Homebrew Electronics Compressor Retro

According to the manual, the CPR is modelled on a certain vintage compressor. We can't tell which one, but it certainly has retro credentials, and is the ultimate in operational simplicity.

There's no messing about with attack and release settings; just set the amount of sustain you need and then adjust the output level to balance the on/off sounds.

On the version we tried, there was no decay control, but this is available (at no extra price) as a custom shop option.

Apart from the HBE's Medicine Bawl, all of the company's pedals follow roughly the same basic design traits; they are simple and sturdy, built in either small or medium die-cast boxes and powder-coated in bright, sparkly colours. They all run on either a nine-volt battery or a DC adaptor (which is not supplied).

In use

When a pedal is this simple, it has to work straight out of the box, and we weren't at all disappointed. The CPR is designed to provide a very transparent type of compression, and at low sustain settings there are no noticeable tonal difference from the dry amp sound, apart from the obvious increase in sustain.

Pushing the Sustain knob beyond 50% seems to thicken the mid-range qualities of the tone very slightly, but there is the possibility that this could be a result of pushing the amp a little harder than normal.

Even at full sustain, the natural attack of the guitar sound seems unaffected, so you don't have to worry about unusably squashy sounds - you just benefit from bags of extra sustain.

We tried playing a few solos with the bridge pickup on a Strat, using only a tiny amount of amp overdrive, but the CPR added a wonderfully articulate feel.

The level control offers plenty of scope either for counteracting the signal boost introduced by high Sustain settings or for adding an extra level of boost altogether. With both controls at 100%, the CPR doubles as a very smooth clean boost pedal.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Simple, transparent and sounds great.

Cons

Not cheap for such a simple compressor.

Verdict

The CPR just sounds nice, with no messing whatsoever. It's not cheap however, although you have to consider that it is hand-built.

Available Controls

Level Sustain

Batteries Included

Yes

Battery/Adaptor Type

9V Battery DC adaptor

Country of Origin

USA

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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