Behringer Compressor Sustainer Review
Original author: Mattacuk
Weapon: Compressor / Sustainer Pedal
Price: £15 GBP ($30 USD)
The Behringer CS-100 is a low budget compression unit that has been designed to compete directly with the more expensive pedals on the market. For those of you who dont yet know/understand what compression is , please see Tony's awsome guide here
I bought this pedal as i was in need of longer lasting sustain (how long the notes ring after you pick them) for slow solo work. I found that i could not get enough sustain out of my lovely Vox AC15 and Boss Distoition pedals even though i did have a beautiful tone. This i belive in part due to the fact i cannot turn the amp up loud enough in my room which equals angry parents/neighbours.
This pedal gives a number of creative control options over your tone:
1.Level This knob is basically an overall volume knob, however the offical descrption is that it adjust the over output level. I find this feature pretty useless to be honest, but it doesent hurt to have it there. i tend to keep it up high and use it to control volume instead of useing the volume knob on the amp.
2.Tone: This feature determines how fast the compressor reacts on the input signal. In more understandable terms, this feature just seems to make the tone a bit more peircing the higher you turn it. I dont really like this function much so i keep it low and it becomes a transparent feature.
3.Attack: Again, another useless feature IMO. Like the tone knob its a fairly week effect, the higher you turn this the sharper your picking sounds, the lower you turn in the duller it sounds.
4.Sustain: The feature i bought it for - and it delivers everything i wanted from the pedal. The higher you turn this knob the longer the notes sustain for its beautiful in its simiplicity. Now when doing a slow solo such as pavels slow solo which i have been working on. Long notes last as long as you want them too, legato and tapping becomes alot more fun because you dont have to worry and notes fading out before they should.
I like holding whole and half notes for example when soloing, and this helps - especially when im useing alot of vibrato.
The Pedal Construction
The overall look and feel of the Pedal is that off a Boss model. I have provided a shot of my effects loop so you can compare the athstetics:
The construction is fairly rugged, although not as good quality as the Boss and i belive it might break if you tried to gig with it alot. The quater inch input socket is also not nearly as good quality as the Boss and your lead might pop out from time to time. Overall though, nothing to complain about.
As mentioned in Tonys Guide, compression is not an effect, so dont expect to buy this and get dramaticaly different tones/effects out of it. What it does do is give you an extra boost in the sustain department and an over all control of volume. This pedal does not colour my tone with the "Tone" and "Attack" knobs turned down low. This is very desirable to me, and to be honest I think the pedal would be better off without these two features but they dont hurt being there.
The only thing i would mention is that the higher you turn the sustain knob up, it does start hissing and this is the only thing i would mark it down for. If i had the extra money for a pedal that didnt produce a hiss with high sustain levels i would buy that over this.
Good extra levels of sustain, extremely cheap, you can pretend your Steve Vai
Slight hiss with high sustain levels, not as rugged as Boss Counterpart in construction (but for the money there are no real Cons).
In comparison to the Boss CS-3 unit, i actually prefer this pedal. I had the CS-3 and i found it a waste of space. It coloured my tone, had week sustain properties and i couldnt wait to sell it on ebay. I actually feel Behringer have outdone themselves with this item, and it has introduced me to the fact i shouldnt always look at the most expensive option.
Having purschased quite a few various high end pedals I am very pleasantly supprised at the CS-100 and would highly recommend it to someone looking for a good compression unit.
If you look on Harmony Central there are countless people giving positive feedback to this product and I can see why.
Editorial note: published 8 October 2007