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Markbass vs DBX compressor

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by madmortar, Aug 26, 2011.


  1. madmortar

    madmortar

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Hey,
    I have a warwick proline and really am looking for that 'dirk lance' tone. I know he uses a high end demeter compressor. I wanted to add a compressor to my sound and im between two:

    DBX 160a
    or
    Markbass compressor pedal

    Which would you go for? Any other ones out there that will help me get that tone im looking for?
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    PDX, OR
    Disclosures:
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Demeter's compressors are optical, so you would be best off getting an optical comp. Demeter's rack compressor contains a tube gain stage, so you might look for that as well.

    dbx does not make optical comps, they sound/act noticeably different from optos, and their one tube-containing model is known to be crappy.

    The Markbass is not optical either, however it does share a good bit of that flavor and action. It's not the "tubiest" sounding comp out there, but it is warm and smooth and very nice.

    I could recommend others, but what's your budget? And can you post a link to an audio/video clip where we can hear the "dirk lance" tone?
     
  3. chessrocks

    chessrocks

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    If you don't mind messing around with a rackmount unit, then I would go with the dbx in a heartbeat over that cute, gimmicky markbass toy with the glowy tube in it.
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
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    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Joking or trolling?
     
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  6. chessrocks

    chessrocks

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    I'd say 30% joking, 10% trolling, and 60% neither.

    The 160a is a pretty damn useful comp, and it's hard for me to take the Markbass seriously. It sounds pretty good for what it is, but I'm not taking one of those things to battle if I have my choice between it and a 160-anything.

    Unless it's for ergonomic reasons (not wanting to damage or lug around a more valuable piece of equipment to a gig). I realize you're the resident "compressor God" around here, so forgive the blasphemy (and that's 90% joking, 0% trolling by the way). :D
     
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Well, certainly we can disagree in friendly terms about subjective things like tone or other personal preferences; but when you say "sounds pretty good for what it is", that makes it abundantly clear to me you don't know what it is.
     
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Oct 17, 2005
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    ...And dbx is nothing special, by any standard. Yes there are a lot of them out there, and they are generally reliable, but the same can be said of Honda Accords. Decent reliable transportation, but not the first choice of anybody who actually likes cars.
     
  9. chessrocks

    chessrocks

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    ... I know exactly what it is: A nice little tube compressor marketed primarily for bass; somewhat sluggish-sounding but doesn't lack for controls and does the job fairly well for the price (it is, after all, a pedal with no metering, etc). But ultimately not as versatile and useful to me, personally, as something like the 160.

    Wait. I got it. You're one of those guys who has a problem when someone doesn't agree with him, aren't you? How original. I haven't met anyone like that on the internets yet. :D
     
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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  11. chessrocks

    chessrocks

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    I'll take that as a nod of agreement, and a confirmation.
     
  12. Aaron_D

    Aaron_D

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    Weird to hear bongo trashing dbx. I bought two dbx160's based on your reviews.
     
  13. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    Unfortunately the "Dirk Lance tone" comes from his Warwicks and running 3 Eden amps that each accentuate the lows, low mids, and high mids respectively. But if you wanna try....

    He uses the Demeter HXC-1, which doesn't even come cheap used. IMO neither the Markbass or dbx 160a come close to the Demeter, but the dbx 160XL might get you in the ballpark.

    Dirk Lance's tone: Incubus - Nice to know you (live on letterman) - YouTube and Incubus - Vitamin - YouTube
     
  14. KwinS

    KwinS Supporting Member

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    That's funny, because I did, too. I couldn't be happier, either. They do exactly what I wanted them to do. Never felt the need to try any others after I got them set the way I wanted them.
     
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Keep it up. :rollno:

    1) I always make it clear that I am happy for people to disagree with me about subjective things. I did so in this thread. So the cheap jab about "can't stand disagreement, typical internet" was way out of line.

    2) The Markbass pedal has metering.

    3) "Sluggish"? No. I'll grant that the word "sluggish" is a subjective perception, but I do strongly disagree.

    4) It is made exactly as well as any dbx unit. I've heard of maybe three Compressores with problems, but of the 10 or 11 dbx units I've owned, all but one had issues of some kind. dbx's mid-priced unts are certainly better-made than Behringer, but not better made than the Markbass, the "glowy toy".

    To b absolutely clear, I have no relationship or agreement with Markbass. I do have a pretty strict relationship with the truth.
     
  16. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    I only said what I said here, the way I said it, to knock the hot air out of the idea that dbx units are somehow "so much better quality".

    My intention wasn't to trash dbx per se, but to point out their clay feet--especially since the Markbass was being called a toy by comparison.
     
  17. Tractorr

    Tractorr Supporting Member

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    I have a lot of experience with the 160A (I worked daily for a year in a vocal booth studio with the 160A as my only hardware comp), and while this is a pretty good all around comp for the price, it is not great.

    I have not tried the Markbass, but I would not be surprised to find that it was better on bass than the 160A because it was designed with bass in mind. Also, even if the 160 is slightly better you probably would not notice the difference in a live setting. If you go into the studio they will most likely have a better comp for you to use if they are recording full bands.
     
  18. Tractorr

    Tractorr Supporting Member

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    One more thing, depending on what sort of amp you have sometimes you may want a compressor pedal before your preamp and sometimes you want a comp in your effects loop.
     
  19. chessrocks

    chessrocks

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    dbx 160 family comps are kind of like the SM-57 microphone of compressors. And like the 57, they always work real well on the snare drum. Just something about it always seems to work for drums and really just anything percussive.

    If your style is percussive; maybe you delve in to some slapping and popping or just have a percussive nature to how you play. The 160 (mostly the 160a and 160x) is just a good and reliable compressor for that sort of thing.

    They have sort of a "grab" to them that I can't quite describe. In general, dbx seems to know how to take a simple VCA and get the most out of it. Probably because they're the ones who crank out like 90% of all the VCA's in existence.

    That said, my personal favorite in that general vein ... is Valley People, and specifically either the Dynamite or the Gain Brain. To my ears, VP sort of out-did dbx in the whole arena of bombastically percussive-sounding, reasonable-priced compressors and VCAs. I've always been a fan of cheaper compressors when it comes to aggressive sonic slamming and squashing. I realize they're probably not even in production, but you find them on ebay all the time, and they're exceptionally well-built.
     
  20. Aaron_D

    Aaron_D

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    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    and then you compared it to behringer and i almost punched by monitor...lol
     
  21. chessrocks

    chessrocks

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    I don't know if it's still this way, but the Behringer Multicoms used to be a reverse-engineering of the Demeter compressors, from what I can gather. And they were actually quite good. There may have been a lawsuit since then that required them to change a few things with them, but for the most part, Behringer compressors are far from unusable (possibly even "good"), provided they last you longer than a year before something on them gives out. :D
     

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