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Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal

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With the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer you get smooth sustain, a more balanced string response, and more clarity and punch at any volume. A must fo...Click To Read More About This Product

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Keep control; make it last.

With the Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer you get smooth sustain, a more balanced string response, and more clarity and punch at any volume. A must for recording. Ideal alone for a clean sound or in front of a distortion or chorus.

FEATURES
  • Smooth sustain with clarity and punch
  • Balanced string response
  • Level, Tone, Attack, and Sustain controls
  • Full 5-year warranty

Click or call now to get the sustain you want!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
BossCS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal
 
4.5

(based on 125 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (85)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (25)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality (22)
  • Responsive (19)
  • Versatile (16)
  • Good selection of effects (15)
  • Compact (14)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (16)
  • Home studio (12)
  • Amateur recording (10)
  • Professional recording (9)
  • Outdoor events / games (8)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (14), Professional musician (8)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

CS-3 thumbs up

For the price I don't think you can beat this deal or even come close. You don't always get what you pay for, sweet deals do come along.
First off, I'd...Read complete review

For the price I don't think you can beat this deal or even come close. You don't always get what you pay for, sweet deals do come along.
First off, I'd like to say that before you rate a compressor/sustainer/limiter, learn what it does to your signal and how it operates. I hear too much about these devices creating noise etc.
Secondly, I am going to compare it to a Dyna Comp, which I've used for decades and is considered "a standard" by many.
The CS-3 I feel is an excellent device. It does what it was designed to do and has some nice added features. It DID NOT add noise to my signal. If you hear noise it is because you are compressing the signal output closer to the noise floor of your instrument or other devices set in the path before the CS-3. The CS-3 in a A/B comparison to the Dyna Comp comes out on top. This was done with several guitars (including a classical acoustic with a piezo sensor). Both the Dyna Comp and CS-3 are quiet and add minimal distortion. In a way I prefer the Dyna Comp because it's so easy to use with it's one knob adjustment, but, the added features of the CS-3 make it overall a better device in my opinion. I especially like the attack adjustment which lets me customize the amount of "pop" or "snap" I get. The tone is cool too, but not that big of a deal as we have tone controls on guitar, amp etc. Then with the level and sustain adjustment you can come up with a sweet spot for the particular sound you want. Another plus, is has an electronic on/off switch unlike the Dyna's mechanical switch, so it doesnt pop when you stomp it.
I think one major problem people have is that thier reverb unit built into thier amp (especially spring types) is noisy and is placed ahead of the compressor thus raising the noise floor. If possible go directly from your guitar into the compressor and make this the first in the signal path.
Now the negative side of the universe. This unit will suk your batteries dry fast, and if you leave the cord plugged into the input, poof, new batteries will be turned into dead ones faster than Chuck Norris can kick you upside your head. Easy solution, just get a 9 nine volt adapter, which you should have already if you have more than two stomp boxes (call me captain obvious).
I have used many compressors and limiters of the professional variety, Uries etc. in many recording studios. Not to say that this on the same level, but electronics have come a long way over the years, and this device is remarkable for the price. As far as it's ability to withstand the test of time and how rugged it is, I dont know. I havent owned it that long. But it seems practically bullet proof and well made.
To sum all this up, I'm happy with my CS-3, it does what it's supposed to and does it well, and I didn't pay a whole lot for it. Kudos to Boss on this one.
It seems to be well made. Has curb appeal. No problems yet. But I've owned it less than a year. So time will tell
Best compressor I could find for a small price.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Some good, some not so

Remember, as with any compressor, put it first in your signal chain, as it will compress any noise as well as your guitar signal. With that done, the unit is reasonably clean....Read complete review

Remember, as with any compressor, put it first in your signal chain, as it will compress any noise as well as your guitar signal. With that done, the unit is reasonably clean. I play both single-coils and humbuckers, and it fattens up the driven/distorted tones nicely. I do not care for its performance with clean tones, however, as it seems unresponsive to control changes. No matter what I do, it seems to kill my attack and chop the highs and lows off the frequency response. Also, the output level seems inconsisten - it sometimes wanders around by itself. Perhaps I just got a faulty unit, but it's a real nuisance. I'll probably try to A/B compare one of these with the Dyna-Comp, which to my ear is a little warmer, though not as clean.

