Is Strymon's new Compadre the 'always on' pedal your signal chain is missing?

Us guitarists are all sitting at home thinking the same thing right now; what effects pedal should I buy next? Strymon always offer a lot of temptation, and its new Compadre Dual Voice Compressor & Boost has all the makings of a secret weapon you'll leave on as an integral part of your core guitar tone.

Compression alone is perhaps guitar's most undervalued and misunderstood effect. Strymon now aligns two distinct compression modes with boost that can be used separately or together. And both are certainly comprehensive.

(Image credit: Strymon)

This can certainly be viewed as Strymon's successor to its now-discontinued OB.1 compressor. The two compression types here are Studio and Squeeze with three controls. The compression control varies the threshold, an output Level control.

 The Dry control blends in the dry signal to shape the attack of your tone. It effectively dials in more transparency. 

Squeeze mode offers more sustain because more of the signal gets compressed. Strymon have worked hard to balance this with a smoother, more natural decay for notes. 

Buyers guide

Studio mode is subtler – "a natural sensation of compression" as Strymon's Pete Celi describes it. We can foresee players using this mode especially as an 'always on' compoment of their signal chain. 

The Boost side of the compadre has a maximum of 14db and offers Flat, Treble and Mid boost modes to tailor it to your needs with a Boost level control too. The Mid mode can be used to push an amp into breakup for drive. The Treble Boost is especially effective for livening neck humbuckers.

And if that's not enough - there's a Dirty Boost to add clipping elements in the boost path. There's should be a boost mode here for all guitar types and applications. 

(Image credit: Strymon)

While the Compadre's signal path is analogue, its digital controllers allow for presets via MIDI or Strymon's own MultiSwitch Plus to recall three of your favourite settings.

This looks like a very flexible and usable pedal that will appeal to different players for various applications. 

But enough from us – as ever, Strymon Sound Designer Pete Ceili's demonstration video above is a superb explanation of what this pedal offers.  And indeed the ways in which you can consider adding compression to your sound.

The Strymon Compadre is available from 11 May for $299. Visit for more info. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.