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Origin Effects Cali76-SE Stacked Edition Compressor Pedal
The Origin Effects Cali76-SE Stacked Edition is a new spin on the SlideRIG concept. Like the SlideRIG, it features two of the Cali76 compressor circuits, arranged in series. The difference is, now you can control how much of your signal gets fed from one to the other. It also boasts independently adjustable, combined Attack/Release controls for each compression stage.
Two Cali76s, One Pedal, Endless Possibilities!
The SlideRIG is synonymous with ultra-clean, extreme sustain. By daisy-chaining two of our painstakingly engineered, 1176-style compressor circuits together, Origin made readily available a compression technique that was once the preserve of high-end studios.
While the original SlideRIG featured fixed attack and release characteristics and a fixed gain relationship between the first and second compression stages, the Cali76 Stacked Edition removes these constraints. With just six controls, you can explore a whole world of single-stage and dual-stage compression flavors.
Dual, Independently Adjustable Cali76 Compressors, At Your Service
The gold Thru knob sits at the heart of the Cali76 Stacked Edition. While the input level knob, which controls the pedal’s studio-grade discrete transistor preamp, determines how hard your signal hits the fixed threshold of the first compressor, the Thru knob lets you decide how hard the output of the first compressor hits the second.
As well as adjusting the amount of compression occurring in each stage, the Stacked Edition lets you independently alter each compressor’s attack and release characteristics. Using these simple controls, you can easily combine two distinct flavors of compression – one to add sustain and fullness and the other to subtly limit any stray peaks, for example – or max out both stages for a super-sensitive, ultra-sustaining “clean overdrive” effect.
Individual VU Meters Let You See Your Sound
Setting up the Cali76 Stacked Edition is made even easier thanks to the addition of individual VU meter LEDs for each stage. Sitting either side of the pedal’s traditional on/bypass jewel light, the VU meters give an immediately intuitive indication of how much gain reduction is occurring in each compressor.
Like all of Compact Series pedals, the Cali76 Stacked Edition features high-current, discrete, Class A circuitry for transparent, low-noise performance. Origin have taken a no-compromise approach to the circuit design using only the best of modern components.
Rugged MELF resistors offer low noise performance and rock-solid reliability. Film and tantalum capacitors offer tight tolerances and superb linearity. Carefully chosen transistors biased at relatively high currents yield a distinct signal-to-noise advantage.
Please note: the Cali76 Stacked Edition is powered by a mains adaptor only (not included). Origin have dispensed with the usual 9V battery option, both to save space and to allow us to adopt a high-current approach, yielding lower noise levels and superior tone.
- 100% Class A discrete signal path
- Classic, ultra-fast “FET” response
- Studio-grade discrete-transistor preamp
- Input/Comp level, Master Output level and Dry Blend controls
- Thru control sets signal level fed to second compressor stage
- Independent Attack/Release controls for each stage
- Independent gain reduction VU meters
- 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)
- PSU Spec. 82 mA @ 9 V / 108 mA @ 18 V (PSU not included)
- Designed and built in England
|Unit Weight||1.4 lb|
|Power Supply||Required (not included)|
|Power Consumption||100 mA|
I own two of the Cali76 Stacked Edition compressor pedals and one Keeley Compressor Pro. Mainly got them to emulate an Eric Johnson clean tone and his distorted lead tone. Both are high-end pedals, and I like to compare them their versatility and in terms of what functions they can achieve.
Pros to the Cali76:
-extremely rugged steel chassis. I mention this first because, in case you ever put your whole body weight on their, it seems very robust.
-variable voltage control can really add a distorted sound to your signal, or cut off some of the gain when rolled back. I managed to make a Marshall Plexi tube amp sound almost as clean as a Fender Deluxe Reverb with this rolled back!
-throughput from the initial compressor signal to the secondary compressor is entirely customizable (you can run it with only one compressor active, if you wanted to).
-simple overall layout. Though the combination of sounds you can get from this is quite complex and multitudinous.
-like the tiny card that comes with it in the box says, it can be used to smooth out pick attack for clean tone "chicken pickin" sounds, or to add sustain for legato during distorted solos. You can use the first compressor to reduce peaks from heavy picking segments while using the secondary compressor to increase sustain. It's a wonderful balance and combination of two compressor pedals in one.
