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CompIQ TWAIN Dual Band / Stacked Compressor for Bass and Guitar

299.00

CompIQ TWAIN is a precision tool for dynamic audio processing of bass and guitar signals, which gives tremendous control over compression parameters and then some.

Guitar Magazine Editor's ChoiceThe Twain cooks up every style of guitar compression we can think of – from subtle detail enhancement through Lowell George and onto brickwall limiting with unlimited sustain.

It features adaptive auto attack & release timing presets and independent compression controls for knee, threshold, ratio, and make-up gain – on each band. It can work as a dual-band compressor/limiter with variable crossover point, or as a stacked compressor with separate controls for each analog engine – at the flick of a switch. In either mode, harmonic saturation can be injected on each of the dry line band’s, and then be mixed to taste with the wet compressed line for perfect tonal balance. Separate gain reduction displays make the compression effect visible, so you can always know how hard or soft the lows and highs are processed.

 Manual
 Setting examples and related info

Available on back-order. Click here for ETD.

Description

Designed around the highest performance Analog Engines® from THAT Corp., the CompIQ TWAIN provides compression controls only found in studio gear. Beside dual-band processing, the two independent analog engines can be fully stacked (in series), achieving the compression warmth particular to slower optical compressors – a feature rarely seen in a pedal, and never before available with this level of tweaking.

 

Guitar Magazine Editor's Choice If you feel like your stompbox compressor doesn’t give you enough control, this could be the answer to your prayers and then some. The Twain is more like a multi-band mastering compressor than the units most guitarists will be familiar with. It’s ideally suited to the twin challenges of wider frequency and dynamic range presented by active basses. A remarkably versatile compressor pedal with a low noise floor and pristine audio quality.

 

The CompIQ TWAIN goes beyond just compression and steps into EQ/Preamp territory by enhancing the instrument’s tone without the need for a dedicated EQ. Slightly unbalancing the level of processing on each frequency band means you can either enhance or tame Lows or Highs. And because you can do this on the Dry-line as well – by using the Cut filters or Boost levels of the Saturation section -, you can separately blend Lows and/or Highs over the compressed Wet-line. The result of this processing adds a dynamic coloring to the tone, but careful balancing can also preserve the original voicing of the instrument. This feature is especially useful in Stacked processing mode, where you may trade some frequencies for the elastic compression feel. These can be easily restored by only mixing back what is missing.

A preamp section allows the trimming of the input signal’s level.  This can be used to control how hard the compressors are pushed up front. Strong signals can sometime activate compression too early, so down to -9dB of padding is available. Weaker instrument signals can be doubled in amplitude with up to +6dB of gain. The preamp affects both the Wet and Dry line, and here the saturation engines are also responding to trimming. Sometimes, the trimmer can be used as a one-knob balancer when switching from one instrument to another.

A Side-Chain Filter with three presets is available for Lows processing only. This helps to recover punchy transients that are lost during higher compression, but it can also be used as a stand-alone blooming audio effect. By slightly delaying compression on the low-frequency spectrum – which is still being touched by the make-up gain -, the audio becomes fuller-sounding and more percussive. In Low (L) mode, the side chain’s first-order filter introduces a progressive attenuation into the control signal with the lowest point of -12dB@90Hz. This is more than enough to free up the momentary strokes on a bass instrument, or for percussive playing in general. If even more of attenuation is needed in the side-chain, the Deep (D) filter dives to -12dB@200Hz, making this setting more usable for guitar or for bright basses.

Independent band-controls for Hard/Soft Knee selection, 50dB of Threshold range to accommodate not only instruments but also line-level sources, up-to-limiting continuous Ratio selection, and +20dB of Make-up Gain make the CompIQ TWAIN incredibly powerful and versatile. The Dynamic Auto Timing (Fast / Slower presets) also available for both bands reduces the setup complexity and provides a musical response, suitable for virtually any musical application.