Reviewed by 125 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(60 of 60 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

CS-3 thumbs up

By John

from San Antonio

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

For the price I don't think you can beat this deal or even come close. You don't always get what you pay for, sweet deals do come along.
First off, I'd like to say that before you rate a compressor/sustainer/limiter, learn what it does to your signal and how it operates. I hear too much about these devices creating noise etc.
Secondly, I am going to compare it to a Dyna Comp, which I've used for decades and is considered "a standard" by many.
The CS-3 I feel is an excellent device. It does what it was designed to do and has some nice added features. It DID NOT add noise to my signal. If you hear noise it is because you are compressing the signal output closer to the noise floor of your instrument or other devices set in the path before the CS-3. The CS-3 in a A/B comparison to the Dyna Comp comes out on top. This was done with several guitars (including a classical acoustic with a piezo sensor). Both the Dyna Comp and CS-3 are quiet and add minimal distortion. In a way I prefer the Dyna Comp because it's so easy to use with it's one knob adjustment, but, the added features of the CS-3 make it overall a better device in my opinion. I especially like the attack adjustment which lets me customize the amount of "pop" or "snap" I get. The tone is cool too, but not that big of a deal as we have tone controls on guitar, amp etc. Then with the level and sustain adjustment you can come up with a sweet spot for the particular sound you want. Another plus, is has an electronic on/off switch unlike the Dyna's mechanical switch, so it doesnt pop when you stomp it.
I think one major problem people have is that thier reverb unit built into thier amp (especially spring types) is noisy and is placed ahead of the compressor thus raising the noise floor. If possible go directly from your guitar into the compressor and make this the first in the signal path.
Now the negative side of the universe. This unit will suk your batteries dry fast, and if you leave the cord plugged into the input, poof, new batteries will be turned into dead ones faster than Chuck Norris can kick you upside your head. Easy solution, just get a 9 nine volt adapter, which you should have already if you have more than two stomp boxes (call me captain obvious).
I have used many compressors and limiters of the professional variety, Uries etc. in many recording studios. Not to say that this on the same level, but electronics have come a long way over the years, and this device is remarkable for the price. As far as it's ability to withstand the test of time and how rugged it is, I dont know. I havent owned it that long. But it seems practically bullet proof and well made.
To sum all this up, I'm happy with my CS-3, it does what it's supposed to and does it well, and I didn't pay a whole lot for it. Kudos to Boss on this one.
It seems to be well made. Has curb appeal. No problems yet. But I've owned it less than a year. So time will tell
Best compressor I could find for a small price.

(11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great if you know how to use it...

By OFAxeMan

from St. Cloud, MN

See all my reviews

Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

I think a lot of the people who have written bad reviews about this pedal are they type of people who like to turn all the knobs all the way up when they get a new pedal and see what it sounds like. That's great fun, but it's simply something that is NOT going to give you a good sound with this or any other compressor. Unless you plan on using this as a boost/cut of some type, the Level knob should always be near 12 o'clock, otherwise you'll have inconsistent volume with the pedal on and off. The Sustain knob gets VERY noisy when turned past 2 o'clock or so, but that should really be as high as you need it to go anyway, there's plenty of sustain to be found in this pedal without cranking it up all the way (it's just like the Gain/Distortion knob on an amp - why on earth would you turn it all the way to 10 in the first place?). The Tone and Attack knobs can be adjusted to taste, I like a slightly darker tone with my clean parts (which are all I use this pedal for), so I keep the Tone at about 10 o'clock and the Attack at about 11 o'clock.Overall, this is a GREAT pedal for balancing out clean parts. Remember, distortion automatically compresses the signal, and the more distortion there is, the more compression there is. If you're playing with a lot of distortion, you really shouldn't need this pedal for anything other than clean stuff. This isn't going to replace a sustainer system like a Fernandes or anything like that, it's much more subdued, but it does what it does very well.

