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Keeley Compressor GC-2 Limiting Amplifier Effect Pedal  From Keeley

From Keeley's latest launch of pedals - the ultra-transparent and low noise GC-2!

Keeley Electronics Inc.


Retail:  $249.00

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What We Think

Keeley's new line of stompboxes has everyone from the effects newbie to the tone aficionado just as eager to try them out! Their new GC-2 Limiting Amplifier is Keeley's newest take on limiter/compressors, an area in which Keeley has truly impressive lineage.

The GC-2 is a studio-grade compressor in stompbox format. A very lively and musical sounding piece of equipment, it's referred to as a limiter rather than a compressor for its transparency and low noise, and the aptitude to level or limit peaks, rather than squish or compress the signal (just showing off its capacity to handle absurdly large signals with flying colors). Also noted - unlike Keeley's previous compressors, this does not add any sustain to your guitar. You are essentially using the threshold to find the peaks in your signal, and limiting the distortion from the amp or clipping damage to the speakers.

The best part of this pedal is its insane usability - it can be used as a limiter, compressor, or leveler depending on how it's dialed in. It seems to be at it's best when used towards the end of a signal chain, being able to clean up and remove unwanted noise and give you a very musical and organic sound. Out with the old and in with the new, Keeley's decision to add a Compressor/Limiter to the new line-up has proved to be an awesome one!

Manufacturer's Description from Keeley

Product Description

The Keeley Compressor GC-2 Limiting Amplifier. The same great professional compression/limiting technology available in our Bassist Limiting Amplifier, for musicians and compressor fans of all kinds!

Precision Compression

The Keeley Compressor GC-2 Limiting Amplifier provides true high-fidelity compression and limiting.

The Keeley Compressor GC-2 Limiting Amplifier is built around the exotic and extremely high-fidelity THAT Corp. 4320.  Think of it as very musical studio-grade compressor in stomp box format!  It uses high performance Voltage Controlled Amplifiers, on board true-RMS detector, and ultra-high performance op-amps to bring you the very best quality. This type of compressor gives you precise control and very musical results. This along with a full frequency range means that the GC-2 Limiting Amplifier compressor is well suited for guitar, keyboards, drum machines and, really, anything you can throw at it. The Keeley GC-2 Limiting Amplifier is both musical and transparent.  Where our older compressors were based on the CA3080 or the LM13700 and are perfect for that “Compressor Effect” and are still in use by tens of thousands of players, the new Keeley GC-2 is a different style compressor, aimed at being the ultimate in low noise and transparency.  Not only can it handle astonishingly large signals, but it has an incredible bandwidth of over 20 KHz.  No detail in your guitar’s tone will be lost.  The Keeley GC-2 will be a sound investment in your tone–you now have genuine rack-mount quality at your feet.

Compression and Threshold

When musicians use the new Keeley Compressor GC-2, they will be greeted with a sound that is more easily amplified and heard.  Using the effect as a limiting amplifier saves your speakers from clipping and distortion.  Set the Threshold to look for peaks in your signal and limit distortion from your amplifier or damage to your speakers.  Simply watch the Threshold Indicator light to see what type of playing you want to limit; it’s that easy!  Next, set the Compression Ratio Control to determine how much squash you want when the signal is above Threshold.  Set Compression all of the way down (1:1) for no compression and use the Gain control as a boost.  Set Compression all of the way up for an above-Threshold, hard-knee limiter.

Attack and Release

There is a certain figure that just sounds good as far as compression goes, and that’s 125 dB/second.  With feed-forward compressors that use this type of true-RMS detector you use a single time-constant parameter.  The timing capacitor gives you attack and release times that are adaptive to your playing level or the signal input to the compressor.  Bottom line: Attack and Release times vary on program content.  Attack times are, generally speaking, about 100 times faster than release times.

Attack Time: typically 15ms for 10dB, 5ms for 20dB, 3ms for 30dB

Release Time: typically 8ms for 1dB, 40ms for 5dB, 80ms for 10dB, 160ms for 20dB, 240ms for 30dB

Tone Control and Blend

None – You don’t need a tone control or a blend control on a compressor.  In fact, in our opinion it’s not a good idea.  If you want a blend control, you are undoing your compressor.  Instead, set the Threshold high and only let peaks be processed and then set the Compression Ratio to 2:1 or 4:1.  Much smarter.  So, tone control?  None here. It has tone for days, and there is no need to add treble response back into the mix.  Its ultra slick, feed-forward compression design helps maintain high-end treble response like no other.  Lastly, Tone Controls and Blend Controls only add noise in a compressor.  Why add noise to a compressor circuit?

Keeley Electronics Inc.

About Manufacturer

Keeley Electronics helps guitar players and musicians find the tone that has been inside their head for years. Our superior line of guitar effects and pedal mods give musicians that final touch to define their tone. Even the perfect distortion! - Robert Keeley




Voltage Input: 9.6V

Current Draw: 15mA

Input Impedance 1 Meg ohm

Output Impedance: 100 ohm

Output Voltage Gain: +30dB Boost

Bandwidth > 20kHz

Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.1%

Noise: -95dBV

Threshold Indicator: Dual LED

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