I had the pleasure of auditioning two very fine compressors. The Really Nice Compressor (aka, RNC), made by FMR Audio, really fit the bill for when I wanted a transparent “attack leveling” effect….the kind of effect that you don’t hear, but makes you sound so much better…if that makes any sense. My taste favored the half-rack spaced effect, and here’s my review of the Really Nice Compressor.
First, Get to Know the RNC Compressor
Testing Guitar: Gibson ES 446 (humbuckers)
Testing Amp: Fender Super Reverb & Fargen Jazz Custom
Getting to Know the Audio Compression Controls
I had to improve my knowledge & application skills concerning studio compressor layouts with this pedal. But, for anyone who is familiar with using studio compressors, this baby is a walk in the park.
Layout of Controls: THRESHOLD, RATIO, ATTACK, RELEASE, and GAIN.
This compressor has 2 modes also: “Normal” and “Supernice.” “Supernice” mode stacks 3 compressors in line, which makes the compression effect much less noticeable….a very useful feature.
Note: The stacking of the 3 compressors (in this mode) is pre-programmed by the designer, but you still use the controls (THRESHOLD, RATIO, ATTACK, RELEASE, and GAIN) just as you would in Normal mode.
An Explicably Transparent Compression Effect
I’ve never played a compressor that DID NOT COLOR MY TONE as well as this one. As with the Menatone JAC, there was no high end roll-off. To me, this pedal is very useful because (as with studio type compressors) I can really control how my tone is compressed (again this is primarily limiting) by using all of the controls to achieve how I desire the RNC to effect my tone and dynamics.
How to Set the Controls on the Really Nice Compressor
I set the THRESHOLD where I want the RNC to start compressing (limiting) the signal (called the “ceiling”). Then I adjust the ratio of how much compression (limiting) I want. Then I adjust the ATTACK knob to set how quickly the effect kicks in (this is very useful in retaining pick attack by turning this control more clockwise) and by getting a more squash tone (by turning the control more counter-clockwise). Then I set the RELEASE knob to control how long I want the effect to “hold on” to my signal. Finally, I adjust the GAIN knob to set the overall volume of the effect.
Back to Transparency…
The compression effect is very transparent with the RNC. When it is heard, it is rather soft and smooth. I really dig the “Supernice” mode. I really dig the “Supernice” mode too b/c the compression is less noticeable (although subtle to begin with even in Normal mode). But that is what is preferred with this type of compressor since it’s also designed to be used for any instrument, studio applications, etc. What goes in, comes out, just compressed (limited) and with even dynamics (to the degree that you set the controls to do so). The only drawback for guitarists or bassists is that there is not stomp switch. The unit is like a 1/3 rack space and about the size of a pedal.
Overall, this pedal won the competition between the RNC and the JAC for me. I was looking for a “leave it on” type compressor to even out my tone. I didn’t want to feel “restricted” or even hear the compression too much. The “Supernice” mode is great for this! I was never able to get much of a Ross-like squish/sustain out of either the RNC or the JAC, but I already have good sustain for my rig (for sustain type compression, something like the BJF Pale Green Compressor or a Ross/Dynacomp type compressor would probably suit you better). This one’s a keeper! Well, at least for while.