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Best PHAT bass compressor...42 year old semi-pro seeks THAT TONE.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by hopturn, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. hopturn


    Sep 19, 2010
    Charleston, SC

    i've been completing a great pedal board...went from zero pedals to all-out pedal craziness in just a year. now looking to complete said board with the perfect compressor. the ones i've researched that seem best are Origen76, Diamond, FEA, Empress, etc., etc. unfortunately, none of these are available for testing purposes near my area, and i don't have the time anyway.

    could someone please tell me a couple to narrow my search that fits the following criteria, and all responses will be appreciated:
    1. I use primarily active and passive Fender Jazz basses.
    2. My amp live rig consists of a Quilter Bass Block 800 and two TC Electronic 2X10 vertical cabinets.
    3. My current effects are a Prunes And Custard, Boss OC-2, Aquilar Chorusaurus, Brown Dog gated distortion, Agent 00Funk Envelope Filter Clone and a Source Audio Dimension Reverb...all run into a Radial Tonebone OD 2 Channel Preamp.
    4. When not using house PA, my band's PA is all high-quality QSC powered cabs.

    I'm looking for phat studio tone. When I record at the nearby studios, my tone is instantly better than anything I've ever created on my own. I want phat, deep, present bass that can push a dance floor around. I mostly play dance music styles, everything from deep roots reggae to funk and acid jazz/fusion. Lots of soloing, finger funk mainly. Please help.

    Thanks as usual Talk Bass Gurus,
  2. jwilson67


    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    I've also used the MXR M87 bass comp and it was a great pedal. Not as much of a tone changer as the above two but just a good, transparent Compressor with the ability to change a lot of parameters and it also includes an LED meter to see how much of the effect you are applying.
    MXR M87 Bass Compressor and M76 Studio
  3. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    Likely the Origin Cali76 Compact Bass, any of the big box Origins or an FEA optifet (or Other FEA) are going to get you closest.

    The Empress is a great surgically clean comp, that doesn't colour much at all...

    Of course if running a rack is possible, you have other options.
  4. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    The obligatory answer to all things compression: Compressor Reviews

    Based on your description, I'm thinking you want something like a studio rack comp in a pedal. The Keeley Bassist, MXR M87, and (at a higher price) Cali76 family all fit that general theme.
    Jeff O'Connor, Axstar, DavC and 2 others like this.
  5. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    I'm really digging my newly acquired EBS Multicomp Studio Edition. It definitely adds fatness in tubesim mode. Been really trying it out last gig, trying it off and on during songs, and yup, fatness galore IMO.
  6. hopturn


    Sep 19, 2010
    Charleston, SC

    I've read all those reviews...just left my head spinning, but did help me isolate some finalists, as it were. I'd really just like the opinions of gigging bassists who play funky, dance music. Big beefy sound. Almost a tube compression sound without the weight (I have a herniated disc, hence the Quilter amp, etc.)

  7. jwilson67


    Jun 2, 2015
    San Dimas, CA
    My band plays a lot of different styles. When we played something like Get Lucky I'd kick my M87 in and it definitely got that big, beefy sound to come out of my rig. It was more of a traditional comp in that it just brought out the best in what you are already using. Some of the other units (especially the Diamond), based on reviews seem to be adding a bit of their own magic on top of it all.
    Note: I now use a Zoom B3 for just about everything and am going to be getting a B3n when it is released.
  8. Maybe you´d take a look to the MarkBass Compressore or the EBS Multicomp. Both compressors are great and they can add a nice and warm tone to your bass.
    btmpancake likes this.
  9. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    OP: "phat sound" link please?
  10. hopturn


    Sep 19, 2010
    Charleston, SC
    i can't think of a link to a song sample, or i definitely would. i guess it's in my head. something that sounds like it would fit in D'Angelo or Jose James or Bruno Mars...with a little Family Man thrown in? tubey but not distorted. definitely a colored tone...not transparent. old sounding, but not dingy or scratchy. i have been recording through a Vari Mu compressor and LOVE THE TONE, just can't afford $3500 to schlep around to gigs and events.

    i hope this helps. i've also reached out to John K for some advice. he's sold me some really awesome clones, and i must recommend him to all of you who might not know. John K Vintage Guitars!!!

    blixild likes this.
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    For phat/deep/present bass response, I would suggest a compressor with either of these features:
    • Parallel compression, i.e. a Blend/Mix control that combines compressed and uncompressed signals. Great way to have your cake and eat it too (meaning sitting better in the mix, but also retaining dynamics)
    • Dual-band compression, implemented via a crossover that allows lows to be compressed separately from highs. A common technique is heavier compression on the lows (200Hz or lower), and lighter compression on the highs. Each band has its own output to ensure good tonal balance.

