mxr m87 bass compressor query
I have a quick question though it may sound obvious. For the compressor to actually compress my sound, will my amplifier need to have a gain knob aside from just a volume/master volume knob? I don't get the LED lights to light up every time I hit a note even at low ratios. But every time I plug it in, LEDs seem to work. Also output and input works just fine. But I don't really seem to get a compression sound. I just want to make sure my compressor works. thanks!
The compressor acts completely independently of the amp. Not only does it compress without the amp, but it (along with almost all other compressors) includes its own gain stage to bring the signal back up to unity.
This problem with the LEDs not lighting up comes up pretty often. Sometimes it is just a matter of having a low-output bass; sometimes it is a matter of misplaced expectations about the sound or response; sometimes the M87 is defective. I'd give each of those an equal 1/3 probability.
To rule out the first one, do you have any pedal that can provide boost--an EQ, preamp, drive, or anything with gain like that? Put it between the bass and the M87 as a test.
To rule out the second, turn up your amp's input until playing strong low notes causes it to clip noticeably. Then set up the M87 as a limiter, and see if it stops the clipping.
Be sure to read the FAQ linked in my sig.
What bass do you have?
I have an M87 too, and I experienced the same with my passive bass, where I would play with the volume on the bass set quite low. I thought the pedal was borked.
But with an active bass the compressor always kicked in. But if I turned up the volume on the passive bass higher all worked as expected. Seems simple, but when you play with the same volume nearly all the time then it can catch you.
And don't forget to adjust the Input knob so that you get some lights up.
My Overwater Tanglewood Classic J is passive and I have the Input almost all the way up, but there is a difference between the P and J pickups. My Yamaha BB425x is also passive but the pickups are hotter so the Input knob can turn down.
Also....I think I see what you are saying. If I'm reading right you (the op), are not "hearing" the compressor. The MXR is very clean and hardly adds any color to your sound.
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