(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Works For Me

By Strat7

from Ormond By The Sea

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

    My old compressor/sustainer broke, so I replaced it with this one. The compressor/sustainer is the most important pedal on my board. It's the only one I have on all the time. I have it first in my chain followed by octave, vibrato, overdrive, fuzz, wah, phaser, flange, chorus, delay and looper into my Blackstar HR1 tube amp. Today I spent an hour each with my 3 main electrics plugged in to give it a go. My American Standard Strat with hot noiseless single coil pickups, my Godin Icon Classic Type 2 with a Godin humbucker at the neck and a Duncan 59 at the bridge. These can be switched between passive and active through Godin's ingenious revoicer system. And my ESP KH LTD with active EMG humbuckers. I was able to set up the controls on the CS3 so that it worked with all 3 guitars no matter what the pickup configuration is, what other pedals are on or off, or whether I'm playing rhythm or lead. I don't like to diddle with pedal controls if I don't have to. Obviously I might have to do some tweaking as I go along, but this is a start. When I use other effects it's usually just my fuzz for heavy chords and then I'll add overdrive and/or delay for lead. The basic setting I came up with without having too much noise was level and tone in the middle, attack cranked full and sustain at 10 o'clock. I was surprised about being able to crank open the attack mode without having too much pick noise but it works for me. I'm very happy with the pedal after spending 3 hours with it. Sorry for the long winded review. I hope it's helpful, especially for you young guns out there! Keep Rockin!

    (6 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Works better for bass

    By DT-VHhr4

    from Atlanta

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

    So my guitarist purchased this to give him that compressed lead sound that is so sought after. After fiddling with it a lot he decided he did not like it and bought the visual sound compression. This one was just blown away. But why haven't I given it low ratings? Well just for fun I plugged it in my bass rig, and wow, it really improved my sound. I just leave it on all the time during shows and practice. So just make sure you try out other products so you don't purchase something you won't like.

    (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Clean boost

    By Cameron

    from Akron, Ohio

    About Me Professional Musician

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Responsive

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

        I set the sustain to zero and turn the attack and tone all the way up. Really helps bring out the natural growl of single coil pickups and also drives your amp when the level is turned up. Great as a clean boost for leads.

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Long Overdue

        By terrygh

        from Kansas

        About Me Professional Musician

        See all my reviews

        Ask me a question

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Compact Design
        • Enhances Sound
        • Excellent Sound Quality
        • Good Selection Of Effects
        • Responsive
        • Versatile

        Cons

        • None

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Clarification Of Sound
        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

        I do not know why I've never had one of these many years ago, maybe it's because that many years ago we just plugged in to the amp and, played. What a difference this pedal makes in my sound! I'll never go on stage without it. I guess I've never been much of a pedal musician but, this one made me a believer in how much better your sound can be.

        (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great Recording Tool

        By Olliestu

        from Greenville, NC

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

        This pedal works great when creating a rhythmn track; especially when using a very "touch sensitive" amp. Just set your level and bang away. I love it. However, be sure to place it before any kind of mod, reverb or delay in your effects chain.

        (3 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Good, except feedback

        By Matthew Dyck

        from Terrace, B.C.

        Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

        It could possibly be decent with modding or with another setup, but for me it wasn't what I was looking for.
        I bought this pedal (not modded) from my local music store. The control options seem decent, but unfortunately, whenever I adjusted it just enough to get a nice sound, I would get crazy feedback any time I stopped playing even for a fraction of a second.
        Boss pedals are obviously all very durable, but the electronics definitely could be better.
        For such a little difference, it's not quite worth it. Next time, I'll probably get an MXR or something. I of course brought it back and traded for another pedal in the store.

