are my peavey t-40's pickups killing compressors?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bradbains, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. bradbains

    bradbains

    Mar 15, 2017
    b'ham, wa
    i've been thinking i'd like a compressor to use as an effect on some songs, rather than an "always on". so i've tried a few of the readily-available "good-for-the-price" pedals (mxr m87, e-h bass preacher, boss bc-1x, et cetera). i plug them in at the store (with a bass from the store) and they do everything they should: level out dynamics, fatten, squash... then i try them with my rig, with my peavey t-40, and it's like they're not even there. i'll "max out" the effect, and hear just a tiny difference.

    the guitar player in my band is amused by (and probably tired of) this search of mine, and he handed me his mxr dynacomp. "wouldn't it be funny if this is all you needed after all?" he said. nothin.

    most recently i got him to twirl knobs and push buttons as i played through an art mp/c, and we noticed that i could barely get a clear signal through the preamp -- it broke up almost *immediately* upon raising the gain. no "cool", no becoming "warm", then starting to break up -- just straight to dirt. the compressor/limiter section isn't too beefy, and didn't do much until maxed out.

    that's when he asked me the question that i'm bringing to you: are my pickups too hot/live/aggressive for compression?
     
  2. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Have you tried turning the volume knob counterclockwise a little?

    Here's an interesting little bit about the treble cut knobs:

    upload_2017-4-28_14-4-23.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Most of what you're describing sounds like the output of the bass is too LOW, not too high. When you can't get any reaction from a "normal" compressor, odds are the signal you're feeding it is weak. The thing you describe with the MP/C distorting so early would seem like a counter example, however there are other causes of distortion, such as resonant peaks, bad wiring, incompatible ground planes, failing tubes, faulty cables, and anything else that may have changed in the setup besides what you described.

    As a test, borrow a standard J or P bass and play it through the exact same pedal and amp arrangement, same room and cables and everything. Then play your T-40 without changing anything at all else about the setup, and report back on the results.
     
    LSMFT6 likes this.
  4. filler83

    filler83 Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    I play a T-40 and have the problem that the pickups are high output, and it's hard for me to use some effects like overdrive. I tried several compressors over the last couple years (LMB-3, Milk Box, MXR M87, Keeley Bassist), and now have the Smoothie. It works well. Although I thought the LMB-3 and Keeley bassist worked well, too.
     
  5. bradbains

    bradbains

    Mar 15, 2017
    b'ham, wa
    @killed... i need an effect that works at all settings -- i don't want to have to adjust levels at the head when i stomp on the pedal.
    the coil split is a *great* feature, and prompted the guitarist i mentioned to mod one of his guitars the same way.

    @bongo... i thought about signal level, and have run a boost to see if i could "wake up" the compressor, but even without i *am* lighting up the leds -- which makes me think the unit is doing its thing, i just don't hear much. i haven't tried with a j or p -- i'll give it a shot early next week.
    the guitar player bought the mp/c from me for home recording, and i'll ask him to run his p through it.

    @ filler... great, now i have to try out more of them!! is yours always on, and/or do you know whether the difference in tone you get is great enough to consider it an "effect"? most of what i play with my band requires quick and nimble lines, but there are times i switch to slower, more atmospheric lines, and want something that will let me change to a big, dense, chewy tone that is noticeably different.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  6. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    If you are lighting up the gain reduction LED's then the comp is doing its job. I rewired my T-40 for a 'typical' pick-up configuration, with the 'phase' switch changed to a coil tap switch. But, even before I made these changes it was a growl monster. I am thinking that with all the rich harmonics of the T-40 that it is more difficult for you to hear the compression effect.

    -Frank
     
    bassbrad likes this.
  7. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    The Boss BC-1x is advertised as a natural, "un-effecty" comp:

    "The advanced design responds to different dynamics and registers to apply the perfect amount of compression in real time, ensuring that your tone never gets over-squeezed or muddy."

