The Module 4 is DryBell's highly versatile take on a classic vintage compressor Dan Armstrongs Orange Squeezer from the 70s. Some people may know this, but two interesting facts contribute to the unique tone, player’s feel and iconic character of this type of compressor. Direct cable connection between the electric guitar (pickup) and the Orange Squeezers (OS) front-end circuit results in a specific EQ change – a shift in the mid and top end frequencies. This provides a pleasant vintage tonal character, similar to low impedance inputs on some other types of gear. On top of that, the frequency shifting is controlled by the players pick attack; you can feel this warm dynamic tone response while playing. In other words, the OS unit acts as a kind of envelope followed EQ. This combination of unique signal EQ treatment followed by a precisely biased vintage JFET compressor is the key to this historic tone and feel. This is the reason why guitarists love this unit and why its used on so many great records in rock and roll history. The Module 4 has the same spirit in its analog core. But, its equipped with several useful, colorful and practical options, all packed into our new enclosure line.
A little bit about the Orange Squeezer’s history
Back in the 1970s an American guitarist, luthier, and session musician Dan Armstrong developed a whole series of small, box-shaped guitar effects. The original units are collectible, hard to find and therefore pretty expensive. They were designed with a plug which was meant to be inserted directly into your guitar. One of them is called the Orange Squeezer, a cult vintage compressor and one of the most popular units in the lineup. In the vast sea of compressors, the Orange Squeezer has its own special place in the hearts of many musicians. It became legendary for its unique colorful compression which can be heard on countless recordings throughout the decades, most notably by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, Jeff Skunk Baxter of Steely Dan fame and Ry Cooder.
The original OS circuit varies in terms of sound from unit to unit and could be quite noisy at certain bias settings. When bypassed, the unit still changed some tonal characteristics and the (make-up) volume varied, all depending on the units temperature, how it was adjusted internally and the pickups used. The usage of those little boxes was also limited, for example, they couldnt be used with a Stratocaster because of the recessed output jack unless modded. Also, later reissues werent very close to the original in terms of build and tone. But in essence, the Orange Squeezers tonal uniqueness in terms of pick-attack controlled EQ combined with a spongy organic compression, most noticeable with the single coils, is the key reason for the iconic status gained among many artists throughout guitar history.
Module 4 Orange flavored compression
The Module 4 analog compressor is engineered with the highest precision to achieve versatility, low noise, expanded headroom and sound resolution, while keeping Armstrong’s magic inside the pedal. You get that classic tone but you can tweak it to the finest detail. All of the Module 4 circuitry is completely original and unique in its design.
The Module 4 can be transformed to a standard Full Frequency range compressor by switching the Orange button off. Basically, you have two flavors available and they are easily distinguishable. ORANGE mode is warm, vintage sounding while Full Frequency range mode has a more modern brighter, clearer tone. In either mode, you can easily avoid pumping or unwanted transients with the external ATTACK & RELEASE controls, even on high compression. One of the greatest features of the ORANGE mode is the playful interaction with the guitars pickups which makes playing feel really pleasant.
Module 4 is not designed for guitar only, it will sound great on bass, keyboards and vocals.
Whether you choose to use it as a subtle always-on tone enhancer, dynamic changer or as a very powerful booster, the compressor is a must-have pedal in any gear arsenal and the Module 4 will help you experience the best of its kind.
Output: Controls the output volume (make-up gain) of the compressor. It also acts as a high headroom and distortion-free clean Boost. It is useful for pushing your amp harder and adding even more sustain to your tone.
Tone: Controls the overall high frequency spectrum of the unit
Blend: Sets the mix of dry and compressed signals. You can balance the tone with this smooth parallel compression circuit, while retaining pick attack dynamics.
Attack: Controls the reaction time of the compressor
Release: Controls the time before the unit releases or stops compression
Preamp: Controls the input gain of (any) instrument. It is placed after the Front-end circuit, so you can easily adjust compression level to your needs, while keeping the original ‘Orange’ feel unaffected.
ORANGE:pushbutton Enables/disables the ORANGE mode. When the ORANGE mode is off, Module 4 becomes a 'Full Frequency range' compressor
Expander: Automatically attenuates incoming background noise when you mute strings or vice versa
3-color compression level meter A visual representation of gain reduction and input signal level
LOW END cut Option to keep or remove certain low-end frequencies
True bypass or buffered bypass options
Orange button also works in buffered bypass when the pedal is turned off. In that case, the buffered bypass reacts like the Orange Squeezer’s Front-end, keeping the bypass EQ very similar to the EQ when the pedal is active
Power on settings save option
Dot marks around knobs - Represent the settings of the original Orange Squeezer