In Spring of 2016, JHS announced that they upgraded their popular orange compressor The Pulp-n-Peel to V4 for with some awesome upgrades we have always wanted in the most popular 1st in chain pedal you can buy. I recently got one from JHS and its an amazing little box I knew I needed to share about. Lets dive into some of the new features you’ll get with the new V4 model.
1st in chain magic for version 4
So version 4 adds some nifty features for people who love having a compressor as the 1st pedal in the chain. Sporting a revamped buffer and output amp, you now have a lot more headroom to even boost your guitar signal a bit more if you like hitting the front end of the amp a little harder. This is a nice upgrade because most people look to buy a transparent drive pedal to get this same effect so its a great upgrade. The new buffer switch they added allows true-bypass or buffered operation for driving long cable runs which also eliminates the need for a dedicated buffer in your signal chain. Definitely a great touch that makes V4 an all in one wonder.
Additionally, there is also a drive switch that comes after the compressed signal which can be dialed in with a precision screw driver on the right side of the pedal. The drive tones can go from very light to very heavy and almost fuzzy. On a very light setting this can take on very transparent tones. So essentially this pedal can also act like a stage one overdrive in your chain. If you ask me, it can get very close to the tones you find in the Emerson EM-Drive. I know its a very popular stage one drive so it does take on a special value when you know you can save a ton of pedal board space and resources to get this much out of one single pedal. If needed, it can get heavy and most certainly can bring the drive tones JHS is notoriously famous for.
What you might already know about the PnP
So the PnP compressor is based off of the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeeze from back in the 1970’s. The original was a small box that was the secret weapon of many big players including Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and Dire Straits. This effect was not really a “pedal” but a small box which was meant to plug directly into your guitar or amp. While the original had its shortcomings, JHS’s tribute to the original brings back that same tone of the Orange Squeeze with non of the shortcomings the Armstrong unit had. Today a lot of worship guitar players like Mike of Mercy Me, Stu G, and a few other big players have this as part of the setups they use. Because compression is now commonly used as an always on effect, JHS added a blend knob for parallel compression. This means that you can mix between the clean signal (that has all the dynamics) and the compressed. You can decide how much you want by dialing it in. All the way to the right is only the compressed signal and all the way to the left will bypass the compressed signal leaving you the other features the pedal has in tact. The tone knob can make your signal brighter or darker depending on what you are looking for. Also great for compensating a guitars darker or brighter tones before it hits the rest of your pedals. It’s probably one of the most versatile tone shaping tools on the market.
How does it play?
The PnP is a no fuss compressor. No need to figure out attack, release or ratio settings. This means you don’t need an audio degree to set it. Lots of guitar players can ruin the tone they have by dialing in these settings wrong. So if your not an audiophile mixing engineer you can still make this work. Just dial in the compress knob until happy. Thats it. I’ve also noticed that it plays well with vintage amps. Compressors like the deep six from Walrus Audio seem to drive hard the front end of my vintage Silvertone Twin Twelve even when set to lower volumes. The output of the PnP seems to be compensated well for the parallel signal. This just means its not gonna get weird when you turn it on. You can get light unity compression all the way to super hard squashed tones. The compressor circut runs quite which means the unit will not add any extra noise to your signal. If you run a single coil pickup guitar can just expect the standard noise your guitar naturally has.
What about bass and acoustic guitar?
YES, this is for you as well. The V4 comes with an XLR output with a ground lift option which means it acts as a DI Box for your bass and acoustic. The drive also plays well with Bass Guitars. Lots of guitar drive pedals can high pass filter the signal and kill some of the low end which does not happen here. You can get away with using a tuner and this pedal for your bass rig and rule the low end of your band with ease. You will still need to power it with a standard 9v power. I would have loved for them to add the option to power the pedal with phantom power but this would just be an extra perk. Both bass and acoustic guitars benefit from parallel compression and the tone shaping tools this brings. Definitely a jack of all trades in a little orange box.
Who needs this?
If you love compression and use one always on, this box can be your Buffer, Compressor, Drive, and EQ all in one. I’ve taken it out on the road and I’m asking myself how could I ever have lived without it. For small pedal boards it could be a huge space saver. For the modest price of $229 its definitely worth the price tag.
If you have any questions about the JHS Pulp-n-Peel, please visit this link for more info and demo videos.