Origin Effects Cali76 Compact & Compact Deluxe Review – Best Compression Pedals?


Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On September 22, 2015
Last modified:October 21, 2016

Summary:

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Origin Effects took the guitar playing community by storm a couple years ago when they released the Cali76 Limiting Amplifier, a compression pedal that replicated the performance of the legendary Urei/Universal Audio 1176 FET Compressor. While the many variations of this inspired pedal (including the Cali76-STD, Cali76-TX, Cali76-TX-L, Cali76-TX-P, Cali76-TX-LP, Cali76-G, & Cali76-G-P) have attained instant classic status due to their best-in-class sounds, there’s always been one not-so-“small” problem for some guitarists: the original Cali76 pedals are BIG. Though many guitarists realize the critical impact a quality compressor can have on their overall guitar sound, some can’t justify removing 3 standard sized pedals from their pedalboard to accommodate a massive Cali76. While it’s been a long time coming, the Cali76 Compact (Cali76-C) and Cali76 Compact Deluxe (Cali76-CD) have finally arrived, promising the tones and features of the Cali76-STD and more at a fraction of the size.

The Cali76-C & Cali76-CD start by being only 1/3 the size of the larger Cali76 units. This immediately makes them seem like a more enticing addition to a crowded pedalboard. The idea of having the original Cali76-STD sound in a significantly smaller pedal will already be enough to sell many guitarists. What’s more, the Cali76 Compact Deluxe also features the “Dry Mix” option found on the Limited Edition Cali76 “P” pedals that offers true parallel compression possibilities. While the Compact Deluxe (Cali76-CD) appears to be a 1:1 Cali76-STD in terms of parameter knob functions with a bonus “Dry” control, the regular Cali76 Compact (Cali76-C) differs in that it offers a simplified take on the Cali76 concept. There’s no Dry knob, the Attack & Release are combined in one knob, and the Ratio knob is replaced with a 2-position “High/Low” Ratio switch. While it appears stripped down in terms of functionality, Origin Effects assures us that the Cali76 Compact & Compact Deluxe have made no sacrifices in terms of sound quality and tone. (And as I discovered, performance is even enhanced in some areas!)

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As we’ve already reviewed the original Cali76-STD, the Cali76-TX (featuring Origin Effects’ custom “iron core” transformer), and the Cali76-TX-LP (with an ultra high grade Lundahl transformer, parallel compression “Dry Mix” option, and foot-switchable boost), we’re going to focus on discerning whether or not there are any differences to be observed in the performance of these 2 Compact Cali76 pedals. (See our Origin Effects Cali76 review for the in-depth story on the former pedals.) As we still have the Cali76-TX-LP on hand from our previous article, this affords us the opportunity to run it at 9-volts in “Cali76-STD mode” alongside the Cali76-C & Cali76-CD to compare. When the larger transformer-equipped units are powered at only 9-volts the transformer is bypassed to produce the sound and tone of the original Cali76-STD pedal. Since our Cali76-TX-LP also has the “Dry Mix” option, some better side-by-side assessments can be made in particular with the Cali76-CD and its own dedicated Dry function.

Here’s a brief feature rundown of the Cali76-C & Cali76-CD before we dig in with our Origin Effects Cali76 Compact & Compact Deluxe review.

Features:

  • 100% Class-A discrete signal path
  • Classic, ultra fast “FET” response
  • Studio-grade discrete-transistor preamp
  • Optimized for guitar but can process any source
  • High-current, low-noise electronics
  • Ultra-wide frequency response
  • Ultra-high input impedance
  • Silent switching
  • High-quality “signal-conditioning” bypass mode
  • Premium components throughout
  • Advanced power supply filtering and protection
  • Flexible external power requirements (9-18V DC)
  • Designed and built in England

Cali76 Compact (Cali76-C):

  • Combined Attack/Release control
  • Dual-position Ratio switch
  • PSU Spec. 42mA @ 9V / 58mA @ 18V

Cali76 Compact Deluxe (Cali76-CD):

  • Dedicated Attack, Release and Ratio controls
  • Dry Blend control for parallel compression
  • Rugged jewel-lamp gain reduction metering
  • PSU Spec. 77mA @ 9V / 104mA @ 18V

Visit Origin Effects for more info about the Cali76-C (Compact) & Cali76-CD (Compact Deluxe).

Cali76 Compact Deluxe: See the lowest price on Amazon.

See the lowest price on eBay.

Cali76 Compact: See the lowest price on Amazon.

See the lowest price on eBay.

Sound & Performance:

Origin Effects may have only been around for a few years, but lead engineer, Simon Keats, has been designing and building high quality, studio grade hardware for decades. Simon had already accomplished a masterful feat of engineering in shrinking down the venerable Urei 1176 rack-mounted compression unit into a pedal format, but to reduce the Cali76 Compact/Compact Deluxe foot-print to only 1/3 of the size of its universally acclaimed predecessors seems beyond belief. While Mr. Keats made every attempt to mimic the topology of the Urei 1176 in the original Cali76 units, as these pedals grow smaller you’d think that surely some sacrifice of tone would be made. Miraculously, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. While I claim no authority about whether or not the Cali76-STD or its transformer-equipped variations perfectly capture the “tone” of the Urei 1176 (as the old vintage Urei units and the Universal Audio reissues will show somewhat differing tonal characteristics anyway), the most important thing here is how the Compact units sound in relation to the original Cali76-STD (which these pedals replace) and how they stand on their own in general.

