Friday, February 1, 2013

VFE White Horse Junior Review

I’ve been rocking a VFE White Horse Junior Optical Compressor for a few weeks and it’s without a doubt my favorite compressor. I’d call it the best compressor I’ve ever used, but pedals are subjective and I’m sure someone will feel differently.

What I love most about the White Horse Junior is that it’s simple, versatile, and transparent (if you want it to be). Sure, it will squash with the best of them, but it will also apply the perfect amount of compression to sweeten your tone, even out your playing dynamics, and just make you sound better. You can set it where you don’t hear it when you turn it on, but you feel it when you turn it off.

With just three controls, the White Horse Junior is super easy to dial in:

SUSTAIN: Controls the gain/sustain of the optical compressor
BLEND: Blends between the uncompressed and compressed signals
LEVEL: Controls the output volume of the White Horse Junior

The White Horse has a ton of compression available, so resist the urge to crank the sustain knob (or at least experiment with different levels). I’ve been running mine with the Blend control at 11 o’clock and sustain at 10 o’clock. This setting is great for clean and consistent rhythm playing (especially jangly and sustaining arpeggios).

And while I normally only have a comp on when I’m playing clean, I can leave the White Horse Junior on when I kick on the fuzz and/or overdrive and it’s quiet enough that the noise floor doesn’t go through the roof. And paired with some dirt, the White Horse Junior makes it really easy to get sweet, controllable feedback at lower volumes.

What I’m about to say is going to blow some minds. Are you sitting down? I like the VFE White Horse Junior more than the Bearfoot Pale Green Compressor (which until now was the best compressor I had used).

I have one of the plain metal box juniors with hand written labeling. But VFE is preparing to take the Junior pedals mainstream and are running a Kickstarter campaign as we speak. In fact, if you act quickly, you can get a White Horse Junior for $80 by supporting the campaign.

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