SolidGoldFX pedals are handmade in Canada. Their Horizon is an optical circuit and is overall a warm and flavored compressor. There are just three knobs:
• A wide-ranging Comp control changes up the gain and release time of the compression engine. • An Attack knob that varies the speed and intensity of the compression. • A Level knob that can add some gain back after you adjust the comp and attack knobs.
The Comp and Attack knobs are highly interactive. Since each controls two parameters, you will want to vary the knob positions and spend time listening to the nuances of each. There's a lot of variability built in with just these two knobs.
SolidGoldFX told me this about the Attack timing.
"We have never measured the attack time in ms. The attack knob reduces the squash of the compressor rather than vary the time. Turned clockwise, it will provide a noticeable gain reduction upon initial attack almost creating a swell effect as the compressor decays while fully counter clockwise, the initial gain reduction is much less noticeable creating an invisible sustain effect."
The Horizon is a funky pedal. It has the syrupy swell with plenty of squish if dialed in. It has a unique character for sure and a lot of fun to play through. It isn't invisible or transparent. With the attack knob all the way counter clockwise and the comp knob counter clockwise it is more light and less colored. But the fun begins when you rotate to higher settings. It gets squishy and bigger but though it is capable of being very squishy, I wouldn't recommend it as a limiter. The differences between the variety of twists of the dials is a a lot of fun to play with. Even at the slowest attack setting the compressor locks down the attack pretty quickly meaning it is not the best option for letting through initial transients. It is musical in a less than linear way.
A sweet spot I liked for finger style playing was with the Attack knob at about 11:00 and the compressor knob at noon. Added some bigness to the tone and plenty of smoothing and sustain. Turn the attack knob past noon for pick style.
The pedal itself seems well made. The pedal I tested is marked "Custom Shop" and has an attractive silver glitter paint job with white markings. The LED lights white when the pedal is activated. There is no LED to indicate gain reduction. The foot switch is true bypass.
The SolidGoldFX Horizon is one of those compressors you need to experience. While it might not be your first pick for an always on type of compressor, it is unique and a whole lot of fun to play with. A great choice if you are looking for color and something out of the ordinary. There is plenty of head room for high output active basses. I felt it retained the lows quite well and didn't seem to attenuate high end. It's pretty natural in that regard. Testing this one was some of the most fun I've had with a compressor in a while.
Retail price: $175