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Robert Keeley Compressor Plus

A compressor that's not a depressor ...


by Chris Loeffler



I've had a Keeley Compressor on my board since 2002. I've played the rest, and while they all have flavors I've enjoyed and certainly see being "the one" for different players, I've never seen the need to knock my first compressor (with only two knobs) off my board.


Keeley has since expanded his pedal, first with two knobs, then with four, to address the myriad of guitar situations in which players may want to further tweak. His newest iteration of his flagship pedal adds a "plus" to the name and even more tweakability.


What You Need to Know

The Keeley Compressor Plus is a true-to-spec Ross compressor circuit with upgraded components for improved audio quality, reduced signal noise, and tighter specs. The Compressor Plus features controls for Sustain, Level, Blend, and Tone as well as a switch to select between single coil and humbucking pickups. The pedal is true-bypass switching and runs on a 9v power supply.


The instruction manual provides three sample settings, starting with ‘always on’ compression, a general liveliness booster that's a tone sweetener for full, sparkly and slick sound that’s so uneffected most people wouldn't know the pedal was on until it was turned off. 


The other two suggested settings are more traditional, obvious compression settings, with musical squash and snap that goes from Phish-style lead smoothness to a Country-like quack.


The Level control takes the pedal way beyond unity gain for a strong lead boost if that's your thing, and the Blend control really opens up new levels of subtlety (or not). The Tone control is musical across its sweep, with the lowest points creating the darkness associated with a classic Ross compressor and the highest points introducing new sparkle and spank to the tone. 


The Single Coil/Humbucker switch was a revelation, adjusting how the pedal accepted the incoming signal so that low output and high output pickup swaps could happen without needing to dramatically change settings. As an added benefit, I found this switch to be a way to determine the initial attack of the compression, regardless of pickup type.




Honestly, I couldn't find one. If used after overdrive, it can darken up the tone a tad, but that's what the Tone control is for.




Robert Keeley has been making various versions of the Ross compressor for over 15 years, and the Keeley Compressor Plus is the obvious evolution of the pedal, with settings set to make any player, with any guitar, happy.  - HC -








Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 


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