I feel that I must start this article off by saying that normally I hate compression on guitar. Whether it is my ears or user error I have just never been able to dial in a compression pedal that didn’t sound muddy and lacked attack and punch. Other guys like Jeffrey Kunde and some of the guitarists I play with use them with great success.
Early on I felt like I needed to use a compressor because everyone else used one so I found a few pedals that allowed you to mix the dry signal in with the wet (compressed) signal. These were decent and with the wet signal very low I could find some tones that I sort of liked. After switching around and never being happy I just took the compressor off my board all together. But then I started noticing that my lead lines were not ringing out while using my bolt-on-neck tele and that I wanted some more sustain. So, I tried a few more compressor pedals and quickly took them back off my board. About 3 months ago, I just caved to the idea that compression was just not going to work for me in my rig. Then I began chatting with James the owner of Amptweaker pedals. He recommended that we demo and review the PressuRizer Compressor/Boost pedal. At first I was kind of reluctant but then decided that I would have him send it to us and I would have one of our other writers/demo guys work up a demo and article if I didn’t like it.
Judge a Book by its Cover
I received the pedal and immediately was surprised by how light it weighed. By the look of it I expected it to weigh a ton but it was lighter than every other standard pedal I have on my board. A plus for those guys with ginormous pedal boards. Furthermore, the back plate is easily removable with one thumb screw to access the 9v Battery compartment if you so desire. By removing the back plate, you also have access to several small holes in the back plate that can be used to mount the pedal using zip ties which is super handy for those using raised rail design pedalboards like a Pedaltrain.
The switch is extremely well designed and upon inspection of the internal components while switching the pedal on and off there is no give/play in the switch or circuit board meaning there shouldn’t be any issues of the switch causing damage to other internal components over time.
Let the Tone do the Talking
I got all setup and ready for rehearsal about 2 hours early so I could fiddle with the PressuRizer. Immediately I could tell a huge difference when compared with other compressors I had tried. First off it was extremely transparent and allowed more attack through at higher compression/sustain levels. By utilizing the blend knob, I was able to dial in great tones from around 11:00 all the way up to 2:00 with my favorite settings right around 1:00. This allowed some of my original dry signal and attack through while still allowing the sustain and compressed signal through.
The second thing I noticed is that the pedal is extremely quiet. Every compression pedal I have used gets noisier as you increase the volume and sustain. While this pedal does introduce some noise, you have to almost have the volume cranked and at that point it doesn’t work within your signal path. The sustain can be turned all the way up without much noise at all and what noise I could hear was likely due to the single coils on my Tele.
I did a little tweaking with the limit and bloom switches and while these are great features they both had uses that were limited in most Worship contexts and the small switches make them hard to change on the fly. Here is a breakdown of how I liked to use these switches:
- Limit Soft – Great for adding some grit while running digital delays, reverbs and other ambient effects with long trails, where added clarity is needed.
- Limit Hard – I loved this setting for my lead tones. It adds some light clipping right after the blend knob that just ads a bit of breakup to the tone.
- Limit Off – Best for all around use.
- Bloom Short & Long – Depending on your reverb and delay settings I loved fiddling with the bloom switch to maximize my ambient, pad tone. By allowing the dry signal through first and adding in the compressed signal after a delay it really increased my sustain and the clarity of my ambient tones for swells and fills.
- Bloom Off – While the long and short settings were great for light picking and ambient stuff if you are a strummer or playing rhythm guitar I found that having the bloom switch set to off was best.
As I mentioned I loved tweaking these two switches based on different parts to songs or uses throughout a set but the switches were hard to grasp while bending over in the middle of a song. If I had to make one change to the pedal it would be to incorporate some more standard metal toggle switches which are easier to flick on the fly.
Wait. This Pedal has a Boost Too?
That’s right not only is this pedal the best comp pedal I have played it has a built-in boost function that allows you to add some gain to the front end of your amp. From Droff to Kunde and every guitarist who looks up to them, Worship guitarists almost always have a transparent overdrive or compression pedal at the beginning of their chain to set their overall tone and color before it goes through the rest of their board and into their amp. The PressuRizer is the perfect solution for this. The knob on the right side of the pedal allows you to dial in the amount of clean boost you want to add to the signal chain. Then by holding the footswitch down you can lock the compression effect on and toggle between on and off boost.
Overall, I can’t say enough about this compression pedal. Amptweaker is a low-key company that hasn’t had much press in the Worship/Church world yet. I feel that they are one of the best kept secrets right now. James is a fantastic guy who has a ton of knowledge about tone and is constantly “tweaking” existing and new pedal designs to better fit today’s musicians. The PressuRizer is one of the results of this, and again this is coming from a guy who has historically hated compression. I will be purchasing this pedal to add to my board soon!