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Compressor Mini - Keeley Electronics

Fri Mar 25 2022
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I was always a little hesitant about trying compressor pedals, until I learned how they can be great recording tools. The Compressor Mini by Keeley Electronics was perfect for me to discover compression without being overwhelmed with fine tuning attack, release, ratio, blend, etc.

Compressors are useful in so many ways. You can use them to subtly even out a guitar part, such as the sloppy fingerpicking you hear in the main track of this demo. You can fully squash your signal, using the compressor more like a broad stroke effect.

You can use it to help the bass guitar feel more consistent or boost an amp or pedal for more grit. You can add compression to add more sustain to your signal, e.g. when playing lead lines or simple guitar overdubs where you let a chord ring out.

I've done all of that with the tune in the demo. Every guitar/bass in the backing track has the Keeley Compressor Mini in the signal chain.

This pedal has all the magic of the famous Keeley Compressors, but all parameters are automatically fine-tuned for the level of compression you dial in with the comp knob. I'm no expert on this topic, but what stands out to me is the great retention of high frequencies even at high levels of compression.

The Compressor Mini ticks all the boxes for a smooth entry into the world of compression. The user interface is super simple, the sound and build quality is great, it's cute and compact and the black neon color scheme looks super vibey.

Signal Chain

In GarageBand, I just a applied very mild compression and limiting to the master track to glue everything together.

Fingerpicked main track:

Bass:

  • JMJ Mustang, tone 100%, with plectrum
  • Compressor Mini with mild compression to even it out, and level a little above unity (noonish) to drive the Iridium's preamp
  • Iridium on the round setting with SVT cabs, as demoed here
  • Some EQing to mix with drums and guitars

Guitar overdubs

  • K'mo Memphis Std., classic T-style pickups (neck pickup)
  • Double tracked and hard panned left and right
  • Compressor Mini, just enough compression to add sustain, so the chords right out longer
  • One side has the Vaderin HP-X, the other the Smallsound/Bigsound Mini for low gain overdrive
  • Iridium (Chime)

Lead Guitar:

  • K'mo Memphis Std., classic T-style pickups (both pickups)
  • slightly panned to the left
  • Compressor Mini, just to add sustain
  • SS/BS Mini for mild saturation
  • Polychrome on a more gooey setting for space vibes
  • BOSS DM-2w Delay to add some ambience
  • Iridium (Chime)

Drums

  • GarageBand Drummer Gavin (indie rock) with the Liverpool kit
  • Juiced up with the FreeAMP plugin from Klevgrand
  • High-pass EQ to filter the lowest frequencies and eliminate some rumble

Everything went into the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and mixed in GarageBand.

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