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CompIQ PRO Stella Compressor Pedal for Guitar & Bass

$277 $248 Free Shipping

CompIQ PRO Stella Compressor is a one-of-a-kind compressor pedal that will blow your mind with the amount of control and versatility it provides. With features only found in expensive studio rack gear, this stellar compression pedal is ready for professional audio dynamic processing, ensuring the musical response and transparency of analog circuitry.

This full-featured compressor pedal is a beast of dynamic processing. You will simply not going to find anything like it.

 Manual


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Description

Full control over compression parameters

CompIQ PRO Stella Compressor is an all analog battery operated compressor pedal designed for guitar and bass and hand built around the top class THAT Analog Engine® – the same technology used in rack compressors made by DBX, Presonus or Dangerous Music. A true RMS-level detector measures input signal and applies accurate feed-forward compression through a transparent sounding, high-performance Blackmer® VCA. The amount of control it offers is staggering and probably never before seen in a compression pedal, especially of this size. We didn’t leave out anything that helps bring a truly clean, accurate and transparent dynamic sound processing.

With so many controls, one may wonder how can this be tamed and furthermore, properly used in a live setup. Don’t let yourself overwhelmed. We provided sufficient options not only for in-depth control but also for making things easier. For instance, with the flip of a switch, you can take out the Manual Attack & Release controls and let the Dynamic Auto Timing analog circuit do the right thing for you. Two timing choices are available – Fast or Slower – and both respond gracefully to any playing style.

The Ratio, Threshold and Gain continuous controls are quintessential to a professional compressor, and they all add to the plethora of switchable options, to further attain the ideal amount of compression effect for any musical program. A Dry/Wet Mix allows parallel compression, where a small amount of input signal may be mixed with the compressed signal, for a more natural effect application.

Additional features are available for the very demanding players. Side Chain Filter has three selectable options – Normal, Low and Deep -, which are very helpful for bass instrument or when a fuller output sound is needed. If you want to keep things simple, set the filter to Normal and the compressor will just act naturally in most instances. However, if your bass lower notes trigger compression yet too fast, then the Low or Deep setting will slightly delay the compression, freeing up the low-end frequencies just enough for the audio spectrum to breath out thoroughly. The Compression Knee can be selected between Hard and Soft, each option having its own particular sonic signature. Hard Knee compression acts fast and squishes hard. Soft Knee compression is progressive and gentle, helping to create a transparent effect application. The Tilt-EQ equalization circuit has two selectable options for pivot frequency – High (at 1KHz) proper for guitar and Low (at 330Hz) suitable for bass.

We didn’t stop there!

On top of all these controls, we added an analog Tape Saturation circuit which can add harmonic distortions to the dry line, which can then be mixed with the compressed wet line, for precise balancing of the effect. This circuit rivals vintage studio tape overload compression effect which was a studio recording trick during the ’60s. Tape saturation is a pleasing sort of distortion arising when high amplitude audio signals are recorded on magnetic tape. The Saturation control can vary in intensity from nothing to a mild and warm overdrive. The result is either subtle, adding richness to the body of sound, but it can also be obvious, with a tube-like screaming distortion feel. If needed, Low and High-frequency cut filters can be engaged by removing two internal jumpers. This helps eliminate oversaturated low-frequency fuzziness or prevent high-frequency from sounding too pointy. The parallel processing is delicately brought together and leveled up with the blend knob, similarly with using a dedicated studio summing amplifier. The parallel tape saturation feature also transforms CompIQ Stella into a compressor overdrive effect.

Ultimately, a 6-LED compression display indicates the amount of effect applied to the input signal, providing accurate feedback over how much the sound is processed.

CompIQ series of compressors is not gonna alter the magic voice of your instrument. It preserves the original guitar or bass tone while providing unobstructed, pristine audio compression. The high dynamic range of these compressors allows natural sounding clean tones and low noise artifact-free audio processing, without distortions usually introduced by optical compressors.

