002 | Wampler Ego Compressor: A Closer at an Industry Standard Compressor | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Welcome to another episode of the Sonic Renegades Podcast, where we're exploring renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. For today's discussion we're going to take a closer look at Wampler Ego Compressor and we're going to highlight why this is an always on option for most pedal boards. Hello everybody I'm Scott.

Austin Bryan:
And I'm Austin.

Scott Schwertly:
And welcome to episode number two of the Sonic Renegades Podcast. Can you believe it, Austin already on episode number two.

Austin Bryan:
Number two, here we are.

Scott Schwertly:
Fun stuff. So, as we mentioned we're going to be talking about Wampler's ego compressor today, and I don't know about you Austin but this is probably one of my favorite pedals. It's kind of a routine at space on my pedal board for quite some time.

Austin Bryan:
It's a must, for a lot of musicians out there this is one Wampler pedal that finds this way and to everyone's rig. It's a staple. It's one of those effects that if you're considering a compressor, this is one that, it's in a list, you will find it and it's a really cool one. I'm really glad we're getting a chance to talk about it.

Scott Schwertly:
It's super impressive. Even when we were doing our research for this episode, if you jump on Sweetwater, Amazon Musician's friend, you'll consistently see, four out of five stars, five out of five stars. I think the general consensus out there is that people really do love this pedal and there's a lot of reasons why you should actually love this pedal and why people do love it. We're excited really to kind of unpack some of those great features for today.

Austin Bryan:
Kind of some of the history on this pedal, it's interesting because looking up a lot of Wampler pedals out there, it's kind of tough to trace out the historical aspects of where these come from, but from just doing some diligent research into this, the earliest pedals we found even on Reverb is an early 2009 model. So Bryan's had this in the works for a while, and this has been out in the market for quite some time now.

Scott Schwertly:
And that actually has four knobs as compared to the most current version which has five knobs.

Austin Bryan:
Yes. And I know the placement and also for where a lot of these controls are moved around as well. So it's gone through some changes, but overall it's still the solid compressor pedal that it's been since day one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. So really kind of over a decade of this compressor being around, and I know it's got its iconic blue and white sort of color scheme, as we mentioned, it does have five knobs now as compared to that 2009 version where it only had four knobs. But for those that don't know much about the history of this pedal, it's really based off the famous sort of Ross Dynacomp, which I know a lot of compressors today, even our Anvil compressor pedal is based on that, that same sort of legendary circuit and so forth. So really there's a lot of great things that this pedal has to offer and again, it's got a lot of rich history behind it as well.

Austin Bryan:
Absolutely. It's based off of an incredible circuit in its own right, and overall, this pedal has become so popular that they've even made a mini version of it, which came out in 2016 and I've personally loved many pedals and I think it's cool that they actually created a version of this it's size down for a more friendly pedal board space which is really, really neat. So overall it's a really tweakable pedal, they've kept the color. They've really just created a phenomenal compressor pedal that's found its way into many artists pedal boards nowadays. It's really, really cool.

Scott Schwertly:
I think one of the probably biggest positives about it is again, if you think about its historic roots, going back again to the Ross Dynacomp, I know that pedal or that circuit was really known for having sort of that loose high end and sort of with this Wampler version, obviously being the ego compressor here, it really allows to sort of fix some of that. We can talk about that as we go into the knobs and kind of what you can expect from this pedal. But again, it really just kind of takes that historic circuit and really just vamps it up to be something significantly better. Which is no surprise because it's such a solid pedal, obviously there's a lot of famous artists that use it. I know with us here in Nashville, particularly the country scene, a lot of famous musicians use it.

Austin Bryan:
This pedal, a compressor paired with a telecaster is magic. It is literally the Nashville sound. You pair that with through a fender amp you're set. You've got the Nashville sound pretty much covered. Artists that have been using this pedal, Brad Paisley has had one on his board for a long time now and a lot of folks know that Brad Paisley is a Wampler artist and he's been using a lot of their pedals for a while. And the Ego is one that stayed on his board. Brent Mason, who's another Nashville player who's phenomenal. He's talked about this pedal and his actually been putting this in his rig for quite some time and then Tim Thurman.