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Let’s first dig in with the Cali76 Compact Deluxe as it appears to be the more exciting pedal at first glance, being loaded to the brim with features. Plugging in and kicking it on produces that familiar Cali76 feel of adding to the responsiveness felt between my guitar and amp. Whether its owed to the ultra high quality components used, the general FET compression design, or some ineffable quality unknown to me, the Cali76 Compact Deluxe produces the same compression magic found in any of its larger brethren. The “In” knob increases the input signal, acting as a “Threshold” style control by increasing how much of your signal will be compressed. The Ratio dials up the squash evening out your transients and dynamics in accordance to how high you’ve set the Input and varies between a lighter 4:1 ratio to a heavy 20:1 ratio. The Attack & Release serve the familiar duties of articulating the way the pedal compresses your guitar signal, how fast it’s compressed and how fast it returns your signal to its original volume level. The Cali76-CD offers a familiar style of attenuating your sound if you’ve used a studio compressor with a similar control set or any of the larger Cali76 pedals. (I’ll cover the Dry knob in a moment.)

In my original impressions of the Cali76-STD I recall the sense of transparency I heard in the unit, and I hear it all the same in both the Cali76-CD & Cali76-C pedals. Some FET based compressors are well-regarded for their character rich coloration. These qualities are also due in part to the transformers used in such units as I discovered when comparing the Cali76-TX (more colored) & Cali76-TX-LP (more transparent). Either way, the transformer-less Cali76 Compact & Compact Deluxe are in that same realm of transparency as the Cali76-STD. While I spent most of my time with the Compact units on their own, the comparison to the Cali76-STD sound became more apparent when I pulled out the Cali76-TX-LP.

In running the Cali76-TX-LP at only 9-volts the unit bypasses its Lundahl transformer to sound identical to the Cali76-STD when its also powered at 9-volts (again, see our original Origin Effects Cali76 review). This allowed me to play the TX-LP side-by-side with the Cali76-C & Cali76-CD to see how accurately the Compact Series produces the tones of the original Cali76-STD. Also, to prevent any possible tonal coloration from the “always-on” buffers in any of the pedals, I used a true bypass effects switcher in my review testing. Both the Cali76-C & Cali76-CD nail the classic tones of the Cali76-STD on most settings. Experienced ears may hear some slight variations on some settings, but these differences are marginal if noticeable at all. (See our review YouTube video above to hear for yourself.) Simply put, in terms of tone alone, both of these pedals are worthy successors to the now discontinued “Standard” Cali76 pedal. Also, in regards to the sacrificed “Boost” function of the TX-LP that won’t fit on the Compact Series due to their smaller size, it was a novel addition to the TX-LP to add some extra utility and fill in the extra space on its huge surface, but I’d happily do without it to have room on my pedalboard for a separate clean boost and overdrive pedal of my choosing.

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There is one noteworthy difference to be aware of. On similar settings (particularly “In” and “Out”) on the TX-LP in STD mode and the Compact units, the Cali76-C & Cali76-CD each produce a noticeably higher output level than their larger sibling. My original guesses were that Origin Effects either hot-rodded the Output on the Compact Series or perhaps different potentiometer tolerances meant that you have to set the knobs at slightly different positions to produce identical sounds. Origin Effects said that it’s actually “due to the fact that the ratio curves are a little more accurate compared to the older models”. Apparently, the changes in topology to shrink down the Cali76 circuit also uncovered areas for minor improvement to an already near-perfect formula. Either way, a slight reduction of the “Out” knob on the compact pedals serves the trick of helping to match the level of the Cali76-STD if you’re used to playing the larger model. (In the review demo I instead boost the TX-LP when matching levels.) But while it’s clear that the Compact Series delivers the goods, you shouldn’t get stuck on trying to create the exact sound of the Cali76-STD on the exact same settings. As always you should let your ears guide you to the settings that work best with your guitar rig depending on the context you’re in.

Perhaps the second biggest draw of the Cali76 Compact Deluxe (after its size) is the Dry knob. There are some that argue against the necessity of having a Blend knob on guitar compressor pedals as it kind of defeats the purpose of using compression in the first place. But having dedicated Wet (“Out”) and Dry controls in this case offers an arguably more authentic way of achieving parallel compression, a desired way of using compression in the studio. Essentially, you use the Dry to set your signal level and bring in the compressed signal up in the mix via Out until desired results are achieved. On percussion elements like drums this adds more of a transient emphasis for thicker, meatier sounds. On vocals engineers would sometimes bring in a hint of the compressed element precisely for the desired coloration of the compression. While the general transparency of the Cali76 Compact Deluxe makes it less suited for “coloring” your tone with compression, you’ll still find all kinds of useful sounds from subtle to extreme. For guitar, this technique will help you create a sound that isn’t so obviously compressed due to the retained dynamics of your Dry signal but with increased sustain from the compressed signal being blended in with the Out knob. The Dry knob’s versatility when it comes to adding as little or as much compression as you want, carefully mixed in with your uncompressed signal, also makes the Cali76 Compact Deluxe one of the best “always-on” compression pedals around.

