The Best Compressor Pedal for Acoustic Guitar

The Best Compressor Pedal for Acoustic Guitar

It’s hard to imagine, but fifty years ago, guitarists around the world had to get by without any pedals whatsoever. But nowadays, this has become almost a cultural phenomenon and it’s nearly impossible to see a guitar player without at least a few pedals. But technology doesn’t stand still, and now acoustic guitar microphones and preamps gave the players the opportunity to use pedals as well. Hence in this article, we will try to figure out what the best compressor pedal for acoustic guitar is.

Top 10 Best Compressor Pedals for Acoustic Guitar

  1. Donner Compressor Pedal
  2. Wampler Ego Compressor
  3. JHS Whitey Tighty Compressor
  4. Xotic SP Compressor
  5. MXR M132 Super Comp
  6. L.R. Baggs Session DI
  7. Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset
  8. MOOER Yellow Comp
  9. NUX Masamune Guitar Analog Compressor
  10. Diamond Comp Jr Optical Compressor

Compressor Pedal for Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide

Do you even need a compressor pedal?

Usually, compressor pedals are used on electric guitars, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that acoustic guitar players shouldn’t enjoy the same benefits. Since acoustic guitars have a very wide dynamic range, it all comes down to personal preferences and a playstyle, but essentially compressors help a lot on acoustic guitars for a number of reasons.

As we know, compressors affect the dynamic range of any given signal making the loud parts quieter and vice versa. So, if within your performance you frequently switch from aggressive strumming to gentle fingerpicking, the compressor will most definitely help you to even things out. Also, compressors can give you a slight boost if needed, but unlike booster pedals, compressors give you a cleaner boost without any noticeable distortion.

Important features

Ask any guitar player around the world and they will tell you that guitar pedals are all about freedom of expression and versatility of sound. So, all of the compressors on this list share the same ideology when it comes to sound shaping.

They also are extremely durable and robust. Since we recognize how important those features are for a frequently gigging musician. And since we know how personal this may be, while choosing the best compressor pedal for an acoustic guitar, you should rely on your own taste and find a certain connection with one or the other pedal.

Best Compressor Pedal for Acoustic Guitar Reviews

Donner Compressor Pedal

Donner Compressor Pedal

Pros
  • Small size
  • Simple controls
Cons
  • No attack-release adjustment knobs
See price @ Amazon
Best features and specs

This is a small-sized pedal that emulates vintage optical compression, which means that it offers extremely clean and transparent compression that you can control with a single knob. Furthermore, it has a separate knob for adjusting gain and another one to change the tone. Also, there’s a switch that lets you choose between a completely neutral and a brighter compression.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with this pedal as it quite literally brings life to passive clean tones by boosting them. Users also note that if this pedal is placed downstream to any noisy pedal or overdrive, it will amplify the hum when beyond the twelve o’clock setting is applied.

What we think

Donner Compressor Pedal has an extremely clean and transparent compression that stays that way even if pushed really hard. We believe that players who prefer less control and faster workflow will benefit from this compressor the most. But if you prefer to dial your tone surgically, you’d be rather disappointed with the absence of blending options and attack and release controls.

Bottomline

Donner Compressor Pedal is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very clean optical compressor in a very compact form factor. This is extremely fast and easy to set up, in addition to being very reasonably priced.

Wampler Ego Compressor

Wampler Ego Compressor

Pros
  • Extreme durability
  • Blending controls
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Wampler Ego Compressor is a boutique and exceptional full-sized compressor pedal with a separate blending knob and a tone dial. It also has a separate attack knob and sustain controls. All put inside a very robust and beautifully designed body.

User impressions

Users like this pedal for its versatility and for adding presence and sparkle. Wampler pedals are said to work well with other pedals, have a great build, design and looks. Users say that sustain controls on this pedal make notes and chords carry on in a very musical and transparent manner.

What we think

If you’re a seasoned guitar player who uses pedals a lot, you probably know that over the years, pedals tend to lose their initial looks, no matter how you use them, there still would be some scratches and dents here and there. But it seems that Wampler Ego Compressor might be an exception and could last unscratched for many years to come.

