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Best compressor for less than $150???????

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by afroman, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm looking to buy a compressor, I'd prefer them to be stompboxes not rack units.
    These are some options:

    1. Boss LMB-3 $70
    2. DOD FX84 MilkBox $50
    3. Digitech Bass Squeeze $80
    4. PreSonus Comp16 $100
    5. Aphex Punch Factory $140
    6. MXR Super Comp
    7. PreSonus Blue Max $150
    8. ART single Levelar ??
    9. Tech21 Bass Compactor $99

    I'm looking to get more punch in my sound and control some peaks and "quiet notes". Make all notes more balanced. Which of these or other pedals do you recommend??

    Feel free to mention any others. I'd prefer to buy new, but will consider buying used if the pedal is discontinued or some other reason.

    Thanks for your help...
  2. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    Try a secondhand EBS? It seems to be a great comp.
  3. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    the tech 21 sounds really good if your in a noisy band and want to tighten the reigns a little. I'd give it the nod above anything boss can put out.It's very easy to use and the tones i get using it make me every happy.

    Since I bought it however I've discovered that maybe a trace' dual band compressor should have been what I bought.
    :meh: as ever there's always something that looks abit better once you've parted with your money- Have a lok on ebay for the trace'.
  4. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    excuse the spelling I meant "look". The Trace Elliot pedal is also discontinued (I think).
  5. I'm using the small little black Guyatone box. Had it ordered in from Japan. Gives a good slap compression on mid settings, evens notes out on the lower settings, and gives hell good sag-like grunt on higher settings.

    I'm looking for a rack compressor to be run in front of the amp, right after the bass. Would appreciate advice.

    I'm running a Warmoth Deluxe 5 Jazz with EMG 40DC pickups and BadAss V bridge. I have others but use this one 90% of the time.

  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    something rackable. Alesis 3630 works great for bass has side chain as well ... or an old Symetrix ... The old Symetrix stuff, if it hasn't been beaten to death is really good sounding. I have a CL-100 and also a 501.

    I also have an ART Tube Channel which includes their optical compression circuit. Very smooth compresor. You can get the same pre with compressor and no-eq in the ART Tube Pac. Those seem to run in the $120 range used and are really nice sounding boxes. Built like a tank as well. Based on recent experience with their gear, I think the ART stuff is somewhat under-rated.

    I bought the Tube Channel as a pre to use while I looked for a used FX1/2 or VTB201 ... I have stopped looking ... except for a couple more Tube Channels. I made the mistake of actually using it as a mic-pre and it smokes my Bellari's ... home studio, a room into which one pours cash ...
  7. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    The Alesis 3630 is well known as a noisy piece of crap. Do a search.

    I agree that the ART Tube Channel is an excellent pre w/ an excellent comp.
  8. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    I've got an almost new DigiTech Bass Squeeze for sale. Only has about 6 months of playing time on it and never left my house. I've found that I don't have much use for a compressor. I'm selling it for $60.00. PM if interested.

  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Actually - I use a 3630 in my project studio and find it to be a real value. It's clean and quiet. I understand that some folks seem to have issues with it but my experience has been great. For the money, it's a steal.

    I'm a bit of a compressor junky. The 3630 no longer resides in my bass rig rack. Currently it brings up the gain on my DR5 on 1 side and punches up my Korg Poly 800 synth on the other.

    You have to be a little conservative about setting the input level on a 3630 as they have a very unpleasant distortion when you hit the front end too hard. I suspect that is where the complaints come from ... but that is what the input sensitivity is for!
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I have a Symetrix 525 I picked up for $40. I bought it to help someone out, not expecting it to be too useful. It's been in my gig rack for months now, it's actually great sounding. Be careful about buying these in questionable shape though, the VCA parts are no longer available.
  11. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    This is more than a bit harsh and wildly untrue. I don't use a 3630 in my bass rig although I did for a while. I do use the 3630 in my recording rack. While not perfect, it does a good job. The thing about the 3630 is that it has a large number of buttons and dials. If you don't set them correctly, then I agree that it will sound like crap. But if used properly, the 3630 is a very useful tool that is used in professional studio. I happen to know of a local studio that only uses 3630's for compression.
  12. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Please do a search, I am not alone in my opinion of the 3630, but I do acknowledge that it is an opinion.

