Squish is the second compressor from Hagerman I have reviewed. I'm a fan of the Hagerman Tube Compressor so I was excited to test the smaller, and less expensive, Squish.
Hagerman Squish is an OTA design similar to the old Ross-styled limiter. However, this is not just another Ross/Dyna clone. No, the Hagerman Squish Compressor was optimized for lower noise than typical Ross clones and Jim Hagerman was particular about the Squish not adding any dirt to the signal.
The result is a compressor that has that lively and bouncy feel of Ross/Dyna designs but with considerably lower noise and virtually no weird artifacts introduced into the signal path.
You end up with a compressor that isn't coloring your tone but you will sure notice it when you turn it off.
There are just two dials on the face of the pedal. That's it. One labeled Squish which when rotated more clockwise results in more compression, or well, squish. The second dial is labeled Volume and is there for makeup gain. There is a ton of gain on tap. With the Squish dial all the way counterclockwise the pedal makes for a great clean boost if you wanted to use it for such purpose.
How does it sound? Overall, it is more open and uncolored than a typical Ross/Dyna-style compressor. But that does not mean it is sterile.
You notice it when you turn it off because the way your playing feels changes — a lot.
With the Hagerman Squish activated and the Squish dial around 10:00 - 11:00 I felt like my instrument was more alive and dynamic. Overall levels where matched across lows and highs. Being an OTA design and modeled after a Ross/Dyna-style compressor this one is noticeably noisier than other compressors. To what degree depends largely on what you have in front and after the Squish in your signal path. Playing direct with bass connected to the Squish and Squish directly into my mixing console the pedal is delightfully quiet. When I run the Squish in front of various preamps I found I needed to be more careful with gain staging.
But when I found the sweet spot I was rewarded with punchy, full, and lively sounding tone.
I spoke with Jim Hagerman about his desires for this circuit design and he noted that his intent was to clean up the circuit to remove unwanted distortion and soften the attack. It's still a feedback style compressor but with a better feel. This is welcome effort in my book. The attack is slower and far more controlled than your typical Ross/Dyna-design. Notably, it works great with bass. There is really no loss of lows or highs. Everything is smoothed out and juiced up.
If you want just a bit more sustain without changing the overall sound of your instrument, the Squish is a strong contender.
It's also great about balancing dynamics and overall volume levels in a nonintrusive or tone altering way. It doesn't get much easier to use with just two dials. If you have a guitar with humbuckers, the Hagerman Squish would be a great choice.
The pedal itself is a small enclosure and very solid feeling. The circuitry is hidden due to how the board is mounted in the pedal.
There is a LED that illuminates red when the pedal is activated. There is no gain reduction LED function. Input and output jacks are mounted on the sides and the power input jack at the top. Power requirements are 9 volt center negative and 12maA. This one is definitely pedalboard friendly.
If you like the Ross/Dyna type compressors but want something more civilized and great with bass guitar, you should check out the Hagerman Squish Compressor.
Just be judicious with your use of the Level control. A little goes a long way.
This is one of those "little bit better" sounding devices that's hard to put into words. Well, it's doing what a great compressor should do while staying out of the way.
• Punch and feel when playing through it
• Tone enhancement
• Real nice advancement of a the Ross/Dyna-style compressors
• Noise (which is expected with this design)
• Lacking versatility (but that's not what it is designed for)
• No gain reduction LED
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