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Now let’s talk about the Cali76 Compact (Cali76-C). At a glance the “knob snobs” might see this as just a cost-saving, stripped down unit. Well, it is actually. But this is one of the more thoughtfully “stripped down” pedals I’ve played and should in no way be considered as an inferior product. As alluded to previously, the Cali76-C makes no sacrifices in terms of tone compared to the Cali76-CD. But it does a few things differently, and these unique features will be of particular interest to some guitar players. First, the Dry knob function is absent, putting the Compact in line with the larger Standard unit which didn’t include a “Dry Mix” function. Second, the variable Ratio knob is replaced with a simple High/Low Ratio switch for choosing between a greater or lesser compression ratio (Low is 4:1, High is 20:1). Third, and most interestingly, the Attack & Release knobs of the Compact Deluxe are combined into a single knob. This proves to be incredibly useful and intuitive in practice. A balanced blend between Attack & Release is always at hand. Basically, the most essential elements (In & Out knobs) are retained while the rest of the parameters have been optimized for easily dialing in quality compression sounds. This makes the Cali76-C a clear step up in terms of sound quality compared to most 2 & 3-knob compression pedals while maintaining an easy-to-use control setup for those who don’t like twiddling with too many knobs. If you like the way the Cali76 sounds but were intimidated by its size and control layout, the Cali76 Compact is for you.

Yes, the sound quality of the Cali76-STD is ever present in these pedals. I hope you didn’t doubt that Origin Effects could pull it off. Since they discontinued the original Cali76-STD (the TX & TX-L are still available!) it was obvious that they believed the Compact units lived up to their original intentions. The only thing missing is the row of LEDs indicating the gain reduction taking place (although the Compact Deluxe has a cool multi-colored jeweled LED that provides visual feedback). Another noteworthy feature on both pedals are their new active bypass foot-switches. The compression fades in when you activate the pedals to avoid any audible “pops” or “clicks”. If you hate loud foot-switches, you’ll greatly appreciate this subtle addition. It won’t make a difference if you leave your compressor on all the time, but you’ll love it when you do happen to step on it and realize there’s no harsh clicking sound coming out of your speakers. Just be aware that if you’re kicking it in for a solo, make sure it’s activated at least a split-second before you hit the first note to get around the quick fade-in. It’s also worth mentioning again that the increased volume output on the Compact Series adds some boosting qualities if you like having clean boost potential from your compressor.

The Cali76 Compact & Compact Deluxe are serious business, and Origin Effects has indeed done it again. While I can’t wait until Simon & Co. venture into other styles of guitar pedals beyond compression, the Cali76 will always be the origin of it all. Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-5.0

The Origin Effects Cali76 Compact & Compact Deluxe take the modern classic Cali76 to greater heights in a smaller foot-print. While owners of the original Cali76-STD will no doubt be contemplating making the switch to one of the smaller units to gain some pedalboard real estate, I expect a flood of new guitarists will also now jump on the Cali76 bandwagon. The Cali76-C & Cali76-CD both nail comparable tones to the Cali76-STD. The Cali76 Compact Deluxe has in-depth, studio-style control and a parallel compression “Dry” option for guitarists who really like to dial in their compression tones. The Cali76 Compact keeps things simple for getting iconic 1176-like compression without the hassle and is a serious upgrade from your average 2 or 3-knob compressor pedal. Origin Effects now has 2 more entries in their resumé that are among the best compression pedals you’ll ever play.

That concludes our Origin Effects Cali76-C Compact & Cali76-CD Compact Deluxe review. Thanks for reading.

 

Want to buy a Origin Effects Cali76?

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Cali76 Compact: See The Lowest Price On Amazon

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557 COMMENTS

  1. just got a compact deluxe (special gold edition) to use with my acoustic/electric and it is awesomely good i dont think i will find a reason to ever bypass this pedal it makes everything better.

    one nit to pick is that it gives a volume boost and i cannot set it to unity gain. is it possible that this is because my acoustic-electric has a preamp? even at low guitar volumes and low output levels on the pedal i get a boost. honestly it shouldnt do this for this $$$. luckily i wont be bypassing it any time soon so i guess it doesnt bother me!

  2. If its good enough for Andy Bell (Oasis/Beedy Eye/Ride)/Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)
    And David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
    this might just replace my Xotic SP too…..

  3. One of the best compressor pedals out there! I am an owner of a keeley 2 knob comp but I would definitely sell or even give away my comp if I get hold of one of these fantastic units. Also wanted to say fantastic in depth review!

  4. The only compressors I would replace my Xotic SP with are the Cali76 Compact & Compact Deluxe! I chose the SP over the bulky STD, but now I have a Cali that will fit right in on my board. Hope to win one!

  5. These Cali76 compressors sound great-really like a studio unit,but in a compact pedal.They leave the original tone,unlike my Ibanez CP835(though I still love that one like a pet).

  6. An 1176 in a compact pedal form!?! Classic professional sounds for the tone obsessed guitar player. Love it. Been looking for a transparent replacement to a compressor I’m tired of at the front of my chain. The blend knob is a must and from this review sounds like it could be the compressor for me

  7. Love these pedals. I do a lot of chicken picken’ so compressors are an integral part of what I do, always looking for the ultimate comp and I think this is the one!

  8. I’m so excited for the new format. The thing that was keeping me from the large format was the fact that it would take half my pedalboard. So glad to see a more manageable form factor.

  9. Wonderful feel emitting from both the C and CD. As you’ve said in your review, no significant tone quality was lost in the physical downsizing from the bulky STD. Both seem to successfully capture that classic rock compressed envelope, and leave the floor open for a solo explosion at any minute. I was definitely getting a Zep feel and Gabe started playing Ten Years Gone right then. Been upgrading my pedal board this month and am still in need of a good comp. I would use the Cali76-CD to lay down some contemporary conquest on the classic roots in joyous tribute. Might have to pick the CD up… Well done!