Becos CompIQ Twain Pro Compressor ReviewIf you are into compression, the Becos CompIQ Twain Pro Compressor is in a league of its own. The ability to run it in dual band mode or a stacked mode is killer. Though the Twain is a VCA based device, stacked mode makes the device feel and react more like an optical compressor, which it does well.

 

Guitar.com - The level of control you have means that any dual-band application you can think of, the TWAIN can most likely handle.For any player that wants absolute precise control over their compression, this pedal should be perfect. In line with its predecessors in the CompIQ range, the face of the TWAIN is jam-packed with controls to manage your dynamics.

 

Guitar Pedal X - The new BECOS CompIQ TWAIN takes things further.The new CompIQ TWAIN takes things further. I dare say it may be a little much for some – but it has some amazing possibilities that I’ve not seen in another pedal format. If you are into compression – then this will give you more control than any other comparable pedal-based unit. Becos have steadily been building up a stellar reputation in this field.

 

Guitar World - Dual-band/stacked effect boasts two independent analog engines, controls for knee, threshold, ratio and make-up gain and much, much more.Dual-band/stacked effect boasts two independent analog engines, controls for knee, threshold, ratio and make-up gain and much, much more.

 

Pristine audio processing

The CompIQ series of compressors is not gonna alter the magic voice of your instrument. 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 clean tones and low noise, artifact-free audio processing without the distortions usually introduced by optical compressors.

Key features

  • Dual-Band or Stacked compressor
  • Input Preamp with trimming for -9dB of attenuation and up to +6dB of gain
  • PEAK level indicator for signals above +6dBu
  • Two independent 4320 THAT Analog Engines® with RMS-level sensors coupled with high-performance Blackmer® VCA’s
  • Variable 70Hz to 1KHz Linkwitz–Riley Crossover
  • Independent Ratio, Threshold, and Make-up Gain
  • Independent Compression Knee (Soft/Hard)
  • Side Chain Frequency Compensation for balancing the triggering potential of Lows & Highs – equivalent to a frequency-based progressive threshold
  • Side Chain Filter (Normal / Low / Deep) on Lows engine
  • Independent Dynamic Auto Timing presets (Auto Fast / Auto Slower)
  • Dry / Wet Mix knob for parallel compression in either of the working modes
  • TapeSaturation analog circuitry with independent Saturation, Cut Filter and Level controls on each of the processing engine, to add harmonic distortions to the Dry Line, which then can be mixed with the compressed Wet Line
  • 5-LED accurate gain reduction display on each processing engine
  • True Bypass on/off footswitch
  • 9-18V DC external power operation
  • Road-ready, durable, black-powdered aluminum enclosure

More info

 Manual
 Setting examples and related info

Additional information

Weight 0.45 kg
Dimensions 12 × 10.5 × 5.4 cm
Technical Specifications

Input impedance: > 1MΩ
Output Impedance: ~100Ω
0dB input reference level: -20dBu (0.0775Vrms)
Output noise: -95dBV @0dBV gain
THD: 0.05% for -5dBV input signal level @ 1kHz
Output frequency response: -1dB @ 20Hz; 0dB @ 65Hz – 25KHz
Power Voltage: 9VDC-18VDC(max), Center Negative Barrel
DC Power Plug Barrel: Ø 5.1/2.1mm, minimum 12mm long
Power Consumption: < 49mAh
Product Size: Length: 105mm, Depth: 120mm, Height: 54mm
Product Weight: 387 gr.
Packed Weight: 455 gr.
Packed Shipping Weight (one unit): 550 gr.

