Twenty years after its launch, the Way Huge Saffron Squeeze compressor has been improved upon. Doing fierce business with an already spectacular product line, Jim Dunlop Manufacturing added pedal wizard Jeorge Tripps to the mix. For Way Huge’s Saffron Squeeze MkII, this meant the addition of Gain, Tone, and Attack controls to the older version’s single Volume and Sustain knobs. Way Huge’s Safffron Squeeze MkII offers easy-to-use functionality and ear-friendly tones for the discerning guitarist.
While the 1970s Ross-inspired Saffron Squeeze MkI offered only the option to control the output and level of compression, the MkII retains that and also allows players to shape, mold, and fine-tune their signals. The new complement of controls allows users to not only tighten up their timbres, but to adjust gain level and compression reaction speed, and to cut post-compression highs. The MkII excels at enhancing a guitar’s tone while serving up as much personalized enunciation as needed. These tweaks mean the Saffron Squeeze is no longer a take-it-or-leave-it afterthought. Rather, it’s a bona fide tone-sculpting tool with the potential to become an integral part of any guitarist’s base tone.
With its true-bypass switching and nine-volt center-negative power operation, the Saffron Squeeze MkII is all about the smooth and the quiet. Using a Telecaster and a Strat through a Dr. Z Maz 38 head, as well as an Orange TH30 combo, the aforementioned tone-sculpting began. With the controls adding volume boost across the board, subtle as well as obvious compression was achieved easily. In addition to tightening up the signal and giving more pop and snap, the Tone control provides the options of adding warmth or dialing in a sharper attack. These sounds are smooth, soft, and never grating. The Gain adds only a smidgeon of grit.
While the word “transparent” is often abused in reference to effects pedals, the Saffron Squeeze performs all kinds of choke, squash, and squish without altering an amplifier’s character. It shores things up sweetly with Beatle-esque jangle, tight country twang, punchy blues, and airtight shred. Used with subtlety, it embraces a signal in a luxurious blanket of focused beauty. Dialing in more-intense settings, it retains its usefulness with rich musicality, and it does so without annoying pops or hiss. Guitar compressor aficionados will be instantly converted, while guitarists new to compression will be spoiled for a long time to come.
This article originally appeared in VG November 2015 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.