1590A Compressor Decision - Please help!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by jcerio, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    I really could use some advice. Due to back problems (and age) I've lightened up and downsized all of my gear, including my pedal board. I'm currently using all 1590a effects, and I'm very happy with everything I've found so far from Mooer and One control. I did try an Aroma (Tom'sline Engineering) ABL-3 Bass Limiter and I'm really not as happy with it as I was with my old BBE Opto Stomp. The threshold and attack knobs on the ABL-3 are very finicky and the jacks are starting to loosen up. That's what you get for buying a $20 pedal I guess. I had the original BBE Opto Stomp with the Blue LED and true-bypass switching and it ruled. No loss of bottom end, nice and smooth, very transparent. I never had any of the clicking reported by @bongomania either. It was my only always-on pedal. I'm looking for something to replace the BBE in a 1590A format. Any suggestions? There seem to be some good choices, but I'm having trouble deciding. I'd like something simple and I don't want to spend an arm and a leg. I think my budget could be up to $150 USD. Here is what I'm looking at so far:

    TC Spectracomp - the volume control thing kind of bugs me. In every demo I've seen it seems to make everything louder. That'snot what I'm after. I'd love to know if there is a TonePrint that's comparable to my old BBE.

    XVive B1 Bass Squeezer - the demos look ok. Not sure how transparent it is.

    Xotic SP - I like the demo of this one. Love the blend control.

    Broughton Monocle - Can't seem to find any online demos or pricing information anywhere. But it seems to be reviewed vary favorably here on Talkbass.

    One Control Lemon Yellow Compressor - they claim that it can be used on bass, but I can't seem to find an online demo.

    Any other ideas?
  2. Broughton Monocle is the one you want. Contact @Azure Skies to order. It is one of the best comps I've ever tried.

    Also, I'm sure you already knew this but online demos are basically useless when it comes to comps. You are far better off speaking with people that have used the devices than watching anything on YouTube about them. It is just the nature of the beast.
  3. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 15, 2003
    I think you have all of them covered besides the Fairfield Accountant, which I love but is not the most transparent compressor - it's a little dirty/crunchy and some settings add noise. Of the ones you listed, the Broughton gets great reviews but I don't know it firsthand; I'll say the Xotic SP is very nice though, pretty transparent, obviously blendable, and has internal switches that adjust the attack/release envelope.
  4. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    Does anyone know.... Is the Aroma limiter a knockoff of a Boss LM-2B?
  5. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    I've asked @Azure Skies for a quote. I'm going to pull the trigger as soon as he sends me the Paypal invoice.
    Johno Dunn, DirtyDuke and blindrabbit like this.
  6. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    I've never used the LMB-3. I have the ABL-3 and it's OK. The controls are really sensitive - it seems to go from nothing to squash really quickly about 2/3 of the way up on both the threshold and attack knobs. It's built like a tank but I've only had it about 5 months and it's exclusively been on my pedalboard and the output jack has already loosened up to the point that the cord pop out while playing. It doesn't have an enhance or ratio control. Just volume, attack, and threshold.
  7. You'll be very happy, I guarantee it. :)
  8. Dominic D

    Dominic D DiCosimo Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Winter Park, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    If you like the Opto Stomp, I highly recommend the Madbean Afterlife. It has that same subtle sound and feel but is capable of squishing a bit harder than the BBE. It also seems to be bit more transparent. It's a diy project, but there are a handful of builder here that would be able to help you.

    Madbean Afterlife
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I have the One Control Yellow on deck for testing. It's equivalent to the Aroma, is all I can say here.

    Huge +1 to the Madbean and a couple of other DIY options, which seem to me to be some of the best values in micro comps currently. Broughton still hasn't sent me one of his for testing. I love the Accountant, but as mentioned it is not the cleanest sounding design. The Xotic may be one of the best micro options for a clean simple sound ready to buy from a normal retailer.
    EfEmDee and Dominic DeCosa like this.
  10. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    Just pulled the trigger on a Broughton Monocle. I'll review it in about 3 weeks or so until it arrives. Until then I've got some duct tape holding the cable into the output of my limiter just in case!
    blindrabbit likes this.
  11. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    @bongomania can you give me some guideline on reviewing compressors so i can do as thorough of a job as possible on NPD?
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    First thing, be skeptical of anything the manufacturer tells you about how unique or special their pedal is, because they will say all kinds of nonsense. Generally speaking, in most cases, we are looking at a Honda Civic with a custom paint job, where the seller touts it as the latest from Lamborghini.

    Next, test with headphones, not an amp, and use the most transparent and high-headroom listening system you can. The idea is to hear only the compression and tonal effects of the pedal by itself.

    Use a wide range of inputs: guitar, bass, high output, low output; with a wide range of playing techniques. Most compressors have a range where they work OK, and sound about the same in that range, so you discover the more interesting stuff by pushing them outside that range.

    Remember that dynamic volume changes can dramatically impact how we hear the relative strength of highs and lows, and we can be fooled by peaks in the low mids or high mids, so our ears can easily mislead us when it comes to actual frequency response.

    Lastly, spend ten years studying and comparing compressors.... ;)
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
  13. jcerio


    Jul 27, 2006
    Syracuse, NY
    @bongomania that's why I love your site. I can take what I hear and compare to your reviews and educate myself. Folks like have really helped me determine what sounds best to me. Hats off to you!

    BTW, I'm going to send my Aroma ABL-3 to you once I get my Monocle.
  14. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    the Wampler Ego Mini is out of your range (it's a pretty recent release, not many used yet) but worth mentioning in this thread, the full size version is a really solid comp based on my 15 minutes with it, I'm sure the mini follows suit
    the_Ryan likes this.
  15. DirtyDuke

    DirtyDuke Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2012
    guelph ontario
    Partner Southampton Pedals, Partner CCP
  16. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    i love the Fairfield accountant, and IMO, the Pigtronix Philospher's Tone micro is also a very nice 1590A comp.
    Sam N likes this.
  17. EfEmDee


    Oct 19, 2012
    SE Wisconsin
    I run the Xotic SP Comp on my PT Nano, and it replaced an old-school BBE OptoStomp. I dig it both for the subtle compression/blend, AND the fact that it can do a clean signal boost well enough to drive a touch-sensative dirt pedal that would otherwise be flat with a passive bass.
  18. seedokebass


    Mar 21, 2009
    Lack of the enhance control is no worry to me, and I didn't even notice the lack of a ratio control when I looked it up yesterday. If the ratio is set similarly to the LM-2B I could get into that...