        (2 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Excellent device

        By tkjtkj

        from ma. , usa

        About Me Experienced

        Pros

        • Compact Design
        • Excellent Sound Quality
        • Good Selection Of Effects
        • Responsive
        • Versatile

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

            This compressor/sustainer is perfect.

            To save your time, note that it was very thoroughly reviewd by Scott Grove ( a professional musician of many talents including great teaching ability) on
            YouTube.. Search there for:
            'Compressors for Guitars and Basses' by Scott Grove.
            THe device comes with a low-quality 9v battery that is described as being chosen only for 'testing purposes' .. So, unscrww the front pedal 'nut' and put in a good quality battery.
            The pedal clicks On/Off , and a red LED displays.
            but BOSS says to remove Input plug to prevent drain during storage, so not sure if drainage occurs when LED is 'Off' yet plug remains in the jack ..
            This is the best at what it does.

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Great for clean tone

            By Rick

            from Washington DC

            About Me Professional Musician

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Compact Design
            • Excellent Sound Quality
            • Good Selection Of Effects
            • Responsive
            • Versatile

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                I use the CS-3 (first in chain of effects) to provide me with a clean tone for a JCM 800. I learned about this pedal from a Paul Gilbert Gear Review. The pedal is absolutely amazing and exteremely versatile. A great kept secret for those playing hard rock with a one channel amp.

                (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Don't know about this one..

                By Jimistrat07

                from OHIO

                See all my reviews

                Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                Heres my set up.. Fender Strat > Boss Oc2 > CS3> TS9 > Delay > MXR Boost > Fender Deville. The mxr pedal usually stays on constantly to thicken up my sound and give the TS9 more versatility. I bought the CS3 for the soul purpose of sustain, my signal already sounds thick and i didn't really want to mess with the tone unless i decided to get an EQ pedal. The pedal does give good sustain but depending on where you place it in your effects line and before or after dis/od you may not get the desired sound. I tried various positions and found a decent one. (like mentioned above) Although im not to pleased with its performance with my other pedals. Before i had the compression sustainer, my pedals communicated well and worked with each other but with the CS3 its hard to find the right setting. It doesn't really thicken my tone, but it color's it the slightest bit and doesn't communicate well with my TS9 or MXR pedal. (which are my most used pedals) I'm not to sure i really needed a sustain pedal more than i needed other things so its days on my board may be numbered!Overall, i would say save up for a good compressor (keeley or carl martin) but this will do. It may take a while to find just the right setting but when you do, it'll do.

                (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                why do people complain? i love this thing!

                By Chris O'Brien

                from Idaho

                See all my reviews

                Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                kinda sucks when you crank the sustain and it starts hissing, but i really dont mind cause i dont have it up that much anyway. one oclock is plenty haha. but overall, ill have this thing till the day im too old to pick the thing up. and one more thing people... clean your jacks at least once every one or two weeks so youll get a stronger signal and the pedal will last you longer.
                first of all SEXY, just kidding. no really.
                this was my first boss pedal and i was thinking the worst, but i was totally wrong. when i first plugged it in and dialed it in just right, couldnt be more happy. i grew up with like no money ever, my first effect was a fender starcaster flanger when i was 14, im 21 now and its still in my rig and still going strong. im thinking this compressor will last the rest of my life if i take care of it. (matter of fact its my favorite pedal on my board)
                depends on what your looking for really. i use it for just about everything cause its got a great sonic feel and tone to it that you cant beat. i havent tried keeley, wampler, dyna comp or whatever but im in love with the CS3.

