The Mojo Hand Clarity Compressor is a straightforward, clean, quiet, and simple compressor. As of the time of writing, the Clarity Compressor is the newest original design from the folks at Mojo Hand FX.
It uses DSP technology with just four controls to master.
Starting with the Mix control, you can dial in as much of your dry original signal as you'd like. As you rotate the dial clockwise you introduce more compressed signal. All the way counterclockwise is 100% dry unaffected signal. Having a mix control like this is extremely helpful to preserve your original sound and serves to allow you to dial in more compression without feeling like your signal is overly squashed.
The Comp control adjusts the amount of compression. To my ear, it seems like a pretty straightforward range of little to a lot of compression. The dial is increasing the ratio as you rotate the dial clockwise. The Level control adjusts the volume output of the pedal and serves as a means to add makeup volume as needed based on the level of aggression of compression.
There is a Push button control that allows you to choose between a switchable pair of compression styles. The button in the upward position is described as "slope compression" resulting in fast attack and smooth response. To my ear, the "slope" option delivers a smooth and overall subtle compression style.
It makes everything more even and really does seem to add more "clarity", owning up to the name of this compressor pedal.
It's subtle, but it seems to add more definition to the envelope of each note being played. It is usable across the entire range of your instrument and even a low B string on bass guitar feels natural. Be aware, the speed at which the compressor latches on to your signal (attack) feels quite fast which may or may not be what you are looking for. The "Envelope compression" option engages a more noticeable "hard knee" limiter effect and is activated by pressing the button down.
At higher Comp control settings (more clockwise) you get into dip-and-swell territory in this mode.
It definitely gets more squashy and with more effect. When using this mode, I definitely preferred more dry signal blended in. Playing slap bass style? Push the button downward to envelope compression. Want punchy compression? Push the button downward to envelope compression but be sure to use the Mix control to blend in enough dry signal to keep your desired dynamics.
There is a green LED that illuminates when the pedal is activated. Unfortunately, there is no gain reduction meter. You'll need to use your ear to dial it in.
There really isn't an easy direct comparison for this pedal — it is quite unique in the crowded compressor marketplace.
On the one hand, it is pretty straightforward. On the other hand, you will need to use your ear to dial it in. Inherently, it is quite transparent and clean. I suspect many users might find it too subtle at first. Use your ear and give it time. Experiment with the interaction of the dials and button. My advice is this. Start with button pressed down and rotate the Comp and Mix dials all the way clockwise. By doing so, you are introducing maximum compression and 100% effected (wet) signal. Play your instrument and hear how the attack is squashed and the delay of the signal release. You will likely hear the dip-and-swell effect. Once your ear is accustomed this effect, begin reducing the amount of compression and mix. Once you have mastered the effect of the envelope style, experiment with the slope style of compression which is more subtle. To my ear, it is in this setting that the compression gets its name — Clarity Compressor, because that's what seems to happen. Somehow, just more clarity overall. It is in this mode that I enjoyed the Mojo Hand Clarity Compressor as an always on device because, well, my playing just sounded better.
Sometimes the sign of a great compressor is when you forget about it until you turn it off.
If you are the type that wants ultimate control of every aspect of your signal and how it is compressed the Clarity Compressor is definitely not for you.
That said, do expect clarity, simplicity, smooth and even compression and two distinctly different compression styles with the push button control. As I said earlier, the Clarity Compressor is unique in the market. As is often the case well executed compressor pedals, using the Clarity Compressor just makes everything sound better. You may never want to turn it off. It is also very quiet.
I'm often skeptical of compressors that don't allow control of attack, threshold, ratio, etc. because sometimes with the best intent to keep it simple, the lack of control can actually serve as a limitation in how well a "once-size-fits-all" approach to compression actually pans out. I think users playing anything from keyboard to guitar to bass will find the Clarity Compressor useful though. Just don't expect ultimate versatility, but that's not what Mojo Hand FX is going for here.
The retail price is certainly budget friendly at just $139. The device itself is quite small with side mounted input and output jacks and power input. The enclosure has a baked-on, extremely durable "vein" finish that shifts between gray and red tones. Really pretty cool and attractive. The foot switch is true bypass switching. 9v, center negative power supply – no battery compartment.
• Nice price
• Set and forget (once dialed in) • Easy power requirements • Two different styles of compression to leverage
• Transparent enough to be useful with virtually any instrument
• Does seem to add clarity
• Not overly complicated and easy to adjust on the fly
• Possibly not enough control for some
• No gain reduction or compression metering
• Not highly versatile
• I'd personally prefer top mounted input/output jacks and power input
• Possibly too much dip-and-swell effect for some
• Attack might be too fast for some
Retail price: $139