- by Kevin Deal
Today we will review the amazing Xotic SP Compressor, a very common online analog compressor for buyers.
In general, you must sacrifice versatility with small pedals. That is not the case for the Xotic SP Compressor.
This small compressor pedal can subtly combine wet and dry signals, move between three compression rates, and change Attack and Release timing and it also sounds fantastic!
Our Xotic SP Compressor review will shows why everybody raves this small pedal.
Xotic started its business in 1996, primarily as a bass producer in California (USA).
Through time, however, they’ve extended their product range to guitars, amps, numerous equipment and obviously bass and guitar pedals – which helped them achieve fame in 1999 when their well known product line “Xotic Effects” was released.
When the company expanded, its pedals appeared to diminish through the years. However, this is not done poorly by any way.
They just stepped up the trend for mini-pedals and clutched it in the guitar culture.
Let’s dive deep to see one of the best compressor pedals to date – The Specification of Xotic SP Compressor and its functions.
Xotic SP Compressor’s Detail Review
- Controls: Volume, Blend, Compression Toggle Switch, Bypass Footswitch (+ internal Dip Switch)
- Dimensions: 3.5″ x 1.5″ x 1.5″ (89mm X 38mm X 38mm)
- Bypass: True Bypass Switching
- Power: 9V battery or supply
- Battery Type: 9VDC (006P) x 1
- AC Adapter (optional): 9VDC, Negative Tips (Regulated)
- Weight: 0.57 lbs. (260g)
SP Compressor Features
This amazing distortion pedal comes in an incredibly compact box with a small footprint and a wide variety of functionality and features. This is based on the well known Ross Compression-this beauty offers real bypass with the OTA (operational transconductance amplifier).
The two key controls are a volume knob – with loads of extra decibels on the button – and a Mix knob that can be used to blend the original song with the converted signal (100 percent wet, 100 percent dry from clock to clock).
Additional parameters can be updated after you slide the SP back. It’s a little fiddly and you’ll need a screwdriver, if you are one of those guitarists who always change perfectly, that could be a slight downside. Unfortunately, since the lever has such a limited footprint, anything on the front can not be mounted.
The magic happens where this excellent pedal controls deliver crazy customizability backed up by high-end tonal consistency.
The SP Compressor is super quick on the surface. The tidy and elegant user interface is made up of two buttons, a 3-way switch, an LED and the mandatory foot switch.
The top button is a blend device that allows the clean signal to be blended with the distorted echo. Blend monitors the amount of compression you like in the original sound.
When you turn the volume on, you receive a 100% unimpacted clear signal – and your amp will “run” it as though you were not using it.
When you like (up to +15dB of boost), you can use the SP Compressor as a straight-up clean boost.
The tuning of 100% in the other direction pumps a simple distortion, which ensures no clear signal at all.
The pedal is also fitted with a compression / sustainable 3-way option (HI, LO, and MID). This simply determines the distortion of the signal as you turn back and forth.
It will get you a delicate balance if it’s low or even an extreme squash if it’s high.
Inside you find 4 dip switches between 1 and 4, which you can use to adjust those configurations that are, of course, meant to be set and forget.
Dip turn 1 and 2 monitor “Strike” and “Release” which dictates how rapidly the result happens.
If you convert to a compression when you first reach your volume, you will have an abrupt effect when switched on – reminiscent of these sweet and snappy country sounds.
There are four different variations between the two dip switches, which adjust the way the pedal treats the sound from Low Attack and Long Release to High Attack and Release.
Dip Switch 1 and 2 at OFF are the default configuration when you first turn the pedal on. (It is worth testing whether you have acquired a used tool and the former user has fucked up the switches).
3 and 4 are responsible for high and low-cut filtering – high frequency monitoring and distortion reduction.
Dip switch number 3 is a Hi Cut filter that you can either click on or off. It is set to ON as normal.
The 4th and last dip switch controls the input pad so that the pedal can accommodate the high output pickups without the input cutting.
By default dip switch 4 is set to ON, meaning that it is oddly not enabled, but rather in ‘standard’ mode. That was just right for a passive Fender Jazz bass.
Xotic says also, that a lower-cut filter is started when you turn on the input pad, but it should not impact your low end much because, I think, it is still below your normal range, particularly for ultra-low hum cycles.
You can keep these settings as they are and still have clean sound replication and enrichment capabilities, it depends on you and how you’d like to go exploring.
The SP Compressor is a true bypass pedal, as specified in the specification. It means your guitar’s audio does not change in any way when the sound travels through the accelerator.
True-bypass is a very common feature nowadays found on most pedals, and this pedal fortunately makes it possible.
This also means that when the pedal is turned off, your guitar signal will not be interfered with. You should put it in your pedal chain without any question about it disturbing your sound.
