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Best type of compressor

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Jon Burnet, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    Well you have the la 2a and the clones

    you have the ross and the ross clones ( homebrew, analogman ect.)

    THen you have the other pedals like the black finger and the compulator.

    most are xpensive.... which is the best for bass? actually, any word on these would be great!
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The reason there are so many compressors out there is they all sound different. Which sounds best depends on what sort of sound you are after, is it for live or recording, etc.
  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    The one you like the sound -used correctly. You can make even a 100$ rack cheapie sound fine if you pay a little attention. Personal preference comes into play when the compression gets a little less transparent, heavier.
  4. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    The BEST compressor for Bass IMHO is the Empirical Labs EL7 Fatso ($2,250)


    Best bargain compressor that works great for Bass rigs is the Behringer MDX 2600XL ($110)

  5. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    You like the Fatso better than the Distressor?

  6. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    More features that are super Bass friendly.
  7. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    DBX 160a

    or a

    DBX 163x

  8. Jugghaid


    Jun 28, 2002
    Denver, CO, USA
    TC Electronic Triple C
    Multiband compression, midi controllable for if you want different compression settings for slap vs fingerstyle vs fretless. Really nice unit, if a bit overkill.

    While there are better and more expensive units out there like Empirical Labs, etc....most of the difference will never be noticeable outside the studio.
  9. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    If you can pick up a dbx 266 used at a good price, snag it. I have a 262, which is basically a 266 scaled down slightly. Still a 2-channel and very transparent.
  10. Mattski


    Jan 6, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I have a few non-rack types that I like.

    My ART LeVeLAr is a great, quiet, transparent mellower of dynamics. Great for recording!

    My Carl Martin Compressor/Limiter is a full service compression tool with a wide range of functions from smoothing, to squish, to thickening.

    My Toadworks Mr. Squishy falls somewhere in between. But is has an input gain and an output volume, (Which is handy) and a cool name (which has to count for something). My fav for live work!

    Some compressors are NOT fundamentally bass friendly, so read the reviews and try things out if possible.

    Good Luck
  11. learning_towalk

    learning_towalk Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2004
    Chattanooga, TN
    I love my Presonus bluemax, I mean it's not 2500 dollar highend studio compressor...but for the price, it's VERY natural sounding...no pumping or breathing, and the best part is, IT HAS PRESETS! no guess work if you're not too familiar with compressors...but it also has manual mode for if you want to venture out and set your own ratios....but I have found no need to because the presets are very pleasing!
  12. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I have a LeVeLar as well. Works great, smooth sound, quiet, does not lop off lows and highs.
  13. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Yes The Levelar is a VERY good compressor for bass. It almost seems like they designed it with bass in mind. All in all a great unit, which can be had for a song (pardon the pun).......and, oddly enough, I have an ART Levelar which I am selling.........PM me if you are interested.

  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'm gonna have to say the dbx 160A. The onlyest reason? Three knobs.
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    maxvalentino...............PM sent.

  16. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I use them all. Different strokes for different applications.

    The "opto" type compressors are very useful, for studio and live work. One of my faves is the old Urei LA4, which provides a nice fat sound for bass (works great on a B3 too).

    The "vari-mu" compressors (including the old tube styles that use a 6386 tube or equivalent, like the old Fairchilds and the newer Manleys) are also useful, but have a completely different sound.

    The "limiter" type compressors (well, they're "kind of" compressors, they have a slightly different action, which is to take off the peaks in your signal without necessarily altering the gain slope) are also very helpful, especially for live work ('cause among other things, they help to protect your speakers). Units like the DBX-165a and the old SpectraSonics 610 have "both" limiters and compressors in the same box, and with judicious adjustment can be made to sound excellent with a bass.

    I had a DBX-160XT in my live rig for many years, but no longer use it. Its big advantage was the simplicity that Munjibunga alluded to. Several of my bass playing buddies have Urei LA-22's in their racks, which are pretty nice but they have bunches of knobs that need to be set correctly. Sometimes it helps to have a built-in gate (or expander) if you use your compressor a lot, it helps to reduce noise and unwanted transients. The Klark-Teknik rack mount compressors are pretty nice too, several people I know use them and seem to like them a lot.

    One interesting compressor "pedal" is the EBS MultiComp, which has three different compressor types in the same box, with a switch so you can pick whichever one you want.

    Lately I've been avoiding compression for live work, I finally found some speakers that can handle the two kilowatt transients without complaining, and the longer I play, the more I believe in the preservation of dynamics.

    For studio work, a good compressor is essential, and my approach there is to have as many tools as possible in my arsenal, so I can pull out whichever one works best for the need that happens to present itself. That's where the Fatso's and Distressor's excel too, they have a good range of compression effects that can sound great with the right mix.
  17. dumeril7


    Oct 21, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    IMO, here's the best-kept secret in compressors: Maxon CP101. Optical circuit, low-noise, almost no undesirable tone coloration. Its a poor man's Demeter, which is a poor man's LA4.

  18. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Since the subject is kinda open, Iwas wondering if any of you have opinions and experiences with pedal type compressors. I am thinking of adding a comp to live solo bass/looping rig, which I have downsized just for ease of etup and moving. I am think of using a compressor again just to slightly tame things when I do a lot of chord strums and such.

    I have several rack compressors in my studio, incl an Avalon vt737 and a LA2A, neither of which I would take out to a gig, as well as that ART,an ADL Tube compressor, Universal Audio Mono preamp /compressor, and a Retrospec Squeeze box. I don;t really want to add another rack space, or move to a bigger rack (I have things down to just four spaces in a shallow rack, which makes setup a breeze..rememeber this is solo bass setup). So I have been looking into some pedal units, namley:
    EBS MUlti Comp
    Tech 21 Bass Compactor
    Demeter (I have forgotten the model name...the new one, the opto-comp pedal)
    EH Black Finger

    Anybody use these....what can ya tell me?

  19. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Also in the running for pedal comps these days is the Aphex Punch Factory (which got a good review in Bass Player last month, FWIW).
  20. Squeeze Box!!!

    Tube comp, modelled after 70s LA-style compressor. Don't remember wich one...

    Great sound!

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