CompIQ MINI Pro Compressor Pedal for Bass & Guitar
CompIQ MINI Pro Compressor is a unique featured compressor/limiter mini pedal, with qualities rivaled only by expensive studio gear. It provides the amount of control and versatility needed for professional audio processing while preserving the musical response and transparency of analog circuitry. Designed with bass and guitar in mind, it is excellent with any other instrument, and also with vocals – with an appropriate microphone pre-amp. The MINI may be the first device offering Blackmer® VCA-based Feed Forward and Feed-Back compression in the same housing, especially of this size.
Note! A good understanding of audio compression is normally required to optimally set the CompIQ MINI for live performance or studio recording.
Studio-quality compression in a mini-pedal format
CompIQ MINI Pro is an all-analog compressor pedal designed for guitar and bass and hand-built around the top-class 4320 THAT Analog Engine®. It provides the essential controls for achieving professional-level audio compression, something never before seen in a package of this size. At the heart of processing, a true RMS-level detector measures the input signal and applies accurate feed-forward compression through a transparent-sounding, high-performance Blackmer® VCA.
I can’t think of any devices that are similarly small and can do nearly as much with studio-ready sound quality. Despite the reduced size, the CompIQ Mini adopted the essential aspect of its siblings – the clean compression. And that without compromises.
CompIQ MINI features Ratio, Threshold, Gain, and Dry/Wet Mix, which all interact with each other and offer the manual continuous controls necessary for a balanced and refined compression setting. Not often found in compression pedals, Compression Knee can be selected between Soft or Hard to best suit any musical needs. Soft knee provides a subtle and more transparent effect application. Hard knee compression is in-your-face obvious and is better suited for country pickin’ or bass-slappin’ playing styles when dynamic output must be an effect in itself. CompIQ MINI Pro also makes up for a perfect limiting effect or it can act as a compressor/sustainer pedal, when a high ratio, higher threshold, and hard knee are balanced altogether.
A top-quality VCA-style compressor in a mini-pedal format, with every control you might need, the Becos FX has put the squeeze on the competition here. Within minutes it’s easy to figure out how the controls and switches affect the dynamic range (much like rack compressors) and harmoniously work together to smoothly administer the amount of compression and limiting you’re willing to feel and hear.
The MINI’s side chain allows complex processing with options for Feed Forward and Feed-Back types of compression which are both served by a Variable Side Chain Filter. Feed Forward processing routes a pre-VCA copy of the input signal into the side chain, where its envelope will dictate the compression. This mode of compression is fast and accurate and ensures a snappy modern voicing that can be finely tuned in conjunction with the multitude of controls available. It can go from the lightest of processing up to brick-wall limiting. Feed-Back compression on the other hand is tributary to “old-school” circuits and is sometimes preferable for its less-intrusive feel and apparent slower reaction to triggers. In Feed-Back mode, a post-VCA copy of the audio signal is sent to the side chain control circuit instead. In this mode, only lower compression ratios can be attained and, as a result, it’s less suitable for hard peak limiting. However, nothing prevents you from raising the threshold higher and using the MINI as a true Feed-Back limiter, especially along with a hard knee, high ratio, fast timing, and boosting the control signal with the side chain filter. Feed-Back compression feels smoother and natural-sounding, without pumping or breathing. It preserves most of the instrument’s character and playing dynamics. Again, in conjunction with the other parameters available at your disposal, a multitude of compression flavors can be achieved. To some extent, the two types of compression can overlap in their audible response, depending on how they are set. Noteworthy is the fact due to the high performance Blackmer® VCA in the Analog Engine®, the MINI will never distort in either mode, whereas other Feed-Back designs that use FETs, OTAs, or optical elements might induce distortions or artifacts with their extreme settings.
The control signal of the MINI is fully conditioned with a (possibly uniquely configured) variable side chain filter focused around the 90 Hz frequency point. The filter’s variance sweeps from Low-Pass to Normal to High-Pass mode in a continuous flow. Keep in mind that the action of the filter in the side chain has an opposite effect on the working signal at the compressor’s output.
Complementary, highs above 1kHz in the side chain are progressively compensated for their particularly low amplitude. This is a carefully calibrated broad form of High-Pass Filter for the control signal. At all times, the threshold for the highs is lower than for the mids and lows, allowing the latter ones to subsist naturally without triggering the compressor too early and squishing the audible highs more than is needed.