    In this thread

    Glenn D. writes

    "Google on "alesis 3630" in the audio newsgroups. The Alesis 3630 is regarded as the worst available compressor at any price, and would probably win a plurality for the worst piece of audio gear in a poll. At this price point, go with the Behringer."
  13. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    DBX 163X!.. I picked mine up for $50 shipped, rockin deal... nice vintage semi transparent tone...

  14. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Yes, the 3630 can be useful - but it is also nicknamed the "dirty-six-dirty" in the pro sound world.

    I've seen a few Rane DC-24's go for $150 or less on e-bay. It's a split-band compressor, so you can compress the highs and lows separately, excellent for bass.
  15. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Have any of you tried the PreSonus compressors? The COMP16 or the Blue Max. Or the Digitech Bass Squeeze?

    Keep on with the info guys, you've been of great help.

  16. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    A used ART Levelar will set you back $50 and sits nicely in the effects loop. Works great.

  17. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    You may want to look in the effect database on Harmony Central:

    If you have a passive bass, the Digitech Bass Squeeze does a good job with separate compression for the lows and highs.
    It does not work well for an Active bass - it will squeeze the sound to death.

    The Boss LMB-3 is a Limiter. The enhance is a little harsh also.
  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    while dirty-six-dirty is cute, it's not really very accurate ... sometimes the nickname gets applied just 'cause it sounds clever. Which admittedly dirty-six-dirty does.

    One item I really like on the 3630 is that it has a super aggressive gate. While you can set the gate for gentle, you can also set it for wildly extreme. Run a loop or a drum machine through that and you can get some really cool beat box, almost scratch effects out of it. That it offers side chain at insertion at it's price point is cool as well. Used these guys pop up on EBay in the $50 to $60 range pretty frequently. Mine in a 3 space roto rack was $75. For a clean stereo compressor with side chain and gate that's pretty hard to beat. Heck, at that price it's also eaily dumpable if you decide you don't like it.

    ... on the other hand there is an ART Tube Pac in the GFS section at the DudePit for very reasonable $ as I recall. That's a pretty sharp tube (12ax7) pre with a compressor as well. Best I recall, there is an insert between the pre and comp on that unit so you can use them together or independently. Nice feature. Compressor also offers side chain. Nice sounding pre as well with oodles of gain. Basically two thirds of my Tube Channel.

    One huge advantage of the Tube Pac over the Levelar is the level of construction - very giggable, road worthy piece. The lower end ART stuff sounds good, but giggable ? Not without at least two more in the kit for spares! The plastic stuff can stay at home in the studio ...
  19. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    re: Levelar. I've seen many bassists gig with it. It's not plastic but metal. At least mine is. And it sounds good with a minimum of fuss. It's not exactly a pedal, but it's not a big rack unit either.

    re: 3630. No, it's not a great unit, but it's not half bad either. I don't own one but have messed around with it. To be honest, it holds its own just fine with other budget gear. The difference is that you have to know what you're doing.

    Craig Anderton, whose opinion I resepect a lot, has aso said on his board that the 3630 is one of those tools that has gotten a bad rep on the internet.

    If people can give specific examples of why they don't like a unit, that's cool. If it's because it "sucks" or whatever, I suggest you listen for yourself before making up your mind.

    That said, the original post did ask for rack gear, so the 3630 would be disqualified on that alone.

  20. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    The 3630 is the unit on top, followed by an old Digitech multi-effect and Symetrix CL-100. Looks pretty rackable to me!

    The comp in the ART sounds really sweet. Actually this rig sounds sweet! That rack is lookin' a mite empty though. Gotta do something about that !

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