I just picked one of these up...the dials have no numbers and I am looking to know what ratios I am using for my settings.
When I slap my bass I see my amp clipping...would this pedal help me prevent that? how should I set it?
Anyone happen to have this pedal and share what settings they enjoy?
Get your bass tone controls set and then don't touch them. Changing EQ (especially lows) at the bass can change your signal strength. If you change your signal strength you have to change your compressor settings to match. You don't have time to futz with that between songs, especially since setting the compressor involves playing and listening. You don't want the audience to have to listen to that in the middle of a set.
Set the preamp on your amp until it just stops clipping at your highest notes.
If your amp has a builtin compressor turn it on now, it will act as a limiter to protect the preamp. Or not, your mileage may vary.
Put the Compressore in the effects loop of your amp, before any other effects.
Start with the threshold, ratio, attack and release at "noon", and adjust the gain until the compression light comes on intermittently when you play kind of hard. Then adjust the threshold, ratio, attack, release to taste.
Threshold is how much signal strength is needed to trigger compression. A lower threshold will cause compression to happen at a lower signal strength.
Ratio is how much compression is applied when it does kick in. A low ratio will tame the loudest parts while still allowing some volume dynamics to come through. A high ratio will flatten all the loudness so it sounds "squashed", like a robot keyboard thing.
Attack is how fast the compressor clamps down on the note. Low attack takes away most of the initial peak volume of the note, high attack allows more of the initial peak to get through before the compressor kicks in.
Release is how long the compressor holds onto the note before releasing it. High release gives you more sustain.
Output volume is just that, how hot it is going back into the amp.
Best thing to do is get everything set and leave it alone, adjusting volume only with the master volume at the amp, or a volume pedal in the effects chain after the compressor.
At least, that's the way I do it.
I don't agree with Mike about putting it in your amps effects loop, but YMMV.
He has the workings on the comp pretty well dialed, though. Were I you I would try a low threshold and a low ratio, so that most of your playing is compressed, but not excessively so.
It is a subtle effect and can be hard to dial in because of it, but the Markbass does sound great.
Read the Ovnilab.com site. It will do a better job explaining than I can.
The preamp doesn't need protection, it will not be harmed by your bass signal spikes. Plus, the comp built in to most amps is not at the very beginning of the input section, so it won't necessarily even prevent distortion. It depends on the how any one specific preamp is designed, where the gain stages are, where the low-headroom stages are.
Generally, the comps built into amps tend to suck. There are exceptions certainly, but unless you have one of those exceptions, I would not recommend using them as a general thing. Even among the ones that don't suck, they tend to have a low ratio, so you have to set them to a bad, tone-squashing setting in order to limit big peaks. Consequently they are a poor choice for stacking with any other compressor. Recipe for bad tone and zero dynamics.
There's an article in the FAQ linked in my sig that explains "good settings" for a comp.
Also, while the Markbass will do equally well either in front of the amp or in the effects loop, most other pedals will not. Most other pedals only belong in front of the amp, not in the loop. Depends on the specific pedals and the specific loop though.
bongomania thanks for the correction, I like to learn.
May I ask a couple more questions?
How bad/good is the builtin comp in an Eden WT550 head?
What is special about the Compressore that it works well in the effects loop?
The Eden one is OK for general smoothing-out of the signal. The quality is good, but it only has the one knob, for more or less--which doesn't help us set it up for different sorts of compression like limiting peaks without squashing everything else.
The reason the MB works in or out of the loop is because it has such a wide range of adjustability of the input level. Most pedals don't have that type or amount of input control.
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