When turned clockwise, the variable filter raises the threshold for the control frequencies below 90 Hz, thus acting as a High-Pass Filter for the control signal. As a result, the same frequencies filtered in the side chain are less compressed in the working signal. And, since the Make-Up Gain impacts this less processed portion of the frequency spectrum, it gets to be louder at the output of the compressor. Trimmed to the center of its range, the side chain filter acts “normal”, presenting a flatter range of control frequencies to the RMS-level detector. When set like this, compression is likely triggered by the high-amplitude low frequencies that touch the threshold first, and compression is applied to the entire audio range accordingly.
Turned counterclockwise, the MINI’s variable filter can go the other way around, acting as a Low-Pass Filter to actually boost the control frequencies below 90 Hz. This is equivalent to saying that the threshold is lowered for these frequencies. This means that the RMS-level detector becomes even more sensitive to the high-amplitude lows. As a result, these same lows are now more compressed in the working signal at the output, making compression better audible as an audio effect. Of course, the rest of the frequency spectrum is compressed as well, but due to the high transparency of the VCA and the permanent side chain compensation, the highs remain the same as bright as the input signal. This kind of setting favors the plucking feel of country music, or may be used for amplitude-limiting for any kind of instrument, especially bass. This setting can also make the compressor additionally sensitive for instruments that lack low-frequency content that can trigger compression, such as guitars with thin-sounding single coils.
To summarize, the Normal mode of the Side Chain Filter is suitable for general compression purposes whereas the filtered side chain (cutting or boosting the control signal below 90 Hz, +/-12dB, 12dB/octave) extends the usage of the MINI beyond flat compression. With a Variable Side Chain Filter, compression can be made more or less responsive to a selected range of frequencies, particularly lows, allowing more practical usage.
Dynamic Auto Attack & Release Timing circuitry replaces the need for a dedicated attack switch or manual attack and release controls, rendering perfect timings for any playing style. Two-timing options are available – Fast and Slower -, each selection handling both, attack and release timings.
Fast attack and release times will create the impression of a modern sound that is crisp, punchy, and detailed. When combining fast timings with a hard knee compression setting, you enter the limiting territory. This is where the blend knob is best used for parallel compression (a.k.a. New York compression style).
Slower timings suit slow musical phrasings like bass lines or arpeggiated chords. But really, there are no rules here, just experiment and let the ear be the judge. Regardless of the playing style, the dynamic auto-timing of the compressor will always sound great. Fast transients are released faster, while steady signals decay slower. On average, the release time is 10-15 times the attack time, in each setting.
The amount of compression (or gain reduction) is indicated by a responsive 5-LED display, for visual feedback on how much the signal is reduced while compression takes place. The True-Bypass routing leaves the bass or guitar signal chain untouched when the pedal is not engaged, even if it’s not powered.
All analog, accurate, transparent compression
CompIQ MINI Pro Compressor was designed with guitar in mind but make no mistake, it can add dynamic feeling to any audio signal, including vocals – with an appropriate preamp. We think it may also be among the best mini bass compressor effect pedals. Many instruments can benefit from CompIQ qualities: electric guitar & bass, electric acoustic guitar & bass, electric string instruments, harmonica, brass instruments, synthesizers, etc.
There are other small format compressors on the market but I’m not aware of anything that comes close to the punch Becos packs into the CompIQ MINI Pro. It works great with bass. This little pedal rivals many full-featured compressors on the market at a fraction of the size.
Pristine audio processing
The CompIQ series of compressors is not going to alter your instrument’s magic voice. They preserve the original guitar or bass tone while providing unobstructed, pristine audio compression. The high dynamic range of these compressors allows for natural-sounding tones and low noise, artifact-free audio processing without the distortions usually introduced by other compressors.
- Blackmer® VCA / RMS-level Analog Engine® ensures professional compressor/limiter function
- Feed Forward / Feed-Back compression
- True RMS-level detector
- Ratio 1:1 to inf:1 (limiter)
- Threshold -40dB to +10dB
- Make-up Gain -6dB to +20dB
- Hard / Soft compression knee
- Fast / Slower dynamic attack and release timings
- Variable Side Chain Filter
- Dry / Wet mix
- 5-LEDs compression display
- True analog bypass
- Burr Brown FET IC, low tolerance parts, plastic film audio capacitors
- Black powder-coated genuine Hammond aluminum enclosure
- 9-12 V DC external power supply (not included), center negative, 12mm long barrel plug
- 3-year premium warranty (direct to manufacturer, international, transferable)
|Dimensions||9,2 × 3,7 × 5,5 cm|
Input impedance: 1MΩ
Blog post: The 101 of the CompIQ line of compressors