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MayFly Flat Earth Review

MayFly Flat Earth Review

A vintage-style compressor that combines relative silence and squish.

Great sounding vintage compression. Easy to use. Lower noise floor.

Many modern comps have more options.

$199

MayFly Audio Flat Earth
mayflyaudio.com

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Traditionally, comps that come out of the Ross/DynaComp school offer three things: simple controls, that signature squish, and a bit of noise. Although the Flat Earth definitely feels like part of this lineage, it’s relatively quiet. That’s partly thanks to a circuit that uses a LM13700 chip inside the feedback loop. A small, but significant, design choice that makes a world of difference.


Designer Trevor May also believes that compressors usually have too many controls. And the May Fly certainly keeps things simple. There are level and sustain knobs, just as you’d see on many basic comps, but May adds an attack control giving players the option to lend notes a bit more or less definition when picking. My first experience with Ross/Dyna Comp-style compressors came by way of approximating the clean arpeggio tones that appeared in so many ’80s power ballads. And it was great to have access to that feeling as I cranked the sustain. Plugging in a Les Paul and adding some dirt via a Jackson Audio Optimist, I was able to get a smoother sound while still preserving that balance of touch, squish and sustain. Overall, the Flat Earth is a dynamite option for players who need vintage-style tones with a no-brainer setup and that would love a lower noise floor for extra gain pedals.

MayFly Flat Earth

MayFly Audio
$199

With two channels of 100% valve versatility, selectable output wattage, and footswitchable attenuator.

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Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.

$699

Martin 0-X2E
martinguitar.com

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Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

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Mdou Moctar has led his Tuareg crew around the world, but their hometown performances in Agadez, Niger, last year were their most treasured.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On the Tuareg band’s Funeral for Justice, they light a fiery, mournful pyre of razor-sharp desert-blues riffs and political calls to arms.

Mdou Moctar, the performing moniker of Tuareg guitar icon Mahamadou “Mdou” Souleymane, has played some pretty big gigs. Alongside guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and bassist Mikey Coltun, Moctar has led his band’s kinetic blend of rock, psych, and Tuareg cultural traditions like assouf and takamba to Newport Folk Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and, just this past April, to the luxe fields of Indio, California, for Coachella. Off-kilter indie-rock darlings Parquet Courts brought them across the United States in 2022, after which they hit Europe for a run of headline dates.

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