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Greer Lamplighter Optical Compressor Review

Greer Amplification began in 1998 making pedals for friends and themselves. But then word got out and Greer has distributors all over the USA and the world.

The pedal itself is an attractive glossy black finish with gold graphics and font. The power LED lights up a golden color matching the golden hues of the pedal. Nice touch. It comes in a no frills white box, a couple of stickers, and no instruction manual.

According to the Greer Amplification web site the Lamplighter compressor was designed to "provide compression that doesn’t 'step' on your tone like other compressors do, make it as transparent as possible, with a low noise floor."

I found the compression itself to be quite wide and decently pleasant but no matter settings I dialed in there was always a huge boost in the mid frequencies. Despite the fact that Greer designed this Lamplighter to be "as transparent as possible" and "provide compression that doesn't 'step' on your tone" I think that's exactly what it does.

In addition to the significant boost in the mids, both the lows and the highs get attenuated. The result is a very mid forward presence that may or may not be your thing. It is a very raw and aggressive tone that I could see being useful in heavy rock and metal styles.

The Lamplighter Compressor is an optical circuit with five controls.

The Compress knob has a wide range going from very subtle to extremely squishy. As you turn up the compression dial a noticeable amount of noise is added with obvious amounts of hiss at settings 9:00 or higher. It is definitely not a quiet compressor at more extreme settings. At noon or lower it is very usable and quite nice.

The Volume knob is there to provide makeup gain and there is plenty on tap.

The Comp Mix knob allows you to blend your dry and wet (compressed signal). All the way counter clockwise is full dry (or at least close to completely dry) signal. Noon seems to be pretty even blend of dry and wet with increasing effected signal as you rotate more clockwise.

With the Comp dial around 8:00 - 11:00 the compression feels fairly subtle and the bass signal comes across more neutral but any higher than 11:00 and the overwhelming mid presence pops right out.

The treble dial quickly adds more highs that are shimmery at first and then very, very brittle. It is nice to add more bite but is probably not going to be needed much because of the inherent elevation of mids already.

Finally, the Release switch toggles between three positions -- Medium (all the way left), Fast (center), and Slow (all the way right). For me, the sweet spot was at the Medium setting. It felt the most natural that way to me. The switch is useful and the difference in settings is intuitive and easy to hear once adjusted.

This one is a unique device. On the one hand it does a nice job of evening out dynamics and adding sustain. On the other hand, it highly colors your tone by significantly boosting mids. I think it could make for a real interesting boost pedal in some scenarios where you really need to pop out with an aggressive but not distorted type of punch.

Playing my Fender Strat through the pedal, I still noticed the mids boost but it was more useful. From my perspective, the Lamplighter is better suited for guitar.

The pedal has nice weight to it and appears to be of high quality. The knobs all turn with authority.

Power and input/output jacks are top mounted which I personally prefer.

The Lamplighter runs on 9 volt power with center negative pin. There is no LED indicating gain reduction.

Retail price: $219


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