  10. I just love compressing things. Life is like a box of compressions, you never now what you’re gonna compress. I think it was Ghandi who said that!

  11. The big Cali 76 with iron core transformer I had (but sadly had to sell for pedal board real estate) was by far the best compressor I’ve ever used. Stoked to check out the compact deluxe; especially the dry mix feature.

  12. Great, comprehensive review! I’ve always struggled to utilize compression and I bet the dry mix option would help me dial in the sounds I want.

  13. Loved the big version, and held out with it on my board for longer than most guys I know, but had to take it down due to space issues at some point. Will try one of these for sure!

  14. Perect timing for this giveaway, my current compressor keeps crapping out lately and if be the talk of my block with this beauty!

  15. I think Origin Effects has addressed the biggest hurdle to this pedal and met the trend in effects pedals. Smaller is better when it comes to effects, as we are in the golden age of pedals and guitarist want options on their board. I think the The Cali76 Compact Deluxe is great because of the parallel compression. I like to really dial in my level of compression so any compressor that doesn’t allow for this not an option for me.

  16. These sound killer – I’d love one as my new always-on compressor for my home/recording rig. My current pedal compressor is based on the MXR DynaComp, and I love how it sounds but it’s so noisy that I have to keep its compression level lower than I’d usually prefer. This would be some utter magic through my old Gibson tube amps!

  17. I’ve been through a dozen compressors, can never seem to get the flexibility I need out of one. Such a critical tool, so hard to find. Never used the large format Cali, but all signs point to this compact version being just the ticket! Great Demo as always!

  18. These things sound incredible. Coming from a studio background I always thought it would be nice to use an 1176 live, and now I can.

  19. Great demo! The Dry knob really opens up a lot of possibilities. Have you tried any of these in front of a distorted amplifier; or before and after an overdrive pedal?

  20. Loved the 76-tx while i had it – sadly it was stolen after a show in oakland! Stoked that these new ones have a dry mix though- i think that was the only mixing piece for me

  21. I currently own an original Cali76 (full-size) and love it! But a compact version would be a perfect addition to my pedalboard!

  22. Now that a compressor like this
    Managed to be reduced to this size
    There is no question I (need!) can put it on my board!
    Awsome!

  23. These would be a tremendous addition to my rig. As a praise and worship musician I am limited many times by the size of the venue and cannot get the “UMPH” out of my LSS that I would like to have. A pedal such as this would assist me with my search for “THAT TONE.”

  24. Man these sound great. I’ve been shopping hard for a compressor lately. Having never played a compressor, I’m pretty intrigued by how it can improve my tone. These look like they could be the answer.

    If I could see Origin Effects making a new product, it’d be a boost/buffer from this pedal line, so folks can put that amazing conpression at the beginning of the chain, and that boost at the end.

  25. Thanks for the review! I’ve been thinking about getting a compressor after starting to pick more with my fingers lately. Seems like I should give these a serious consideration… :)

  26. Great sounding pedal and great review. Would really like to add this
    to my pedal board and don’t mind being a bandwagon jumper at all!

  27. Love my Cali76-Standard courtesy of Best Guitar Effects – I still owe you guys a pic! A compact Cali76 would be great on my smaller gig board and leave the big one in my “studio” aka bedroom – what are the chances?

  28. These Origin compressors look so amazing. Do want! Love to see what they’ll do next. Maybe a parametric EQ with some cool sweetening features?

  29. I record at home and would love one of these in(before) the mix. The clarity is amazing, and absolutly no tone loss with the buffers. I record in many styles and these Origin Effects Cali76-C Compact & Cali76-CD Compact Deluxe would suit all genres. Awesome!

  30. This isn’t multi-band, is it? I wonder how big of a deal this is. TC El’s Hypergravity boasts this feature, but I’m not sure how excited to be about that, or how disappointed to be with the absence of multi-band on other compressors.

  31. I like the way this compressor can be dialed back to be subtle. That’s the main way I use compression and not many pedals do that well

  32. The Cali76 might be the perfect cure for a bad case of gas. The mix knob seems like it might be a great feature for studio work.

  33. I was just about to buy the big brother of these two. Then i read that Origin Effects was about to launch the compact versions. I really would love to own them.
    I have a keeley 4-knob and it’s great but i would like to check how these two compare with the keeley!!!!

    I neeeeeeed them!!

  34. I have only heard great things about the Cali76. I love compressors and this one always seems to make the list on forums and with some of the big names. This smaller footprint would work perfectly with my smaller pedalboard. Would be a great addition to my rig and tone.

  35. The way in which the 76 cleans your tone is just way more superior than any other compressor I have heard. How it helps with sustain is a pulse as well. I had an old big one and lost it while touring now that there is these small ones I can’t wait to get one and put it on my paddleboard. I normally don’t like a whole lot of knobs but I think that I would give more of what I was looking for out of the Deluxe.

  36. The Compact Deluxe sounded best to me, they all sound great. To me, a good guitar compressor should be fairly transparent, but brighten the tone, so it just sounds better, and a little punchier. Also can use it for sustain if you want. I had a Ross Gray in excellent condition, parted with it this year. This is the first compressor on par with it, it covers all the frequencies, which is amazing (the Ross didn’t do treble nearly as well), these are cleaner, more transparent, the more I’m listening the more obvious, this is THE new King of Guitar Compressors… So way to go, this is the best compressor I’ve heard anywhere period! I’d use it for playing and recording!!! Without a doubt!