Bottomline

Wampler Ego Compressor is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very transparent acoustic guitar compressor with a high-quality sound and a lot of tone dialing options. It’s a very versatile compressor since you can dial anything from very bitey and aggressive fingerpicking to very gentle and sustained arpeggios.

JHS Whitey Tighty Compressor

JHS Whitey Tighty Compressor

Pros
  • Blending control
  • Small form factor
Cons
  • Might feel a bit expensive
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

JHS Whitey Tighty Compressor is a very well-designed FET compressor in a very small and convenient form factor. It has only three controls, one of which lets you dial in an amount of compression. The second one lets you blend between original and compressed signals and a volume knob controls gain.

User impressions

Users say that if this compressor pedal is placed somewhere later in the chain, you can use it as a volume/gain boost for solos. Also, users note that this compressor pedal has an XLR output with a ground lift which makes this pedal very intriguing as a preamp. When this pedal is set around 9 o’clock, you can achieve true wonders.

What we think

It’s not an exception when audio equipment manufacturers have a great sense of humor, but it’s very rare when this humor comes in such a well-designed and minimalistic package. JHS Whitey Tighty Compressor has a picture of exactly what the name suggests in the form of very stylish and laconic clip art and we find it very amusing.

Bottomline

JHS Whitey Tighty Compressor is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very small FET compressor with very simple and intuitive controls.

Xotic SP Compressor

Xotic SP Compressor

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Simple controls
Cons
  • Hard to dial a precise tone
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Xotic SP Compressor is a very exquisite and boutique, minimalistic compressor that would fit into any pedalboard no matter how cramped it already is. It has only two knobs that control the amount of compression and volume and a very small button that lets you choose between various types of compression.

User impressions

Users like Xotic SP Compressor for being tiny but mighty. This pedal affects the tone greatly by boosting or adding clarity to the sound. It provides a great sustain, no additional noise and looks unbreakable.

What we think

It’s amazing how many different types of tone you can squeeze out of this little beast, especially considering such limited controls. But still, some players might find that it’s extremely hard to be very precise with the tone.

Bottomline

Xotic SP Compressor is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very exquisite and minimalist compressor that was designed for the fastest workflow possible. One might consider the price to be a bit high, but if you bear in mind how expensive it sounds, you’d come to the conclusion that the price is rather fair.

MXR M132 Super Comp

MXR M132 Super Comp

Pros
  • Extremely durable
  • Very simple controls
Cons
  • Fairly large body
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

MXR M132 Super Comp is a very simple and reliable compressor made by a legendary manufacturer that proved over and over that they know how to build pedals. It has a separate knob that controls attack and another one that controls the ratio of compression.

User impressions

Users agree that MXR M132 Super Comp improves the tone and sound of the guitar. It’s relatively heavy but yet durable. This pedal is said to give you great sustain and flavor the sound by adding more gain if you choose to.

What we think

When you get your hands on one of the MXR pedals, you can be certain about the quality of sound even before you plug it in. One thing we regret, though, is that MXR M132 Super Comp is fairly large, which means that it would take a considerable amount of space on your pedalboard.

Bottomline

MXR M132 Super Comp is a great choice for someone who is looking for a compressor with the highest quality of sound possible. And the durability is not even in question since we believe that the phaser that Van Halen used is still working somewhere.

L.R. Baggs Session DI

L.R. Baggs Session DI

Pros
  • Specially designed for acoustic DI signal
  • Multiband compression and saturation
Cons
  • Weird XLR input position
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Unlike other entries on this list, L.R. Baggs Session DI was designed specifically for acoustic guitar pickups. Moreover, it’s actually a multiband compressor that compresses three bands of problematic frequencies separately on top of a very convincing analog saturation and low-cut filter.

User impressions

Users say that L.R. Baggs Session DI is versatile, has great looks, adds control and improves the sound nicely on both steel string and nylon string guitars. It has a really nice high-pass filter. Users note that to get a warm tone, you may need to have the gain almost off. Also, the feature that is to like is that this pedal has a mute button which is helpful when you are switching between guitars.

