94. Hi Bjorn, Thanks for your response regarding Demeter Compulator. I’m very happy with its attack, transparency etc. But I’m still looking for a way to thicken up the mids in the tone before hitting the overdrive circuit. Demeter has another pedal called mid boost. I’m trying to get that thick sustained tone of the DMG active pickup mid boost with my Fender 69 pickup. I imagine David Gilmore after using DMG pickup with that sort of hybrid of single coil and humbucker thick tone might have had a tendency to get some of that thick mid range character with his recent lineup of pedals after he switched back to Fender pickup. If so, which pedal combination would create some of that thick tone without sounding too compressed or too over driven so I can use it as a basis for tone building prior to my overdrive pedals? Thanks again and sorry if it is a bit off topic. However I think a mid band compression is part of the trick to get that thick DMG mid boost tone.

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t really tell. These kinds of pedals always depend on the pickups and amps you use them with. It can sometimes be a bit too much or too subtle. The Effectrode Fire Bottle is kind of similar, with a high end roll off option similar to swapping from single coils to P90s. It makes your tone sound warmer and darker but it’s not quite the same as boosting the lower mids, like the DG20s. For that you would need a band EQ, like the GE7.

  95. Hi,i’m french ,sorry for my english.
    Ahave you even tried the Rockman Compressor (1/2 rack).I have one and i wonder what’s the différence beetween it and pedal compressor.

  96. Hi Bjorn! I’m looking for a good compressor pedal to help me get a nice crisp tone while also smoothing out my distortion tones. I’d also like one that can get me into DG territory. Which would you recommend out of the Xotic SP Compressor, the Keeley C4, Diamonds yellow Compressor, the MXR Custom Shop script DynaComp, or Jam’s DynasSor? I use a Fender American strat with custom shop fat 50s and an Epiphone les Paul standard into a vintage Peavey Bandit. I have a blues driver and a TS808 and am going to purchase a Red Muck at Christmas. Hope that gives you some info as to what my rig resembles. Thanks and have a nice December!

    1. You could go for any of these but the Keeley C4 and Diamond are perhaps the most versatile and easiest to make work with different amps.

  97. Hey Bjorn,
    What about these Baroni Lab pedals – have you tried Dave’s Comp from them? Hard to find anything on the internet about it!

    1. I have. Don’t know why I haven’t included it here but it’s one of the better compressors I’ve played. Very smooth and transaprent but it responds incredibly well to your playing.

  98. Hi everybody from Italy. A question about compressor. What’ s the best one for clean or semi clean lead lines (shine on you…. introduction) . Thanks to you all!!!!!

  99. I have used compressors since the original Orange Squeezer.
    For many years I used the Boss cs-1 .
    I wanted one that could delay the attack and ended p with a Belcat CMP 509.
    I really like it. It isn;t that friendly on a shared power supply, but it has a nice attack delay , tons of compression, and 3 times the output of the Boss.

  100. Hi Bjorn.
    i have hughes & kettner tubemeister 18. thanks to you i understood i should play overdrive pedals only using the lead (distortion) channel, because the clean channel is not compressed (and it works great!).
    is i’ll buy a compressor (lets say effectrode), and use it on the clean channel, can i play overdrive pedals on this channel (because now the sound is compressed)?

    thanks in advance (and its never obsolete to re-tell you your site is amazingly helpful),

    1. No, it doesn’t work quite like that. A compressor pedal is compressing the signal from the guitar and not the amp. Amps, or an amp’s channel, are voiced and designed differently and the H&k has two very different sounding channels. I’d stock with using the gain chanel for dirt pedals. Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for an amp.

  101. Hi from Sydney Bjorn,

    I had a Moen Unicomp compressor on my board and never liked it. It seemed to suck out the bass and made the tone tight and squishy. I play in an Elvis tribute band (Telecaster into Fender Blues Junior) with a lot of clean stuff and wanted something to thicken up the clean tone without going into overdrive.

    I didn’t want to spend too much on a compressor as I was not convinced I needed one. Having looked at your article above I went off to a guitar shop looking for a Mooer Yellow Comp but they didn’t have any in stock. So I tried an MXR Dynacomp, another MXR Custom Shop that has apparently just been released, and a Boss CS3.

