The MXR Dyna Comp has a long history of being the go-to compressor effects pedal for pro guitarists for over 30 years. It has been regarded by many as an indispensable tool for crafting the perfect tone and can still be heard today across genres of music ranginng from country to metal and everything in between. Does the Dyna Comp still hold its own after 30 years? Is it the best guitar compressor pedal you can buy? You’ll have the answers in our exclusive MXR Dyna Comp review.
But first, let’s talk about just what exactly a compression pedal is and how it works.
A compressor pedal’s primary function is to essentially “even out” or “flatten” the dynamic volume range of your guitar tone before it reaches your amp. To put it simply, the quiet notes become louder, and the loud notes become quieter.
Why would you want to do this? Glad you asked. While there are many creative uses for a good compressor, here are two of the primary reasons.
First, by evening out the volume levels of your notes, you can get a consistent sound that’s perfect for tight clean tones, a must for chickin’ pickin’ country styles. The MXR Dyna Comp has defined the Nashville guitar sound for decades, being one of the essential pedals of any session and touring player worth their salt.
Second, if you want to get smooth lead tones with added sustain and volume, a good compressor will take your sound to the next level. It works like a boost pedal while attenuating and refining your sound while preserving your guitar’s tonal character.
Let’s see how the Dyna Comp handles our performance test.
Sound & Performance:
I broke out a Strat first and went for a nice warm clean tone. I dialed in both knobs around 12 o’clock and fired it up. The Dyna Comp added a noticeable amount of girth to my tone, thickening up the sound and adding sustain.
Pushing the Sensitivity knob farther right while pulling back the Volume knob gave a great sound for slapping and popping. I’m not much of country player in all honesty, but I loved the percussive funk I could effortlessly wrangle out of this pedal. The sound is punchy, yet remains smooth and focused at the same time.
The controls are very simple to use, and it’s easy to dial in a great sound. The Output control gives you more volume, pushing your amp harder as you take it farther clockwise. Adjusting the Sensitivity knob will let you find just the right amount of sustain.
Through a humbucker equipped Gibson SG, I was treated to some gorgeous lead tones. Notes ring out for days with more harmonic definition. You can max the knobs for a choked sound, but I prefer finding a sound for a nice solo volume boost with increased sustain. You’ll certainly be heard during your solos when you step on the Dyna Comp. It cuts through the mix nicely.
This pedal is a classic, coming in that familiar sized MXR enclosure like the Phase 90, Carbon Copy, and Micro Amp. While there are plenty of compressors that have come out since the Dyna Comp’s release ’76, many of which offer much greater flexibility, this is still a solid pedal and a good first compressor for those who’ve never used a compression pedal before.
Let’s see the verdict.
The MXR Dyna Comp is still going strong into it’s fourth decade. This pedal has been widely regarded as one of the best compression pedals out there, and it’s reputation is certainly understandable. If you want punchy cleans with a lively character or smooth lead tones that ring out with sustain, this pedal is for you. The MXR Dyna Comp is arguably the best guitar compressor pedal you’ll find in its price range. It’s a great first compression pedal and just might be the only compressor you ever need.
That concludes out MXR Dyna Comp review. Thanks for reading.