Compression and Distortion: Stompbox geeks, help me out!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by embellisher, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I am going to put together a pedalboard, and need some advice on specific distortion and compressor pedals. This post is about compressors, the second will be about distortion units. I am obviously trying to watch my cost, but I would rather pay a little more if the difference in quality is discernable.

    These are the compressors I am currently considering:

    Demeter Compulator - $200

    I know Demeter's reputation, and have heard that this is the best as far as pedals go. But is it worth $50 more than a Black Finger?

    Emma TransMORGrifier - $170

    Haven't heard much about this one.

    Electro Harmonix Black Finger - $150

    I have heard some say that this pedal is better than the Demeter, but heard others say it is not. Anybody have specific experience with it, or preferably, both?

    Trace Elliot SMX Dual Compressor - $100

    Never heard of this one, until today. Don't know anything about it, except that Trace was a respected amp maker until Gibson bought them. Anybody know about this one?
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    OK, here are the distortion units I am looking at. I need a box that will give me that SVT driven hard tube tone. If it can also do subtle overdrive, that would be nice too.

    Here are the boxes I am looking at:

    DOD 250 - $40

    The least expensive of the bunch. I have heard great things about it. Can you really get a good unit for this price?

    HAO Rust Ride - $120

    I am tempted to pull the trigger on this, but would like some opinions.

    Blue Tube Real Tube - $100

    These are out of production, but pop up from time to time.

    Fulltone Bass Drive - $120?

    I can't pay full new price for this, but have seen one go for $120 a couple of times.

    EBS Multidrive - $120?

    Again, can't pay new price, but I have seen these go for around $120 at least once.

    Sansamp BDDI - $180

    I know that this does more than distortion, but that is all I would use it for. I hate to pay this much, unless it blows everything else away.

    Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde Ultimate Overdrive - $80?

    This isn't a bass pedal, but I talked to one guy online who uses it for bass and raves about it. I can get one of these for around $80 used.
  3. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I'll tell you for sure in a few months... but this is what I'm getting

    "King of Tone" for both clean boost and a little Tube screamer type bite with less color and less sucked away bass.

    "Bi-CompROSSor" for effect and smoothing of my right hand tech.

    I'm gonna play with my guitarists BiComp before I buy.... I might get teh Blackfinger... I hear it's more of a tone addition then an effect
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have read some good things about the BicompROSSor. I sure wish I still had my old Ross compressor.
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Jeff, I mentioned the EBS MultiComp in another thread - I love it. A cheaper alternative is the Digitech Bass Squeeze. I've also heard great things about the Aphex Punch Factory.

    Did you look at the review thread at the top of the forum? All of these overdrive/distortion pedals and more are discussed there - it's a great reference resource.

    The DOD is good for the money, but as has been noted - if you drive it harder it'll lose more low end.

    The EBS is VERY good at a mild overdrive. Probably the best one I've tried. But it was less good at the higher drive levels.

    I wasn't taken by the Hao, but other people love it.

    IMO the Fulltone is the best of the bunch you list - in comp cut mode it's a very open and responsive overdrive. Some of the other modes can lose a bit of low end and compress the sound a bit - a cool effect to have for certain sections but not necessarily to have on all the time. Other good ones - BJF blueberry bass overdrive, Dredgetone Angler, Barber Deep Fryer.
  6. I've really been messing around with my BOSS ME-50B. Tons of different compressor sounds and some great overdrives/distortions. I'm not sure if you're looking for a multi FX, but this is diffenetly no one trick pony.

    Go easy with the threshold knob, I think it's a little heavy handed hence why some people have given it a bad name. Mine is usually anywhere from 1 to 4 o'clock depending on the bass.

    I had a Trace Elliot Dual Compressor and could never really get a good sound from it. I'd try it for a day or two and then find my bass come "alive" when I didn't use it,... sorry that's the only way I can explain it.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    David, I did read the entire distortion/overdrive review thread. What few comments I found about the Rust Ride were positive, except for you and one other person.