    Didn’t like the Dynacomp because it had the same issue as the Moen. The Custom Shop was better but over twice the cost. But once I heard the Boss I knew this is what I wanted. I can now produce a stronger clean tone with a little sustain, and I also use it to add sustain to my overdrive without adding dirt.

    I also have a BIg Muff that I use in one Elvis song and the CS3 just adds a touch more sustain to it for soloing as well as taming a bit of the sharpness.

    I guess I’m saying that for a fairly modest outlay I’m very happy with what the Boss can do.


  102. Hi Bjorn,
    Do you have tested the Keeley Compressor Pro ? Looks and sounds great IMHO.
    Thanks for your fantastic job !



  103. Hello Bjorn,
    The compressors David Gilmour used/still uses,(MXR Dynacomp,Boss CS-2 and Demeter Compulator),score 8,8 and 9/10 for Gilmourish tones??Doesn’t make sense to me.Since this is what he uses shouldn’t the scores be 10’s?

    I have a 1987 Boss CS-3 made in Japan,same circuit board as the CS-2 with the addition of a tone control.These are rare and cost more on the used market than CS-2 models of which plenty are available.I would think it’s as good or better than the CS-2.

    1. I’ve always said that the Buyer’s Guides are based on my personal opinion. Not so much what’s David’s using. There are clones of the Dynacomp that are, in my opnion, better sounding than the MXR and, I guess there is a reason why David’s not using the Dyna and CS2 anymore.

      1. He’s not using the Dyna and CS-2 anymore;not at all?Is the Demeter Compulator his current and only compressor of choice
        If however,one wishes to reproduce ’70’s and ’80’s Pink Floyd tones wouldn’t compressors such as the Dyna and the CS-2 fit the bill,(as with other pedals he used during those time frames), notwithstanding the fact that pedal quality has increased significantly?

        1. As far as images from his studio and the current tour can tell, he does not use the Dynacomp or CS2 anymore. The Dyna was last seen on the Pulse tour in 1994 and the CS2 in 2002. He is now using the Effectrode PC2A, Demeter Compulator and Origin Effects Slide Rig. Sure, for the late 70s tones I would go for a Dynacomp or a similar sounding clone. For the 80s and 90s, you will get closer with a CS2. Still, that is not really the point with these buyers guides. If it where, I could just list whatever David used on the albums and tours, which I have done here, and you could buy that. The guides are my very personal and subjective reviews and presentations of pedals that I think sounds great for Davids tones. Some better than what he actually used. In my opinion.

          1. Thanks Bjorn :)
            I’m still trying to sort things out before assembling my pedalboard.

            If a Boss CS-2/CS-3,(as a compressor and a buffer),is placed just before a Big Muff,(EHX Bass Big Muff for example),would it have an adverse effect on the Muff’s tone?I know you’ve addressed this somewhere else,can’t find it though.

            Does David Gilmour still use a synthesizer,(like in “Obscured by Clouds”)?Where would a modern synth like EHX’s Microsynth fit in the pedal chain?


            Michel Giroux

            1. Compressors usually goes first or at least before gain pedals. Be careful with compressing a high gain pedal such as Muff, as it has a lot of compression in the tone already. Synths usually goes first, and before compressors, to be able to track the guitar properly.

  104. Want to experiment with smoothing out my Deluxe Big Muff & Vick Audio Ramshead gain leads. But These along with the Nova Delay I just bought drive me to keep cost not at high end. Would the Mooer or MXR Dyana Comp be good choices thru my Carvin MV3 & Orange tube heads?

    1. I play at moderate basement levels using the 7 or 15W settings on both amps simlutaniously (sometimes bedroom levels)

    2. I’m not that familiar with those amps but if you mean smooth, as in that typical violin-like tone, then a compressor won’t do much. It will roll off some of the highs and create some sustain, but the key to those silky smooth Muff tones, is mid range and high volume. I guess your Orange should handle that but I can’t tell about the Carvin.

  105. Hey Bjorn, would you suggest the Diamond yellow compressor for DG tones (WYWH-Rattle) since you list the Mooer yellow comp on the list?
    Would you be able to suggest the possible DG setting for the original, by any chance, played through a Cub 12R?

