gear up: the vertex effects nyle compressor and preamp review
By Ian Freeman
June 14, 2021
It being Black Music Month, it is not lost on me that my first pedal review is inspired by the sounds of two iconic black guitarists. Although it’s only named for one, the color should be an obvious sign for the other. Of course, I am talking about Nile Rodgers and Prince, and the pedal is the Nyle from Vertex Effect.
The Nyle is an all-analog Compressor and Preamp pedal inspired by the funk, clean punchy tones of the ’70s and 80’s present in songs by Chic or Sister Sledge and was a stalwart in the Minneapolis Sound. Nile achieved this sound by taking his guitar into a Universal Audio FET 1176 Compressor and cascading it into a NEVE 1073 Mic Preamp. This harmonious interaction would allow for the amazing tones and control that added punch and definition that characterized his iconic style, Prince, and many others.
Vertex’s goal was to tap into this formula by giving users more control of their compression signal by recreating studio rack compressors and preamps used back then and putting them in a pedal. This ambitious attempt would utilize two iconic circuits from revered pieces of studio equipment, the vintage UA FET 1176 Compressor, and NEVE 1073 Mic Preamp. The result was a compressor and pre-amp pedal that was sexy and fun. Two words you rarely hear when describing Compressors and Preamps. But the Nyle is far from just a compressor or preamp.
The 1176 and 1073 allow The Nyle versatility to be more than just a compressor or a preamp and adds overdrive, clean boost, and distortion to its skillset. And the options that you can explore open up the more you understand the dynamics of compression, EQ, and preamps or how much time you invest playing around with the Nyle. For example, you can dial in classic clean funk tones. Increase the compression by upping the volume on the preamp to tighten the sound, and you’re Chicken Picking. Bring down the Preamp volume, increase the compression volume, and the gain to overdrive the preamp. Bring down the ratio a bit for less compression to go distortion. Back down off the volume, and you’re going clean. And while most compressors don’t work well with Humbuckers, it sounded excellent with the dual humbuckers in my Minarik.
The Nyle’s combining of the 1176 and 1073 is also functional. The pedal has a layout with 6 knobs and 2 toggle switches controlling the circuits that can be used separately or in conjunction via 2 footswitches. Unlike what you’d expect in a typical dual function pedal where the dials split down the middle, the orientation is horizontal. The top row houses the compression, with knobs for output, sustain that controls compression ratio and ratio that handles the wet/dry blend. Below it, the preamp section has knobs for volume, EQ, and gain. One toggle switch controls attack. The other is for the treble. An intuitive design that makes it easy to pick up the pedal and use it without studying audio engineering.
If you’re a fan of Nile Rodgers, Prince, or just Funk, the Nyle is an easy choice for your board. Vertex Effects has taken two pretty mundane things and made them into something exciting. If you want a versatile pedal that can stick with you through various styles, this is a great option. For anyone wanting some studio control room magic to their sound, this is it. Now you’re going to have to play with it a little bit and level up your understanding of compression, EQ, and Pre-amps to really master it. The pedal is also a little small for how much is packed in on it, so it’s a little cramped until you get used to it. But it’s easily one of my favorite pedals.
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