Here we have something unique that doesn't quite fit the typical compressor mold.
It's a product in a crowded market that dares to be different and well, it is.
The Sir-Compre is designed by David Friedman and if you know anything about him, you know David is an icon in rock-and-roll having a heavy hand in the signature tones of the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Steve Stevens, and Jerry Cantrell. He's no stranger to guitar effects and amplification.
The Sir-Compre is an optical compressor pedal but with a wide ranging gain control which puts this pedal in a unique spot.
Part compressor, part OD and it ranges from quite clean (slight breakup) to quite overdriven.
There is actually a gain switch inside on the circuit board that allows for even more gain, should you want it.
Controls include: volume, treble and compression; a “tight” knob for dialing in more lows; and a “gain” control knob that is coupled with that two-way internal switch just mentioned.
There is plenty of volume on tap, controlled by the volume knob.
The Treble control restores higher frequencies lost from increased compression, and frankly there is more treble available than I would think any bassist would ever want to dial in.
The Gain control allows you to increase the amount of grit added to the signal. With my active basses, even with the gain dial all the way counter clockwise there was a slight bit of breakup already. By about noon I was realizing pretty significant breakup with plenty more available as I rotated more clockwise. The instruction card that comes with the pedal says "for cleaner settings turn down to around 3 on the knob." I was realizing pretty significant breakup before 3:00. The switch inside on the circuit board is there if you want even more.
The Comp dial controls the amount of compression. I'm not sure what the actual compression ratios are, but it goes from pretty subtle to very squishy. At the higher end of the dial you get dip and swell action and highly colored tone. This is not a transparent device.
By combining compression and overdrive, you can achieve a wide range of tones. It is worth saying though that all of these tones are highly colored. This is not the compressor for you if you want something relatively transparent with a slight amount of tube tone. While it could probably do that, it is not what it excels at. The Sir Compre is for you if you want something more gnarly.
The Tight control provides a means to bring in lower frequencies. Full CCW is more low end restored with full CW being very brittle and bright. It is important to note that the low frequencies impacted with the tight dial are low-mids. There is loss of lower bass frequencies immediately noticed when activating the Sir-Compre and the only way to restore those lows is with some form of EQ post the Sir-Compre in your chain. The combination dramatically impacts low mids.
The Comp, Gain, Treble, and Tight controls are highly interactive and there is a plethora of tonal variety baked in. Because of the relatively high amount of gain on tap the Sir-Compre is not the quietest of devices. This is especially true with the internal gain switch flipped up to the higher gain setting. The pedal gets quite noisy then, especially as you turn up the compression and gain dials. Adding in more treble would further increase the noise floor. But somewhat par for the course with OD pedals.
The Sir-Compre offers full bypass switching and must be powered with 18 volts (no power supply included). Friedman includes a splitter cable that allows you to connect to two 9-volt ports on a power supply to create the required 18 volts (see instruction card for official proper usage). Note: power supply must provide isolated outputs.
The enclosure is similar in size to standard MXR pedals but is taller. The faceplate is plastic and appears to be glued to the surface of the enclosure.
There is a LED that illuminates red when the pedal is engaged. There is no LED indicating gain reduction.
Input and output jacks are side mounted with the 18volt power input on the top.
I have spent several hours with the pedal in different scenarios and still feel like I haven't fully discovered all it has to offer. I started this review by saying the Friedman Sir-Compre is quite unique and by now you might be thinking this is more of a tone effect than a compressor. I think that's probably the best way to describe it.
Personally, I like the type of breakup it delivers and it might make a great alternative to the likes of the Fairfield Barbershop or SFX Beta, but with the added benefit of compression control.
This isn't a device that will make your tone "fatter" or more "punchy". It excels at delivering a wide variety of compression with OD but you are going to want something post the device to restore lows. I think it would make for a fantastic device to drive other pedals downline in the chain.
The Friedman Sir-Compre is for bassists that want to grind things up.
Retail price: $169.99