Boss CS-3 review

Versatile, compact compression

  • £75
  • €94
  • $154
The four control knobs (level, tone, attack and sustain) offer impressive versatility for the money

MusicRadar Verdict

A decent purchase, poised between budget and boutique.


  • +

    Lots of tone sculpting options. Good value. Solid Boss compact build.


  • -

    Lacks the natural sound of more 'boutique' models.

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After the CS-1 and CS-2, the latest compressor in the Boss Compact series is the CS-3, offering plenty of control over the sound with the addition of a tone knob to the more standard level, attack and sustain.

"The CS-3 lets you sculpt quite a prominent note snap"

It's capable of going all the way from mild compression to a very squashed compression-as-effect tone. In addition, the CS-3 lets you sculpt quite a prominent note snap via juxtaposition of the sustain and attack knobs - with the tone knob dialling in plenty of top end if you want it.

With the four-knob setup, Boss has built enough versatility into this to make it a decent all-round buy, for comparatively little outlay.

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.