  37. Whew! There is a lot to love about these comps. I really like the deluxe, so much versatility in such a small enclosure. Some of the best compressors I’ve heard in awhile!

  38. Awesome! I’d love to give one of these a spin as I don’t have a compressor on my board. Would love to use one to tighten up the loose ends in some intricate melodies in the studio – with better results I’m sure using parallel compression.

  39. Thanks for such a detailed review! You guys do your homework. For me, compressors have been a love hate search and although I’ve found some good ones, I can’t help but feel like there’s one out there that’s the holy grail. These might do the trick.
    Low noise, silver switch, adjustability and above all, good clean tone are my criteria. Maybe I’ll win one!

  40. I already own a V-Comp and i’m in love with this pedal… a real tube compressor…
    So it’s ok if i’m not the winner… :)
    Best of luck to everybody.

  41. Ace. Gotta be the deluxe. I was thinking about one of these last year but the original is just a bit big for my pedalboard. May need to rethink…

  42. I’d love to check this out. The Keeley has worked for me but I know there are different and better compressors out there.

  43. Compression is so critical for a good clean sound, and the Cali76 is among the elite of pedal compressors. One would be so welcome on my pedal board! They just sound amazing!

  44. Oh yes, looks good but I can’t seem to get past the captcha to post a comment. Maybe if I write this then it will and this will look a bit out of place. Free pedal please . Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  45. Great pedal, I love all its little knobs, it’s compact but it seems to sound like the big one. Very useful controls in order to get the best from this pedal. Great versatility. Love it

  46. I would love to either replace my wampler ego with this, or even put it in the send/return of my superego. I’ve done it before at it really cleans up the effect and punches it through. Compressors are a must have on every pedalboard

  47. I never record guitar without a real hardware rack 1176 in the chain & I never mix a guitar without a plugin 1176 inserted on the channel. It’s just the sound of electric guitars as we know them. Having that sound on a pedalboard would be beyond awesome.

  48. These seem like fantastic pedals and I’ve been eyeing their stuff for a while. The smaller form factor really is a big deal.

  49. i do not own one of these as much as i would like to have one, but i have personally tried one recently and love it and it just amkes me want one even more. hopefully i will be able to win one of these ( actually i would like to win ANYthing at this point considering i never do LOL). great product and the chance to win one is pure awesome

  50. Nice that it’s able to be a lot less smashed than my Dynacomp-based Ibanez. Sometimes the smash is awesome, sometimes too much. And unlike the big Cali76s, I can put other pedals on my board, too. Nice.

  51. Really cool compressors. I have a 4-knob Keeley compressor and it is really good. You can tweak from really squashed compressed tones to a subtle compression in order to increase a bit your sustain. But these two little bastards look even better!!

    I would love to have a compressor with a blend mix option!!

    Greets

  52. Really cool compresors. I would love to add one of them to my pedalboard. I have a 4 – knob keeley compressor and is really good but these two small bastards look even better!!!

    Specially the Compact Deluxe i want a compressor with the option to blend the dry and wet signals.

    Greets!!

  53. Really cool compresors. I would love to add one of them to my pedalboard. I have a 4 – knob keeley compressor and is really good but these two small bastards look even better!!!

    Specially the Compact Deluxe i want a compressor with the option to blend the dry and wet signals.

    Greets!!

  54. This seems like a fantastic pedal, and the review is very well written. It seems lengthy, but ultimately that just shows the depth of analysis. I’d be very happy to have one of these on my board!

  55. As a bit of compression is essential to my clean tone, one of these would really free up some room on my board. I LOVE that they somehow crammed the huge one down into this new size. Thank you very much for this super detailed review. The part where you compared it to the transformer models was very helpful for me.

  56. I really liked the Cali 76 Compact Deluxe review. After going online and reading everything I could find, I now can’t wait to try the Slide Rig Compact Deluxe! I love the dual channel aspect!

  57. Very detailed and great review. I have been thinking about getting one of the older Cali 76 pedals and the addition of the new compact pedals complicates the picture considerably. The Best Guitar Effects reviews help to sort out the features and capabilities of the various Origin Effects compression pedal.

  58. The Cali range is simply the best you can buy to be honest.
    I’d love to see Origin Effects develop a pedal that provides
    their quality circuitry mated to top rate A/D converters with a USB-loaded VST software effects host, where that kind of ‘impossible’ effects chaining and amazing sound processing can be available in a better product than Peavey, and cheaper
    and more pedal-board friendly than Muse Receptor.
    Cheers!
    Glenn

  59. Can’t wait to try one of these out…would love to see if anything could knock the surprisingly good Mad Professor Forest Green Compressor off my board.

  60. One of the most interessting compression pedals actually one the market. I like the High/low knob because it makes lot stuff faster ;D

  61. Though I have played an acoustic guitar for several years, I just relatively recently got an electric guitar. The cool effects and compression that these new versions of the larger pedal can achieve are making me want to try out one for my electric guitar. Hopefully, I will win one, a d get to take my guitar playing to a new level.

  62. Wow, this is such a dreamy setup. Either one of these would give the classic FET sound I crave, and look smart with it’s minimized footprint. I love twisting knobs so the deluxe is my kinda pedal, but the quick and simple setup of the compact is certainly enticing for gigging.

