Walrus Audio has unveiled the Mira Optical Compressor, a studio-grade compressor pedal that offers comprehensive control over your dynamics. The Mira is voiced for electric guitar or bass guitar, and looks very much like the kind of pedal that you will leave on most of the time.
That is often the way of the compressor pedal. Often overlooked in favor of more exciting pedalboard additions, once guitar players find a compressor they like, it’s like magic – nothing will see it come off the ‘board, or out of your signal chain. And that’s all because there’s nothing quite like a compressor for sweetening your sound, taming your transients and tightening up your tone.
The Mira arrives in an enclosure painted by Adam Forster, and makes the most of its compact housing with seven dials on the front. There are controls for Level, Threshold, Ratio, Make-up and Blend, plus mini-dials for Attack and Release.
On the side of the unit there is a push button to activate a hi-pass filter that is located in the circuit’s side-chain – activate the switch and it will allow bass frequencies 120Hz and under to pass through, preserving the bass dynamics while tightening up elsewhere.
As for the top-mounted controls, Level controls output volume, Make-up controls how much gain is applied to the compressed signal, handy when dialing in unity gain and – as the name implies – making up for any volume loss from compressing the signal.
Threshold controls the volume at which the compressor is engaged. The lower the Threshold, the sooner the compressor kicks in. Ratio, meanwhile, controls how much compression is added once it is engaged.
The mini-dials for Attack and Release allow players to fine-tune the Mira’s response, dialing in attack and sustain to suit your playing style. Finally, Blend controls the mix of dry and compressed signal in your sound, which can help retain note clarity while boosting sustain in your signal.
The Mira also has a gain-reduction LED on the front of the pedal. This lights up progressively the more work the compressor is doing. The more gain is being reduced, the more the Mira is squashing things, the brighter it will get.
Compression, of course, is naturally occurring in many playing situations, such as when some tube amps are pushed into overdrive, but it is very much a matter of taste.
Country players might love a little squash to tighten up their sound; blues players might want to retain a little more of their dynamics.
With all of the controls on offer, Walrus Audio is giving players the option to dial in just what they need. And, of course, it also offers the Deep Six compressor, which is a FET-based compressor inspired by the Universal Audio 1176.
The Mira Optical Compressor is available now, priced $249. It is true bypass, has top-mounted jacks, and takes a regular 9V DC center negative pedalboard power supply, drawing 200mA minimum. See Walrus Audio for more details.