Saturday, December 12, 2009

K&R; Making things just that much better

Stomp Box & Audio Systems

This is one of the companies I was really fortunate to come across, there wasn't much info about them on the web so really I was damn lucky. K&R is no stranger to the world of hand made effects pedals though, if you look on their site you will find a huge selection of awesome stompboxes. The K&R line consists of a Professional Series, a Plus Series, a Kit Series, they offer Audio Kits, and even high grade cables. It was tuff to choose which pedal we were to review. In the end it was their Professional Series Groove Comp, a pro quality compressor with an extremely nice touch, organic sound, and suave look. If you're looking for something unique, something great sounding, or just looking to add a touch of class to your pedalboard, K&R is the way to go.


Groove Comp

* Level Knob: Determines overall level of effects

* Sustain Knob: Adjusts compression amount

* Attack Knob: Sets attack time

* True Bypass Switch: For tone conservation

* Power: 9V Battery or 9V Power Supply (center-)

I'm one of those players who took a long time figuring out how to use compression, for years I wouldn't even bother with it live, only using it in the studio and even then always letting the engineering work it out. It wasn't until I finally sat down a few years ago with some high quality compression pedals and studio quality compressors that I heard what compression was able to do to my sound. Once I learned how to work it into my own root sound I was hooked. Compression is now the subtle, secret weapon I can't go without. These days I can spot a great compressor from a mile away, and with the pedal boom in full effect there is a goldmine of awesome units to be had. One of the comps that has caught my ear this last year is the K&R Groove Comp, a natural sounding and easy to use comp stompbox with a sound to die for. For those of you who know a great compressor when you hear one, you know it's always the units you can't tell are there that end up being the best sounding. The Groove Comp definitely falls into the less is more category, once you find a setting you dig just leave it on and listen to your sound come to life. The Groove Comp's layout is very simple, it has a Level knob for setting the pedal's overall volume, an Attack knob which sets your attack time, and a Sustain knob which sets your overall compression amount. Many compressors, especially pedal compressors tend to either do too much or not do enough. The Groove Comp evens things out in just the right places and won't invade the sound you've worked so hard to get. The way this pedal works is by polishing your tone so that it sounds tight, balanced, and smooth. I guess the best way to describe this pedal is it brings your natural sound in harmony with your amp, guitar, and pickups. From the moment I plugged into this pedal I was able to dial in a handful of usable tones. I ran the Groove Comp into a 1976 Twin Reverb, Custom Tele, and used a pair of Core One Bullet cables to keep things clean and clear. The amp's clean uneffected tone was sparkling, boomy, and razor sharp clear. This is a amp tone I set whenever I record clean guitar tracks, I set it with the Bass/Middle set to 7, Treble at 5, Reverb at 2, Bright switch engaged, and Volume to my liking. I set the Groove Comp with the Volume matched to my amp, the Attack at noon, and the Sustain at 10:00. The produced an overall great compression that worked great with everything, with single notes, chords, overdrive, and lead work. I hate to say it because I am so proud of the tone I have been able to get out of my amp on it's own, but the Groove Comp totally enriched, enhanced, and enflamed my amp's natural sound. Everything popped, bounced, and shook more intensely, like my tone had been hit with a dose of super food. Using this pedal to enhance your tone isn't the only thing it's able to do, no sir. The Groove Comp is capable of everything from squashed chickin' pickin' tones to subtle hints of sustain. While I was still plugged into the Tele I went ahead and rocked one of the baddest country tones to ever come out of that guitar, if only I could chickin' pick better I'd be able to do the squashed tones justice. One of my favorite ways to use this pedal was with chord work. I set the Volume at noon, Sustain at 11:oo, and the Attack right around 9:00 so you could still work your dynamics but get a bit of aggression from the sound. This setting worked perfectly with boosters, overdrive pedals, distortion, and even did my fuzz boxes right. I've plugged compressors into dirt and fuzz boxes before that have just ruined the sound. They eat all the attitude in the sound and replace it with a tin can rubber band type sound, just ugly as all hell. I was able to incorporate the Groove Comp into my base tone and work it into every stage of my sound. Something that really separates this compressor from other pedal compressors is how well it works in extreme settings. The sustain this pedal is capable of producing is almost violin-like, your notes ring and ring and ring, smoothly and beautifully. The next guitar to go up against the Groove Comp was my semi-hollow body Hagstrom, a perfect guitar for testing a compressor. A nice little trick I learned for tightening up semi-hollow body guitars a few years back was running them through a bit of compression. With the right comp setting you can tighten up the boom and thump of a semi-hollow body. The Groove Comp works great for this, just roll it back into a light compression and that's that, sweet and simple. Really it doesn't matter how you set this pedal, in both high and low compression settings the Groove Comp is able to maintain your feel, and hold your tone's characteristics intact. There are a lot of a great comps out there right now and the now that I've discovered this gem from K&R I can gladly say I have one more to add to the list. I don't doubt for a sec that the rest of the K&R line rocks just as hard this pedal does. Analog War Cry is going to keep a close eye on this company and continue reporting back to you all. Our next mission is to get our hands on one of the K&R

For more info on K&R go to Make sure to stay tuned for more info and gear reviews from this awesome company. Keep on rocking on

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