ampeg portaflex pf500 compression, how do you use it? serious

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by solitario, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. solitario


    Oct 13, 2011
    Hi, It can sound stupid beeing just a one knob control but I dont know if I should adjust it so the led only blinks with louder notes or blinking all the time. I like it better when only blinks with peaks but I dont know if this is the best way to use this compressor because I feel it is so subtle that is hard to feel it when it's on.

    btw, is it a real compressor? all compressor I have seen before had gain, attack, threshold... and most compresssor I have tried make you feel a more volume and sound acts more like e tube amp... to me the pf500 compressor is more a limiter than a compresor, I dont get a more tube kind of sound or more volume... what do you think?
  2. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    I set the compressor at noon, and then run the gain up until the red light flashes on my hardest hits. I dont back the gain down after that though.

    I do not think the compressor adds a lot of color, which IMHO is a good thing. I am not using it to color my sound. If you set it up high, play, and then turn it off you will notice a difference in your dynamics.
  3. It's a simple compressor.
    IME, it sounds like it just get rid of the peaks of the signal. I usually slap the G string and add the compressor until I get rid of the harshness or brittle sound. I usually end up around 10 o'clock.

    I use to have a dbx 266xl dual compressor with a gate, threshold, attack, release knobs but it just sucked the tone from my bass.

    I do have an Eden Navigator Pre with a dbx style 2 knob compressor. I like using this one compared to others.
  4. gsusmood


    Apr 18, 2012
    I tried but feel like not my kind of compressor. I run a DOD pedal front of the amp. there is A LOT of difference.
  5. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    I liked running my comp 10-12 o'clock and gain 1-3 o'clock on my amp for a nice mix of headroom and squish. When used in tandem, I got a really nice "tubey" feel that really did sound quite like my B-15 running hard. It also helped with a perceived increase in headroom by reducing output peaks the limiter sees.
  6. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    This is pretty much exactly how I run mine. I have a fairly hot bass, so when I really dig in, it gives just the right amount of squish.
  7. Jerryr63


    Feb 10, 2010
    A PF350 would have severed my power needs but one of the reasons I got the PF500 was the compressor.... also the blend on the effects loop and mid control.

    I have several compressors pedals and always use a compressor with a soldstate amp. They add the main characterisitic of a tube amp which is the compression you get as you approach clipping. It's natual in the transfer function of a tube amp. It also allows you to push a little harder before peaks clip the amp.

    I have a BBE Opto-Stomp that I really like and use with my backup amp know. It's an optical compressor and very transparent.

    Having said that, I love the compressor in the PF500. It's very much like the BBE. I've usually got it around 12 oclock and the gain at around 1 oclock with my P-Basses. Sometimes a little more gain but I have a Fulltone Bass drive that I put in the effects loop and blend in very conservatively. I use it for a little grind and occasional distortion.
  8. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    That's about how I run mine as well. I don't think I've used it in about a year, but those are the settings I remember at least ;)
  9. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    I run the compressor at 9:00... I used to keep it at 10:00, but I found that to be a little too much squish for me at times. My gain is around 1:00 with a dimarzio split-p pickup.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Use your ears, not the lights. I swear, they ought to just yank those lights off of all amps. Too many people concentrate way too much on making the lights happy and not their ears.
  11. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I use it to varying degrees and like it very much. I usually start the night around 11-12 and end up backing it off as the night goes on.
  12. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    There isn't a right or wrong way to use the compression.

    How you set it will depend on your playing style. If you are hitting the strings aggressively, you might want more compression to cut the peaks.

    How you set it will also depend on how loud the amp is turned up. An amp will compress more as it is pushed harder. At lower levels, the amp won't compress so you can use the compressor to more affect.

    Sometimes compression can be used to even out a bass. If you have a string or certain fret positions that are louder than the others, compression can hep even that out. Some people will compensate for that by playing that string or notes differently instead of using compression.

    Bottom line, there is no one setting that works for all songs. Unless you are playing something like metal where everything is pushed to the limit and compressed like crazy. For most songs, adjust the compression by ear to attain dynamics that you like. Leave it like that.

    Just try not to become a knob twirler. :p
  13. poit57


    Apr 30, 2010
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I'm not sure how I have my compressor set on mine. I'm running through two 4x10 cabs that is very loud for the church setting I play in, so I only have my master volume set between 1 and 2 (dial settings, not clock settings). At that volume level, I have not been able to tell the difference between the min and max levels of the compressor.

    I don't know if I'm just not playing loud enough to tell the difference or if I just don't know what I'm listening for.
  14. El Tookay

    El Tookay Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2008