The Deep Six scores points in the looks department with a boutique design, great graphics, and really cool enclosure paint. It's a textured, rough feel with a bit of a glitter effect going on. Very cool.
My pedal has the old school diver graphic, my personal favorite of the variety Walrus Audio has released. The pedal looks very cool in person. I don't think the pictures do it justice.
Walrus does a great job with the packaging and case candy too. Inside the box is a full color single-side manual, sticker, and metal tin containing at least 10 Walrus Audio branded picks. The pedal itself is blanketed by a satin pouch with drawstring. Nice!
What matters though is how it sounds right? Let's dive in! (See what I did there?)
The Deep Six is an OTA circuit and is inspired by the Universal Audio 1176 with the simplicity of the Ross and Dynacomp circuits. But the Deep Six has extra controls for more versatility. There are four controls, and a LED that lights white when power is applied. Jacks are side mounted and power input is on the top. The foot switch is true bypass. Quality is excellent.
The Sustain knob essentially boosts your signal over a fixed threshold. At 10:00 or less (more counter clockwise) the compressor is fairly transparent and will help smooth things out. As you turn the knob more clockwise (especially at noon and higher) the compression gets more squishy and gets to be pretty heavy clamped-down squash at 3:00 or higher. The tone becomes noticeably colored at higher settings. Past 3:00 there is a ton of squeeze. As You will also notice more noise as the knob is set to 2:00 or higher.
The Attack knob allows you to adjust how fast the compressor reacts to notes played. It seems to have a fairly wide range though I found I preferred setting the knob at 8:00 - 10:00 which allows for some initial transient through but still felt very smooth.
There’s also a Blend control which allows you to create a parallel blend with your dry and compressed signal. All the way counter clockwise and you essentially have a boosting effect. More compressed signal is blended in as you rotate the Blend knob clockwise. I found I liked the Blend knob between 9:00 and noon best.
The Level knob us used to set unity volume. There is a fair amount of gain on tap.
I found my favorite settings to be: • Sustain at 10:00 • Attack at 8:00 • Blend at 11:00 • Level to taste based on how I was running the pedal (in to amp, or preamp, by itself).
I found these settings to have the most natural effect, retaining dynamics, but still provide a noticeable amount of punch and fatness. At more extreme settings to my ear the high end seems to roll of some while the low end seems to be retained. The magic is in the sustain knob and you will want to spend time listening and testing with slight twists of the dial. A little twist can make a lot of difference in tone and feel.
The Deep Six operates off 9 volt DC supply or 9 volt battery. However, the internal voltage is doubled to 18 volts for more headroom. It also has a polarity correction circuit.
Overall the Deep Six was pretty quiet. Not the noisiest of compressors but not the quietest either. The blend knob makes a big difference with this compressor and I found it to be very useful. If you like a lot of squish this is a great choice. The blend knob allows you to compensate and provide an overall more natural feel to a heavier squish. The Deep Six is also a great choice if you are looking to maximize sustain with heavy compression.
Retail price: $199
Note: the latest Deep Six v3 is reviewed here.