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MXR Limiter Review

This one is an oldie, but a goodie. The MXR Limiter is no longer in production, but if you can get your hands on one, it's worth a try. Don't let the word "Limiter" fool you. This isn't an all out squash machine. If you feed it a signal that’s all over the place including aggressive peaks, don't expect the MXR Limiter to really “limit.” But as an always on compressor for smoothing out your tone and signal, it is surprisingly pleasing.

Considering compression devices of the past were often considered noisy (because they were) it's not the case with the MXR Limiter. Even though this thing has an onboard transformer and a 15v regulator it is quiet.

It has a nice natural sag feeling to it. The kind of feel when playing through a true tube amp. It's one of those compression devices where you find yourself asking, "Is it on?" until you turn it off. Subtle, but there in an impactful way.

So many compressors from the 70's and 80's seem to be overly squashy. To some, devices like the Ross or Dyna compressors come to mind. It's as if the MXR Limiter is the antithesis of these devices — on purpose. I would describe the signal as remarkably uncolored. At the same time, the MXR Limiter is definitely softening your sound. To my ear it seems to be softening the highs while not necessarily attenuating them. And for the low end, it seems to be suppressing boom yet not squashing the lows. That said, if you are looking for added sheen or sparkle up top, it is not for. Similarly, if you seeking blooming lows and added fatness, the MXR Limiter isn't for you either.

But, if you want smooth, organic, natural tone, this thing is a hidden gem.

There are 4 dials on the face of the pedal. The sensitivity dial seems to both lower the threshold at which compression is applied an increases the compression. Turning the dial clockwise increases the compression effect. The attack dial allows you to adjust the speed at which the compression engine clams down on your signal. Turning the dial clockwise slows the attack. The release dial allows you to adjust the time of how long it takes the compression engine to release the compressed signal. Turning the dial clockwise shortens the time it takes to release. The output dial is there for makeup gain. There is one LED that illuminates red indicating the pedal is engaged and power is supplied.

The foot switch is not true bypass. Input and output jacks are both located on the right side which is a bit unconventional by today's pedal design standards. The power cord is permanently affixed making the MXR Limiter not the most pedal board friend. In summary, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I didn't expect much yet I had heard great things about it. I can see why. It really does sound nice and is certainly built to last. It's a fun device and if you are looking for a compression that has a tube like softening (or sag) feel, I can confidently recommend this one. If you want aggression and sharp "punch" or sheen up top, it isn't for you. It's a real nice finger style compressor with bass guitar. Having separate attack and release controls helps with versatility. If you can score one for a nice price, give it a go! Pros: • Low noise • Relatively versatile • Great for smoothing and softening • Built like a tank Cons: • No longer in production • Though it says Limiter on the pedal, it isn't • Might not have enough tone "mojo" for some Retail price: No longer in production View all compressor reviews.


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