So anybody that is a Nashville name has this pedal in their board. It's a quintessential combination for getting that nice rich compression that you need when you're playing single coil telecaster pickups, and really it opens up the sound of the guitar and gives you that really nice natural compression. I know there's some other players out there that are using this outside of the country world as well.

Scott Schwertly:
So if you're thinking, well, wait, is this compressor really only for country and the answer is no, in fact I'm a big strap player. Actually I'm a huge fan of musicians like Cory Wong of Vulfpeck. He is also very much an Ego compressor user, obviously has got more of sort of like a funk style to it. So it really can kind of be utilized in really kind of any genre from country to funk to many other different things. I know it also pairs really well with distortion.

Austin Bryan:
Sure.

Scott Schwertly:
So even if you're into rock or metal, you're going to find that it works well there just as much.

Austin Bryan:
Absolutely. If you're trying to bring the quieter parts up in your sound and trying to kind of tame things that are loud, getting a compressor into your rig is a really nice way of tightening up your sound. Some aspects of this pedal that really, really stand out. I got to say, it's got a great punchy tone going back to the Nashville sound and musicians using a telecaster. Having that added punch and sustain it's just a reason, and when you actually get a chance to hear it and feel it you can actually understand why it's such a versatile pedal and it's always on. It seems to be once you turn it on, it's hard to hear anything else after you turn it off.

Scott Schwertly:
Well, obviously we've kind of built this pedal to be on this pedestal and it is a pretty fantastic pedal. But with like any pedal, nothing is ever 100% perfect. So let's share with you guys just a few flaws that we've seen. I know particularly for folks that are new to pedals or new to guitar, it does have five knobs that can be a little intimidating I think to some people who are just starting out into this world or into this space, obviously for people that have been around a long time that shouldn't be an intimidating fact. 

But I'm looking at the compressor here in front of me, you've got a sustain knob, a tone knob, an attack knob, a volume knob, and then blend knob. Again, that combination there can be a little intimidating most folks that's kind of a weak negative. Again, I think there's so much to rave about this pedal, but if we want to be alternate picky, which we are right now, that's one specific thing that kind of stands out.

Austin Bryan:
I would say, kind of backing on that. For newcomers, for folks that are getting into compression that have never really played around with it before, check out the manual, do a little bit of research yourself on this pedal, get an idea of how this can be utilized into your rig from reading on paper and just kind of learn to understand what the knobs do. It's easy to jump right into it and plug it up and get the sound that you're trying to achieve, but kind of get an understanding for that, what those controls can do, because yeah, it can seem a little intimidating I'm sure for a lot of folks.

In terms of another aspect that some folks might not enjoy about this pedal, there are some folks that feel like it's got a more raised noise floor. So it's a little bit noisier with heavy distortion, which is just something that's been popped up a little bit throughout the internet. But overall there's a lot positives on this battle then really any negatives that are out there.

Scott Schwertly:
Absolutely. This is just a fantastic pedal. I hate to even be talking about negative things because there's really not a whole lot to complain about. So maybe this is a good jumping off point to actually let's really talk about the things that we love about this pedal because there are a ton of things that I know I'm a personal fan about. So when you think about compressor pedals, you think about this whole idea of it always being on or just sort of always on approach and it definitely fits that for me as a guitarist. This pedal is pretty much always on every time I'm playing or practicing.

Austin Bryan:
I can't have a clean channel, if this paddle is in my chain and I've got a clean channel and I'm on the clean channel, it's on. Because if I turn it off, I feel like I've lost something. So it's an integral part of a clean sound absolutely.

Scott Schwertly:
I think it really just kind of captures a lot of that with they're really just calling like just squash and squeeze. Like it just does that so well with your tone and when I have it off, I notice when it's off. There's a noticeable difference between when it's on and when it's off and I just always resort to keeping it on because it just sounds so much better.

