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Fishman AFX AcoustiComp Mini
 
A straight-forward compressor pedal made for acoustic-electric instruments.
March 27, 2024
 

Compression is an indispensable tool in the recording studio, and many electric guitarists include a compression pedal in their signal chain to increase sustain, make their playing sit better in a band mix, or achieve the polished sound of a recording. Players of amplified acoustic instruments haven’t embraced compression as much, but aggressive strummers or anyone with a highly dynamic style might do well to consider adding this kind of processing to their rig. Fishman has long included a basic compression function in its Platinum Pro EQ preamp (check out our demo), and when the company expanded its family of AFX Mini pedals earlier this year, the compact AcoustiComp pedal became part of the lineup. (For an overview of all three new pedals, check out our demo of the BlueChorus.) In this video, I demo the AcoustiComp using a Taylor 712c guitar with a Fishman PowerTap Earth pickup system, running it into a Fishman Loudbox Micro amp that I recorded using the DI output. 

The AcoustiComp is housed in the same metal enclosure as the other AFX Mini pedals, with a dark-green center panel that reminds me of a British sports car. With just two controls (for Level and Comp), a footswitch, and a status LED, the pedal is as uncluttered as it gets. Like the other AFX Mini pedals, the AcoustiComp allows for true bypass or buffered switching, and it can be used with Fishman’s innovative Dual Path signal routing by using the optional TRS connector cables (I demonstrate this feature in the demo of the AFX PocketBlender and AFX EQ). There is no provision for a battery, so power has to come from a standard external nine-volt power supply (not included). 

Let’s briefly discuss the basics of compression. Fundamentally, a compressor reduces an instrument’s dynamic range. This means that loud peaks get tamed, and soft notes get lifted, typically resulting in a smoother overall sound, but it is also often used to fatten up the tone and/or increase sustain. Almost all recorded music has some compression added in the mixing and mastering process. Effective compression is a less obvious effect than, say, reverb, chorus, or delay, and in most cases, subtlety is the name of the game. 

I have to confess that I haven’t used compression much in my performance guitar rig. I do frequently use a Fishman Platinum Pro EQ, and have at times dialed up a bit of its built-in compression to help shape my overall sound. I also use compressor plug-ins when recording or mixing with my DAW, but I’ve never had a dedicated compressor on my pedalboard. So the simplicity of the AcoustiComp made it easy to get acquainted with compression’s sonic possibilities. Using the Level control, I matched the volume of the engaged effect with that of my straight signal, and then simply twisted the Comp knob to find settings that sounded good for various playing styles. One of the benefits of having a touch of compression available became evident when I used it to control the peaks of aggressive strumming, where it allowed me to get more overall volume and a smoother sound. I also found the pedal useful on some dynamic, contemporary fingerstyle playing in a low-C tuning. Not only did the AcoustiComp help tame the loud peaks, it made quieter phrases stand out and harmonic slaps a bit smoother. 

I won’t make the case that compression should be part of every pedalboard, but there are many playing styles and instruments that could benefit from a bit of dynamic control. Compression is under-explored by acoustic musicians, and with its small footprint, affordable price, and ease of operation, the Fishman AFX AcoustiComp Mini is a great way to start experimenting with compression’s possibilities.

SPECS

Compression pedal. Single footswitch. Controls for Level and Comp. ¼-inch input and output. 32-bit processing. True-bypass or buffered-bypass operation. Dual-path routing. Aluminum enclosure measuring 1.9 x 3.8 x 1.92 inches. Nine-volt power jack. $119.95 street. Made in China. 

fishman.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com