  63. I really like the sound of these, I may well consider replacing my Earthquaker Devices Warden with one of these. A much better size than the old ones for those of us that don’t need all the extra functions.

  64. I’m not a tone expert or the best guitarist but what I can say is that I really love and appreciate compressor pedals. I play in an alternative rock band from Australia and we don’t have an awful lot of money. Since the strike of our dollar, it hasn’t been an easy road for any musician.

    One thing on the positive side though is that I do love compressors. I tend to get my dynamics “muffled” on stage as I hit strings way harder or softer with the adrenaline of being on stage. That’s where the compressors come in. They clean up my tone a whole lot and even out my playing. There are so many great compressors out there and so much experimenting and tinkering, though only one problem; I’m not very tech savvy. The compressed utilisation (no pun intended) on the Origin Effects Cali76 Compact makes for very convenient tweaking to acquire your true tone.

    I would be well privileged to have the experience to even play, let alone own this unit.
    I wish the best of luck to everyone else.

  65. I have been wanting to add a compressor pedal to my rig for a while now.All the other brands do not cut it, the Origin Effects Cali76 is the best around.I would love to win one.

  66. I think a compressor pedal is definitely a must have for any rig, and any genre of music. I play heavy metal to spice girls music…just kidding. Anyway I found origin effects thru best guitar effects.com a satan call. When researching each compresson pedal, I was sweating bullets. Ended up contacting origin effects myself, they are very knowledgable and professional I must say. The gentleman informed me of the compact series with a link & video demos too. Totally awesome design! Ever since then I’ve been eyeing the cali76 CD for sometime. Well I went to go make a move then out of no where my company transfers me low paying boring job. So much for that I guess, a missing tool to bring out the beauty of a Laney iron heart 120 watter. Well anyway for the next part, I think a drone effect & arcade effects should be looked into.Origin effects could capitalize on the two effects. There seems to be no pedals for guitar and bass orientated players to acheive these effects. A drone effect pedal for scaring the audience as well as another pedal to sound like a classic video game like pac man or something. The other arcade pedals all sound like that 8 bit fuzz, to what I feel is missing is a octave of some sort. And with out the fuzz too. We have enough pedals as it is, it’s time we step out of the Hendrix spectrum and get slunked with Buckhead type music, Atonal music for the wicked. The drone effect should have like a feedback sound in the background or added white noise effect. I’ve seen drone effect pedals, but none can be controlled by the guitarist with the guitar. Anyway just my rant of things. I could really use a compression pedal, the missing key effect.

  67. I’d really like one of these in my acoustic pedal chain. I read so much good stuff about the bigger models, and if these slimmed down ones are as good as you say it sounds like the perfect comp for my live board.

  68. I really welcome these small guys! I loved the sound of the bigger ones but they definitely needed to have some real estate. I also love the idea to put the jack sockets on the top; it makes them even more area saver than a mini pedal. Anyway I prefer the deluxe one as imo a dry blend knob is a must have on any compressor pedals.

  69. I’ve been teaching myself guitar for about 3 years now and have gotten almost as good as my friend who has played his whole life. I guess I always had the talent but only found out recently. I used a crappy fender strat for the first 3 years and at first, being a beginner, I didn’t know it was bad, but as years went on I realized it sounded and played horribly compared to my friends nice Yamaha custom. I’ve been saving up for a better guitar for about a year and finally managed to get the Angel of Deth 2, Dean Zero guitar (Dave Mustane Replica) and I’m extremely happy with it…but the only problem is that the guitar is so good, that my crappy fender amp just doesn’t have the power to make it sound like it can. I have an old Roland bass amp that I could plug this awesome origins effect pedal into if I get it, but man I didn’t know pedals were so expensive. I can’t afford one right now which sucks because I just got the new guitar and I’ve yet to hear how it can even sound!! I’m trying to get my friend who plays to let me borrow one of his effect pedals but that would only be for a day or two. Anyway, as you can see, I am in need of a pedal despritally. Hopefully this will be the one!

  70. Compression is one of my favorite “tone sculpting” effects — I’ve used a couple different models, but a top-of-the-line compressor like the Cali76 pedals would be a boost to anyone’s rig… especially with such a small footprint! Fingers crossed on this one ;)

  71. Starting to put together my first pedal board….Dimebag distortion and phaser/chorus are the only things on it and it looks pathetic!! These rockin boxes would give the board some cred, and would add a wonderful new dimension to my playing. Fingers crossed!!

  72. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a new quality compressor for awhile now. I was a little put off by the size of the older Cali, but this looks like it could be a great solution.

  73. It’s nice to see compression being taken seriously as a creative tool and not just a utility. This needs to happen more!

  74. It’s noce to see compression being taken seriously as a creative tool and not just a utility. This needs to happen more!

  75. Cool compressor, I just have test some digital versions of Calis in the line 6 pod xt and I’d like to test some real pedal.

  76. I have been lucky enough to play through a few 1176 clones, and even a couple of originals. This has been my damnation, as since then I am on the quest of ‘that tone in a stomp’. Now it’s here, as simple as that. Loved the Origin Effects and dreamed of owning one since I knew of them, now I really dig the new smaller format. Kudos!

