Wow! This is an interesting compressor. It is an optical tube compressor and it does run warm.
It seems very well built with holes along the left and right sides to dissipate heat. There is a switch on the top mount jack areas that essentially switches the compressor between a lower more natural compression setting and a higher more limiting setting. I definitely preferred the switch in the lower more natural compression setting. The limiter setting does make for a nice limiter function though.
There are only two dials but the threshold knob has a wide range. Anywhere from very light compression to pretty strong squashing. Overall it seems pretty neutral but to my ears adds a whole lot of tube "color". If you listen very closely with good IEM's you can hear the harmonic content. Very cool. It is capable of sounding absolutely huge. If you want some serious tone fattening, this is one to consider. It isn't totally transparent IMHO, but what it does is nice. It doesn't really subtract from the tone. There is no tone suck. It adds a little flavor that is good. It's got a great presence to it that isn't bright and isn't dark either. Just something special. Maybe more mids baked in and certainly the harmonic content is contributing. Reminds me of the Diamond in a more organic natural sort of way.
Inside are two dials on the circuit board to adjust knee and attack. I found both quite useful, especially the attack which does help tweak to your needs. I'd rather have these controls on the outside of the compressor.
I did notice a tendency to distort the input of my amp and preamp. There is way more gain on tap than I would ever need. When you get into the higher compression settings you lose your dynamics quickly. To my ears, it can get very, very squashy. I pretty much found a setting I really liked with the knob between 8:00 and 9:00. It felt like light compression but made my basses flat out bigger sounding. Anything more than that I it becomes too squashy for me. Some will really dig that tendency though I suspect.
The Effectrode is definitely not the most versatile compressor. There is no threshold indicator LED. You've got to use your ear to dial it in but there isn't much to dial in with only two knobs. Pretty much set and forget.
I'd use it mostly as a tone enhancer type pedal but in a fairly transparent sort of way. Pretty neat actually. It also operates with very low noise.
If you want something different with some tubey goodness this is really cool and worth checking out for sure. I would not mind having this one in my arsenal.
The power requirements make it not all that pedalboard power friendly. You need 12volts and at least 600ma to power it. Comes with an appropriate wall wart.
Retail price: $339