Key features 

  • True analog bypass
  • Blackmer® VCA analog compressor
  • True RMS-level detector
  • Ratio 1:1 – inf:1 (limiter)
  • Threshold -40dB to +10dB
  • Make-up Gain -6dB to +20dB
  • Tilt-EQ with selectable frequency pivot 330Hz/1KHz (EQ bypass – jumper selectable)
  • Manual Attack 0.12 – 12 ms/dB
  • Manual Release 1.2 – 120 ms/dB
  • Soft/Hard compression knee
  • Manual timings or Fast/Slower dynamic auto attack and release timings
  • Normal/Low/Deep sidechain filter
  • Dry/Wet mix
  • Tape Saturation on the dry line with Level compensation and Low/High-frequency cut filters (jumper selectable)
  • 6-LED compression display
  • Socketed hi-quality FET audio IC, low tolerance parts & WIMA audio capacitors
  • Black powdered, genuine aluminum Hammond enclosure
  • Runs on standard 9V internal battery or 9-12 V DC external power supply (center negative plug)
  • 2-year warranty

More info

 Manual

Additional information

Weight 0.270 kg
Dimensions 11.2 × 6.8 × 5 cm
Features Summary

True analog bypass
Blackmer® VCA analog compressor
True RMS-level detector
Ratio 1:1 – inf:1 (limiter)
Threshold -40dB to +10dB
Make-up Gain -6dB to +20dB
Tilt-EQ with selectable frequency pivot 330Hz/1KHz (EQ bypass – jumper selectable)
Manual Attack 0.12 – 12 ms/dB
Manual Release 1.2 – 120 ms/dB
Soft/Hard compression knee
Manual timings or Fast/Slower dynamic auto attack and release timings
Normal/Low/Deep sidechain filterDry/Wet mixTape Saturation on the dry line with Level compensation and Low/High-frequency cut filters (jumper selectable)
6-LED compression display
Socketed hi-quality FET audio IC, low tolerance parts & WIMA audio capacitors
Black powdered, genuine aluminum Hammond enclosure
Runs on standard 9V internal battery or 9-12 V DC external power supply (center negative plug)
2-year warranty
MSRP: 259 Euro;
Made in EU/Romania;

Technical Specifications

Input impedance: 1MΩ
Output impedance: less than 100Ω
Ratio: 1:1 to inf:1
Threshold: -40dB to +10dB
Make-up gain: -6dB to +20dB
0dB input referrence level: -20dBu (77.5mV)
Total amount of compression: depends on input signal level, usually 20dB for input signals around -20dBu (77.5mV) and up to 36dB for +4dBu (1.23Vrms) input signal level, all at inf:1 Ratio
Dynamic Auto Attack time: ~7ms in Fast setting; ~15ms in Slower setting
Dynamic Auto Release time: ~70ms in Fast setting; ~220ms in Slower setting
Dynamic Timing: transients are handled faster; steady signals are handled slower
Manual Attack range: 0.12 to 12ms/dB
Manual Release range: 1.2 to 120ms/dB
Output noise at 0dBV gain: -95dBV
Total Harmonic Distortion THD: 0.05% for -5dBV input signal level @ 1kHz
Wet output frequency response: -2dB @ 40Hz; 0dB in between 100Hz and 22KHz
Dry output frequency response: FLAT; 0dB in between 10Hz and 100KHz
6-LED Display: calibrated for referrence input level of -20dBu (77.5mV), to accomodate electric guitars and bass pickups; compression occurs beyond -20dB Red LED indication, when input signal is stronger
Internal battery operation: 9V (6F22) alkaline battery recommended
External power voltage: 9-12VDC
DC power connector polarity: center negative [ – ]
DC power plug barrel: Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12-15mm long
Current consumption: < 29mA

