Review: Intellijel JellySquasher Analog Compressor & Tone Shaper Eurorack Module

I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly interested in this module when it first came out. I suppose this is partially because I have grown used to getting my compression from software plug-ins rather than hardware. There’s some great analog emulations out there, and software has a level of precision that is hard to beat. At least that’s how I felt until Danjel gave me a demonstration of an Acidlab Miami running through the Springverb into the Jellysquasher. He was able to quickly dial in this gritty, breathing, monstrous, dub techno tone from a simple drum groove and I was blown away. Toms transformed into growling synth swells. After that abrupt about-face of opinion I was eager to get my hands on one.

What Is It?

The Intellijel Jellysquasher is a single channel analog compressor and tone shaper. A compressor is a device that controls the volume level of a signal. If the signal becomes louder than a set Threshold, the volume of the signal is reduced according to a Ratio. In the case of the Jellysquasher, the threshold ranges from -40 to +17dB, and the Ratio can be set anywhere between a subtle 1.3:1 all the way to “infinity”, or hard limiter to really crush the signal. The speed that this reduction is applied is called the Attack, and the Release is the relaxing of this reduction.

A Makeup Gain can then raise up the overall volume to compensate for this reduction in level. Conveniently, the Jellysquasher has a Wet/Dry control that lets you blend the original uncompressed signal with the compressed signal to taste. This is sometimes referred to as New York or Parallel compression. It’s a very useful technique because it allows you to subtly thicken or crush a signal, but maintain your dynamic range. I’ll often perform this with sends and returns, but setting a balance with a single knob is far simpler.

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