    If I could be sure of winning an auction on a Fulltone for $130 or so, I would wait one out. But I have a line on an HAO, brand new w/warranty, for $120 including shipping. These things do not come up used very often, and I have never seen a new one for less than $135 + shipping.

    Big Benner, I appreciate the recommendation, but I am wanting individual boxes, not a multi effects. I also appreciate the advice on the Trace. The info I have found on it is about 50% positive, and 50% negative. I don't like that ratio, so I am going to pass on it.
  8. Take a look at the Visual Sound Route 66, it is an Overdrive and Compressor in one simple pedal.
  9. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    No comparison...I have a SABBDI and a Fulltone Bass Drive. The Sans Amp scoops the tone way too much for my tastes, making the bass sound very unnatural. Interestingly, my old MIM Jazz (I no longer own) played through the SABBDI sounded very much Geddy Lee-like in his recent years!

    The Fulltone, to me, makes my bass sound like my bass, but with distortion. It's so natural sounding, not affecting the eq shape in the least bit. Plus, it's true bypass, which I really like.

    IMO, the SABBDI shouldn't be considered by someone who's looking for a distortion; rather, it's better as a DI that has the added effect of distortion. The Fulltone, OTOH, is an excellent distortion with tons of cool tones ranging from uncompressed, mild "flavoring" to very crunchy, highly compressed.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Interesting pedal. How well does it work for bass?
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Thanks for the comments on the Sansamp, RAM. I had pretty much decided that it wasn't for me. Your comments helped confirm that. It is no longer under consideration.
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well, I just won a mint condition Black Finger with wall wart for $112.50, so it looks as if my compressor hunt is over.
    Still looking at distortion/overdrive units, although I am leaning towards the Rust Ride.

    And now I will be looking for a chorus, although the searches I have turned up make the Danelectro Cool Cat look like a good buy at $40.00 used. Unless somebody else has a recommendation?
  13. Tell us how you like the blackfinger- I use an Alesis 3630, very nice, I leave it on all the time- but anything with tubes is tempting. I also like the Blue Tube, but use a Dano Daddy-o, it's fairly tube-ish (sensitive to playing dynamics).
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I just pulled the trigger on a Danelectro Cool Cat as well. I figured that for $26.00, I couldn't go wrong. If I don't like it, I can probably resell it for that much.

    So, now I have a chorus, a compressor, a flanger(DOD FX 75C that I bought a few months ago), an old Morley A/B/Y switch, and a Loooper.

    For distortion, I am torn between a Fulltone and a Rust Ride. I am watching a Bass Drive. If it goes for $120 or less, I will probably buy it, based on the recommendations I have received. But if it goes for more than that, I am pulling the trigger on a Rust Ride for $120 new, shipped.

    Does anybody know if these Morley A/B/Y switches are true bypass? If they are, I am planning on using it to switch between chorus, compressor, and both. If it is not a true bypass, there is no need in using it, right?

    I will run my distortion and flanger in the other loop on the Loooper.

    I have never done anything like this before, but have learned a lot reading this Forum over the past week.
  15. I dunno, ive only tried it with guitar, The overdrive side is built to the exact specs of the origonal Tubescreamer, but it also has a bass boost.
  16. I use an old ART Tube Levellar which I love - extra bit of phat & wet, very useable compression. They go for about $60 used, but need to sit on your amp due to the weird shape. Nice for vocals when recording too. It's probably too simple to do any damage!

    I use mine in the FX loop.
  17. I'm really happy with my ebs multidrive and multicomp. The drive goes from warm fuzz to the sound of a chainsaw ripping through chickens. The compressor is very versatile too.
  18. 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
    This is amazing. I don't have a clue.
  19. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    I still vote for the Rocktron Silver Dragon;)
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member


    Well, if I don't like the Rust Ride, I will be calling you about that Silver Dragon.:)

    The Fulltone went for $160 used, shipped, so I didn't bite on it. Got an HAO Rust Ride for $120, new, warranty, free shipping. Woohoo!:cool: