Empress Effects Analog Compressor Pedal (Discontinued)
The Empress Effects Analog Compressor is an interesting piece of equipment. Billing itself as a “studio grade compressor” it claims to have a sound quality that rivals the famed rack-mount units you’d find in a professional studio. Whether or not this is true is a matter of personal taste, but if you’re a guitarist or bass guitarist looking for a professional-quality compressor you can’t go wrong here.
This pedal is a quintessential “set-it-and-forget-it” piece of gear. It ditches a variable compression control in favor of three different ratios (2:1, 4:1, and 10:1). The settings themselves are usable, though some musicians may find that the lack of a variable compression control limits their ability to get a good tone from it.
- FET Compression
- Parameters: Input, Attack, Release, Mix, Output, Compression Ratio (2:1, 4:1, 10:1)
- True Bypass
- Power Supply Only
An interesting decision made on the part of Empress is that, while they ditched a variable compression control, they included variable attack and release controls. The inclusion of attack and release controls may make up for some of the flexibility lost by the lack of a variable gain control, though of course this is up to personal interpretation.
Contrary to many FET-style compression units, the Empress Effects Compressor is actually considered to be very transparent. This is another interesting choice, because the coloration caused by FET compression is actually a huge draw for many studio engineers.
Looking at this pedal, we can’t see anything that we’d call an objective flaw. It’s not going to be a good fit for everyone, but it is a unique option for musicians looking for something different.
We were recommending the Empress Compressor until August 2018 when we completed a major review of the category, and although there's nothing wrong with it, we did find that more highly rated options were available which we have recommended in our guide to The Best Guitar Compressor Pedals.