Extensive compressor reviews and FAQ

Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer (2008 reissue): The original Orange Squeezer is one of the most commonly-cloned compression circuits out there, and various different companies have owned the rights to use the Dan Armstrong name over the years. The pedal I'm reviewing here was made by Grafton Electronics under the Dan Armstrong Effects name which they licensed from Dan's son Kent. I had hoped that since VTP's collaboration with Dan resulted in one of the better OS versions ever made, Grafton's collaboration with Dan's son might be equally good... but unfortunately that is not how it turned out.
When the pedal first arrived, all it would do is pick up AM radio. I looked inside, and the wiring and soldering was some of the worst I've ever seen. It looks like it was assembled by a blind person with no previous soldering experience--burned wires, huge sloppy globs of solder, scorch marks on the circuitboard, etc. I called Grafton, and they said to send it back and they'd send me a new one in exchange. Great, right? They sent me back the exact same pedal with one repair performed to fix the AM radio problem.
I tried to use it, and it distorts like a cheap guitar amp- buzzing on every note that crosses the threshold. I adjusted the internal bias trim pot, and it did change the level or quality of the distortion slightly, but it did not solve the problem nor did it have the range of control I have found with the bias pots of other OS pedals I've used. On top of that, I cannot hear any of the customary volume/tone effects of an OS, and I cannot see any gain reduction on the peaks when viewing the signal with a VU meter. I experimented with a wide range of input signal levels, as well as active versus passive, with no improvement. Only with an extremely low-level signal would it not distort, and then there was no compression. The one good quality is it doesn't roll off much of the low end; but unfortunately the lows are what cause the most distortion. It does lose some of the high end.
The DC power jack does not fit standard Boss-type barrel plugs. The footswitch is not true bypass, and it sucks tone badly when bypassed. This pedal is a piece of garbage. Dan must be rolling over in his grave.

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