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Source Audio launches the Atlas Compressor, a greatest hits of compression packed with functionality

Source Audio has expanded its lineup of digital guitar effects pedals with the Atlas Compressor. Packing six classic compression effects into one compact stompbox, it might be the only compressor pedal you would ever need.

It’s tone-sweetening benefits are not limited to acoustic or electric guitar; the Atlas has a Bass Optimized Mode that converts the six onboard presets to pair nicely with the low-end frequencies of bass guitar. You can hear how that sounds in the demo video below.

Source Audio describes the Atlas as “a tour guide through the history of compressor equipment” and that gives us some idea of what we’re dealing with here. There are compressors voiced after the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer and Diamond Compressor, classic rack units such as the LA2A optical and 1176 FET compressors, plus Peak, RMS, VCA, and a dual band compression. 

The latter applies one compressor to frequencies above 333Hz and another to frequencies below to create a blooming effect that can make your open chords or sustained leads stand out.

Source Audio Atlas Compressor

(Image credit: Source Audio)

The Atlas can be run in series or in parallel with a crossfader to find the perfect mix between both. As with all Source Audio pedals, the Atlas has a lot going on but, with the Neuro Editor handling some of the more bespoke edits, it saves the enclosure from being overly crowded, featuring four knobs for Threshold, Ratio (Tone), Blend (Attack), and Output (Release). 

Those alternative controls in brackets are easily accessed via an Alt button at the top of the pedal. A three-way toggle switch is on hand to select your presets. There are dual inputs and outputs, with USB for connecting to your DAW, performing deep edits via the Neuro Editor, and accessing MIDI features. Once connected, you can access up to 128 presets.

Getting these effects into one small enclosure was not easy. Source Audio president Roger Smith describes it as a “landmark technical achievement” that took over a decade of research and development.

“We started working on compression in 2007,” said Smith. “At the time we developed some straightforward, high-end studio stuff that made it into the original Multiwave a year later.  The research project to branch out and cover more simple classic pedal sounds and create a dedicated compression pedal was delayed, because the intricacies of how transistors behave in compression circuits was especially illusive.  

“After 10 years of additional research, new thinking, and more experience, we are finally ready to launch a landmark pedal: The Atlas Compressor. From classic rack studio units, to classic pedals of many flavors, and even to the experience of high-end computer plug-ins, Atlas covers all the bases with attention to detail that is the hallmark of our development team. Bob Chidlaw, Jesse Remignanti, and Christopher Venter worked long and hard on this one and I'm excited to finally share it with the rest of the world.”

The Atlas Compressor is available now, priced $229. See Source Audio for more information.

Source Audio Atlas Compressor

(Image credit: Source Audio)

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.