    These features might not be mandatory for you, though.

    FWIW I own and recommend the Empress Compressor, and Origin Cali76. I'd also recommend the OvniFX Smoothie and Cali Compact (there are a few varieties of the latter). FEA makes a dual band compressor, a good friend loves his. I really liked the Diamond BCP-1 with my passive basses, but it didn't play very well with my hotter actives. Of course there are about a bazillion more compressor options.
    Philly Watts, smeet and ExaltBass like this.
  12. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I currently own a Cali 76 Compact Bass, and it does fatten things up, but it also adds a bit of shine and brightness to your tone as well. If you're not after that it might not be for you. It's a killer compressor regardless.

    I used to own a Diamond BCP-1. If absolutely delivers the tone fattening thing you're describing, but also somehow adds clarity. It's really magical. It's actual compression function leaves a little something to be desired, but if all you're after is a tone enhancing box, this is likely the one. The only real problem with it is the odd power requirements. It typically needs 18V to have sufficient headroom on bass (it'll run on 9V, but that doesn't seem to get it done without occasionally clipping it). Additionally, the power is center-positive, so you'll need an adapter (Diamond supplies one) to use it with conventional power supplies. If you can deal with those power requirements it's a wonderful unit.
  13. Johno Dunn

    Johno Dunn Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    Carpinteria, Ca.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  14. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I've been through a few different compressors. Here's the one sentence or less stepping stone from one to the next:
    MXR M87 - Too many knobs.
    Pigronix Bass Compressor - Tone was too colored.
    SD Studio Bass - Too Hot.
    Keely Bassist - Did not play well with my Sansamp PDDI.
    Cali 76 CB - Finally!

    Not sure what Phat is... If it relates to punch and (maybe) sustain, a compressor will help. If phat refers to tone shaping, you might be needing some eq-ing to get get where you want to be.
    I think I might have seen something that referred to phat in the Pigtronix suggested settings section of their user manual. I had the bass station version of the product and don't have the manual or the pedal anymore, but maybe...
    Not to deviate from the original compressor question, but I've deputized a comment about DI into this via the "phat" inquiry from OP. - I have since moved on to a Tone Hammer DI box and use that directly intothe power amp section of my combo amp and must say that between the punch you can dial up via Cali 76 and tone shaping of the TH, phat may well be in those cards.

    As aways, anything and everything you would want to know about compressor pedals:
    Compressor Reviews
    Philly Watts and ExaltBass like this.
  15. dinoadventures

    dinoadventures Feets don't fail me now!

    Jul 10, 2015
    Dallas, TX
    You rang? Pleased to meat you.

    Cheap solution, and that Markbass is INCREDIBLE... one of my favorites at any price:

    More versatile, more expensive solution:

  16. WaldoNova

    WaldoNova Having fun yet? Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    New Rochelle, NY
    In my experience and imo the Diamond and the Smoothie hit all your criteria. I've never had a chance to try the Cali76 though...
  17. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas El Duderino Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    I have the Empress and I love it. I wouldn't call it "phat", whatever that is really. It basically takes your sound and just cleans it up, makes it shine, etc.
  18. rmars


    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    The FEA Opti-fet or the Diamond would get my recommendations for that "fat" compressed sound. I've owned the Diamond twice and it's great and easy to operate but it does have a perceivable low end roll off (with tilt eq set flat or bypassed) compared to the FEA Opti-fet or DE-CL. That's not a bad thing as it tighten things up and gives that pedal it's thick, punchy voicing. The FEA Opti-get has a similar "instant fat" quality of the Diamond but the Opti's low end seems more open(bottomless pit) to my ear. The internal warmth switches seem to enhance the thickness of the Opti-fet and and the side eq can help from overly squashing the low end further. The Opti-fet is really cool for making my J Bass bridge pickup fatter and more usable.
  19. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Question: do you need it to brick wall your attack spikes? I ask because while the Diamond is pretty much the dean's peanuts when it comes to fat and magic, its low ratio means it's not good for limiting or smoothing out super wide dynamic range. You'll have to control that stuff with your hands, or put a limiter at the end if needed.
    Philly Watts and blindrabbit like this.

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