Crush Discrete VCA Compressor - Pettyjohn Electronics
The unique Discrete VCA.
The Pettyjohn CRUSH is a studio-grade compressor in our Foundry Series single pedal format that is powered by a unique Discrete Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA). After bringing the first Discrete Opamp based pedal to the market with the original PreDrive in 2014, we are please to bring the first Discrete VCA based guitar pedal to market! The CRUSH delivers highly musical compression in the spirit of beloved Discrete VCA compressors, such as those found in legendary British consoles, mastering buss compressors and vintage rack gear, but tailored specifically for use with any guitar or bass signals. Using a modern Discrete VCA in our design has its greatest advantage in that it is extremely transparent even at large gain reduction amounts. Compression can be a bit of a mysterious effect to dial in so we tried to make our controls easy to navigate while having enough depth to achieve several unique compression styles easily with one small box. Furthermore, the CRUSH has several useful tools for shaping your tone beyond traditional compression effects. These features include a highly versatile TILT EQ circuit, a CLEAN MIX knob that mixes in a sweet, clean pre-amped signal and generous helping of make up gain on tap that can handle most boosting duties. Once you find your sweet spot, it may become a pedal you cant live without!
With over a decade of dialing in studio compression on mixes and masters, Stephen Pettyjohn leaned heavily on his experience to voice the control settings of the CRUSH. At the core of the CRUSH controls are the two mini-toggles for RATIO and RELEASE. Each mini-toggle offers three settings for dialing in a vast array of different compression settings. The RATIO’s settings are LIGHT, 2:1 ratio, MED with a 4:1 ratio and HEAVY for a 10:1 ratio. The RELEASE settings are FAST, MED and SLOW and they set how long the compressor takes to recover once the threshold has been passed. The compression threshold is set via the “COMPRESSION” knob. The amount of compression increases as you lower the threshold by turning the knob clockwise. Use the “LEVEL” control to make-up for gain lost by the compression effect.
The CRUSH offers two more controls for shaping the tone beyond normal compressors. The TILT EQ knob adds a lot of tone-shaping power with one simple knob and has been voiced specifically to compliment the CRUSH. It has a neutral tone setting at noon, while brightness increases as you turn it to the right and it darkens the tone as you turn it to the left. The “MIX” control allows the user to add in a bit of the clean, un-compressed signal by turning the knob clockwise. This affects the feel of the pedal by adding back in transients and natural pick attack that can be smoothed out at higher compression settings. We recommend using the MIX knob like an attack control, and recommend feeling your way through after other settings are dialed in.
Most importantly, the CRUSH has been engineered to deliver sound quality and performance that is in the same league with some of the most famous studio compressors of all time. The unique Discrete VCA we use offers extremely low distortion and low noise while with preserving superb sound quality. We describe it as being both transparent and musical. You will hear your guitar’s natural tone come through clearly while it somehow imparts a bit of that elusive magic and life only available from high-end analog gear.
Due to the fact that our Discrete VCA is originally designed as a drop in replacement part for studio gear, it requires extra high voltage rails. The CRUSH has a special internal power section that creates a dual power rail structure that the VCA requires and thus it has special power requirements. The CRUSH needs 12V-18V of standard center tip negative power with at least 150mA to operate cleanly. The signal path uses only the highest quality parts from 1% metal film resistors, to WIMA coupling caps and top-shelf Burr Browns opamps in the analog signal path so that your tone stays naturally intact on its journey through the compressor’s circuit.