Walrus Audio recently released the third version of their popular Deep Six compressor. Naturally, I had to get my hands on it and see first hand how it compares to the Deep Six v2 I reviewed earlier.
The new Walrus Audio Deep Six features a Tone control which is essentially a bass roll off. This dial is centered in the middle of the top row of controls between the Level and Sustain dials. The LED used to be positioned here and is now relocated adjacent to the foot switch.
Input and output jacks are now top mounted as is the 9 volt power supply input. The footswitch is now a soft switch. Both of these are welcome enhancements in my book. The new v3 no longer has room for a 9-volt battery. Everything else remains the same.
The first picture below is the older v2 and the second picture shows the new v3.
As before, Walrus Audio does a great job with the packaging and case candy. Inside the box is a full color single-side manual, sticker, and metal tin containing at least 10 Walrus Audio branded picks. This time, the pedal itself is blanketed by a white satin pouch with drawstring instead of black satin pouch with drawstring. Packaging doesn't make for an exemplary product but bonus points go to Walrus for real a nice first impression.
The latest Deep Six is an OTA circuit and is inspired by the Universal Audio 1176 with the simplicity of the Ross and Dynacomp circuits. However, the Deep Six has extra controls for added versatility. There are now five controls and an LED that lights white when power is applied. In the prior version the input and output jacks were side mounted. I'm pleased that are now top mounted which makes for more space savings on a typical pedalboard setup.
The foot switch is true bypass and the quality of the pedal is excellent.
All functions perform just as they did before and you can peruse my comments here.
But what about the new tone dial? Turning it all the way counterclockwise feels the most natural when using with a bass guitar because it is the position where it leaves the bass alone the most. As you rotate the dial clockwise the effect is rolling off bass. The output definitely feels less full as you subtract bass. For bass players, I don't see a lot of value in the Tone knob. For guitar though, it is a real nice enhancement and works very well to brighten up the compression. There is plenty of range but for all but fringe cases, leaving it fully counterclockwise sounds best with bass guitars.
If you are a guitarist, definitely opt for the new v3.
Just like before, 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).
Adjust the Tone knob to taste and that will likely be highly variable depending on what instrument you are playing.
Though the circuit board appears different, both versions sound quite the same. The first picture below is the old circuit board including room for 9-volt battery. The second picture is the new circuit board.
The Walrus Audio Deep Six v3 Compressor requires a 9 volt power supply (not included) but the internal voltage is doubled to 18 volts for more headroom. It also has a polarity correction circuit.
I would still describe the Deep Six as pretty quiet. It is not the noisiest of compressors but definitely not the quietest either. The blend knob makes a big difference with this compressor and I found it to be very useful. The Tone knob might be useful to you depending on your application. If you seek squish, the Deep Six is a good option and the blend knob can help restore a more natural feel under heavy squash. It is a fine choice if you are looking to maximize sustain with heavy compression.
Retail price: $199