Austin Bryan:
I hear you. That sustain to the notes. It's so great with single coils even [inaudible 00:10:13] it seems like we talked about telecaster, stratocaster. It really adds the right amount of punch and it adds that smoothness and that natural compression that you would feel from an amplifier being pushed. The tone control absolutely useful if you're trying to fine tune and dial up your clarity. So if you're playing guitar, that seems a little bit duller, this compressor will give it a little more life and that's one aspect of this that I love is it actually has some tonal versatility as well in being a tool for fine tuning your sound and getting that compression signal to sound more lively.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And speaking of just diversity and variety and all that, I know it works really, really great with distortion. We talk a lot about here at the office that, I'm a huge Tom Morello fan, I know you're a huge Tom Morello fan. I don't have a guitar right now that has active pickups, but it kind of serves in that capacity to some extent where again, it just works really well with distortion and I think a lot of people just tend to neglect the power that comes with a great compressor pedal like this one, that it, again, it's just so versatile and you can do so much with it, whether you're playing clean tones or distorted tones. Sounds great across the board.

Austin Bryan:
It'll tighten up your tone man. It really will, if you're playing metal, this is a great way to get a tighter sound. Don't be fooled by this term compression and thinking it's a complicated term, it's not. It's a very useful tool. Get to know compression it will be your best friend and might be the secret to the sound that you're trying to achieve. So here we are spreading the word of compression.

Scott Schwertly:
I'm a compression advocate. Again I think a lot of people just sort of neglect this type of pedal. They will spend their money on distortion or fuzz or delay or Reverb and compression often again just gets neglected. If there's one sort of key message that we have in this episode is get yourself a compression pedal, and if you're going to get yourself one, this is a good place to start the Wampler Ego Compressor.

Austin Bryan:
Absolutely 100% agree with that. It is a very natural feel and that pedal will give you more than just like how you hear in distortion, you hear dirt, compression will give you a feel. So when you're playing your guitar, you will feel something as you're playing tonally that you've never felt in terms of the way your guitar responds to you and the way that the notes will play off. It is a really magical effect in its own right.

Scott Schwertly:
A lot of the stuff that, again, preparing for this episode, when you think about this compressor pedal, really any compressor pedal that does it well, or does compression well, it's this whole idea of transparent enhancement that it really just elevates your tone in a level that you've probably never heard before until you actually plug one in. I know our Anvil pedal basically accomplishes the exact same thing. So maybe if you do have an Ego compressor and you're looking just to diversify your collection, check out our Anvil compressors, as we mentioned also based on the Ross Dynacomp pretty much achieves the exact same thing.

Austin Bryan:
To kind of get some praise on the Anvil, one thing that's really neat is treble control on there is very, very versatile in adjusting the treble response. So there's a lot of compressor pedals out there and a lot of options, one aspect of the Wampler that's really cool you got a blend control. So you can fine tune how much of your unaffected signal goes in to that compression signal. That's something that makes it very different on the end of the anvil. You've got a switch for adjusting the treble response.

So do some homework, find some different compressors out there and see what you need. Find the one that's going to work best with what you've got. And if you don't know, just dig in and do some research and really see what tickles your fancy. It's a really, really open world for compressors out there but the Ego man is just phenomenal. It's a really, really special pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
So if you're curious about what this actually sounds like, we're going to pause here, play just a few rifts and licks and just kind of give you a sample of what you can expect if you're new to this whole world of compression. So we'll be right back.

Austin Bryan:
That is the sound. What you just heard, that's the ego.

Scott Schwertly:
How can you not love it? That sounded fantastic.

Austin Bryan:
Fantastic. You can really hear it. I know I can feel it playing it, but the other aspect is just being able to hear that natural compression and that difference between the uninfected signal just turned off and then adding that in. It's such a difference.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh yeah. Again, a huge fan of this pedal. So, well there you have it guys. That is the Wampler Ego Compressor. Hopefully you get the general idea. We're huge fans of it. We love it. If you don't have a compression pedal, this is a great place to start.

Austin Bryan:
Go get one.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. Well, be sure to join us next time in our next episode, we're going to be talking specifically about the DigiTech Whammy.

Austin Bryan:
Whammy.

Scott Schwertly:
If you have no idea what that is, we've mentioned Tom Morello earlier in this episode, think Tom Morello rage against the machine, Audioslave, all of that just beautiful tone, all because of the DigiTech Whammy and that's what we'll be discussing in our next episode. Until then we hope you guys have a great day, a great week wherever you are and we'll catch you in the next episode.

Austin Bryan:
See you guys later.

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