There has been a lot of chit-chat on the Phish-related interwebs about a little piece of equipment called a Ross Compressor. Put simply, Trey didn't use this pedal in his rig post hiatus, and people noticed.
Enough people noticed to warrant some 499 threads on Phantasy Tour. Then Tom Marshall asked Trey about it, and the boys over at Relix got wind of the whole thing and wrote a piece about it.
Pauly asked me to explain simply what this whole thing is about. The best way I can simply explain it is the "compressed Trey tone" means a guitar tone that is "clean", rather than a guitar tone that is "dirty", or distorted.
Broadly speaking, think about it this way:
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock = Distorted Tones
Jazz Guitar = Clean Tones
Stating the obvious, Trey plays with a wide variety of tones- nearly every song has a little bit different variation of guitar tones at some point. Ever watch Trey mess with the knobs on his guitar while he is playing? Ever see him stomping around on pedals? He is playing with the tone, trying to get the right sound. But to some phan's ears, the compressor makes a difference everywhere, no matter what he is playing.
Without the Ross Compressor, its easier to get to That Place. That Place in your soul? No. That Place is the Oxy Jams. The grungy dirty oxy jams where the guitar is distorted and we can't tell what notes Trey is playing. He could really do it either way, but without the compressor there is a dirtier, crunchier sound.
Even more interesting, on Trey's web site you can mouse over his rig and understand what equipment he uses. Pretty cool.
Where do I stand on this issue? I really could care less about a stupid compressor. I am happier with the fact that they are gonna tour again and hope that Trey is practicing. There are a lot of variables that go into Trey's playing...I think Trey should do whatever he wants and make the guitar sound the way he wants it to. Happy Trey = Good Phish shows. I don't tell God how to cook.