Boss CS 3 Review – Compression Sustainer Compact Pedal

Overview

The guitar is an instrument of not only lightning-fast shreds, stunning solos, groovy riffs, and tasty licks, but also an instrument of dynamics and feel. When playing the instrument, your pick attack or how you strum can cause variations in your instrument's volume. You could be playing riffs and double stops at the right volume, only to pull out your pick for your solo and realize you're not cutting through the mix because your volume is significantly lower. 

Some funky and groovy riffs may also require a uniform volume when it comes to strumming them out to get the correct feel, and this can be difficult to pull off for an entire song without accidentally playing too loud or too soft in some parts. A great solution to these issues is a compressor pedal. 

Compressor pedals are pedals that are usually left on in your guitar rig's signal chain to level out the dynamics or volume of your playing. These pedals have been around for quite a while, and are used by artists to play consistent funk riffs or ensure that all the notes they play are heard without being too loud - after all, it gets really easy to overpower other instruments when you start to feel the music. Usually, a compressor pedal is a great addition to your signal chain because of its versatility and universal practicality in the world of music.

The Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer is a great and reliable pedal from one of the leading guitar effects pedal brands - Boss. Boss is known by guitar players all over the world for producing very reliable and great-sounding pedals that are built like tanks - seriously, they're pretty much indestructible. The CS-3 is a total upgrade from the brand's CP-1X compressor pedal as the CS-3 Compression Sustainer doubles as a sustainer to keep those notes ringing out - perfect for ambient tones and solos that mimic slide guitar sounds. Keep reading this Boss CS-3 compressor-sustainer review to learn more about this pedal.

Should You Get It?

For those who want to incorporate more uniform playing dynamics to their playing, the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer guitar pedal is a must-buy. It's also perfect for funk riff fans as the compression will help you nail those funky, head-bobbing riffs. The guitar sustainer pedal function is also great for experimental music and ambient tones, perfect for accompanying vocals and introducing new sounds to your playing. 

The CS-3 Compression Sustainer is also great for beginners who are having trouble with introducing dynamics to their playing while still being able to cut through the mix. Furthermore, the CS-3 Compression Sustainer is a no brainer considering it's coming from Boss, so you can rest assured you're getting a high-quality product for your rig. If you want to learn more about the CS-3 Compression Sustainer, keep reading this Boss CS-3 review.

Guitar

Pedal

Model

Price

Main

Boss

CS - 3

Boss CS - 3 Compression Sustainer Pedal

PRO's & CON's of Boss CS - 3 Compressor

Before we dive into our review, let's look at some of the pros and cons of the Boss CS - 3 Compression Sustainer Guitar Pedal:

Pros

  • Extremely durable chassis and overall build to ensure this pedal lasts countless gigs
  • Excellent compression quality without entirely losing dynamics
  • Great price for all the features and functionality
  • Smooth sustain sounds that will elevate your solos
  • Level, Tone, Attack, and Sustain controls

Cons

  • Slightly adds color to your sound
  • May introduce unwanted buzzes or hissing to your signal

Features and Benefits

Features

This Compression Sustainer pedal from Boss is a great addition to any guitar player's rig considering all its features and the practical functions it could add to your rig. Because the CS-3 doubles as a sustainer pedal, guitar players will be getting a 2-in-1 stompbox with this excellent pedal. What makes the CS-3 Compression Sustainer even better is the addition of tone control aside from the usual compression control knobs. This will allow you to shape your tone to your liking - something that you won't be able to do with most compressor pedals out there.

The Boss CS3 also shares a similar design with all other pedals from the manufacturer - bulky and practical, with a wide footswitch to help you easily activate it in your chain during a performance. The Boss CS-3 has a simple and intuitive control layout that has all the parameter controls you could need from the CS-3 Compression Sustainer - Level, Attack, Sustain, and Tone knob encoders. These will be discussed in the following section of this review. It also has an LED indicator that gets dimmer as your battery gets drained, but keeping this plugged into a 9V power supply will keep it up and running at all times.

However, the CS-3 Compression Sustainer has a buffered bypass, which might turn down some guitar players, but buffered bypasses are not bad at all. They ensure your signal flow is strong throughout your chain. However, its buffered bypass means that your sound will be slightly affected by the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer while it is disengaged. This should not be a problem, however, because compressor pedals are usually left engaged or activated anyway. The Compression Sustainer pedal also works with bass guitars, which just adds to its versatility.

Controls

The Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer has an intuitive layout of controls that are easy to learn because of the user-friendly labels and markers. Most guitar players won't even need to open the manual to learn how to operate the CS-3 Compression Sustainer. The control panel consists of four parameter knobs that let you shape your tone and the effect parameters so you can personalize your compression and sustain. These are the Level, Tone, Attack, and Sustain knobs. They are straightforward and most guitar players have probably encountered similar controls, but for those who want to learn more about the controls and their functions, keep reading this review section.

The first knob in the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer panel is the Level knob, which is similar to all other Level knobs found in other guitar effects pedals and allows you to control the pedal's output volume. Next to this is the Tone knob, which acts as a 1-band EQ, letting users adjust the intensity of their signal's mid-frequency, boosting or attenuating their signal's punchiness. Next is the Attack knob, which will allow you to adjust how much you want to maintain your pick attack, maximizing the dynamics as you turn it clockwise. Finally, there's the Sustain knob, which allows you to alter how long your notes ring out.

Sound

The Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer has an amazing tight compression, which is expected from a brand like Boss. The CS-3 is definitely one of the better compressors out there, and while it does not have a lot of knobs to control the compression effect, it easily produces a great compressed sound while maintaining your dynamics. It attenuates notes that are too loud in your signal and boosts those that are too soft - all while maintaining the feel of your pick attacks so you don't sound robotic. 

The sustainer function is also great for adding longer trails to your notes for that sweet sustain sound - you can even get some slide guitar tones if you play with the right pick attack and maximize the sustain parameter. While it does add some color to your tone, it is pretty much unnoticeable and the sound can be easily fixed with your amp's EQ. Overall, the CS-3 is a great sounding pedal from Boss that does its job extremely well while giving you the ability to add more sustain.

For a demonstration of this pedal, refer to this video:

In Conclusion

For fans of funk riffs and those who want to add compression to their signal to make sure their notes pierce through the mix without overpowering other instruments, the CS-3 is an excellent compression sustainer pedal from Boss. The Boss CS-3 will help you get a uniform playing volume without sacrificing dynamics to make sure you get your playing feel across to your audience without worrying about not being heard.

You can check it out on Amazon and get one for yourself through this link:

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