Empress Effects Compressor

Empress Effects Compressor

$249 USD

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Compression is a tool used on pretty much every recording you will ever hear, yet this extremely useful and versatile tool is often overlooked by guitar players as part of their rig.

Other compressor pedals are often limited by oversimplified controls and heavily colored sounds. We have created a truly transparent compressor, complete with all the controls found in the studio. The result is a tool that allows for a wide range of sounds from subtly adding sustain to getting the “quack” that country players love.

We’ve also included a mix knob to blend in the dry signal for an even more transparent sound and a gain reduction meter so you know what the compressor is doing at all times.

Features & Specifications

With all the controls available in top end studio compressors, the Empress Compressor has opened new sonic doors for guitarists; ranging from truly transparent compression for dynamic control to over the top squashing. We've also included a wet/dry mix knob that allows parallel compression for increased transparency and dynamics.

  • All Analog Signal Path - no digitals in here!
  • Extremely Transparent - Add dynamic control without altering the original tone of your instrument
  • 3 Compression Ratios - 2:1, 4:1 and 10:1 ratios offer lots of flexibility
  • Attack and Release Control - allows for ultimate control over the compression characteristics
  • Mix - Blend uncompressed signal in with the compressed signal for parallel compression, New York Style!
  • Metering - Meter either gain reduction, input, or both.
  • True Display LEDs - Bright multi-color LEDs always let you know what the Compressor is doing.
  • Bass - Works great on bass!
  • True Bypass - The Empress Compressor employs true bypass, so you can be sure that it's not affecting the signal when disengaged.
  • Small Size - The enclosure measures approximately 4.5" by 3.5" by 1.5", which is delightfully small when considering all the features packed into this unit.
  • Beautiful Case - It has a sparkle you can't deny!

Input Impedance1M
Output Impedance2.2k
Frequency Response (-3dB)40Hz - 35kHz
Distortionless than 0.1%
Power Input Voltage9 - 18 V DC (Negative tip)
Power Input Connector2.1mm barrel connector (Negative tip)
Power Consumption~ 100mA
Enclosure MaterialDie Cast Aluminum
Input connector1/4" Jack
Output connector1/4" Jack
Height (Enclosure only)1.5"
Height (including controls)2"


Check Out The Videos!


Here's some videos of the Empress Compressor. If you have trouble playing the files below, They're also up on YouTube. Check them out at youtube.com.

User Manual & FAQ

Empress Compressor User Manual

Problem: I'm not getting any sounds out of this thing!

Solution: Make sure you're not plugged into the compressor side-chain instead of the output.

Question: What kind of bypassing does the Compressor have?

Answer: The Compressor has true bypass switching. Older Compressors use the blue bypass switch. Newer Compressors use a relay to switch.

Question: I'm new to compressors, can you help me out?

Answer: (from Jay, the designer of the Empress compressor) The best way to learn is to keep experimenting. The empress compressor can be pretty transparent at modest settings so sometimes it's hard to hear it working. I've used compressors for a long time, and it really takes a while to get used to them.

Some things to note:

1. When you set the attack really fast it can make the sound less open, because it lowers and affects the transient.

2. With regards to the release; faster is better until it sounds bad. You'll notice if you set the release to the fastest and are doing a lot of compression at high ratio as you let chords ring out it sounds really un-natural. Also, you'll notice with some strumming patterns it can get a bit distorted almost with too fast of release. So, with the release, start it at its fastest, and then slow it down until your sustains sound natural.

3. A great way to get a feel for compressors is at extreme settings. When you're experimenting with the attack and release and ratio, don't be afraid to set the input so you get 15-20dB of gain reduction. It'll make it easier for you to hear things.

Question: Any suggestions for using the compressor with bass?

Answer: As a starter setting for bass, if you want transparent control, I'd try: 4:1, attack at 10oclock, release at 2oclock, full wet mix and adjust the input and output so you're doing 8-12dB of reduction in loud parts. It should give you good clean control with a nice attack if you're playing with fingers, if you're playing with a pick change the attack a bit.

For a grittier dirtier setting, try 10:1, release at 10oclock, and doing 15-20dB of compression, then maybe use the blend to mix to taste. You'll introduce some harmonics with this setting that will thicken things up a bit. It should be great for sustain too.

Question: The red LEDs aren't working. What's up?

Answer: If you have a cable plugged into the sidechain, it has to make a complete circuit. Try unplugging the cable. If that works, then something in your sidechain isn't stopping the signal.

Question: When I hit the bypass switch, it makes a really distorted sound, or a really huge click. What's wrong?

Answer: If you take the lid off the back of your pedal, you'll see that the bypass switch is one of two types. Here's some pictures to help you identify.

Blue (or greenish) bypass
Relay bypass

If you have a blue (or greenish) bypass switch, the problem is probably that it has broke. We can replace it for you. Cody can help you with that, please email him at cody@empresseffects.com.

Question: Even when I'm bypassing the pedal, it seems like there's a volume drop and/or tone loss. What's going on?

Answer: See the above answer. Contact Cody at cody@empresseffects.com and he'll help you out.

Question: I play bass! Can I rock out through this pedal?

Answer: Yes! All of our pedals play nicely with bass. Check out the "Features & Specs" section for information on the frequency response of our pedals. We have lots of customers who play bass through our pedals!

Question: Can you mod my pedal so that an expression pedal jack controls one of the knobs?

Answer: No, sorry. But it's not a hard mod to do. Here's a good resource on how to do it: Add an Expression Pedal to Any Effect. If you don't want to do it, you the fine folks at Nice Rack Canada do. Send them an email at info@nicerackcanada.com.

Question: The pots turn easily, so they move when I accidently hit them during a show. What can I do?

Answer: One of our customers has a great solution to this problem. If you wrap rubber bands at the base of the pot it makes it harder to turn.

Warranty & Money Back Guarantee

Products ordered through the Empress Effects website come with a two year warranty against failures resulting from defective parts and/or faulty workmanship. This warranty can be extended to 4 years by filling out an online registration.

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Products ordered through the Empress Effects website come with a 45-day money back guarantee. This means that if you are not completely satisfied with your Empress Effects product, you can return it for a refund.

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