Fromel Electronics Velvet Vice Compressor Pedal Review
- Pros: This is a stellar subtle compressor featuring top build quality in a beautiful enclosure.
- Cons: The Velvet Vice is not a very versatile compressor; it focuses on subtle compression.
- Overall: This pedal is designed exclusively to provide subtle and transparent compression. It features construction quality only available from boutique pedal makers like Fromel Electronics.
John Fromel is a hometown hero for Seattle pedalheads. From his workshop in North Seattle he produces a line of high end stompboxes that feature beautiful and unique acid etched housings. The Fromel Electronics Velvet Vice is a unique compressor. John describes it as a compressor for people who hate compression. The Velvet Vice is designed to provide subtle, transparent compression and little else. Unlike most three knob compressors, it features a release control in place of an attack control. Instead of being able to delay the onset of a compression envelope, the Velvet Vice allows users to control the amount of time it takes for the envelope to end. This can allow for greater sustain, but will squish rapid note attacks at higher settings.
The Velvet Vice is very good at unobtrusively adding sustain and clarity to clean playing. It doesn’t offer in-your-face pop and swell style compression, but it does a wonderful job of subtly evening out a signal. This pedal doesn’t provide its own tone so much as it enhances the existing tone. It can be nice for strumming too, as long as you aren’t looking for a totally squashed signal with lots of attack. The Velvet Vice performed beautifully when placed in front of a distortion chain. I really appreciated how easy it was to dial in a compression setting that both added consistency to my sound and maintained dynamic control.
Under the hood, the Velvet Vice is very well constructed. The pots, jacks, and switch are all of high quality and are separated from the circuit board internally. My eyebrows raised a little when I saw a lump of hot glue holding one side of the board to the chassis, but the whole setup is very tidy and should withstand the test of time. Short of point-to-point wiring, the Velvet Vice features the most rugged and easily serviceable style of construction available in a stompbox. The pretty enclosure is nice too.