What we think

It’s amazing how much sonic capability was put in such a small box and how easy it’s to control is also a thing of amazement. One thing that we found rather disappointing, though, is how inconveniently XLR input is located. It was probably made for a reason, but we honestly couldn’t grasp it.

Bottomline

L.R. Baggs Session DI is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very powerful and convenient acoustic guitar DI enhancer. If you want your stage performance to sound like a very expensive studio recording, look no further.

Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset

Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset

Pros
  • Separate attack and release controls
Cons
  • Sound is very distinguishable
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset is an excellent analog compressor with 4-knob controls. It has separate controls for the attack and sustain of the signal, the blend knob controls the amount of compressed signal in relation to the original one. And the volume knob controls the gain.

User impressions

Users like Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset as it has very responsive controls. The blend feature allows you to dial in a very diverse range of compression with precision. Users say that it’s very simple and straightforward.

What we think

We actually owned a few EHX pedals in the past, the one thing that they have in common is a very distinguishable sound specific to this manufacturer. In other words, if other pedals could be very transparent, you always know an EHX pedal if you hear one. And the question is, do you like this sound or not?

Bottomline

Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset is a great choice for someone who is looking for an analog compressor that offers great versatility and a very distinguishable sound. All you have to do is to decide whether this sound is suitable for you or not.

MOOER Yellow Comp

MOOER Yellow Comp

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Very simple controls
Cons
  • Hard to dial a precise tone
See price @ Amazon
Best features and specs

MOOER started out as a Chinese manufacturer of very cheap and simple guitar pedals. With MOOER Yellow Comp, you almost immediately know that this is not the case anymore. Yes, it’s small, but there’s absolutely nothing cheap about it.

User impressions

Users like that MOOER Yellow Comp lets all the transients through. This pedal makes quiet parts louder and loud parts quieter without doing anything else to your tone. Users also add that there’s no volume loss with this compressor and it makes things louder by bringing up the level of quieter notes.

What we think

At some point in the future, we’ll probably get a pedal with no buttons at all and it would do exactly what it’s needed to be done when switched on. But the future isn’t here yet and the pedal with only one main knob and two secondary should suffice for now.

Bottomline

MOOER Yellow Comp is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very compact optical compressor with very simple and intuitive controls.

NUX Masamune Guitar Analog Compressor

NUX Masamune Guitar Analog Compressor

Pros
  • Additional boost
Cons
  • Large form-factor
See price @ Amazon
Best features and specs

NUX Masamune Guitar Analog Compressor is a very versatile FET compressor with an additional signal booster. The best part about it is that both effects have separate controls and could be engaged separately or simultaneously.

User impressions

Users say that NUX Masamune Guitar Analog Compressor adds a nice and warm sustain. When placed right before the boost, it helps to reveal the true sound of your overdrives.

What we think

NUX Masamune Guitar Analog Compressor is a very capable pedal, especially when it comes to boosting, but we’d truly wished that it was much smaller. Chances are that you own a few pedals already and to add this one to your collection, you probably have to have a larger pedalboard.

Bottomline

NUX Masamune Guitar Analog Compressor is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very versatile and transparent FET compressor with an additional signal booster. The price is fairly reasonable considering the fact that you’re getting two items for the price of one.

Diamond Comp Jr Optical Compressor

Diamond Comp Jr Optical Compressor

Pros
  • Minimalistic design
  • Simple and intuitive controls
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon
Best features and specs

Diamond Comp Jr Optical Compressor is a very musical and transparent optical compressor with an additional tilt EQ. It has a fixed slow attack in order to preserve all the transients.

User impressions

Users like Diamond Comp Jr Optical Compressor merely for boosting. Turning the compression knob past noon introduces a great musical clarity and leveling the signal really well, without the need to fiddle with everything else.

What we think

We like how cleverly the input and output jacks are located. Usually, you can find those on both sides of the pedal, but on this one, they’re located on the back near the power supply connector. This means that although it’s not a small pedal, it’ll effectively take less space on your pedalboard.

Bottomline

Diamond Comp Jr Optical Compressor is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very natural sounding optical compressor with a very minimalistic design and simple controls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.