Becos CompIQ Mini vs the Keeley Bassist

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by jschulman, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. jschulman

    jschulman Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2018
    Long Island, NY
    I love the sound, or lack thereof, of VCA compression. For years the Keeley Bassist has been a reliable part of my board. But last week I learned about the Becos CompIQ Mini. I bought it right away and it has replaced the Keeley as the "always-on" compressor on my board. Here's what I found:

    - They both use the same THAT 4320 chip, and they sound very similar. There's no dramatic difference in the sound of either pedal. The Keeley makes my transients sound fantastic, and the Becos does too. They're both completely transparent, low noise, low distortion, no real color to speak of.
    - Basic controls are the same: Threshold, Ratio ("Compression" on the Keeley) and Gain. Dialing in a similar compression template is a breeze.
    - Becos has a switchable sidechain filter. According to the manual, the "normal" mode already attenuates frequencies below 1k, allowing lower frequencies to pass through unaffected. However in "deep" mode, "more of the lower end frequency (an additional [email protected]) is freed up to prevent triggering compressor kicking in too early". In deep mode my low end remains strong and it makes all of my pedals down the chain sound better. Again, I suspect the Keeley does something similar, since that pedal has no loss of low end to speak of, but with the Becos set to deep my low end just seems fatter. Maybe this is an auditory illusion on my part? Or maybe the sidechain on the Becos is allowing more of my low end to pass through?
    - Metering on the Becos shows gain reduction with significantly more clarity and specificity. This is huge for me. I'm colorblind, and the green/red indicator LED on the Keeley drives me insane. These colors look identical. The Becos has a 5-LED gain reduction meter which gives me much more insight into what exactly the pedal is doing.
    - Attack time - I can choose between "slow", which sounds similar to the speed of the Keeley, and "fast", which is a much more dynamic squeeze and will work well if I ever want to use this with my guitar.
    - Soft vs Hard knee - This switch is a pain in the ass to access on the Becos, but the Hard option combined with the fast attack setting gives this pedal more power as a limiter. It also sounds good if I really want my transient to pop. Soft combined with a slow attack makes transient sound subtle, complex and creamy, and it's the setting I see myself using most.
    - Wet/Dry blend - Another giant plus for the Becos. One studio trick I love is using a Dbx160 plugin to smash my drums or my bass, and then adding the dry signal in parallel. On the Becos I can get silly with my threshold/ratio, giving myself a strong, exaggerated transient, then mix in some dry signal to make it sound more like a natural part of my tone. This makes the Becos a much more flexible bass compressor than the Keeley.
    - Microscopic footprint - How Becos got all of this into such a small enclosure is magic. This thing is TINY.

    So yeah that pretty much covers it. The Becos is now my go-to. Anyone else try these two pedals back to back?
  2. Slaymus

    Slaymus Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    Thanks for the detailed review ! I'm a VCA compressor guy and I really liked the Bassist, but there was a little bit too much compression on the low end when the treble (d-g strings) was perfect. Seems like the Becos with its sidechain will be the answer for my search (and tiny size as a bonus).
    jschulman likes this.
  3. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    +1 for the Becos. I too would gladly take it instead of the Keeley Bassist. Great comp/limiter in a small package.
    jschulman likes this.
  4. boing

    boing Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2004
    CT, USA
    The Bassist and the Becos have both been mentioned in threads about limiting at the end of the pedal chain. Given the HPF on the sidechain, would either of these be less useful when dealing with low frequency spikes from filters and other modulation effects?
  5. jschulman

    jschulman Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2018
    Long Island, NY
    For a while I did use the Keeley at the end of my chain, and it handled low spikes well. I haven't done the same with the Becos, but I'd imagine it should be fine with a relatively high threshold, fast attack, and the side chain set to normal.
  6. CassiusRegular


    Apr 10, 2013
    Paris, FR
    I love Becos products, you cannot miss
  7. 600 Ohms

    600 Ohms Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I've owned both, and while I liked the extra features on the Becos, I found I never was happy with either Fast or Slow attack, and the Soft or Hard knee... somehow the Bassist just sounded more natural to me, with its simple controls. Ultimately, I sold both and kept a Keeley GC-2, which is the Bassist, but lets a few more dBs of low end through the sidechain. The GC-2 managed to make popped and picked notes fatter—they seem to add low end, probably the extra gain kicking in before being clamped down on. The Becos was brilliant, it just didn't have as much of a vibe for my liking. I'm glad yours is working for you.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
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