used OVNIFX Smoothie Optical Bass Compressor
excellent condition w/original box and instructions
The new OPTO version uses an opto-isolator circuit instead of the CA3080 chip in the original version. I had always wanted it to be optical from the beginning, but my engineer wasn't satisfied with the optical designs everyone was already using, and it wasn't until the specific CA3080 we used was discontinued that he felt properly spurred to come up with some new solutions for old problems. Once he got going on it though, our first goal was to match the sound and action of the original version, which people liked. Second goal was to increase the headroom, to work better with high-output basses.
We achieved both goals. The 9V DC power goes through a charge pump to double the voltage, which is used to significantly raise the headroom (how strong the signal input can get without causing clipping). I have not been able to get the OPTO to distort. In trying to get the action and feel as close as we could to the original version, we created two different new versions that each were appealing in their own way, so we released them side by side, and called them "Tough" and "Suave". The Tough one clamps down on your note attack more quickly and strongly, resulting in a more noticeable effect, while the lighter and slower response of the Suave gets a more natural or "invisible" effect. Overall, we found that bassists tended to prefer the Tough, while guitarists tended to prefer the Suave. Apart from the strength and speed of the reaction, there are no other differences between the two versions.
The OPTO pedals have the word OPTO in drippy pink letters around the footswitch. Tough and Suave models have a simple white label on the base plate saying which one it is.
Starting in mid August 2018, we are offering a new model that includes both Tough and Suave circuits, selected by internal toggles. There are two switches, with four settings possible, so you can also choose two "partway" stages in between the Tough and Suave modes. This means you will not have to decide between buying one compressor for transparency or a different one as an effect. This model will not have a label on the bottom plate, and of course you can identify it by looking for the internal DIP switches.
Otherwise, the description of the new OPTOs is the same as the original Smoothie. The Tone knob controls a tilting EQ very much like the one in the Diamond. Turning to the left boosts lows and cuts highs, while turning to the right cuts lows and boosts highs. There's a tremendous amount of bass on tap. Setting it around 10:00-11:00 gives a huge fat warm tone. The EQ is pre blend, so it affects only the compressed signal. Note that the comp signal can be set with much higher gain than the dry/direct signal, so depending on your settings the EQ can seem like it oversteps on the dry signal, but it does not.
The Comp Vol knob controls the output volume of the comp effect, and the Direct knob controls the output volume of the dry uncompressed signal. If you want a 50/50 blend of wet and dry, set the two knobs to the same setting; however the result is dependent on both the Sust knob and the Tone knob, since they affect the peak levels of the compressed signal path.
The Sust knob controls gain going into the circuit, and it affects both the threshold and the ratio at the same time. It tends toward stronger squeezing, a higher ratio, for extra thickness and sustain. There is an LED that indicates the intensity of the compression being applied. I always recommend buying a pedal with some kind of visual metering in order to help dial in the perfect response, and it surprises me how many of the popular pedals on the market fail to include this feature.
There's also a toggle switch, marked 0dB and -20dB, to help tame high-output instruments. It does not pad the audio signal directly, it pads the sensitivity of the comp circuit, so flipping it will not change your volume.
The knob labeled Attack actually controls both attack and release times. The attack time range is fairly narrow and fast, a usable but honestly rather subtle range of adjustment; while the release time is variable across a very wide range. Clockwise settings are more percussive, counterclockwise settings are more smooth.
It runs on standard Boss-type 9V DC or a battery. The construction quality is excellent, and the housing is the small MXR size. The footswitch is a relay-based true bypass with a noiseless switch.
One way of describing the Smoothie is you take the tone, action, and blend of the Wampler, add the tilting EQ of the Diamond, plus a threshold indicator light and an input pad, and put them in the smaller package of the Keeley or Demeter. It might not be a game changer, but I think it's a better-featured value all around, and that's why I put my name on it.
used OVNIFX Smoothie Opto Bass Compressor
free US shipping
vintage used and demo items are final and not returnable