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Boss Compressor?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Wayne8, Sep 26, 2008.


  1. Hello.

    Boss has the CS-3 that is called a Compression Sustainer pedal. They also have, listed under Bass Pedals on their site, the LMB-3, which they call a Bass Limiter/Enhancer. The description sounds like a compressor to me but they never call it a compressor. Is it? Or is it more of a noise gate?

    Thanks.
     
  2. René_Julien

    René_Julien

    Jun 26, 2008
    Belgium
    A limiter is not a compressor. A limiter just cuts of unwanted peak volumes, a compressor does a lot more.
    I suggest reading bongomania's compressor FAQ or the Compressor Review Megathread.

    I can't quite explain what an enhancer does. It's sort of a user friendly equalizer. :)
    (It's like "presence" and "contour" knobs on some amps, to adjust the harmonics you create when playing.)
     
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    A limiter is a compressor. I suggest reading Bongomania's Compressor FAQ. ;)

    The difference is just in their internal pre-set settings, as well as the word painted on the box. E.g. the CS-3 is really more of a "limiter" in its preset functioning, while the LMB-3 is not limited to being a limiter.
    "Enhancer" can mean different things on different devices. In the case of the LMB-3, it's a mid-scoop: the more you turn it up, the more the lows and highs are boosted, leaving a big cut in the mids. This is the same as "contour" on many amps. "Presence" however is usually just a boost to the highs and/or high-mids.
     
  4. I'm very happy with my LMB-3. And I do use the Enhance knob a fair amount, mainly because my role in my bass/piano duo requires that I have a somewhat more present sound without having it bounce all over the hard surfaces (tile, wood, metal) in the club where we play. I have noticed that using a parametric EQ gives me greater control over the overall tone; for instance, I was able to duck 100hz or so out of the mix so it didn't hurt my pianist's ears, yet there was still some body to the tone.

    I'm currently running the LMB-3 into the parametric, but I've considered reversing them so I get more "signal to squash", if that makes any sense at all. Bongo, do you think THAT might even out some lows somehow?

    Oh yeah - thanks for the advice on settings for my LMB-3. I'm zeroing in on That Tone. :)
     
  5. I guess it depends on what you expect from a compressor. Most people describe compressors as bringing the loudest notes down, bringing the quietest notes up, and generally improving sustain. The LMB-3 really only does one of those things (the first one), but I think it does it very well. No complaints at all.

    As Bongo said, the enhance knob is a mid-scoop, and quite a brutal one, IMHO.
     
  6. René_Julien

    René_Julien

    Jun 26, 2008
    Belgium
    LOL. :oops:

    So I was wrong on what I thought I was right about and I was right on what I thought I was wrong about.
    (Now I'm even confusing myself.)

    Some months ago I you already corrected me on compression. Going to read more thoroughly now through the FAQ. I thought I got the point. :meh:

    One knob for midscooping and boosting the highs and lows at strategic points... so user friendly equalizer. :D
    Or to rephrase: equalizing for dummies. (Just joking)
    I really should try the LMB-3 out in the store, I assume I could need it.
    ... Or a compresser. I guess I need one.

    I'm still don't have a clear view on compression.
    Just buy one and play around with it...
     
  7. I highly recommend Bongo's links on how a compressor works. Go do some more homework, but also get one and play around with it.
     
  8. René_Julien

    René_Julien

    Jun 26, 2008
    Belgium
    I assume this is directed at me.

    I read it... well most of it. :) The info I needed to know. Read them again.
    But theory needs to put in to practice. Reading all the tech talk will get you only so far, experience is a different thing.

    I read some reviews about compressors that I can quickly get my hands on (from the local music store). But that left me more confusing as wich pedal would be the good for me.

    And I am still confused about the limiter thing. :confused:
    So the BOSS one is a compressor?? A compressor is a limiter and a limiter is a compressor. Just one is from Venus and one is from Mars??
    Just the controls and ranges of the controls are set up differently and act in other ways... or something like that.
    Analogy to overdrive and distortion perhaps. Same sort of effect in a different range for different needs.
     
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yes! Bingo. :) The primary difference is in how high the ratio is set, although it is also common to set a limiter for a higher threshold so that only the peaks are compressed. Note though that just because something says "limiter" on it does not necessarily mean that it has a high threshold relative to your signal level. Also, as in the case with the CS-3 which has an extremely high ratio, the level of your signal relative to the threshold dramatically changes the nature of the processing.

    Seems like I need to clarify this point in the FAQ, this is not the first time this confusion has come up. I'll do some re-writing today.
     
