Xotic marked its beginning in 1996, California (USA) mainly as a bass manufacturer. However, over time they’ve expanded their array of products to guitars, amplifiers, various accessories and of course, bass and guitar pedals – which helped them rise to fame in 1999 upon unleashing their well-known “Xotic Effects” product line. The spotlight of this review is earned by one of the finest compressor pedals to date – the Xotic SP Compressor.
This beautiful compression pedal comes in an extremely small package with a tiny footprint, while hosting an immense variety of features and possibilities. It is based on famous Ross Compression – using the OTA (operational transconductance amplifier), this beauty offers True Bypass, meaning there’s no interference when turned off.
This outstanding pedal’s controls are where the magic happens, offering insane customizability backed up with high-end tonal output quality. Volume, naturally tunes the overall volume of the effect – offering up to 15 dB of boost. Blend oversees how much compression you want in your original sound, turn it up to 100 % for completely unaffected signal and straight up clean boost – meaning your amp can go “through” it as if you weren’t using it. Tuning it to 100 % in the other direction pumps out plain compression, meaning no clean signal whatsoever. The pedal also features a switch offering 3 options: Low, Mid and High.
Additionally complementing this compressor’s versatility are the internal switches, ranging from 1 to 4. 1 and 2 control the “Attack and Release”, respectfully. They determine how fast the effect engages, if turned down when you first hit your sound the compression doesn’t come right away, however if turned up you get an instantaneous effect – reminiscent of those sweet and snappy country sounds. 3 and 4 are in charge of high and low cut filtering – controlling the high frequencies and preventing distortion. You can leave these as they are and still have the capability of immaculate sound reproduction and enrichment, it’s up to you and how far you want to go experimenting.
This remarkable pedal evens all your notes out smoothly without giving you the feel as if your clean tome is replacing the compression, or vice versa. It offers quality effects while the sound volume stays relatively the same as it’s originally intended by the player, it offers lots dynamics, a wide range of compression tones, from transparent to hard and snappy, and tweaking the internal switches can add a large character to your sound, making it fantastic, personalized and unique.
All in all, this is one of the most versatile compression pedals out there, at a stunningly low price tag for what it offers. Aimed at guitarists of all backgrounds, offering simple options to satisfy the newcomer and huge variety for the experienced user willing to play around with the limitless sound output possibilities.