Diamond Bass Comp JR Review

Based on the messages I've received asking when I would be posting comments I think it is safe to say many people are excited about the impending release of a smaller profile Bass Comp from Diamond. Rightfully so. The Diamond BCP-1 has earned a spot in compressor elite. There are a couple aspects of the original BCP-1 that has prevented it from earning a spot on pedal boards including the "larger" enclosure size, the center point positive cable requirement, and running at 18 volts for more headroom with active basses.

The new enclosure has top mounted jacks and now uses the more common center negative pin connection. Diamond told me they still recommend running this new pedal at 18 volts with basses (especially with preamps). I don't know about you, but I love the idea of the smaller enclosure and especially top mounted jacks. The new enclosure includes room to contain a 9 volt battery. Yes indeed!

I'm guessing you really want to know how it sounds compared to the original, larger BCP-1. Well I don't currently have a BCP-1 on hand. But, I've owned a BCP-1 at three different times over the years. I've always had a love/hate relationship with it due to the size and power requirements. Yet, I keep coming back to the Diamond for its tone enhancement. There really is some special something going on with the pedal. From my perspective, and what I remember, this new pedal sounds like the original.

It's definitely got that mid present special sauce. It is never muddy or thuddy. It has a nice openness to it yet adds that "fatness" many of us look for with a compressor. All of the controls function exactly as I remember the old pedal functioning. It just makes everything sound bigger and somehow more punchy.

Comp knob basically controls the amount of compression that is applied to the signal coming in. The bi-color LED still provides visual indication of depth of compression, just like the original. I find the threshold is very sensitive to output or hard string attack. To my ear, the comp knob gets squishy anywhere past 2:00 — especially at 4:00 and higher. This isn't the compressor for you if you want control of your compressor. You aren't getting control of threshold, release, attack, etc. with this tool. It's more about smoothness and that special mid present tone enhancing many have come to know and love. The comp range is still limited at that approximately 3:1 ratio. I suspect people looking for the Diamond tone enhancement are fine with the lack of control of ratio.

I do really like that 250Hz/900Hz EQ switch that sets the center point of the EQ tilt. Turning the EQ control counterclockwise provides a boost to low-end frequencies below the tilt point. At the same time, it provides a gradual decrease in frequencies above the center point. On the other hand, when you turn the EQ knob clockwise you will increasingly hear a boosting of frequencies above the tilt point while decreasing those below the tilt point. Pretty slick. It should be noted that unlike the original, there is no center detent on the EQ knob. No big deal in my opinion. Noon is about neutral so just start with the EQ straight up and adjust to taste. I find this tilt EQ invaluable when using the pedal with different basses. Can brighten up a dark instrument without it sounding brittle or shrill. Turning the EQ counter clockwise tames a beastly bass (like my G&L L2500 with those hot MFD pickups).

The new pedal is extremely quiet, just like the original.

In many ways, the Doc Lloyd Photon Death Ray can produce some of the same "tone fattening" in a similar vibe. Where the Diamond seems more mid focused, the Doc Lloyd seems more low mids/low end focused. The Doc Lloyd also offers more control over the comp range. It also offers control over dry mix and some control of threshold. All of the above makes for a pretty compelling offering. I found many usable tones out of the Photon and it is pretty easy to set and forget. A compelling contender to the Diamond for sure. Nice form factor with top mounted jacks.

There's something about the Cali76 CB too that reminds me of the Diamond. Of course the Cali offers far more control of overall compression but it is harder to dial in the ideal tone. The Dry blend becomes your friend when changing between multiple basses. The Diamond is arguably easier to set and forget. There's something about the attack of the Cali that adds some excitement to the tone. Excitement that reminds me of the Diamond. Nice form factor still with top mounted jacks but much heavier than the Diamond and taller (not as nice for the likes of a Pedaltrain Nano for example).

Many would be buyers seem to get stuck debating between the Empress and Diamond. While there is some similarity, they are different. The Empress is definitely more transparent. It sounds great. But it really doesn't color your original sound they way the Diamond does. The Diamond definitely adds a fattening to your tone, but that comes at a price of altering your original tone. Whether that is a positive or negative is for you to decide. I could easily see people buying both. The threshold/input gain LEDS on the Empress are pretty nice.

One thing to note is that I really think the Diamond sounds better at 18 volts. This is especially true with my active basses. It really does seem to have more headroom and is just more "punchy" for lack of a better word.

To make sure my ear wasn't fooling me, I tried multiple basses with multiple earphones and through different cabs. Each time, I pretty much felt like 18volts sounded more dynamic.

Once this new pedal streets, I think Diamond has a hit here and I suspect there will be a plethora of the larger sized BCP-1 pedals in the classifieds soon. Diamond told me they are on track for release later in July.

Here's a pic showing pedal size.

If you are looking for the Diamond "tone magic", its here folks in a smaller package.

Retail price: $199


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Reviews by Chris Tromp 

Bassist and Marketing Guru

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