    1. The Mooer is a great reprod of the Diamond, so yes, both are worth checking out. The Diamond is also available in a couple of different models. Compressor settings are hard to recommend because it depends so much on how it will respond to your gear. That’s the nature of the pedal. You don’t use it to sound like anything else but to enhance your tone. Start by setting the volume to unity and the compression low. Turn it up and hear how that effects your tone. You don’t want too much but enough to make the tone more balanced. How much depends on your amp settings, pedals and pickups.

      1. Thank you, Bjorn. Just picked up the Diamond comp (original yellow box, not the mini one). Haven’t had the time to properly give it a go, shall do over the weekend.

  106. Hi Bjorn, thanks a bunch for this guide. I almost got my first comp based on the recommendations here (either the Dyna or the Boss CS3) but in the end I actually got the Warden by Earthquaker Devices. It did everything the dyna and the Boss did, but also much more and its dead quiet. Have you tried it?

  107. Hey there Bjorn, and all of you Gilmour heads! Bjorn, the gear guide update has been very interesting reading, and I keep going back to it, and the pedal selection article that preceded it for reference. You have a great ear, and write in a manner that even the newbies amongst us can understand. Your work is so greatly appreciated, and I applaud the seemingly endless energy, and devotion you put into Please keep up your great work, you help so many young guitarists, and have even taught an old guy a bunch of new tricks. My tone has never sounded better!!!
    Peace my good friend, KEITH

  108. Hi Bjorn, thanks very much for this, amazing as usual! I have a burning question and I’m hoping you can help me with it. I’m on the market for a high end compressor but can’t decide between the Effectrode and the Cali76 Compact. Would you have an opinion on this? I know how much you love the Effectrode but everyone seems to say the Cali76 is the best out there.

    Many thanks :)

    1. Well, which one’s the best depends on your guitar, amp and what tones you want. I love the PC-2A but it doesn’t work for everything. The Cali 76 is similar but perhaps less subtle and you got the versions with more controls, which can be handy. You could go with either.

    2. Hi. I too have had this dilemma. So I bought both and will be returning one. But which one? At the time of writing I am in two minds. With some A/B testing I have realised that in order to do the clean and low gain tones I’m chasing, compression is essential but not much of it is required. Subtle is the way to go.
      For this, the Electrode is so well suited. It has an incredible musicality to it and makes the guitar breath and open out in a way that means that I’d leave in on all the time. It is slightly warming and at first I was concerned it was reducing the crispness of the pick attack but this smoothing seems less pronounced after some burning in time.
      The Cali is also incredible and is actually the better compressor. The preamp in itself is great irrespective of any compression you dial in. It gives real punch and clarity to the tone. I found that the blend pot was useful but I really liked a dry signal with a third wet mixed in. This is parallel compression and arguably is only a very modest use of the tool.
      So in this quest, I was finding that what I was looking for was getting more body and sparkle. Actual compression (in terms of signal compensation) was quite secondary. While the Cali is more versatile and gives you more control over the compression, I think that I just need mild compression but tone enhancement was the priority. And for this reason the Effecteode will be staying.
      Hope this was useful.

      [Levinson Blade RH4, with Klein S7 pickups through a Redplate Astrodust Duo.]

      1. thanks for this Ed, it’s really helpful. based on what you wrote i think i’ll go for the cali76 copmact.
        i’m still saving money for it :-)

      1. I’m thinking about buying a jam peadles Dyna-Ssor, what would be your over all gilmourish score on the Dyna-Ssor

    1. True to the original but, as the original, it doesn’t have led and true bypass. Check out the Whirlwind for the best replica.

  109. Excellent article Bjorn!
    Regarding the Boss CS-3 Compressor Sustainer,are you referring to the vintage early ’80’s model made in Japan or the current reissue made in Taiwan?I understand they are quite different,(different chip).

    1. Yes, there are some differences and I’m referring to the current version. Still, I don’t think neither are as smooth as the CS2. There are some mods you can perform though. Do a quick search… :)

  110. Had a dynacomp for ages but never felt it was doing that much so was on and off my board quite a lot. Then a while back after you reviewed a compressor i decided to try something different. Ended up getting a t rex comp nova second hand and its barely been turned off since i got it. Everything just sounds a little bit better with it on – not a huge difference but i do miss it when it’s not there, which i guess is the trick with compressors.

