Fifty years ago, on 16 July 1969, Apollo 11 rocketed away from planet Earth, propelling astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to the Moon. To mark the 50th anniversary of this staggering human achievement we decided it would be a nice idea to build a small batch of custom PC-2A Photo-optical Tube Compressor pedals. Each limited edition pedal is finished in darker retro-grey paint than our standard model PC-2A compressor and is fitted with a N.O.S. vintage Sylvania subminiature ‘6021’ in place of the original ‘6111‘ tube. The ‘6021‘ has about 4dB additional gain over the ‘6111‘ and is a superb tube: it’s at top of the pyramid, another staggering piece of American cold war engineering, no other vacuum tube surpasses it in terms of low-microphony, low-noise and its tone is unrivalled.
The PC-2A is a true vintage studio compressor in a stompbox—there are no VCA chips, opamps or budget components in the signal path which is 100% analogue and built on a hand selected photo-cell, polyester coupling capacitors, precision resistors (with silver/palladium contacts) and SylvaniaN.O.S. (new old stock) 6111 subminiature tube operating at real amp plate voltages all on a special silver-plated printed circuit board.
The tube circuitry delivers stacks of head-room and very, very low noise floor for outstanding dynamics, preserving the attack characteristics while creating musical and natural compression—the PC-2A wraps your signal in velvet, enhancing your guitar tone without stamping a solid-state signature on it. Useful in live situations for adding ‘punch’ or fattening up thin single coil pickups and indispensable when recording direct to digital audio workstations (computer) to prevent nasty transient distortion artifacts that modern digital recording devices produce if overloaded. Acoustic players will also appreciate the smoothness and sustain the PC-2A will add to amplified acoustic guitar, especially those fitted with piezo pickups.
The tube is manufactured to meet the stringent MIL-E-1 specification for reliability and designed for long service life under conditions of severe shock, vibration (20,000G!), high temperature and high altitude. The subminiature tubes represent the absolute pinnacle of tube technology and offer exceptional musical performance and reliability making this the perfect compressor pedal for studio and touring in even the harshest conditions. Like my other subminiature tube pedals, the PC-2A is true bypass for uncoloured feed-through.
Note: This is a limited edition pedal.
- All Tube: 100% pure analogue vacuum tube audio path operating at amp plate voltages ensures the PC-2A compressor has huge headroom and very quiet, natural sound reproduction. Each tube is burned in for 24 hours and each PC-2A compressor pedal tested and hand assembled by the designer to make sure it is perfect.
- Limit/Compress Switch: Select between two completely different compression curves. ‘Compress’ mode is a light, subtle compression that can be used to enhance tone and even out string dynamics – the tube and photo-cell yields beautifully natural and musical tone. ‘Limit’ mode is heavier for a punchier, ‘squished’ country tone.
- Internal Attack and Knee controls: To allow bass players with high output/active pick-ups to adjust the compression response characteristic to tailor it to their needs. This little tube compressor performs exceptionally well with electric, active bass, 12-string and acoustic guitars – you really don’t need a separate dedicated bass compressor. You can find more information on how to adjust the ‘knee’ and ‘attack’ trimpots here.
- ‘Proper’ side-chain: A-weighted pre-emphasis in the side-chain replicates the response of the human ear and allows for heavy compression without the excessive ‘pumping’ normally associated with compressors processing low-frequency material. Because the control side-chain circuitry is much less sensitive to low frequencies the PC-2A maintains a transparent low-end response making it an invaluable tool for taming mid-frequency transients caused by slapping or pulling strings on bass or NS stick.
- Photo-optical gain control: The gain control attenuator is based on a resistive photocell which ensures the absolute minimum of distortion is introduced (much lower than V.C.A. and F.E.T. designs). Additionally, the natural decay characteristic of the photocell produces a smooth release characteristic which always sounds pleasing and natural to the ear.
- Works as a tube boost pedal!: The gain is about 15dBu maximum with the ‘Peak Reduction’ knob fully anticlockwise and the ‘Gain’ knob fully clockwise. This is enough to push a Fender ‘Tweed’ or ‘Deluxe’ amp into breakup and overdrive territory.
- True Bypass Switching: With Effectrode’s unique ‘anti-pop’ or ‘thump’ footswitching circuitry utilising sealed, gold-contact relay to eliminate the possibility of dirty contacts degrading the sound and minimal internal audio path.
- Dakaware Knobs: Authentic phenolic Dakaware, Chicago 1510 knobs custom manufactured for Effectrode in the U.S.A using the original 1940s moulds.
- Fitted with N.O.S Sylvania tube: Each PC-2A compressor is fitted with a hand-selected 6111 subminiature tube. This is one of the finest tubes ever built by any manufacturer at any time in history.
- Includes 12V Wall-wart Power Supply: High quality low-noise switched mode 12VDC at 1.5A wall-wart compatible with all our pedals. Accepts 100V to 240VAC mains input and comes with different mains outlet adaptor plugs, so there is always a plug that fits the country that you are playing in.