COMPIQ 101

The CompIQ series of compressors
Circuit Design
Dynamic Processing
Analog Engines
Variation Element
Side-Chain Detection
Side-Chain Filter
Side-Chain Frequency Compensation
Adjustable Input Level
Input Clipping LED
Crossover
Ratio
Threshold
Dynamic Auto Timing
Attack
Release
Make-up Gain
Compression Knee
EQ
EQ Bypass
Dry/Wet Mix
Saturation
Saturation EQ
Compression Display
9V Battery Operation
External DC Power
DC Power Plug Barrel
Current Consumption
Compressor / Limiter
Dual Band / Stacking
2
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal / Low / Deep
lows only
YES
-9dB to +6dB
> +6dBu signal levels
Linkwitz–Riley
70Hz to 1KHz
1:1 to inf:1
both bands
-40dBu to +10dBu
both bands
Fast / Slower
both bands
Auto F / S: 5‐7ms / 10-15ms
Auto F / S: 70ms / 100‐220ms
-6dB to +20dB
both bands
Hard / Soft
both bands
Through Make-up Gains on Wet line (boost/cut)
-
YES
On Dry Line
adjustable
Lo / Hi Cut filters and Level controls
6-LED
both bands
-
9-18VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 49mA
Compressor / Limiter
Single Channel
1
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal / Low / Deep
YES
-
-
-
1:1 to inf:1
-40dBu to +10dBu
Fast / Slower
Auto F / S: 5‐7ms / 10-15ms
Manual: 0.12 ms/dB to 12 ms/dB
Auto F / S: 70ms / 100‐220ms
Manual: 1.2 ms/dB to 120 ms/dB
-6dB to +20dB
Hard / Soft
Tilt-EQ +/-6dB with Low / Deep frequency pivots
YES
YES
On Dry Line
adjustable
Lo / Hi cut filters
(inside jumpers)
6-LED
YES
9-12VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 29mA
Compressor / Limiter
Single Channel
1
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal
YES
-
-
-
1:1 to inf:1
-40dbu to +10dBu
Fast / Slower
Auto F / S: 5‐7ms / 10-15ms
Auto F / S: 70ms / 100‐220ms
-6dB to +20dB
Hard / Soft
-
-
YES
-
-
5-LED
-
9-12VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 25mA
Compressor
Single Channel
1
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal
YES
-
-
-
1:1 to inf:1
Lo: -40dBu fixed; Hi: -40dBu to +10dBu inside trimmer
Slower
Auto: 10-15ms
Auto: 100‐220ms
-6dB to +20dB
Soft
-
-
YES
-
-
5-LED
-
9-12VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 25mA
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).
Threshold Range
The threshold’s 50dB of range is designed to accommodate very weak signals up to pro audio level signals. The +4dB pro signal line level is at the top of this range, and consequently at the far clockwise end of the threshold knob. This gives a huge amount of headroom for the instrument’s generated signals, which ensure the compressor is not distorting with high-level spikes. We didn’t want that, by design. Some other compressors distort a lot, for various reasons, and headroom (or lack of it) is one of them. The CompIQ line of compressors is made to accommodate either lower OR hotter signals, and that is the reason why it can also be used with synths or other line-level devices. We wanted that so that we cover a broad spectrum of usage. As opposed to this kind of design are the compressors which have a very low threshold set hard within the circuit, and they would be controlled through “compression variation” only. This is equivalent to setting our compressors with the lowest threshold, and then vary compression amount with the Ratio control.

One other fact to point out is the range of a pickup signal, which is in the lower 25% of the pro signal level. This falls as well within the first quarter of the Threshold knob’s rotation range. The compression, or limiting, should only occur on peaks and for that matter, the optimum threshold point for a pickup is also in the lower setting on the Threshold knob, maybe between -30 to -20dBu (by design, this is also the reference level of the internal circuit). Around 8 or 9 o’clock, you are more than halfway within a pickup signal range. If you are to compress just peaks, you would set the threshold knob at about 9 o’clock or slightly above. At this level, a higher compression ratio makes no sense, unless is limiting you’re after. If you want to have a more audible feel of the compression, you would set the threshold knob bellow 9 o’clock, and the lower you go counterclockwise the smaller compression ratios you should use so that the pickup signal is not squashed too hard. Unless you want to use the squash as an effect! And here comes the “New York compression style” which means compress with a high ratio and low threshold, and mix the compressed wet signal with the dry signal.

