Electro-Harmonix Pico Platform Compressor/Limiter review – small, affordable and makes you sound better

This new launch from EHX is now one of the mini compressor pedals to beat

Electro-Harmonix Pico Platform
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

If you’re playing clean/semi-clean sounds a lot, then a compressor is almost a must, and used right, it’ll inject assertiveness, power and studio-style response into your parts. The Platform does this brilliantly, and takes up very little space doing so.

Pros

  • +

    Lots of control over your sound.

  • +

    Good price.

  • +

    Compact.

Cons

  • -

    Nothing.

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Electro-Harmonix’s new Pico series sees its Platform Compressor presented in a space-saving enclosure, so now you can squeeze your sound, without having to squeeze your pedalboard space. 

There’s a surprising amount going on, too, with both compression and limiting on offer via the mode switch, and, while it’s small, we get controls for Vol (output), Attack, Sustain (here, governing the compression ratio) and a Blend. 

The latter allows you to dial in some of your dry signal alongside the compressed sound (known as parallel compression), so you can still benefit from the additional punch compression will give you, but maintain some dynamics alongside if you want to.

Now, the attack control on a compressor pedal deals in time, rather than level – the faster it’s set, the faster the compressor will kick in, and that’s the same with the Platform. So, faster attack times (with the control set anti-clockwise) mean that the Platform will react to the ‘pluck’ portion of your note, reducing it for a more smoothed-out sound.

This is ideal if you’re looking to tame strummed chords (especially on an electro-acoustic guitar). Set the attack speed to be slower (clockwise), and the initial transient will remain uncompressed, while the rest of the note will have its volume reduced. 

The result is that the perceived loudness of your note’s front end is greater than the decay. So now your picked single-note riffs and arpeggios, or spiky, funky rhythm parts will jump out more easily.

The Platform is capable of some pretty aggressive constriction, and the blend control goes from dry at the minimum setting, to compression only at the maximum. 12 o’clock gives a 50/50 blend of dry and effected signal, and you can, of course, park the Blend control anywhere in between.

With heavy sustain settings it can become a little bit too squashy, but reach for the blend to restore some dry sound and you’ll find that your signal starts to breathe again, just with added smack.

Specs

Electro-Harmonix Pico Platform Compressor/Limiter pedal

(Image credit: Electro-Harmonix)
  • PRICE: $119/£109
  • TYPE: Compressor/Limiter
  • CONTROLS: Volume, Sustain, Attack, Blend, Mode switch
  • SOCKETS: Input/Output/Power
  • POWER: 9v PSU (included)
  • CONTACT: Electro-Harmonix

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Stuart Williams

Stuart is a freelancer for Guitar World and heads up Total Guitar magazine's gear section. He formerly edited Total Guitar and Rhythm magazines in the UK and has been playing guitar and drums for over two decades (his arms are very tired). When he's not working on the site, he can be found gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.