-no instruction manual is included in the box. Just a tiny card that gives basic info on two recommended settings, but not many further details about the pedal. Very disappointing. Especially for almost $400. You have to go online to find a PDF of the manual.
-attack and release knobs are merged into one knob for each compressor, which is in contrast to the Keeley Compressor Pro which has individual knobs for both the Attack and Release. Definitely a disadvantage to the Cali76 here. The manufacturer assumes that users always want an inverted relationship between these two characteristics, which is not always the case. I would prefer greater customizability here.
-there are no numbers on the pedal to indicate exact Attack and Release times in milliseconds (unlike the Keeley Comp Pro), so it’s purely guesswork. The manual does not specify either.
-there are no numbers on the pedal to indicate gain reduction (Attack) in dB. The manual only says “the brighter the light on the VU, the greater the gain reduction (Attack)”. The problem with this is, some people have eyesight problems (or are blind), and even for those who don’t, sometimes you’re playing in a bright room and the perceived brightness of a light can change based on your surrounding ambient light. Overall, it’s just a flawed part of the design. But definitely “cool” looking, if that’s all you care about. Personally, I care about precision in crafting my sound. I would rather have a numerical readout.
-the manual lacks key info about the pedal. Most importantly, what positions on the Voltage knob are 9 volts (or 12, 15, 18, etc). Under the “Out
-the Dry input does not match the output volume of the Bypass signal. The manual says, “
-Neutral/(Not a con but not a pro): The Bypass signal is not unmodulated/true bypass. It is modified by a “signal conditioning” circuit according to the manual. However, what exactly this does to your signal the manual does not say. I prefer true bypass when disengaging my pedals, unless there’s a good reason to have my signal “conditioned”.
- Neutral/(Not a con but not a pro): Compared to the Keeley Compressor Pro, there is no direct dB Threshold control knob for activating the compressor. You have to increase the input gain signal to activate the compression. My initial reaction to this was “yikes”, but then on closer inspection, both after reading the manual and experimenting with the pedal itself, I realized that you can control when you activate the compression by increasing the gain input (to alter when compression applies) but rolling back the voltage knob (to reduce the effect on output gain). So you CAN set it up to where compression is “always on”, or alternatively “only on during peaks”, but it takes a bit of trial and error, especially if you’re trying to avoid adding or cutting any gain to the rest of your signal path.
-Unlike the Keeley Comp Pro, there is no Hard knee or Soft knee switch, and no "Auto" feature (which is very useful in situations where your playing/picking style can change a lot between songs).
-the lack of specificity and the absence in numerical readouts in user controls can really be a drawback for scenarios in music where precise settings are crucial for creating certain sounds
-the voltage knob does not indicate where the 9 volt setting is. Obviously if you have an 18 volt power supply attached to it, and crank it up to the further position it can rotate to clockwise, then it will be at 18 volts. However, if you turn it to the furthest position counterclockwise, then no sound will come out of the pedal, which tells me that is 0 volts. I do not believe that 12 o'clock noon is the 9 volt position, because in my observations with both a clean tone and distorted tone, if you leave the voltage knob at the 12 o'clock position, it adds distortion to the signal path. It seems that roughly 9 o'clock is the 9 volt position, but I am only guessing and could be wrong. The manual does not specify what positions are 9 volt, 12 volt, etc.
-It seems like Origin Effects made a compromise between aesthetic appeal and functional design utility with this pedal. I know the layout for this pedal can have a "cool" look, but in all practicality, if Origin Effects were two revise this pedal, I would ask them to include NUMBERS on the positions of the knobs for precise control options. Particularly on the voltage knob. I can't stand adding unwanted distortion to a clean tone, or cutting distortion by rolling it too far back. Needs a better design to make it clear exactly where each position is.
-If Origin Effects wanted to make "the best compressor pedal of all time", then I believe a superior "two-in-one" compressor pedal would function more like two Keeley Compressor Pros merged into one. they would make something that combined features of this pedal (variable voltage mainly, but also the throughput control) with the best features of the Keeley Compressor Pro and merge the two together, then that would be a beast of a pedal!
All things considered, it's a nice pedal, but not as nice as I hoped. Glad I bought it. I use it daily. But it could easily be improved. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
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