Worth mentioning is that all CompIQ compressors have a hard-set signal level protection which is 1.2Vp-p or just around the pro signal level. For higher input levels than that, the circuit gets into distortion, which is generated by the protection and not within the compression electronics. Such protection is needed to avoid damages within the electronics due to input spikes or accidental DC leakage. Anyway, guitars and basses will not get to that top-level easily, unless they are put after a device that would be cranked up.

Side Chain Filter
Side Chain Filter is a feature which allows a change in the side chain compression triggering frequency filter.  The purpose is to delay the start of the compressor by the low frequency with high amplitude, which otherwise would clamp the higher frequencies too early. This results in a breathable type of compression, which has a particular sound characteristic, making it feel more natural to the ear. At the same time, the sound at the output may come out” fatter” or “punchier”. Side Chain HPF Options in CompIQ PRO Stella Compressor (-12dB at 90Hz & -12dB at 200Hz)

In CompIQ PRO Stella and CompIQ Twain the SCF is switchable for a pre-set amount of low-cut of the triggering frequencies. The Normal option provides a general-purpose type of compression response, while Low and Deep options add a cut of -12dB@90Hz and -12dB@200Hz on top of the Normal side chain curve, making it suitable for bass instruments.

Side Chain Frequency Compensation
Frequency Compensation  refers  to  the shape of the audio spectrum presented to the Side Chain Detector. Due to the nature of audio in general and musical instruments in particular, each musical note has a dominant frequency plus harmonics. The dominant frequency is always higher in amplitude than its harmonics. As musical notes fall lower in the audio spectrum (say notes on the lower strings in a guitar), their dominant frequency have biger and biger amplitudes (as opposed to notes on higher strings). That amplitude has the potential to trigger compression too early, and as a result they may over-compress the harmonics or higher notes. This is usually heard by human ear. To overcome this, we compensate the low-frequency triggering potential, by progressively delaying it towards 1KHz, as the graph below shows. This is similar to say we apply a progressive threshold, where lower frequencies see a higher threshold than higher frequencies, which see a lower threshold proper for their lower amplitude. This type of progressive compensation helps prevent the “pumping” often encountered in compressors, and makes the dynamic processing feel more natural. That is especially true for percussive instruments or for instruments rich in low frequencies, like bass. Side Chain HPF Options in CompIQ PRO Stella Compressor (-12dB at 90Hz & -12dB at 200Hz)

The Normal side-chain roloff curve above is particular to all our compressors,  providing a general-purpose type of compression response. In CompIQ PRO Stella and CompIQ Twain the Side Chain Filter has two additional options: Low (-12dB@90Hz) and Deep (-12dB@200Hz) on top of the Normal curve.

Tape Saturation Lo & Hi-Cut filters
The Tape Saturation analog circuit acts only on the Dry signal. This optionally-saturated signal can then be mixed with the wet, compressed signal, to infuse harmonic distortions and warm-up the audio, without affecting the dynamics of the compressed signal. The headroom of the saturation circuit is pretty high, so you need to dial in some saturation before the effect is audible. Below you can see how the filters affect the frequencies of the Dry line.

The Low & High cut filters should be used only when Tape Saturation is used, otherwise, they will affect the clean dry line, although, that might also be a desirable way of using the Dry/Wet Mix control. The filters were necessary so that they would accommodate different types of audio sources, and respond musically without introducing unwanted fuzziness on the low end (especially for bass), or make it sound brittle (especially on bright guitar pickups).

Tilt-EQ
The Tilt-EQ section of the circuit is placed after the compressor, just before the Mix control, which means it acts on the wet signal only. When mixing the dry unprocessed signal, with the wet, compressed and processed signal, the effect of the Tilt-EQ is washed out little by little, as you introduce more dry signal.

