NAMM 2023: It was 20 April yesterday, a feast day in the calendar of the green-fingered internet stoner, and to mark the occasion Keeley Electronics launched a special Custom Shop edition of its superlative Compressor Mini.
The No420 Custom Shop Compressor Mini is refinished in orange, with an illustration of a guitar effects mini-pedal smoking what looks like a non-regulation cigarette. You could argue this is entirely an irresponsible design for life, which is ironic when you consider the compressor pedal is one of the most sensible pedals you can put on your ‘board. It's often the secret weapon that makes you sound better.
Is this release telling us that taming transients is the number one tone priority that stoner guitar players worry about? Quite possibly. Nonetheless, the Compressor Mini, whether in its original livery or in the No420 finish, is a responsible, upstanding and welcome presence on any pedalboard. The Keeley Compressor is the industry standard for good reason.
In the mini format, this Manhattan-style compression has been voiced to work with single-coil and humbucker alike, and features a automatic tone recovery circuit that sounds exciting and is – it means you don’t lose any high-end when you’re putting the squash on your signal.
The Compressor Mini is controlled by the most simple of control layouts, with dials for Level and Compression. Level controls output volume, and with an onboard preamp it can push the pedals in front of it and your guitar amp. Alternatively, set it at unity gain. Compression controls how much compression and sustain you have in your signal. Easy. The footswitch turns the thing on and off.
The Compressor Mini has an Auto-Blend that ensures clarity and definition at subtle or heavy levels of compression. It is one of those pedals in which most of the thinking has been done for the player, with a transient release time that is tuned to perform whether your electric guitar is fitted with single-coil or humbucking pickups.
The pedal is true bypass, takes a 9V DC pedalboard power supply, and draws 10mA of current. It is made in the USA. And all things considered, it treads as lightly on your budget as it does on your pedalboard real estate. $129 for the No420 Custom Shop edition, is not too bad, and is maybe even an investment in this crazy age of stompbox collection.
The first batch of the No420 has sold out but don’t worry – another will be shipping on or before 2 May. For more details, head to Keeley Electronics.