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Becos CompIQ Twain

Dual-band Compressor-Saturator By Matt Houghton
Published September 2021

Becos CompIQ Twain

Love stompboxes but find pedal compressors frustratingly untweakable? This one’s designed with you in mind...

Last year I reviewed, and was hugely impressed by, the Becos CompIQ Stella pedal (www.soundonsound.com/reviews/becos-ciq-5-compiq-stella). What struck me most about this analogue VCA compressor was just how similar it was to the studio outboard and plug‑ins I tend to prefer to stompbox compressors. As well as a top‑notch, low‑noise signal path and the ability to handle line‑level signals, it gave me so much control over the nature of the compression. With features such as adjustable attack and release times and ratio, as well as a tilt EQ and wet/dry mix facility, I found it such a refreshing change from the myriad ‘dumbed down’ compressors that are more typically aimed at the guitarist market.

In the CompIQ Twain, Becos have built on that idea to create a pedal that I think it’s fair to say is unique. It doesn’t incorporate all of the Stella’s features (the one‑knob tilt EQ and user‑adjustable time constants are gone, for example), but it boasts a number of new ones, not least the option of split‑band or two‑stage ‘stacked’ compression. With 21 user controls on board (22 if you count the footswitch!) this is, like the Stella, an immensely tweakable device. If you’re a guitarist/bassist who’s relatively inexperienced with compressors there’s quite a learning curve, but anyone who’s used a studio compressor should find the layout fairly intuitive. The manual isn’t essential reading, but I’d recommend at least checking out the signal‑routing block diagram on Becos’ website, to head off those “Why isn’t this knob doing anything?” moments!

Overview

At heart, the CompIQ Twain is a mono (single input, single output) stompbox that contains two VCA‑based compressors and two vaguely tape‑like saturation processors; it offers a couple of different routing options for these processors, of which more below. Like most guitar‑ and bass‑oriented gadgets, the I/O are unbalanced and presented on quarter‑inch TS jack sockets, the input on the left and the output on the right. A standard power inlet accepts centre‑negative DC supplies from 9 to 18 Volts; curiously this is on the left‑hand panel in front of the output jack — not my preference...

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