    1. Yep. unless you want a specific effect, compressors shouldn’t do much, but rather just sprinkle some icing on the cake :)

  111. Hi Bjorn
    just a thought regarding the optivalve and for that matter, other pedals with valves in them. Do the valves ever need changing or does the pedal perform differently over time?

    1. Depends on how you treat them. All tubes needs to be changed eventually, but if they get the right powering, then they will last a very long time. Mind that the power tubes in an amp, often needs to be replaced more often. You will probably notice a change in the tone or, that pedal gets microphonic. Again, if powered properly, it will probably last a decade or even longer.

  112. Cali 76 Compact Deluxe ?
    Very versatile and the ability to mix the dry signal with the compressed signal for the best of both worlds. Fortunate enough to know the guy that makes these and he supplies his slide rig pedal to Dave.G

    1. I haven’t had the chance to try it, so no listing yet. If they want to send me one for a review, then I’d be happy to check it out :)

      1. I will speak to him when I’m back from Lithuania on holiday next week and see if I can get one to you for review :-)

  113. Hey Bjorn, long time no see! I eventually settled on the Xotic Effects SP Compressor. After seeing Gilmour live I realized that he changes all the time and since my first effect and maybe favorite is a compressor, I wanted to personalize this one. It’s all about the level of compression selector and the blend for me.

    For Gilmour compressor+overdrive tones I use “mid” compression and about half/half blend. If I want a squeezed clean tone, I flip it to “high mode”, blend more compressor in, and boost the volume (which there is plenty of). Also doesn’t take up much space. I recommend it to anyone who has cold feet about compressors that when on, dominate the input to all other pedals. I don’t think it’s very Gilmour inspired if you are looking for certain tones, but I’ve learned that Gilmour changes as well and since hearing him live I’ve realized that it’s all about what YOU want.

    Hope the band stuff is going great, good talking again Bjorn!

  114. Hi Bjorn! Great article! What do you think of the Keeley 4 knobs? Besides, I had the CS2 for a while and sold it. Even at its minimum of the compression knob the sound was very compressed, much similar to the Shine On You Crazy Diamond clean tone in the intro. Is this normal or was my unit faulty? Thanks!

    1. The Keeley 4-knob sounds very nice but I haven’t spent enough time with it to really explore it. How a compressor sound, depends very much on the gear you use with it. My experience with the CS2 is that it’s one of the milder compressors, but I’m sure it can sound overwhelming too, if it doesn’t match the rig.

      1. Thanks Bjorn! I was using a fender strat plus with the Clapton mid boost kit mod into a Fender Supersonic 22 clean channel, just information in case anyone was thinking of getting a CS2.

  115. Hey Bjorn, great work as always. I do have one question though. What do you think of the Xotic SP Compressor?

  116. Hi Bjorn!

    Great job in your site!

    What is your thoughts about mxr custom shop csp202 ?
    I have the mxr dyna comp m102, the boss cs3 and the mooer yellow comp.
    Wish of this 4 pedals yould you choose?

    I play a strat with ssl5 and 69’s pop’s , mxr buffer, comp (normaly the dyna comp), vickaudio 73 rams head, sl drive, vickaudio overdriver, electlady, rt20, hiwatt t20.


    João Bicudo

  117. Thanks Bjorn for putting this together. Would you be able to let me know which one is probably the best and 2nd best for the usual DG settings of the tube driver set at almost max overdrive? I found out that the high saturation of tube driver at high drive setting mixed with low-mid swell of my CS-2 has a tendency for too soft attack and too smooth or lacking enough definition situations unless I raise the CS-2 volume higher than unity and in that condition the tube driver is not as smooth sounding and become at the verge of choking for some mid-heavy notes. I like to see if there is a compressor that stays transparent and allows the attack to get out even in low volume setting and also has less low-mid swell or variable low-mid swell (tone control) so I can adjust it to my liking. I use it for tracking so I’m ok if I have to switch compressors when I switch from clean low overdrive pedals to tube driver high overdrive. I can use my CS-2 for low overdrive scenario and use another compressor for high overdrive TD and muffs.
    Thanks again for all your help.

