Despite the overwhelming consensus that compressors are one of the most indispensable studio tools, compressor pedals can be one of the most misunderstood effects. Some players swear by them, others avoid them. But if you need sustain without distortion or want to tame aggressive peaks and even out dynamics, a good compressor is the ticket. And when guitarists think about compressor pedals, they think about a little red box called the MXR® Dyna Comp® Compressor.

Released in 1972, the Dyna Comp Compressor featured simple, straightforward controls—labeled Output and Sensitivity—to govern the volume and compression levels, respectively. Inside, it contained the coveted CA3080 metal can integrated circuit, which remains a key component to its sound and vibe.