  77. What a killer compressors! I have had the opportunity to test them, never tried anything like it ever since. Would be a dream to have. Lovely stuff! Cheers, Thomas

  78. I have the Big box version..Despite taking up a chunk of space on my board it’s well worth it for what adds to my tone bringing studio level quality and ability to fine ‘tune’ with my band on any stage.. A smaller version! I’ll take three!…wonderful news…

  79. hey it seems like a verstatile pedal! not using too much space, it is a good thing for the not-enough-space-on-my-pedalboard :-)
    by the way, always love your site, keep going!

  80. These sound incredible. I showed your video to my friend who is an audio engineer who uses 1176 compressors, and the Cali76 Compact Deluxe blew him away. I can only hope to get one!

  81. I have the Cali76 TX-P – Amazing unit !!! makes everything sound better – an always on on my home setup (too big to carry to gigs)… seems like origin nailed it with the small units :)

  82. I have the Cali76 TX-P – Amazing unit !!! makes everything sound better – an always on on my home setup (too big to carry to gigs)… seems like origin nailed it with the small units :)

  83. Would be great to have such a compressor. Love mark knopfler sound. Would be good to see origin effects coming up with a good tape like echo. With this quality would be huge

  84. Terrific review, maybe the most thorough I’ve seen, thank you! I picked up the SlideRig CD as a ‘temporary’ solution while waiting for the Cali76CD to be in stock, and there’s nothing temporary about it. Can’t wait for the Cali76!

  85. Terrific review, maybe the most thorough I’ve seen, thank you! I picked up the SlideRig CD as a ‘temporary’ solution while waiting for the Cali76CD to be in stock, and there’s nothing temporary about it. Can’t wait for the Cali76!

  86. seems to be a great pedal according reviews and videos!
    would love to check it out againt my Wampler Ego Compressor.
    I imagine they could complement each other nicely…

  87. I would use these pedals while recording to help give me unique tone. I also think that the cali76 in particulars could really help me with my compression. I would like to see a stereo shimmer/reverb effect from origin effects next.

  88. Compression smoothes out sharp metallic edges of pedals like the EHX Ravish and volume peaks generated by some wah pedals, and boosts the string sensitivity of light touches, thus overall critically enhances the sound of a pedal board. The Cali76 Compact and Compact Deluxe are top end, compact compression pedals that do the job to studio grade with a very manageable footprint.

  89. to finally be able coax pristine cleans out of my super 60 and tighten my wreck clone for trucks style slide , &that smidgen of sustain that makes all the difference ,endless posiblities possible , fingers and toes crossed on this one , :)P ,,,

  90. The quintessential “guitar players” compressor: period. There are so many compressors out there, each with their own strengths and applications for unique contexts, but you’ll be hard pressed (no pun intended) to find this level of studio-grade quality in a tour-ready stompbox this size. Any serious player who doesn’t already own one wants one, or hasn’t been introduced to them yet. Seeing that I’m currently sitting in the former category, I can’t wait to get my hands on this veritable holy grail of tone. Brilliant work from Origin Effects.

  91. This pedal is really cool. It would be awesome to have this on my board, it would greatly increase my quest to find tone heaven.

  92. Been waiting for these compact versions. They’d be perfect for the limited space I have on my pedalboard and even for studio applications.

  93. I remember being blown away by the tone of the original ,large-format units from Origin Effects, but like many, I was a bit put off by how big they were! I figured that you couldn’t shrink the original circuitry much smaller, so I’d just have to go with a lesser compressor for my pedal board. But now, whoa, look at that! How I’d love to put one of these little gems into my signal chain!!!

  94. Wow! Just wow. These pedals are great. Very nice compression. They also look very beautiful with a real vintagey look to them.

  95. I loved the sound of the original cali76 but couldn’t justify price or space. If I win a compact version, that would solve both of the issues!

  96. Cali Effects has done a great job with their effects always, and this makes it even better. Small size, better performance, all that you need for your compression needs in this pedal.

  97. I had the old big box Cali76. There is no sound difference between it and the new compact pedals. So if you get the new Cali76 compact, the only difference is the price (hint:the cali76 compact is cheaper).

    There is a difference in sound with the Cali76 deluxe… It sounds better. The dry blend control makes all the difference and it’s really cool how the blend settings change how the other controls interact with each other.

    The biggest plus is the new smaller size. There’s room in any rig for this tone machine… Which wasn’t always the case with the old Cali76

  98. Interesting… I’ve never heard of Cali76 before, but I am interested, very interested. It seems to be exactly what I’m looking for, and have been in need of for some time.

  99. It sure would be great to squeeze in a studio grade compressor to the pedalboard. In particular adding a little piece of that 1176-quality to your sound…. Haven’t tried them yet though, currently out of stock at the dealer round the corner.

  100. Dear folks from origin,
    thrilled to see this. Even more thrilled to know the slide rig is now there in tiny, too.
    Any chance to get that with an one switch-two options solution, to be able to switch between normal comp & slide comp like in the big slide rig?

  101. I feel like a compression pedal is always on my list of things that I want to get, but it’s always secondary to something else (Chase Bliss, anyone?). This would be awesome to cross a compression pedal off my list, though!

  102. Looks so promising! I also wonder how well they would do in a reamp situation.

    Either I’m sure they are great and I would love to have one of them for sure!

  103. That is the most in depth review ever. Awesome! I’m one of those “leave it on” types with my country gig. I would love to have either one of these!!

  104. I really didn’t think I needed compression… then I played with other musicians. It always amazes me how much gets lost in the mix, and how much more comes through. The crazy part is I can hardly tell the compression pedal is on when I’m playing alone at home.