The Tilt-EQ on Stella has two frequency pivot points so that it will accommodate either bass (pivot at 330Hz, which corresponds to the higher note on the highest note of a 4 or 5 strings bass), or guitar (pivot at 1KHz, which corresponds to the highest note on a 20-fret guitar). At extreme setting (CC or CCW), there is a total difference of 12dB in between lows and highs. In the middle position of the Tilt-EQ knob, the frequencies are not affected. The Tilt-EQ section can be bypassed altogether by changing the position of a jumper inside the pedal.

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 above line level. They both may be used on line-level FX Loops or hi-Z input on recording interfaces. 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 will flash red more often, but there is nothing wrong with that. We did not provide means for re-calibrating the compression display at various signal levels because they were designed to be used mainly with instrument-level signals. CompIQ series “0dB input reference level” is hard-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 around 36dB for +4dBu (1.228Vrms) input signal levels, 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.
Independent demos, reviews & comments

VIDEO DEMO

Watch video demos for CompIQ TWAIN Pro Compressor

PRESS & REVIEWS

Read the articles & reviews

CompIQ Twain reviewed by Guitar Magazine UK

COMPARE COMPRESSORS

The comparison table is best viewed on large screens, in landscape mode, preferably on desktop.

Circuit Design
Dynamic Processing
Analog Engines
Variation Element
Side-Chain Detection
Side-Chain Filter
Side-Chain Frequency Compensation
Adjustable Input Level
Input Clipping LED
Crossover
Ratio
Threshold
Dynamic Auto Timing
Attack
Release
Make-up Gain
Compression Knee
EQ
EQ Bypass
Dry/Wet Mix
Saturation
Saturation EQ
Compression Display
9V Battery Operation
External DC Power
DC Power Plug Barrel
Current Consumption
Compressor / Limiter
Dual Band / Stacking
2
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal / Low / Deep
lows only
YES
-9dB to +6dB
> +6dBu signal levels
Linkwitz–Riley
70Hz to 1KHz
1:1 to inf:1
both bands
-40dBu to +10dBu
both bands
Fast / Slower
both bands
Auto F / S: 5‐7ms / 10-15ms
Auto F / S: 70ms / 100‐220ms
-6dB to +20dB
both bands
Hard / Soft
both bands
Through Make-up Gains on Wet line (boost/cut)
-
YES
On Dry Line
adjustable
Lo / Hi Cut filters and Level controls
6-LED
both bands
-
9-18VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 49mA
Compressor / Limiter
Single Channel
1
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal / Low / Deep
YES
-
-
-
1:1 to inf:1
-40dBu to +10dBu
Fast / Slower
Auto F / S: 5‐7ms / 10-15ms
Manual: 0.12 ms/dB to 12 ms/dB
Auto F / S: 70ms / 100‐220ms
Manual: 1.2 ms/dB to 120 ms/dB
-6dB to +20dB
Hard / Soft
Tilt-EQ +/-6dB with Low / Deep frequency pivots
YES
YES
On Dry Line
adjustable
Lo / Hi cut filters
(inside jumpers)
6-LED
YES
9-12VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 29mA
Compressor / Limiter
Single Channel
1
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal
YES
-
-
-
1:1 to inf:1
-40dbu to +10dBu
Fast / Slower
Auto F / S: 5‐7ms / 10-15ms
Auto F / S: 70ms / 100‐220ms
-6dB to +20dB
Hard / Soft
-
-
YES
-
-
5-LED
-
9-12VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 25mA
Compressor
Single Channel
1
Blackmer® VCA
True RMS-Level Sensor
Normal
YES
-
-
-
1:1 to inf:1
Lo: -40dBu fixed; Hi: -40dBu to +10dBu inside trimmer
Slower
Auto: 10-15ms
Auto: 100‐220ms
-6dB to +20dB
Soft
-
-
YES
-
-
5-LED
-
9-12VDC center negative
Ø 5.1/2.1mm, 12mm long
< 25mA

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