    1. As you probably know, you should be careful with compressing a high gain tone, as there is very much compression going on already. Adding a compressor will only kill most of the transients and attack. What type of compressor and how it should be set, depends on what gear you use and for what purpose you need compression. The CS2 has a very smooth attack and mild compression, which I find works well with cleans and milder overdrives in particular. The DynaComp seems to work better with high gain effects and adds a bit of attack to the tone as well. If you want something super transparent and mild, then an optical compressor, like the Effectrode, might be the best choice.

      1. Thanks Bjorn. The idea of super transparent compressor is great although Effectrode with shipping and duty is almost 450 bucks. I can budget a used Demeter Compulator for 150 bucks. It is opto and it is DGs choice too :)
        Would you say it is also a transparent and mild enough compressor that perhaps work well with TD in overdrive setting?

  118. Hey Bjorn! Finally, after much anticipation, a compressor guide! Tell me, have you tried the Joyo Dyna Compressor, the one with the horrendous scorpion? There’s much rave online, any thoughts?

      1. I went with the joyo, its a very mild compressor, akin to the CS-2. Actually, I think its a CS-2 clone despite having “Dyna” on the name, a green box and a horrible scorpion on top. It has a sustain, level and attack knobs, just like the CS-2 and it’s definitely ross-style. Dead silent and not squishy at all, not even with the sustain all the way up. Perfect for pairing with a bd-2 for those Division Bell tones, specially Cluster One, this thing really fattens up the cleans (if that’s what your into). Anyway, just my 3 cents (it cost me 30 euros though) :)

  119. Great to see a more in-depth look into compressors, Bjorn! I was wondering if you had any opinion of the to electronic hypergravity comp, and if not, maybe try it? I will also see about the iron fist comp and Demeter. As always, great work, love the new additions!

    1. Hi there!

      Bjorn, thanks for sharing all your knowledge! It shows how great you are!

      About Hypergravity… I can tell you something, after using it for some months… forget about the “artists presets” that you can download and quickly install using your phone.
      Install the software – TonePrint Editor – and connect the pedal to your computer…. so you can set all the parameters according to your need and hear the difference.

      The pedal have 4 knobs… you can reassign them to perform other functions – internally it has all the controls a professional compressor should have: knee bend, attack, release, gain, blend etc. it has more than 50 itens… you won’t find that amount of options even on the Cali pedal… you can also do a little of EQ… yes, you can adjust some frequencies… so you can chose between setting the pedal to perform just as a “transparent sustain” or make it color just a little bit (boosting the mids while compressing, for instance, witch sounds good for me).

      Given all those possibilities, I bet that if you spend some time adjusting those parameters, you will certainly find the perfect configuration for you.

      I also have a Xotic SP compressor after overdrive / distortion… not using those for playing Floyd songs (mostly hard-rock) and I found out that in this position the compressor doesn’t cut all the dynamics you get by rolling your guitar’s volume… and it gives you that round, balanced, sound you hear on records – that is the same treatment professional producers and sound engineers apply after recording the raw sound, while mixing the tracks, in the studio production process… there’s a lot of compression going on.

      Sorry for the long post, just feel the need to share with you that I almost sold my hypergravity pedal… but I won’t do that anymore.

      Xotic SP adds a tremendous quality to what you hear, without that much options to twist, it’s totally worth trying.

      Bjorn, thanks for everything you done, you are a genius!


      1. Thanks for sharing.
        About using as main compressor, first in the signal chain, would you go for Xotic sp or hypergravity?

        1. Hi Marcelo,

          Xotic SP is amazing, small and very easy to find the sweet spot you are searching for – I have two units.

          You should try it, indeed, and don’t forget to use the inside switches.

          Keep the pedal open while playing and changing the internal switches until you get it.

          PS: I believe we are both from Brazil, so let me know if you need any help with that.


    1. It’s been too long since I last played one, so I didn’t include it. It’s very similar to the DynaComp. Perhaps a tad brighter, with less low end.

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