Φ (or Phi) is a new dual compressor pedal from Crazy Tube Circuits, a boutique pedal builder based in Athens, Greece. Φ is a combination of a FET-based and an optical compressor and Crazy Tube Circuits believe that this new combined pedal could be the perfect ratio of compression for guitarists.
FET vs Optical
Two of the most popular forms of compression, FET and Optical are both are found predominately in studio rack-mount compressors. For me, optical has a softer and more organic feel to it, whereas FET is a little more ‘in your face’. Optical compression uses a photocell and an internal lamp, and gives results that are more subtle. Think of something along the lines of the Joe Meek VC3 from a few years back, which was based on ’60s optical compressors. FET, in my opinion, tends to grab your signal and colour it far more, which is not a bad thing at all. In many ways it can be very positive as it can complement your guitar’s tone and is often described as musical.
The Phi has an internal voltage running at 25V, allowing for better headroom and hopefully, a better signal to noise ratio as well. You can run the two compressors parallel to each other or separately which allows a lot of tonal variations from the one pedal.
The company claims the pedal will even ‘fatten up’ your tone with both compressors bypassed, because of the 25V internal voltage. I cannot, of course, comment on this as I have yet to try one out myself. The pedal runs off of a regular 9V power supply and therefore will play nicely with your pedal board.
I think the price is very competitive for two studio quality compressors and I look forward to hearing some reviews when they finally start shipping. Plus, I think it looks really good; what a great choice of graphics! I love the simplicity of the layout as well.
Crazy Tube Circuits Phi should be shipping by the end of August
RRP EUR €250 plus shipping and taxes where applicable
Crazy Tube Circuits: site