    The MXR M87 has lightning fast attack, even at its slowest setting. So you may need to ask Cyrus (@bongomania) for a comp with a slower attack setting that can also give you the gooey dips and swells.

    -Frank
     
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    OK I get more of the picture now. The comps you tried were too clean and not effecty enough. Still doesn't quite explain the difference between what you heard at the store and what you heard at home, but that is probably just down to the different amp in a different room. Check out the SolidGoldFX Horizon, it's been my pick lately for a noticeable compression effect at a modest price point. Or look for a Vox Snake Charmer (I think they're discontinued).
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    done that to a bunch of them over the years, much better. if you actually want the pickup at full humbucking and full brightness it's what you need to do.

    i suspect questions about compressors are a separate issue.
     
  10. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    I made those changes over 25 years ago. I think my sketch of the original wiring is still in the control cavity in case I ever wanted to make it original again.:bassist:

    -Frank
     
    TerribleLiar23 likes this.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    home
    That's really weird.

    I sometimes put my T-40 through a Keeley Bassist and everything sounds and works as it should. At least to my ears. But the Bassist is also a very transparent compressor so the noticeable effect, by design, is going to be subtle. Most times you won't notice anything at all with my preferred settings unless you switch it off.

    Something does sound odd with what you're experiencing however. If a Dyna Comp (which is not the world's most refined or subtle compressor) isn't giving you a heavy squashing effect when you dial it up, I'm going to suspect you're not getting enough level out as others have suggested. Which would indicate something is up with the wiring inside your bass.

    I've run into more than one T-40 that had a previous owner who mucked around inside theirs with a soldering iron and seriously messed things up.

    If you're feeling adventurous you could pop the hood, test the pickup coils and check the wiring against Peavey's official wiring diagram or a schematic (just google for them) to make sure everything's as it should be.

    You could also try first plugging into a clean booster like a Spark or MXR Mini Amp and see if the compressor is triggering and doing more with a hotter signal.

    Let us know what you find out.
     
  12. bradbains

    bradbains

    Mar 15, 2017
    b'ham, wa
    update:
    running a p bass through compressors and watching the effect on leds/indicators in comparison to how my t-40 performs backs up my idea that my output is simply hotter
    again, audio effect from any compressor is more noticeable with p bass than t-40

    the guitarist has yet to use the mp-c in his home studio, so nothing to report there

    bongo (and filler) may be interested to know that i have a vox snake charmer in hand, and hope to have something to report soon -- i'll be sure to have the p bass on hand when i try it out
     
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If you are trying lots of compressors, and none of them seem to do anything, why then are you insisting that you need a compressor again?

    In other words, what makes you think a compressor would make anything "better" in your case?
     
  14. dannybuoy

    dannybuoy

    Aug 3, 2005
    Earth
    How do you have the controls set on the bass? I only really like the sound of the T40 with both pickups on and everything up full, but that's results in a rather weak output compared to the humbucking modes.
     
  15. bradbains

    bradbains

    Mar 15, 2017
    b'ham, wa
    fingers- the compressors "do things", and i like the things they do. there seems to be only one place they don't work the same as everywhere else (in my experience), and that's in my rig. so i wanna know why

    danny- one pickup at a time (usually bridge), volume up (usually), tone knobs at seven. what is your experience with "weak output" -- have you measured in some way, or judging by ear?
     
  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    home
    Having a hotter signal isn't going to "overwhelm" the compressor. It's just going to make the compressor trigger harder and faster than a lesser signal level if the settings on the compressor remain the same. Because once the threshold is reached the compression circuitry kicks in. Period. It's not like the signal bleeds past the limiting. If the ratio is something like 4:1, the second you go 4 dB over the threshold, the limiter knocks the level down to 1 dB over the threshold setting. How quickly it responds is determined by the attack setting. And how long it stays on it is determined by the release.

    Are you adjusting your gain and output levels so you're at unity before you adjust your compression settings?