    The Cali76 units all look pretty cool and I like the configurability. It’s all about keeping the tone.

  105. I’m really liking the video, would love to have this set up in my arsenal. You could spend hours tweaking your sound the hours more everytime you plugged in a different guitar!

  106. Great review of even greater pedals! One of those Cali 76 Deluxe pedals would totally round out my pedalboard and make it – you guessed that correctly – even greater! :-)=
    Cheers m8!

  107. Looks fantastic! I’ve used an MXR compressor but always felt it coloured my tone a little too much. Fingers crossed these do the job!

  108. This is a comment of high importance, please read and weep over the deeper meaning of this comment.
    Thank you, 1 pedal will do.

  109. I would love to try one of these and see how they compare to the Keeley 4 Knob Compressor or the JHS Pull N’ Peel. Does anyone know?

  110. The Origin SlideRig changed my playing, it is just always on, would be great to give the Cali 76 compacts a go to see how what happens with more control (compared to the sliderig) and great that they are not taking up as much space on the (now) jam packed board.

  111. Finaly! Origin did what everybody wanted and made there tank into a nice sized unit so now one can actually fit it onto there pedalboard! I WANT ONE!!

  112. well, looking at both the C vs the CD models of the Cali76, I am just not very fond of the limitations on the basic version. I think the Deluxe version should be the only version. I mean, if it doesn’t come down to how much I have in my wallet, I wouldn’t buy fewer limitations

    Now, there is something about big knobs that I love. I wish there was a way to implement those same style knobs shown on the original. In fact, I love that one the most. I like compact. But I LOVE big knobs and the larger unit has larger knobs with a vintage style that just looks cool. That’s what you should stick with. Even on the compact units. I want all the versatility in a somewhat compact package with bigger knobs styled like those big vintage ones. And having 2 smaller knobs that match just looks way cool too. That foot-print may be a bit larger, but that knob configuration rocks

  113. I can’t believe they got all that compression in such a small pedal. I need to add a good compressor to my board and Origin has just jumped to the top of my list.

  114. Origin Effects really is coming on the pedal scene so fast, and with such quality of compressors! I’d love to try one of these out!

  115. I hope they make a TX version, I know that the pedal is packed all ready, but the transformer just sounds so good! great review.

  116. Massive fan of Origin Effects pedals. So glad they started making some of these in small form factors. The compact deluxe looks awesome!

  117. Smaller size keeps more real estate on my board. I have yet to play through one so I would definitely like to see how it compares to my EGO comp.

  118. I really like the smaller size – much easier to add to a pedalboard. And they sound great, too. The deluxe would be amazing

  119. I like the way these video demos are done. Looking straight at the pedals, no showoff playing, just running them through their paces the same way I would. I usually make up my mind whether to buy a pedal based on video demos, so I appreciate ones that give a lot of info without wasting time. Oh yeah, and now I’m in love with the Cali76. I want a turn playing with this pedal.

  120. I’ve been thinking for a while now about getting something to tighten up my sound a bit more, this looks like a really good option for that!

  121. Experimental sounds must be tamed. The count to five allows me to explore the deep reaches of space, but often times I spin too far into the darkness. One of these pedals can be my tether, one of these pedals can be my safety net.

  122. I almost bought the original size cali, but the size was just too big. Went with an xotic sp instead (saw the review on here and loved it). Would love to get the cali now that they made a compact version!

  123. I’ve always wanted the original Cali76 but the price and size always stopped me. I love that it’s available in smaller and cheaper format. Would like to use the in and out knobs to serve as a boost when engaged and look forward to hear my slide tones improve! I’d like to see Origin also build maybe a pedal to simulate the transformer sound that I hear people rave about! Cheers!

  124. I really get the tone chasing that people are obsessed with. These sound amazing, and would really add a completely different level of time to a guitar. Great stuff

  125. Appealing review, thank you! I came here with the Cali76 Compact Deluxe in mind, but I’d rather go for the simplicity of the Compact finally…

  126. Been really looking into compressors lately and Cali76 has been one of the top contenders, especially since the release of the compact versions. Would love to have this pedal, the sound quality is fantastic and the versatility of settings is clearly noticeable, which you clearly demonstrated in the great demo.

  127. I’m really interested in these. The larger size didn’t appeal to me as I don’t use compression often enough–I usually play with dirt that adds its own compression–but these might go on the list as I’m really picky about compression when I do use it.

  128. Great demo y’all. I’ve been impressed with this compressor ever since I started researching it! I saw it in a guy’s Instagram pedalboard (T1M) and so stoked to see they’ve done a compact version! I have a decent compressor now, but this would be awesome! I feel like the longer I play, the more I appreciate a good compressor. Thanks,

  129. Great review! I would use this pedal to even out my sound and gain clarity along with adding sustain for chords, single note leads and ambient swells. I’m new to the world of compression and would love to try this out!

    I would love to see origin effects dive into the world of polyphonic octave pedals and I’m always a sucker for drive/distortions!

    Thanks!

  130. The original cali76 is fantastic but borderline unusable for many people due to the high value of pedal board real estate. These small footprint versions are exactly what so many of us desired. Clearly what were the best compressors on the market became even better. Great work Origin Effects!

  131. Whew, being new to compression there is a lot to observe. Very cool though, and I love the Dry knob because I’m not sure how much compression I would ever really need. Great demo!!

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