The innovative capabilities of the CompIQ Twain Dual-Band/Stacked Pro Compressor (MK1)

The all-analog CompIQ Twain Dual-Band/Stacked Pro Compressor introduced in 2020 brought a few innovative capabilities:

  • The Side Chain Filter in the Lows band was intended to help deal with high amplitude peaks when the compressor was set to operate in Stacked mode (basically, a “normal” mode of operation where dual-band processing is bypassed). Even in dual-band mode, the SCF can be useful if the crossover is set higher than 200-300 Hz, an application that is common for guitar instruments. And even when separating bands below 200 Hz, which is usual for bass instruments, “freeing up” some lows can help obtain a more “natural” compression response.
  • Stacking compressors with a high degree of granular control of compression parameters was not (and still isn’t) possible with any other devices offered in the same box.
  • Independent Saturation for Lows & Highs (with Lo/Hi-Cut Filters) in the Dry Line, was also something unique that could add subtle harmonic distortion on each band. Often misinterpreted as “drive”, the saturation was never intended to be used as such.
  • The Auto Timing selection for both bands was something that actually simplified dual-band compression, eliminating the need for an additional four knobs. And although they couldn’t offer the flexibility of manual Attack & Release timings, the two selectable options for each band is always rendering a perfectly musical response, for any playing style.
  • The Gain Reduction Meter on each band provides a visual indication for the amount of processing. No other dual-band compressor pedal offers this capability.
  • The Dry Mix was also a novelty. Being able to mix full spectrum dry signal over the dual-band spliced, processed then recomposed wet signal, all in correct phase alignment was never before offered in a pedal format (possibly not even in rack format). And by using the saturation engine’s Levels and Lo/Hi-Cut filters, additional processing was possible. This, for instance, allows to inject more bDry Highs over the Wet compressed signal.
  • A trimmable Input Preamp with a Peak-Level Indicator helped with instruments that were either too hot or had their signal too weak.

The Twain might seem complex with all its controls, but it’s not just for those who want simple compression. We aimed to make a precise tool for controlling compression details. Actually, it’s just two three-knob compressors, a crossover, and a mixer. The extra switches and trimmers make it more versatile, but the settings all sound good, just slightly different. You don’t need to know much about the device to use it. In the end, it always gives decent compression that sounds right.

What’s next?

We’re gearing up to launch the Twain “MK2” (still called “Twain”). The big update for this version is the addition of Feed-Back side-chain control processing, which is more useful for compression than having harmonic distortion. So, we’re removing the Saturation engines and adding Feed-Back Compression mode (you can switch between both bands Feed-Forward, Feed-Forward Lows / Feed-Back Highs, or both bands Feed-Back), Variable Side Chain Filters with Cut & Boost on each band, an extended ±12dB-adjustable Input Preamp with Peak Level Detection, and an optional on-board DITOS trafo balanced output which will enhance the natural transparency of the VCA processing. We will preserve the Stacking capability, the Auto Timing and Compression Knee selectors add a thing or two under-the-hood to make the audio processing even more high-performant. These changes make sure the Twain is a mature, refined, powerful, and versatile tool.