  10. Okay, let me see if I can help here.

    A compressor and a limiter do similar things, but to different extremes.

    A compressor changes the volume* of all notes that go over a certain THRESHOLD. This means that depending on where your THRESHOLD is set, some notes will be affected and some notes will not, depending on how loud you play the note.

    The effect the unit has on the notes that cross the THRESHOLD is determined by the RATIO control. The higher the RATIO, the more the affected notes are "squished" down. You can tell which way the RATIO knob is set up because if you turn it all the way to one side, you will hear no change in the sound no matter how hard or soft you play OR no matter where your THRESHOLD is set.

    A LIMITER is simply a compressor that allows you to set the RATIO so high that no notes get louder than the THRESHOLD. This is a RATIO of 1:infinity. So a LIMITER is like a "sonic ceiling" that prevents notes from being louder than a set point, whereas a COMPRESSOR is more like a "rubber sheet" that will bend but not break. Does that help you out at all?


    *term used somewhat loosely here
     
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yes - and the difference in names makes sense to me because of the way the controls work.

    On the CS you use the 'sustain' control, which, to the ear, adjusts just that: it makes a note sustain longer WITHOUT CHANGING THE VOLUME (yah - I know, Bongo: it changes the overall, average, 'integrated' volume or whatever, but... well, you know). It holds the threshold of compression at the same level, and just - in effect - 'drives it harder'.

    You adjust the limiting of the limiter (LM) with a 'threshold' control. You're holding the 'drive' or gain the same, and adjusting at what level gain reduction begins. There's a seperate control for output level.

    The latter would drive me nuts on stage, because I want to be able to just reach for one knob, and change my length of SUSTAIN, without having to then re-adjust my volume again!

    Joe
     
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Absolutely - If one were to call somthing a 'compressor' or 'limiter' based on ratio and attack time, then then the CS is definately a LIMITER.

    Joe
     
  13. René_Julien

    René_Julien

    Jun 26, 2008
    Belgium
    Yup, I didn't came across an explanation on the relation between limiter and compressor in your FAQ.
    Although in your review of the LMB-3 you shined light on the issue.

    Good thing to have an über-nerd on compression like you around.
    ;)
    No pun intended. You keep on friendly sharing your knowledge.

    Reading some of your reviews I'm still a bit lost.
    I was thinking of the Ashdown but you didn't loved it that much.
    I'll have to go on my own and try compressors out, respecting all the theory I learned.

    My interpretation on how a limiter works was right. Like you explained it so I understood it before. ... about
    But you word it much clearer.

    I didn't know that limiting peaks is actually compressing and create sustain even.
    I got arrested on a technicality. :atoz:

    But I must admit my knowledge of it was a bit off. I assumed limiter just filtered the peaks and compressor did that plus also boosting the low volumes.
    The common misunderstanding I think bongo means.
     
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    :) Note I mis-wrote something above, I corrected it now- I meant to say that just because something says 'limiter' on it does not mean anything about the relative position of the threshold.
     
  15. hyoshim

    hyoshim

    May 5, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Hi Bongomania,

    I'm about to purchase a compression pedal. I'm thinking either BBE Optostomp or Humphrey Mod Bass Smasher (CS3). Any recommendation???

    Thanks in advance,

    Hyo
     
  16. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Have you read the reviews I wrote for those two pedals? And what are you trying to achieve with the compression, either in terms of dynamic control or in terms of overall tone?
     
  17. hyoshim

    hyoshim

    May 5, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Bongomania,

    I read your review on BBE optostomp and Humphrey Mod CS3 Atom Smasher. That is why I'm narrowing down with these two. My goal is to even out my sound and tighten up the low end a bit with some compression. I will be playing in an gym/auditorium every Sunday for a while before we move into a new church and I'm afraid that the acoustic environment will be quite challenging. Although your review of the Boss CS3 pointed out the weakness (lowend loss and some noise), I think the bass specific mod (large capacitor) may be the answer to that. So, I'm still wondering...
     
  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    While I like the modded CS3 quite well, it is a more extreme tool than the Optostomp; based on what you've described so far, I think the Opto might be better suited to your needs.
     
  19. hyoshim

    hyoshim

    May 5, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Thanks, I'll try out Optostomp first and hope it will be the last..
     
  20. Stampy

    Stampy

    Jun 30, 2008
    Connecticut
    Just a heads up to whoever buys a CS-3. Its a great pedal but I think its designed mostly for guitars because it sucks a lot of low end.
     

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