A clean compressor, the Flat Cat adds that studio sound without distortion
Jason Ricci, arguably the best harmonica player today, asked me to build a compressor pedal. He specified that it had to be distortion-free and include a VOLUME control; plus he wanted it to look good, a cool color, and cool graphics. The result is the Flat Cat, a distortion-free optical compressor. What does a compressor do? A compressor "compresses" the signal your microphone produces and equalizes the dynamic range. The benefit of a compressor lies in that every note played will be at nearly the same amplitude, and therefore nearly equal in volume. This will help equalize tones that are sometimes lost in the mix because of complex overtones, and it will result in a more articulate sound. The Flat Cat is an optical compressor, which makes it distortion-free. The addition of the VOLUME control allows the user to make up volume lost through compression. The Flat Cat is great for rock and blues rock. Sometimes it is hard to tell it is on, but you will miss it when it is off.
The "SQUASH" control sets the amount of compression; the further you turn the control clockwise, the more compression. As you compress the signal the more the volume decreases, and you can turn the VOLUME control clockwise to replace the lost volume. Start with the VOLUME and SQUASH at the 12:00 position, which will provide for a moderate amount of compression and approximately the same volume when the pedal is placed in and out of bypass. The pedal can be placed at or near the front of your pedal train; it will work in various places, and the best place is really up to the user.
The Flat Cat operates off of a 9V battery or a 9V DC power adapter. The AC adapter requirements are 9V DC with a minimum 100mA output and a 2.1mm x 5.5mm connector with a negative center and positive outside. The battery is switched OFF when an external power supply is used, and the unit is always powered whenever the mic is plugged in. The IN jack acts as the ON/OFF switch and the pedal is ON as long as there is a cable plugged into the IN jack.
1. Clean tone, no distortion
2. VOLUME control
3. SQUASH (compression) control
4. True bypass foot switch
5. 9v DC input (see drawing)
6. High impedance buffered input
7. Bypass ON/OFF LED
8. Reverse voltage polarity protection
9. 9v battery operation
10. 10-year warranty on parts and labor
11. If not satisfied, return within 60 days for a refund.
I admit I was skeptical about a two knob compressor pedal. I was shopping the really cool (guitar) pedals that have Threshold, Attack, Release, etc. controls, I tried a couple of ‘em, but it came down to this: I didn’t need a compressor like ones in my DAW. I wanted a compressor just for my Harp, alone. Not my guitar, not my vocals. My Harp. So, I figured if Lone Wolf designed the Flat Cat for us tin sandwich blowers, I’d get one and, at least, try it. It arrived today, and immediately, I put on my skeptic hat as I switched it on. And, wow, a couple of knob twiddles later, my playing just sounded better - more articulated, clean, without any change in the “tone” itself. I’m Impressed. The Flat Cat will be an “always on” in my board. I’ll be using it live and on my recording. My only complaint is: Why I didn’t get a Flat Cat sooner?!? Looking forward to trying another LWB effect. Thank you, Lone Wolf, today was like Christmas.