The sound samples are split into five:
- Compression (LO, MID, HI 100% Blend)
- Compression (LO, MID, HI 50% Blend)
- Attack / Release
- Hi Cut
Over and above this time, a phrase you can hear is ‘transparency.’ People are always delighted about clear compressors, overdrives, and boosters.
Now you’re sick of hearing (as I am) about translucent pedals so I’m only going to note quickly that a compressor is meant to be translucent and the SP is fortunate. This even uses True Bypass, and you know that the sound won’t be changed when you bypass this.
The scenario above puts the compression knob to MID with 70% mix, leading to a very compact sound that suits this play style.
In general, when compressors are more softly used, I can quickly dial the mixture back or even adjust the toggle to low, if you thought the end result was too much compression.
I tried to stop the high level on the toggle switch while I played the button. Lower compression with a higher blend resulted much of the time in better performance.
Ultimately, the efficiency of the SP Compressor impressed me pleasantly. In the past I used compressors and never thought they weren’t worth my pedalboard space.
They never looked like adding anything valuable to my sound. The SP is the first compressor which I think contributed something to my sound.
I wanted to use it as a booster to give my clean sound some extra consistency and to also try it for various effects and see if anything new could be applied to it. This almost always sounded as if the SP improved the other effects without drastically altering the sound.
So far as sound quality is concerned, I hope the SP gets top marks. I haven’t matched the SP yet with the Wampler or Diamond compressors, but the efficiency here is top notch matched with the compressors I’ve used in the past.
Quality & Design
The weight of this little pedal is perhaps the first thing you can note when you pick up. It is a mini pedal, but it is marginally higher than Mooer pedals or TC ‘s mini set, but this only provided enough space for a battery for Xotic.
I can’t help but fall in love with the graphic style. The translucent knobs paired with the luminous green LED (when punched in) are just too sweet. That said, it is easier to see from afar the thin black lines on the buttons showing the settings.
I am also questioning whether or not white and black buttons should have been ideal, clarifying the visual input of the settings, or whether the transparent buttons just appear so good that the absence of visual feedback is justifiable. It’s up to every of us, I suppose, to say.
Now, I obviously have to tackle the dip switch feature. It would seem that certain additional options within modern impact pedals have become more and more available, and more options are often good.
The balance seems obvious if you want to cover any of the essential parameters inside, requiring the buyer to choose a fixed configuration.
On the one side, top panel power of attack and release should have been fantastic, but sacrifices can not be absolutely avoided on a very small board.
Finally, I very much appreciate the fact that Xotic has chosen to make the BLEND parameter a main parameter which is readily available.
It is the tactic to make this pedal sound fantastic, smooth and true to your simple tone. And as the HI, LO and MID are so well tuned, I wouldn’t have adjusted anything while developing this wheel.
Pros and Cons
- Compressor of very high consistency
- Small is perfect for a pedalboard
- Reasonable versatility without gripping the pedal full of keys.
- I don’t like inner dipswitches actually. Yet you will never need to adjust the settings until you choose the appropriate blend.
Who will love this compressor?
Anyone looking for a really clean booster: it functions very well as a translucent booster, while it is a compressor. I want to use it with a smooth sound as it leaves the sound intact.
Guitarists with multiple effects: by using multiple effects compressors are usually a good idea. It clears your tone by compressing your signal and usually yields improved results.
Live guitarists: A compressor is helpful to bring clarity to the performance in live scenarios. A sterile sound uncompressed can be a nuisance due to noise fluctuations in a living environment.
Who will not love this?
Guitarists who love to use distortion: if you perform in a band that rarely uses clean tones and sticks to heavy distortions, a compressor would actually not always gain.
Compressor Xotic SP vs Keeley
Reach for some similarities and distinctions between the C4 4-Knob compressor of Keeley Electronics and the Xotic SP such that the two can be compared.
First of all, both pedals are truly high performing devices. There definitely are other alternatives such as the Wampler EGO or the Empress, but I am confident that any of your selections would not disappoint you.
If you want to pay a little less than the C4, the SP Compressor is definitely the right option. Therefore, the SP Compressor is smaller. The pedal ‘s footprint is perfect if you don’t have any space on your pedalboard.
One point about the SP that you might not like is that you need to open it to modify as per the various combinations you want to use, which can be a bit daunting for people not so familiar with this.
You will not be able to get as much flexibility of flight as the C4, but you will still save some money elsewhere. The decision then depends on what you think between the two is more significant.
Generally, SP Compressor Xotic Effects really lives up to the hype. It’s a wonderful compressor which comes with a small mobile bundle for what it provides at a stunningly low price.
You will enhance the tone – by either adjusting the easy to use front buttons, or by fine tuning via the internal dip switches. Ultimately, a very good kit.
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