Compressed compressor: Wampler Ego vs. Ego Mini

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by NortyFiner, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Drunken Sailor Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    As we have seen with pedals such as the EHX POG family, sometimes things change when you start shrinking pedals down to fit smaller size formats. The EHX Micro POG and Nano POG, and the related but even smaller Mooer Tender, are all different tonal animals despite theoretically being mostly the same pedal in different boxes.

    Which brings us to the Wampler Ego. The full size version (of which there have been several editions) has been given a glowing review by bongo, and seems well regarded here. However, there is also the smaller Ego Mini, which has some different controls (two knobs replaced by simple switches with fixed values), but otherwise is supposed to be mostly the same pedal. I have checked video demos of both and they seem excellent, but if anyone here has any experience with both and can provide some comparison, I'd be interested in hearing it. Thanks.
  2. guitarflinger

    guitarflinger Not all who wander are lost Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    Front Range, Colorado

    Considering both the Wampler pedals. Second your request for information and comparisons
  3. jsper


    Jul 14, 2014
    I use the Ego and based on what I've read, it is literally the same pedal, just with less adjustment since the tone and attack knobs are reduced to simple two way switches for space reasons. However, I find the tone knob to be basically useless on bass (it is basically a VERY subtle treble boost, you have to crank it up to even hear a difference, although I turn my tweeter off so maybe if you use a tweeter you'd hear more of a difference...even then I'm sure the switch is enough of an adjustment) so the only real thing you're sacrificing is being able to finely adjust the attack. The thing about compressors with blend knobs though is that really you have a ton of control on how much attack you have in your signal because uncompressed signal will bring your attack back quickly, so if the "slow attack" mode is too slow (doesn't compress quickly enough) or ESPECIALLY if the "fast attack" mode is too quick for you (compresses too quickly), you can always blend in more uncompressed signal as a way to have a way to shape the attack anyway.

    I blend my signal 50/50 and I find that with that much uncompressed signal in there, I find the attack knob to have a marginal effect. Certainly more of a difference than the tone knob, but the blend makes the signal sound pretty natural with 30-50% blend but you still get the benefits of compression and dramatic increase in sustain.

    The blend and sustain knobs are really the most important on this compressor. Sustain is really your "compression" knob because it lowers the threshold and increases the ratio and sustain simultaneously.
  4. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    Negatives without even trying the pedal:
    1. Poor documentation
    a. What does the tone actually do? "dark" and "bright" aren't very descriptive to the frequencies affected
    b. Sustain that vagules says "let your notes go for a very long time...also raise the noise floor"
    c. The manual does not state which side is the "fast" or "slow" side. Again, how fast or slow?
    2. Fixed LED that does not flicker with compression engagement
    3. Blend control (which I personally don't understand why they put these on compressor pedals. Kinda defeats the purpose of the compression, doesn't it?)

    This pedal is clearly not for me. I prefer pedals with exact ratio and threshold on them, and some sort of visual aide to show me how much I'm being affected, cause I'll actually use this on a stage where it's not inherently clear what's going on, since the snare and bass are hitting with me.
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I do plan to test the mini sometime, I've just been prioritizing other stuff lately.
  6. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    Yeah, not everyone gets on with the Wampler Ego. I like mine on bass but not with guitar.

    I just find it does something I like. I can give it a heavy squash with the sustain and use the attack to time the envelope of the squash. Then blend in some clean, because an obvious heavy squash will become tiresome to the ear after a short while, and there is a really useable sound.

    The blend is the "New York Compression" or "Parallel Compression" thing which allows a sound to be punchy and solid at the same time as being able to breathe.....

    Not everyones' cup of tea though, I expect you would maybe prefer the MXR one with the dB reduction meter?
  7. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    Keeley Bassist.

    I don't need the meter, though if it works well it's a plus (I hear the MXR one is a bit faulty to some capacity, but can't remember how). An LED that winks is completely fine IMO. My Eden amp head also winks with its compressor, so it would seem the wink capability can't be that hard to throw in on a $180 pedal.

    Call me a control freak, but I despise when pedal companies throw words like "Enhance" and "Sustain" on their knobs without an explanation. Just tell us like it is.

    I don't know if these are correct, but the following examples would be fine if they were in the manual:
    Tone Switch: Left : -6db @ 2000hz; Right : +2db @ 2500hz
    Sustain: 9 O'clock: Threshold = 0 db, Ratio = 2:1 12 O'clock: Threshold = -10 db, Ratio = 4:1 3 O'clock: Threshold = -20 db, Ratio = 8:1

    That's not too hard to ask on an almost $200 investment, is it? Those little things really make a world of difference in my opinion.

    The blend knob can be a nice function. No harm in extra functionality in my opinion.
  8. jsper


    Jul 14, 2014
    Because this pedal retains the low end so well and because it is so transparent, especially if you use a blend knob, I think it's one of the few compressors that can get away without LED metering. The only compressor with similar footprint to the Ego that has LED metering is the MXR M87 and I found that pedal to be way harder to get a usable sound and it cut and squashed the low end like no other. Tonally, the Wampler is much more natural sounding than the MXR and I wouldn't recommend the MXR to anybody unless you're okay with losing your lows and play a lot of slap or something.
    thefruitfarmer likes this.
  9. I wasn't a fan of the Ego because it seemed to let too much initial attack through (perhaps giving the perception of no/low low end loss) regardless of where I set anything. It's a great comp for those who want punch, but for me it didn't provide the syrupy richness or tonal sheen of a simple Keeley two knob (if we're talking Ross comps). Of course, I'm one of those TB weirdos that is adamantly against my Compressor having a blend knob, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

    More on topic, I'm also wary of "smaller" effects that claim to do exactly what their forebears do, but that's mostly born out my fear of them not being tested very extensively upon release by actual users that play them in a live context/outside of their bedrooms. You'd think that if the smaller enclosures had no negatives and performed the same as pedals that used bigger components and enclosures, plus the added benefit of size, everyone would be making them that way. Either they're simply not the same, or the builders still have a marketing hurdle with convincing the old farts that buy their pedals that the smaller ones are in fact the same and don't want to risk everything just going 100% micro. All IMO, etc.
  10. Their investment is bigger than your investment. They want to sell pedals, not appease bass players who keep a Bongo bible under their bed.
  11. BigBeatNut


    Apr 10, 2006
    London, UK
    Sounds like a reasonable ask to me, would cost them almost nothing to do it.
  12. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
  13. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    I played through a Wampler tonight as well as a Keley Bassist, Keeley 4 knob, Walrus Deep Six, and Cali Compact. Had to go to two stores to get that mix of pedals but it was worth it. The Wampler for the win. Runner up was the Keeley Bassist. The Wampler just seemed to add something special and with the attack knob at 3/4 it made finger style even more punchy. Now I want to try the Wampler mini to see if I like the attack switch. Got a feeling I'd like the greater degree of control that the knob would provide.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    kranahan, Texican and thefruitfarmer like this.
  14. Texican


    Aug 9, 2018
    Just want to add to this thread for the sake of anyone doing a search on the matter. I used to own the full size Ego and I thought it was a fabulous compressor for bass. The only compressor I remember liking as much (or maybe more) was the Cali76 compact bass compressor. But I didn’t get to hear them side by side, nor did I get to play the Cali76 outside of a music store setting.

    That being said, I bought the mini version of the Ego today. Definitely worth the investment. I don’t feel I’m missing anything by downsizing to the mini, and my tone is definitely “better” with the Ego engaged. It’s nice having such a small footprint for an always on pedal.

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