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Aphex Punch Factory for Upright?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Jason Hollar, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Hey, I've been thinking about adding a compressor to my rig to "smooth" out my amplified sound and make some "uneven" notes sound more balanced. -- My D string is nearly twice as loud as my E string, with the G & A strings somewhere in between!

    I've read some decent reviews about the relatively inexpensive ($130) Aphex DI/Compressor pedal. Looks like it has a 10M Ohm passive input that might match well with piezo pickups and also doubles as DI to the sound board.

    Anyone have experience with this particular unit or with other "upscale" compressor pedals (t.c. electronics, EBS, Carl Martin, etc.) for upright?

    I'd also like to use it with my electric bass too...but I'm mostly interested in what my fellow dog house players think about this. Thanks!!!
  2. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    This is just a idea, since I am pretty much a novice using a compressor. I had a MXR at one time ( I realize that this was a pretty
    primitive device compared to the newer one's) and with the compression
    on it did even out things, but it sounded processed to my ears.
    My suggestion, visit your luthier and have him really check your bass over, sometimes just adjusting the sound post a millimeter can produce dramatically different results. If you have a open seam somewhere leaking air, that's also gonna change your instrument's sound production. It could also be something more serious, but hopefully it's a simple post adjustment.
    Many instruments do have dead spots, but if you hang out at a really good bass repair shop, you get to hear repairmen work miracles on a daily basis.
    When we did a trio recording two years ago, the engineer who had very
    good ears did use some compression to even out the overall sound of things, but he used it very sparingly, and since he was sitting at the board
    he could apply the processing in a very subtile way.

    Good Luck

  3. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Thanks Ric.

    I always enjoy your thoughtful and thorough posts and observations.

    Yes, my bass is in need of some work. However, I've had quite a bit done to it over the past few years and it always seems to end up right around the same place tone, volume, and playability-wise.

    I do have a rather inexpensive instrument. I am saving my pennies for a nice American Standard-type instrument, but I'm still a few thousand bucks away.

    I've been curious about compressors for a while since I've always had good luck with them in studio situations. Just never made the jump to get one and try it with my bass rig. I had an old Boss Compression Sustainer for use with my guitar rig years ago -- and remember finding it an invaluable piece of the puzzle. In fact, it was one of those FX pedals that never got turned off...unlike the chorus/delay/distortion pedals!

    Just hoping to hear from any DB players that currently use a compressor and what they think about them and if they like any in particular.

    I think that Punch Factory box has some groovy features that could be quite handy for my "doubling" gigs. Just wondered if anyone used this one in particular for upright. It is a rather ugly orange -- which may turn off certain purists to begin with!!!

    Thanks again!
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    Yeah, I hear you Jason. My French bass is a factory built Mirecourt and it has it's little quirks to. The A string (when it's been adjusted and setup) usually overpowers the E slightly, until fall arrives (my favorite bass season ) and then the instrument just sings until early spring when it always looses that quality for several months. So it would be really nice to have a "little magic box" to compensate for that. If you find one, let me know.

  5. I've used various compressors on bass - probably the best I've had was a little old dbx 163x, a half width unit that had one fader on the front. I found it was excellent at transparently controlling bass dynamics, or providing creamy sustain at more extreme settings.
    I haven't had a chance to try the Aphex, but they make nice gear. Another brand I've used successfully in recording & PA rigs is PreSonus - check out their Blue Max and Comp16:
  6. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Thanks TR --

    I overlooked the Presonus stuff in my search -- I've been mainly looking at pedals. Although I have also been thinking about the DBX 160A...I do have one more space in my rack...

    So far in my search the Demeter pedal seems to have the most consistently high reviews...followed by some above average remarks on the EBS and Keely compressors.

    The Aphex got great reviews on sound, but poor marks on construction -- which concerns me since I gig a lot.

    It's been fun surfing around though...haven't paid much attention to the whole effects thing in the last few years...been working on stuff like Giant Steps and Cherokee...but wait, that's another Forum!

    Keep the good suggestions coming.
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Man, I'd love to have one of them! They were absolutely great. Simple, musical and quiet. That was the first compressor working stiffs could get that was studio worthy and inexpensive. All those other stompbox compressors were noisy squasher pedals more suited for electric guitar. The 163x sounded great on everything. I have a friend who swears by his for cutting vocals.
  8. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Man, The Demeter Compulator (Comp-1) is looking like a fine choice...found a place online that sells them for $189 shipped. Too bad it doesn't have a DI...

    Plus, they've recieved excellent ratings on harmony central.

    Anybody try one of these bad boyz???
  9. You might want to consider a Fishman Pro Platinum EQ Bass preamp. This is a small preamp that includes compression and EQ'ing specifically for bass. One cool thing about the compresion is that the lowest and highest bands of the the five-band eq are not effected by the compresor, so the critical bass and treble are allowed to breathe freely while the mids get the compression. The box also has a bass roll-off control to eliminate subsonic frequencies and DI.

    You can get one for around $170. The user manual can be downloaded from the Fishman Web site.

  10. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Funny, I tried one of these a few months ago -- when I had my Full Circle installed. I thought (because of all the marketing hype) I would have liked this combination -- but I found the Pro Platinum's EQ a little limiting with the Full Circle.

    However, now that I think of it -- I have not tried the Pro Platinum with my Barbera transducer...because that was a recent addition.

    I did like the compressor very much...thought it was groovy how it tightened up the sound a bit without too much squash. And of course, it does have a built-in DI which would come in handy.

    Have you used your Pro Platinum with any electric basses as well???

    Thanks -- I'll have to borrow it from my student again and give it another spin!!!
  11. I'm not a slab player so, no.
  12. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I remember it being kind of noisy with my rig -- which is why I probably dismissed it from my current search. Some reviews of the product on Harmony Central reminded me of this.

    I did like the compressor, not the EQ for some reason.
  13. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I've had a DBX163X for years and it's the loveliest compressor I've used. It's basically a brick unless you rack mount it, not near as handy as a small stomp box. That being said, it's transitions in and out of the compressed region are ultrasmooth and the end-effect is very natural. All that being said, I'd agree that a luthier solution to the bass is the right approach. In my experience, compressors rob upright bass of its expressivity--at least what I can manage with my hands. Nice for bass guitar in lots of different settings, though. Might be an idea for slap upright, but I don't go there much.

    Mike Lee