Becos TS8-JZ & CompIQ Mini One review: a tiny compressor and a drive pedal with plenty of tweakability
When it comes to cramming a whole rack unit into a stompbox, few companies are more adept than Becos. Now, the pedal firm is back with a tweakable mini overdrive to go and its simplest ever compressor.
All Becos pedals share a few key features: they’re all black with white lettering, they all squeeze in more controls than might appear physically possible… and they all seem to score 9/10 from us because they’re frickin’ great.
- READ MORE: The best overdrive pedals to buy this year
This Romanian maker specialises in compression, but it’s also dabbled in TS-style drive and that’s what’s going on with its signature pedal for hard-shredding Ratt guitarist Jordan Ziff. In classic Becos style, this is a mini-format stomper but with more controls than the average Boss-sized unit.
Also up for inspection today is the CompIQ Mini One, another tiny pedal but this time distinguished by having a much lower knob count than most of the company’s compressors. This could be good news for players who want all of the tone and none of the twiddling.
The TS8-JZ looks innocent enough with its standard-issue gain, tone and output level dials. But peer closer and you’ll make out four more controls: mini-knobs for wet/dry mix and dry EQ, plus a Timmy-style three-way clipping switch and one marked ‘deep’ for negating the classic Tube Screamer bass cut.
Life’s a lot simpler for the Mini One, a VCA compressor. Ratio and gain are the big knobs, with another wet/dry blender and a push-push switch to change the threshold for high-output pickups. The circuit includes a side-chain filter to avoid bass-driven pumping and ‘auto dynamic timing’ that changes the attack and release times in response to the shape of the input signal.
You don’t need to have heard of Jordan Ziff to appreciate his signature overdrive: at its heart it really is a straight-down-the-line Screamer, combining sweetly compressed scuzz with that familiar focus on the upper midrange. In terms of sheer tone there’s nothing remarkable going on – it can’t quite match our reference Maxon for purity – but the bonus controls elevate this unit into the ‘special’ zone.
Flipping the clip switch down to asymmetrical mode, there’s less saturation but more clarity and ‘bigness’; then in the bottom position we get LED clipping, which opens things up even further, albeit in a way that’s only really noticeable at higher gain settings.
The deep switch works just as you’d want it to, while the ability to blend in some dry signal – and to adjust its tonality – adds yet more fine-tuning capability, especially when you’re using the TS8-JZ as an ‘even more’ box for an already crunchy sound.
There’s not much to say about the CompIQ Mini One that we haven’t already said about Becos’s other compressors. It sounds predictably superb: not totally transparent but gently flattering of everything you play through it, softening down harsh transients without dramatically altering your core tone.
There’s up to 20dB of boost on offer if you crank the gain and set the ratio low, while the (admittedly very fiddly) mix control replicates the effect of a parallel compressor so you can keep just as much of your untreated signal as you need. For a pedal that’s been so ruthlessly stripped back of features, there’s really not a lot we’re missing here. More nines it is, then.
Becos TS8-JZ – 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)
- PRICE €149
- DESCRIPTION Overdrive pedal, made in Romania
- CONTROLS Gain, tone, output level; three-way clipping switch (classic/asymmetrical/LED), deep switch, dry EQ lo/hi tilt, wet/dry mix
- FEATURES True bypass; powered by 9-18V mains supply only (not supplied)
- DIMENSIONS 93 x 47 x 50mm
- VERDICT Enhances the classic Tube Screamer formula in ways that are clever and useful
Becos CompIQ Mini One – 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)
- PRICE €139
- DESCRIPTION Compressor pedal, made in Romania
- CONTROLS Ratio, gain, hi/lo sensitivity switch, wet/dry mix
- FEATURES True bypass; powered by 9-12V mains supply only (not supplied)
- DIMENSIONS 93 x 47 x 50mm
- VERDICT Simplified but as brilliant as ever, this is as good as mini compressor pedals get
- CONTACT becosfx.com