COMPIQ 101

MINI Pro vs. PRO Stella
Signal Variation Element
Signal Level Detection
Manual Ratio
Manual Threshold
Manual Attack
Manual Release
Manual Make-up Gain
Dynamic Auto Timing
Compression Knee
Side Chain Filter
EQ
EQ Bypass
Dry/Wet Mix
Tape Saturation
Saturation EQ
CompIQ PRO Stella Compressor
Blackmer® VCA
RMS-Level Sensor
1:1 to inf:1
-40dBu to +10dBu
0.12 ms/dB – 12 ms/dB
1.2 ms/dB – 120 ms/dB
-6dB to +20dB
Fast / Slower (selectable)
Hard / Soft (selectable)
Normal / Low / Deep (selectable)
Tilt-EQ +/-6dB with Low / Deep frequency pivot (selectable)
YES
(jumper selectable)
YES
On Dry Line,
adjustable with Saturation / Level controls
Lo / Hi cut filters
(jumper selectable)
CompIQ MINI Pro Compressor
Blackmer® VCA
RMS-Level Sensor
1:1 to inf:1
-40dbu to +10dBu
NO
NO
-20dB to +20dB
Fast / Slower (selectable)
Hard / Soft (selectable)
Normal
NO
NO
YES
NO
NO
MINI Pro vs. other minions
Wanna know more about mini compressor pedals? We compiled a Technical Shootout for most performance and popular mini compressor pedals available. Click here to find out how CompIQ MINI Pro stands out.
Blackmer® VCA
First developed by David Blackmer of dbx Inc., the original dbx 202 “Black Can” VCAs, can still be found in operating consoles today. These first VCAs suitable for pro audio equipment were built with a gain cell of eight discrete transistors. Later development of these IC’s surpassed all inconveniences of earlier designs, now rendering superior performances. CompIQ series of compressors use THAT Corporation Blackmer® VCAs which are characterized by an exponential control characteristic (gain varies directly in decibels), extremely wide dynamic range, and low signal distortion. They are particularly neutral in sound, adding little or no coloration to audio signals.
RMS-Level Sensor
Invented by David Blackmer of dbx Inc., the RMS-level detector computes Root Mean Square level of input signals in a logarithmic form, similar to how human ear perceives sound. The sound envelope decoded by this accurate detector is used to apply dynamic processing of the sound – the variation of signal level precisely controlled by the VCA according to parameters set by the user (Ratio, Threshold, Attack, Release, and Gain).
Line-level signals
CompIQ series of compressors (both Stella and MINI) share the same core technology – sound wise they sound exactly the same. They have 50dB threshold range, from -40dB up to +10dB which is from average magnetic pickup level up to way above line level, so you can use them with line level signals without distorting whatsoever. They can be used on line-level FX Loops or can feed hi-Z input on recording interfaces without issues. Having an RMS-level detector, the compression is very accurate and the LED indication is very precise in that regard, as long as the input signal is at/around calibrated reference level. With line level signals, which is way up, the LED’s may flash red more often, but there is nothing wrong with that. We should have added means for re-calibrating the compression display for any signal level, but for the scope of a pedal used with an instrument, fixed reference is all right. CompIQ “0dB input reference level” is set at -20dBu (77.5mV). The total amount of compression depends on input signal level, usually 20dB for input signals around -20dBu (77.5mV) and up to 36dB for +4dBu (1.23Vrms) input signal level, all at inf:1 Ratio.
Compressor noise
The re-amplification of a weak signal – as compressed signal is – is the main source for noise in compressors. Some compressors might be described as noisier than other, but the fact is they all introduce noise with amplification (the amount of noise is also dependent on amplification circuit, FET-based amplification being potentially a bit noisier; in CompIQ compressors, amplification takes place in the VCA). To correctly compare compressor’s noise, they must be set for the same exact amount of threshold, ratio and make-up gain, and be fed the same reference signal. Some manufacturers limit the Ratio of their compressors to 7:1 (Empress), or as low as 3:1 (Diamond) and those make for “very silent compressors”. Of course in this regard “silent compressor” has a subjective meaning, if it’s not a misleading statement. As far as CompIQ compressors go, keep in mind:

  • at higher input signal levels, the makeup gain-related noise will be lower, because you deal with a bigger signal in the first place;
  • if you set a higher threshold, hard knee, and inf:1 ratio and you affect only the peak of the signals – as this limiting setup makes sense to be used – the noise will be inaudible.
  • for weak magnetic pickup signals, at the lowest set threshold and with ratios around 4:1 (which is a fair amount of compression), the CompIQ make-up gain will introduce noise similarly to studio-grade equipment.
  • on top of Threshold, you have the MIX control which helps reducing noise by blending in the dry signal;
  • using soft knee also contributes to reducing the need for make-up gain, so implicitly it reduces potential noise.
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