QUALITY: Heavy, extemely solid build, all made of metal. All knobs have nice resistance to them, nothing is wobbly. Buttons work great too. The VU meter is great, has back light. This thing is built like a tank! It's one of hardware pieces that you know will last for decades.
SOUND: It's ultimate tone colouring box! The harmonic distortion it imparts on the audio signal, makes it pop out and stay upfront / in your face. It's subtle effect, but definitely heard rather than just felt. It instantly brings your tracks to the front of the mix. Like with all audio equipment, while it may not always be great for all types of audio signal, to my surprise, running it in bypass (comp mix knob at 0%) instantly added analog feel even to tracks that don't sound good with 1176 comp. Once you add peak reduction, this box starts to bite. The mix knob is amazing to decide whether you want the full colour, or just analog goodness by running it via input and output stages without compression circuit.
IN USE: I found it incredible on female vocals (instant sound of a record), guitars (behind vocal yet very forward and present). Of course, its peak reduction capacity is unmatched for tracking - usually 2-3dB of reduction is all you need, and it does add plenty of character already. Go further to 5dB reduction, and it sharpens the signal like a distortion/saturation box.
REMARKS: Does not compare to any blue face plugins, beats them all by a mile mostly in the compressor action. It's set to have higher / more sensitive input, so it's good idea first run signal through a gear with output attenuation such as preamp, for more control over the compression threshold.
OVERALL: Highly recommended. One of the most obvious upgrades over plugins