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Best Compressor for Volume Leveling of Effects?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by rnilson, Jan 1, 2012.


  1. rnilson

    rnilson

    Mar 8, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    So I have some pedals that have volume jump and a few that have a volume drop; What is the best compressor to take care of this issue.

    I was considering MXR Bass Comp or Aguilar TLC.
     
  2. Are you planning on putting the compressor at the end of the chain? That will more than likely mess with the rest of your effects, especially if you have modulating ones (chorus, flange, etc). Have you tried just matching the outputs on all your effects instead?

    OTOH, give it a shot. It just may work. My BBE Opto Stomp is pretty transparent, but I'm no compressor pedal aficionado.
     
  3. sailedchimp

    sailedchimp

    Jun 28, 2011
    I've always read compressor threads, here and other forums, and the general favourite on that level is the MXR one.
     
  4. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    This ^

    I wouldn't rely on a compressor to level out effects. Better to regulate them with their output knobs and so on. As much as you can.

    I put my compressor after my envelope filter but before my OD/DI--for obvious reasons in both cases, I think.

    I use the MXR M87. Love it.
     
  5. DeadPoet

    DeadPoet

    Jun 4, 2003
    Belgium
    I found this is quite impossible to do (matching volumes) because some effects make you have a more spikey sound (heavy on transients) and others will boost the 'bulk' of your sound (more RMS).. A volume pedal will work better I'm afraid.


    The only use I have for my compressor (Aguilar TLC, end of chain) is to make sure my slapping volume is the same as the fingering and to make some droned notes a little longer/even in volume.

    Biggest untamable volume-messer I have is my EHX BassBalls Enigma..



    Herwig
     
  6. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Absolutely. It evens out the volume spikes introduced by my changing techniques. Slap to finger and back again, etc. Also, when I slap--say a thumb whack on a low G and then pluck a G one octave up on the D string--it will totally level that out, too. Uncompressed, the high note will ::BRAPP:: way louder than the low note. Not so with my compressor engaged. Everything is nice and level. Also, I agree: it really can help increase sustain on long-held notes.

    I try really hard to make sure all my other pedals are at more or less unity gain. Tough to do with the envelope filter, but I can still come close.
     
  7. taurus1

    taurus1

    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    sounds like you need a limiter. I just got a BOSS LM-2 and it's working out great, it's taming my DOD FX-25B and doing it well, very transparent.
     
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Compression reacts to dynamic changes in levels, reducing the height of the signal wave peaks. It follows this dynamic reduction with a fixed amount of boost. So compression is really NOT a good solution for getting pedals that are always too low or too high-output to "not be that way". Once you've set the comp up so it sounds good with one of them, it will usually sound crappy with the other.

    Best solution: find settings on all the pedals that don't drop or raise your levels so much.

    Second best: buy new pedals that don't do that.

    Third best: organize your wrong-level pedals into groups, and add one simple boost pedal to the group of "too quiet" ones, and one simple cut pedal to the "too loud" ones.
     
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Compression reacts to dynamic changes in levels, reducing the height of the signal wave peaks. It follows this dynamic reduction with a fixed amount of boost. So compression is really NOT a good solution for getting pedals that are always too low or too high-output to "not be that way". Once you've set the comp up so it sounds good with one of them, it will usually sound crappy with the other.

    Best solution: find settings on all the pedals that don't drop or raise your levels so much.

    Second best: buy new pedals that don't do that.

    Third best: organize your wrong-level pedals into groups, and add one simple boost pedal to the group of "too quiet" ones, and one simple cut pedal to the "too loud" ones.
     
  10. K2000

    K2000

    Nov 16, 2005
    Brooklyn
    You could also try an effects looper with volume control (the Boss LS-2 is a simple looper that can switch between 2 different effects loops, as well as many other uses).
     
  11. newbold

    newbold

    Sep 21, 2008
    Toronto
    The only fix for my bassballs pedal peaking out my eden wtdi was to get a compressor.

    +1 on a peak limiter. The DOD Milkbox I got isn't as strict and I get more tone colour (to my ears) with it because of that. more of the peak gets squashed, not just the tip and while it does the job and sounds great, it took awhile for me to be alright with that...partly because I really like my tone with it, and partly because it didn't do what I really want. If it didn't have a HF expander to bring out more note definition nor an attack control to slow down the squash...I would have to compress it far too much to get the proper output level. With a limiter I could set it to just kill some peaks and they'd be done.

    Give me carte blanche at a music store and I'd be grabbing a peak limiter for sure...but for $50 I'm fine with a minty milkbox (near pristine!!). I'm so lucky that thing sounds great.
     
  12. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    This discussion is making me feel really fortunate that all my pedals have variable output levels on them. It had never even occurred to me to use a compressor to level other pedals out. I'm all about Bongo's "best" solution: have pedals that you can dial in to more or less unity gain levels.
     
  13. taurus1

    taurus1

    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    envelope filters can produce some serious transient spikes, gain staging or unity isn't going to help in that situation. a limiter pedal is perfect for that application.
     
  14. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I totally hear you on that. I struggled with my EV for a while before I realized that the sample settings in the manual weren't meant to achieve anything remotely close to unity gain. Once I realized that I was golden. Just 10 min ago I got done jamming solo bass > pedal board > mixer > headphones and I managed to dial in everything at pretty much unity gain. Even the EV. I notice my compressor works about one LED harder when I have the EV engaged. And it sounds about the same volume in my ears. YMMV.
     

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