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Adding a compressor for the first time...

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by (hed)-less, Nov 13, 2006.


  1. I've just bought my first compressor, I went for an Alesis 3630 as I figure If I want something better later on I always can replace it...

    Anyway, my bass head already includes a compressor nob on it - but despite this I felt I wanted an outboard one for more control and also because I wanted a gate too. The head I have is a SWR 4004. The compressor built in is only a single nob. I was wondering, is it over kill to have both the Alesis and the SWR heads compressor running both at the same time? Or is it a matter of preference?

    Should I have the Alesis set up connected to my effects loop? And if so should I blend it like any other effect or have it completely turned up - or is this again preference?

    It says in the manuel for the compressor on my head that it is there to prevent pre amp clipping and damaging the head. Does this mean it is there purely in that capacity and I should leave it on even when my Alesis working? Or is two compressors working simultaneously bad? Could the Alesis perform the same task of protecting the head from damage?

    Cheers in advance to any one who offers me help :) :bassist:
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It's mostly a matter of preference. There are positive and negative aspects of using two comps in series, so it's basically up to you (and your bandmates/sound person/etc.) to find the settings that work/sound best for you. The Alesis CAN be set as a limiter (good for speaker protection), so it pretty much makes the one on your SWR redundant. But no harm will result. The worst-case results would be your sound and dynamics could sound artificial and flat, with extra noise.
     
  3. ah i understand, so i suppose just experiment with both and see if i actually in fact need them both? so I can happily use just the alesis and not worry about damage to the head? good to know :D

    only thing I am not sure about now is - do I put the alesis in the effects loop - or before the head, between the bass and the amps input?
     
  4. NKUSigEp

    NKUSigEp

    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    I've owned 2 WM4004's and have done quite a bit of research trying to find what sounded best. The head is actually equipped with a limiter, not a compressor. It will help protect your speakers but my guess is that you're not running everything fully clockwise. IMO, the limiter didn't sound too great and actually made my tone muddy when it was working, so it stayed off the whole time.

    So I opted for an outboard compressor myself (Behringer Autocom). The compressor sounded MUCH better and brought out a lot of punch and clarity that wasn't there before. With the autocom, I just followed some of the guidelines in the manual and turned the output up a bit to give the power amp section more to work with. I played rock & metal and on the amp, had my settings at:
    Gain - about 3/4 of the way up
    Aural Enahncer - a little more than half
    bass - 3/4 of the way up
    lo mid - just a little above the bass
    mid - about 1/4 below 0
    hi mid - a little above the mid
    treble - about 1/4 above 0
    add volume to taste

    With the compressor in the FX loop, you'll want to set the threshold and gates to light up when you're just barely hitting the string, then set attack really low, release at around .5 seconds, and comp (or rate) at around 4:1.

    This worked pretty well for me. And as with every piece of music equipment, it's all subjective. Play around with it and find what sounds best for your ears.

    I spent 7 years trying to find more "growl" and punch and then figured out one day that it's not really the bass, it's not really the amp or overdrive or whatever else even though these all have an effect on it. But it's mainly in the EQ-ing. If you want to bring out more "growl" and punch in your bass, raise the lower mid frequencies between 200Hz to about 450Hz (ballpark figures).

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. wow...that was incredibly helpful! especially as you also own the same head so you were able to give examples of settings that worked for you...thanks so much!
     

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