MXR Dyna Comp Compressor Pedal Review
- Pros: Affordable, easy-to-use pedal offering control over compression ratio and a warm, fat compressed tone.
- Cons: Some tone suck when bypassed, and you can find a better tone and more options for tweaking your sound with other pedals.
- Overall: Perfect for players new to compressors wanting a nice sound on a budget, but for the tone-conscious or already-converted compression fans, it’s worth considering higher-budget options.
The MXR Dyna Comp has been immensely popular with guitarists since the 70s, and it’s still widely-regarded as one of the best, affordable compressors on the market today. The pedal promises a percussive, clicky clean sound and a smooth sustain when it comes to lead playing, and most players rate it pretty highly, especially for its reasonable price. However, there’s plenty more competition for the M102 Dyna Comp than there was back in the 70s, so does it still deserve its reputation, or could you do better for your money?
One thing about the MXR Dyna Comp that you can’t really complain about is its simplicity. The stompbox-size pedal has two knobs, “Output” and “Sensitivity,” for controlling the volume and compression ratio of the pedal, respectively. The “Sensitivity” control can be set to compress up to a maximum ratio of 36:1 dB, reaching some pretty significant compression at higher settings but still allowing a more subtle use of the effect at lower ones. The attack and release are fixed at 5 milliseconds and one second. You can bypass or activate the pedal with the footswitch (the LED lights up when it’s on), and although there is some tone suck on bypass mode, it’s not so bad as to really put you off the pedal unless you absolutely need “true” bypass.
The sound quality is good overall, adding some warmth and fatness as well as boosting sustain to your desired level. The high tones come out particularly well, but for bassists it may not be ideal because some of the lows are lost. The components aren’t as high quality as some other options such as the Keeley Compressor, though, so the tone could be better, and although it isn’t too noisy it’s still not as good as some of the higher-quality (and more expensive) models you can find.
If you’re considering getting your first compressor, but don’t want to pay for a boutique, top-end pedal, the MXR M102 Dyna Comp is easily one of the best pedals you can pick up in its price range – a generally warm, smooth sounding compression that’s easy to get to grips with. Pre-converted compression lovers should consider other options, but for exploring a casual interest or just as an extra tool on your pedalboard, you won’t be disappointed.