It doesn't get much more simple than this. Two knobs, one foot switch, one LED.
Rothwell pedals are hand-made in the UK with pretty much everything sourced in-house. Circuit boards are produced in the UK and even the cases are engraved and polished in the UK. The goal of the Love Squeeze is a very subtle and soft compression for fattening up the signal without sounding obviously compressed.
I must admit I am sometimes skeptical of compressors with only two knobs. What about being able to control my attack? What about having control over threshold at which the compression is applied and the ratio at which it is applied? How can just one compression dial satisfy it all?
The Love Squeeze is an original design that uses a discrete FET as the heart of a voltage controlled amplifier. The fact that the word "squeeze" is in the name does not mean that the Love Squeeze is a clone of the commonly copied Orange Squeezer. It is not.
The simple design includes a Compression dial and Volume dial. The pedal runs off 9 volt DC or an internal 9 volt battery.
The Compression dial offers a wide variety of compression but doesn't ever really feel heavy or oppressive. It does seem like the ratio is rather low though I don't know exactly what the ratio is. The compressor never really feels in the way. It is not the best choice as a limiting device though at extreme settings (rotating clockwise past 3:00 or so) there is more obvious squashing of the signal. There is never any dip and swell action. At very high levels of compression the pedal will distort which I noticed even with a passive bass.
The Volume knob is there to add makeup gain and there is plenty of gain on tap.
About noise and transparency
The Love Squeeze is remarkably quiet, even at more extreme settings. It is also extremely transparent in an open sort of way. I mean remarkably transparent.
It is in the camp of the Keeley Bassist, and Becos CompIQ Mine One Pro in terms of simplicity and transparency. Smooth and natural are two primary words I would use to describe the Love Squeeze which would also be true of the Keeley and Becos products. The Keeley and Becos are better as limiters though. For threshold/gain reduction metering the Becos wins, followed by Keeley (with the flashing blue LED). There is no meter on the Rothwell Love Squeeze. Just a red LED that illuminates when the pedal is activated. For those that feel all compressors should have a threshold/gain reduction LED, well the Love Squeeze doesn't really need it. Just turn the compression dial till you like the sound. Simple as that.
There is no loss of highs or low. It is just very natural and easy feeling. If you have never liked compressors, give the Rothwell Love Squeeze a shot. Once you turn it off, I bet you'll want it back on. It isn't coloring your tone at all. There is no "tone magic". It isn't dramatically making your tone fatter or fuller. But it is making things smoother and more "elegant" for lack of a better word. Maybe what a good compressor ultimately should be doing. Unlike other compressors I've tested where sometimes it would feel like I was fighting the controls to dial it in, no such issue with the Love Squeeze.
You just turn the compression dial until it feels right.
A little... or a lot. Find your sweet spot and rock!
I would be totally happy with this pedal as my only compressor if I were looking for subtlety and transparency and ease of use. You don't get ultra control over ratio, threshold, release, input gain, wet/dry parallel blending etc. There are other devices for that level of complexity. That's not the sweet spot of the Love Squeeze and you don't need all that with the Love Squeeze.
Construction quality of the pedal is very nice and it has a clean look. Nothing extravagant or bold graphics which sort of goes along with the whole vibe of the pedal.
Side mounted input and output jacks with top mounted power input. Foot switch is true bypass.
Retail price: $158 though currently out of stock at Rothwell.