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Dedalo Gorila Compressor Review

Gorila is spelled with one "L" in Argentina, which is where Dedalo pedals come to life.

The Dedalo company was founded by two brothers in Buenos Aires. The Gorila compressor was designed for bass and if there was ever a pedal that performs and sounds a lot like the Diamond BCP-1/Bass Comp Junior the Gorila is it. When I saw one become available used I jumped on it because I had heard great things about it and so many people love the Diamond compressor but wish they had a little more control. Things like adjustable attack and parallel compression (dry signal blend control). There is a lot of love for the Diamond (rightfully so) but having a little more control would be ideal for many compressor junkies.

Is the Gorila the cat's miaow? Read on.

In my opinion, the Gorila compressor has a nice look. The enclosure feels solid and has an attractive yellow face. The brushed metal sides and bottom hide scratches, bumps, and bruises well.

It is an optical compressor design and there are 5 knobs on the face to control the dynamic range of the device. This Gorila is marked GOR 3 on the inside and my understanding is this is the latest iteration of the Dedalo Gorila compressor.

The Comp knob functions more like a threshold control and I think the ratio is relatively low. That said, the dial has a wide range of threshold control and I had no issue with headroom with all of my basses, including those with 18 volt preamps. This is not the case with the Diamond compressor which can distort and feel squishy pretty easily with many active basses. With one of my basses, I had the Comp dialed in around 1:30 with a nice amount of compression. With another, I pulled back the Comp dial to more like 11:00 with a nice amount of compression. So the Gorila accommodates a wide range of input gain. It seems to clamp down more as you strike strings harder which must be a function of the advertised "adaptive attack technology" built in. It works really well.

The Gain knob replaces lost gain of the compressed signal, allowing you to set the appropriate output level. Turning up the gain does add noise to the circuit.

The EQ knob is a Tilt EQ much like the Diamond's EQ. It allows you to balance the tone towards bass or treble. With the knob at center, the eq is flat. The equalization is applied to the already compressed signal. The range of EQ is quite similar to the Diamond. In fact, I was able to dial in feel and tone very, very close to that of the Diamond between the EQ, Comp and Gain dials. With the Diamond, I really like the EQ just a bit left of noon, maybe 11:00 - 11:30 or so. With the Gorila that sweet spot was more like 10:00 - 10:30. The amount of EQ change is more modest on the Gorila and it seems like the Gorila's EQ tilt point is closer to the Diamonds 250hz than the Diamond's 900hz optional setting.

But wait. The Gorila adds an Attack control and Blend (for parallel compression). Nice!

The Attack control has a fairly wide range. More counter clockwise is slower, meaning allowing more transient through before the compressor clamps down. This dial controls attack time of the signal detector. Gorila literature says

"the attack time is in fact variable and adapts to the signal dynamics: fast or sudden changes in the sound are compressed with a faster attack time, achieving an effective but much more transparent compression."

I think it works and felt good with all of my basses. I will say, having an Attack control is something I have come to very much appreciate. If you like the diamond but felt the attack was too fast, you will appreciate the control on the Gorila.

The Blend control sets the amount of original clean signal blended in to the compressed signal which is summed in parallel to the compressed and equalized signal. This can be used to simply soften the compression by effectively reducing the ratio, to restore transients unaffected by the compressor, or combined with the Tilt Eq to achieve selective compression of bass or treble frequencies. Turning the knob more clockwise brings in more original clean signal and helps create a very punchy feeling compression engine. Nice!

Inside, I spied two more dials.

The top dial seems to further refine the range of the Comp dial. Turned more clockwise, the Comp threshold seems to lower, meaning higher Comp dial settings means the compressor reacts at a lower threshold. With the internal dial turned more counter clockwise, the Comp threshold seems to be raised higher, meaning at higher Comp dial settings the compressor reacts at a higher threshold.

The lower internal dial seems to refine the Attack dial range. Turning more clockwise seems to adjust the sensitivity more in favor of faster attack. Turning the internal dial more counter clockwise meant the sensitivity was more in favor of slower attack. I actually quite liked what I heard with this dial.

I've written Dedalo requesting specific information about the function of the dials and confirm the above. You certainly don't need to adjust those dials.

The footswitch is true bypass and there is a white LED that illuminates when the pedal is activated.

There is also a red LED in the center of the face of the pedal indicates the gain reduction applied by the compressor. Having a separate gain reduction LED from the power LED is a nice advantage over the Diamond which combines both into one LED. The red LED on the Gorila simply works better.

It runs on 9 volt power (battery or power supply) and the power input is on the top of the pedal along with the input and output jacks. There is room for a battery inside. The pedal itself is about the same size of the Diamond BCP-1.

Overall, this is a nice compressor. It is relatively quiet, but the Diamond is more quiet. It's the gain control on the Gorila that adds the noise. It isn't bad, but that's probably the biggest downside of the Dedalo Gorila. Otherwise, I was pleasantly surprised. I really like the blend and attack controls. All-in-all you get a smooth compressor that can be punchy and full at a real nice price point. It doesn't ever feel real squishy other than maybe very high comp dial settings, and no dip and swell action.

It isn't the compressor for you if you want completely transparent device. It is somewhat warm, but that EQ dial can change up the flavor relatively dramatically. With the EQ at the noon position there is no loss of highs or lows, but that EQ dial will certainly allow you to beef up the bottom end.

For the price, the Gorila is a compelling option.

Retail price: $160


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