Hello the FX connoisseurs, I need some advice on compressors. I'll try to describe my aims and attitude to compression as fully as possible. Currently I'm using Humphry Audio Bass Smasher (that's a heavily modded Boss CS-3). I like its tonal transparency - it is not clinical, but its slight coloration doesn't alter the character of my tone. It sounds very musical to my ear - I use it with very moderate settings (the Sustain knob is mostly around 9 o'clock), so that it's rarely heard that a compressor is on. As long as I'd been playing only some structured, predictable stuff, it was fine - essentially an on/off device, but fine for me. But since I started playing more and more free improvisation in different settings and messing more with the onboard EQ, I encountered the limitation of the original Boss design, which is the same Sustain knob controlling both the input threshold and the ratio. There's no way to quickly and intuitively adjust the compression threshold in order to adapt to a change of the input level, and have the same good results - seems more like a 'hit and miss'. So in such situations I have to just keep it off. Clearly, the time has come to search for something more tweakable. As for the main question everyone in search of a compressor should answer - what do you use it for? For me, it is NOT to level up my playing dynamics. Rather, what I need from a compressor is to tighten up the sustain in different scenarios: 1) the most obvious - to cut through a dense mix, especially with fast and busy percussion; 2) I use compression before the octaver so that it doesn't loose track on longer notes; 3) same with the fuzz - it behaves better if you feed it with compressed signal; 4) same with ambient swells, fade-ins etc.; 5) finally, I DO use the compressor itself as an effect. For example, boosting the mids on the onboard EQ and engaging compression when playing in the upper register delivers the tone reminescent of some oldschool jazz guitar (which is in fact compressed by the guitar amp with significant accent on the mids). The MXR M87 drew my attention, I watched several videos on youtube. Unfortunately, many demos utilize very high compression ratios, sometimes also with low thresholds, which results in oversquashed sound, yet it is very transparent tonally. Those rare moments when the reviewers used moderate settings sounded very musical to me, so I suppose it is possible to dial the 'right' settings for me. Unfortunately, I've lost the hope to put my hands on it before making the final decision, so I'll have to order online and then see what I get. My concern about the M87 is that the compression ratio starts with 4:0, and I may need lower ratios as well. I also listened to the A/B demos of the Aguilar TLC, and I always liked the uncompressed clips better. With the TLC engaged, I always had that 'now the compressor is on' feeling. It's a bit strange to say, but I found the M87 more transparent. The TLC is ruled out of the competition. I also watched an excellent demo of the 3Leaf Audio PWNZOR, and I found its dynamics and timing very, very musical. But, as much as I am impressed with it, I do not like the way it enhances the highs and kind of brings the bass to the forefront. I realize that this enhancement is in fact a highly valued effect, but I'm personally not into it. And, anyway, now it is discontinued. And now I suddenly stumbled upon The Warden by Earthquaker Devices. It is not a device specifically designed for bass, but it's got a very warm review from Bongo, and it seems to have wider range of usable settings (for me), because overall they are more subtle. There are not much videos, and they are all on guitar, I watched quite a few and got impressed with its timing characteristics - no matter how they tweak the Attack and Release knobs, the behaviour of the compressor over time is always very musical and smooth. However, it is hard to say anything about the tone. I don't mind a Tone knob (I have no worries with it on my Bass Smasher), I just don't have a chance to make a comparison. The only demo which includes a bass track (in a mix) is the wonderful demo by Just Nick on youtube. I like the unobtrusive compression heard there on the bass track, but the lack of bass-only A/B (on/off) demos is still a concern for me. So, my final choice is going to be among M87 and The Warden. Can anyone share some suggestions? Preferably from persons who tried both. Thanks!