We take off with the Demeter Compulator and find our sweet spot.
Compression is, in our humble opinion, underrated and probably underutilized. Can’t say for sure, but we don’t recall seeing a compressor on a lot of pedal boards, although we can assure you that Sonny Landreth uses one to smooth those rippin’ slide moves he makes. Maybe the idea of calming your rig down seems counter intuitive since you’ve spent so much time and effort trying to ramp it up? But that’s really not what compression is all about. We recall having an old pedal compressor way back in the late
’70s— an MXR Dyna-Comp, and we remember using it to smooth the rippin’ tones of our Fender Thinline Tele, and it worked miracles on that guitar pumped through our old beater Pro Reverb.
Demeter has created a super simple compression pedal called the Compulator, and we gave it a workout for your consideration. So what does a compressor do, exactly? Compress yer tone of course, but the effect is a little more subtly complex than that. We broke out our ’60s Telecaster and the Road Worn sunburst Strat with the Fralin True ’54 pickups to audition the Compulator, figuring these two guitars would be the most revealing in our stash. That, and as you know, Tele and Strat pickups can occasionally be a little unruly, brash and sometimes littered with trashy overtones, although of course ours don’t do that…
So here’s what you can expect from the Compulator… First of all, it smooths the treble tones just a bit, making them silkier and not quite as edgy. But maybe you like the edge… Depends on the style of music you’re playing doesn’t it? Well, if you were going for a really pristine Fendery tone like, say, Mark Knopfler, the Compulator completely gets you there. String definition seems to be vividly enhanced by degrees, and the pickups just sound a little cleaner and more well-defined. Your guitar sounds stringier… Your tone doesn’t change one bit, it’s the attack and overall landscape of your instrument that gets altered in a good way. What the Compulator doesn’t do is flatten your guitar making it sound dull, subdued or castrated… No, it won’t do that, so please stop worrying. If anything, it’s a tone enhancer that just makes your guitar sound less abrupt.
We also like the straightforward controls. There are just two— compress and volume, and we liked setting the compression on anywhere from 10 o’clock to noon with the volume at about 1 o’clock. You get a slight nudge in volume at that setting compared to the unaffected sound of your guitar, and higher settings give you a really nice boost as well. The compression is strong, and you won’t want to set it above 12 o’clock in our opinion. Ten to twelve seems to be the sweet spot for light to moderate compression that again, just makes your guitar sound smoother, less abrupt, a little cleaner, with better string-to-string definition. This effect would also be very good for an acoustic guitar for obvious reasons.
Then we cranked the Princeton Reverb up to about ‘8’ and let it rip. With great sustain and a brilliant overdriven tone that stops short of being nasty, the Compulator really came into its own. Just imagine the sound of your favorite amp cranked into sweet distortion, now a little richer with no clanginess or rough edges. The Compulator smoothes the sound of an overdriven amp, seeming to pull everything together in a nice tight (but not too tight!) sound that is both thick, rich and melodious. The effect is subtle, but very real.
Like the AnalogMan Comprossor, the Demeter is simply one of those effects you won’t tend to turn off once you have experienced it. That’s really what compression does… It just makes your rig sound tangibly better. Quest forth… TQ