                (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Boss compression pedal

                By Lou

                from Medford Ma

                About Me Novice

                See all my reviews

                Ask me a question

                Pros

                • Excellent Sound Quality
                • Good Selection Of Effects

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                    Works as advertised

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Great for Bass

                    By luke

                    from us

                    About Me Professional Musician

                    See all my reviews

                    Pros

                    • Compact Design
                    • Excellent Sound Quality
                    • Good Selection Of Effects
                    • Responsive
                    • Versatile

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Amateur Recording
                      • Events
                      • Home Studio
                      • Performances
                      • Professional Recording

                      Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                      I have tried the Aphex punch factory(to transparent),Boss bass limiter(it doesn't have a flat eq setting no matter where you set the knobs),Ebs multi comp(it loses to much bottom end), Ebs Billy Sheehan comp&drive(it lacks controls).The CS=3 Boss compressor sounds the best of all them.It has a DBX type feel.I leave it on all the time.It is the sound I was looking for.It may not be the sound for everybody,but it is for me.Not to mention Boss pedals last forever.

                      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      Another great Boss pedal

                      By jlbanzet

                      from Pittsburg, KS

                      See all my reviews

                      Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                      Just a great pedal. Gives you all the compression and sustain you'll ever need. Not only can the compressor tighten your sound, it can also act as a gate, and the sustain will last so long you'll have to tell it to get out of the kitchen and quit eating all the lunch meat. great pedal, low price

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Feel that sustain

                      By Tim-AjXCh

                      from Quincy, MA

                      See all my reviews

                      Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                      Wow! I'm playing a Les Paul which has serious sustain anyway. Throw this baby in the chain, rip a high note, go buy some groceries, it'll still be ringing when you get back. My favorite is to play the intro to the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," and just let those notes hang out all day. Get to know the attack knob and you'll make it sound like a slap in the face, or on the other end of the dial get these cool smokey tones that waft in out of nowhere and just drip like honey. There is higher quality compression out there, for 3 times as much $$$, so unless you're touring with Pink Floyd any time soon, don't worry about it. Like all BOSS products you could hit it with a sledge hammer and then play a gig that night. Love it.

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      amazing

                      By Derek Sheehan

                      from philly

                      Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                      This pedal is phenomenal, im in a shoegaze indie band and we use a lot of effects and this bad boy gives the most incredible tone to a clean or distorted guitar. I wont ever play without it again.But when you have the distortion and this pedal on at the same time you get some serious feedback which can be great if that is what you are going for.

                      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      3.0

                      for live, loud performance

                      By Too old to make up something cool

                      from Houston, TX

                      See all my reviews

                      Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                      If you have good gear and do only studio work, it's unnecessary. This compressor only becomes useful when you play at energetic band volumes. You won't gain any perceivable benefit at practice or studio recording levels (unless you practice at ear-splitting volumes...)

                      (1 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      1.0

                      More Of A Volume Pedal If Anything.

                      By NOYB(None of Your Business)

                      from I Live In A Van Down By The River

                      See all my reviews

                      Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                      This has to be the biggest piece of garbage that Boss makes. This is nothing more than a volume pedal if you want my honest opinion. And it creates more troublesome feedback that you just don't need. If you want a real top of the line compression/sustain pedal go to www.janglebox.comThis is a boutique for compression/sustain pedal freaks. Listen to the sound clips there. Yes, it is a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for. This is not your run of the mill mass production manufacturer. They only build 10 of them at a time and it takes a minimum of 3 weeks to receive one. A real "kitchen table" operation so to speak. I got one and it makes my Ric 360/12VP and my Martin D-12-28 sing/ring and chime like you wouldn't believe. This stomp box is a 12 string guitars best friend. I don't perform or leave home without mine. Roger McGuinn uses this pedal on his Ric 370/12RM and likes it more than his onboard compression/sustain on his Ric. So do yourself a big favor and by pass this garbage. You'll be happy you did. I rest my case.

                      (1 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      1.0

                      hated it

                      By Marshall-Wc4cv

                      from SC

                      See all my reviews

                      Comments about Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer Pedal:

                      dude, don't get this pedal. it sucks! all it did was buzz and killed the sound. if you want a good compressor get a digitech or a dunlop.

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