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Compression and eq

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by netefx, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Greetings TalkBassers:

    I'm looking for advise on a 1U rack compressors and eq device. I'm thinking of adding this devide to my rack for live applications. I'm using a Lakland 5 into an Demeter HBP-1 preamp, into the device in question, to a QSC PLX 3402 into a pair of Epifani T-210 and T-212. I'm looking for optimum tone for playing Rock, Country, and Worship at live gigs. Couple of questions ...

    1. Do I really need to compress? I've got 2 band parametric eq in the HBP-1, do I need multi-band eq beyond this?

    2. If so, what box would you guys recommend that would do both?

    3. I've read much about DBX compressors. Looks like the 1066 or 160A would do the compression but not the eq. The interesting boxes are the DDP and DriveRack Studio. Perhaps these are overkill but you don't have to use all the additional stuff do you? Seems like these have both essential features. Anyone use either of these for this purpose?

    4. If so, I've read about the TC Electronic Triple C but I've heard it's being phased out. Seems like the Finalizer 96 has all the same 3 band compression plus the eq facilities. What about using it for this purpose? Is there a lesser TC box that has the same? Finalizer Express?

    5. What about Focusrite Compounder, ToneFactory, or TrackMaster? Anyone use these devices for Bass amplification?

    Many thanks for the info.

    ... Mark
  2. I wouldn't say you really need to compress, it's more important in the studio than live. It can sound good in a live rig too though...

    Generally speaking, you EQ before the compressor and not afterwards. EQ works as an amplifier of selected frequencies, so boosting / cutting after compression would really mean that you're overriding all the work that has been done to compress the signal in the first place.

    For what it's worth, I have a Behringer Composer Pro... as you'd expect with Behringer, it's good for the money but there is better gear out there.
  3. Just for fun, I added the Presonus EQ3B and Comp16 to my rig. The EQ is a 3 band parametric EQ which allows me to dial in any frequency band and bandwidth I like according to the room or studio that I'm in. I'm not a compression guy, but I find that sometimes it 'tames' my rig, which has a tendency to overpower audiences. I'm no knob twiddler, so the Comp16, which has 16 preset compression settings (threshold/ratio/attack) which are commonly used for instruments and vocals. I set it on 'Bass' and it sounds really good to me. No 'pumping' or 'breathing' sounds at all...my peaks aren't as harsh, my chords are clear, and my harmonics are audible in a loud band.

    They're both 1/3rd rack space units, so I mount them to a universal rack shelf with an included mounting screw. Both have bypass buttons, so I can remove them from my signal completely.

    My rig is a SansAmp RBI, EQ3B and Comp16 in fx loop, to QSC PLX 3402 to two Acme Low B-4 cabs.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The better the gear, the less tweaking it needs. Unless you feel your sound is lacking, you don't need anything more than what you already have.

    Follow up to nicoli: it's usually better to apply EQ AFTER compression. The compressor will try to even out level changes due to EQing otherwise.
  5. Hmm... I use compression to even out level changes and keep things consistent. I mean if you had one frequency boosted after compression wouldn't that defeat the purpose of compressing the signal at all because you'd potentially have uneven volume between different notes due to post compressor EQ settings. I can see how you'd have more control of the overall tone by EQing afterwards but I think it defeats the purpose.

    On a mixing board for example, the insert points where you'd typically add a compressor are after the EQ section right?

    Not trying to be difficult, just hoping my entire thought process isn't horribly skewed.
  6. I compress last in my chain to even out any volume inconsistencies. That's what my pappy taught me to do.

    another case in point...during recording, compression is added during mixdown after Eq, and mastering is (simply speaking) leveling out the final product, ie: compression.

    netefx I rarely use my compressor or eq live. The only time I use them are when I'm in a notoriously boomy or reflective room, or the stage is really bassy or I'm going without PA support. Your gear is really good, and unless you have no control over your technique, you really don't need to compress live.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    No, channel insert points are before the EQ. Even bus inserts are before the master EQ.

    Example: I boost 6 db at 100 Hz. The compressor sees this boost it tries to squash it. If the compression is set at 3:1 ratio, the net result is either you only get an effective 2 dB of EQ boost or worse you might notice every time you hit a really low note, the overall level of the bass decreases!

    On the other hand, if you compress first to even out response across the whole frequency spectrum, you then apply EQ after to get the tonal corrections you want.

    Basically any time you adjust signal gain IN ANY WAY ahead of a compressor, the compressor will do it's best to counteract that boost.

    Of course, you can do whatever you want with the order of your processors, but compression is commonly placed first in the chain to even out the signal level before any other processing occurs. You will notice that bass amps with compressors (as opposed to limiters) have them before the EQ. Limiters intended to prevent power amp clipping are placed last specifically to protect aginst radical EQ adjustments.
  8. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    On a DDA board you can patch it in before or after the EQ.
  9. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    Netefx, I don't see the need for compression or EQ in your case. I used to have the dbx DDP in my rack. I would highly advise against both the DDP and the Drive Rack Studio. It just made the boxy and sterile not to mention it was impossible to get rid of even the slightest amount of distortion that the unit produced (even by changing attack and release times).

    The two band parametric EQ on your Demeter should be fine. Most people only use a parametric EQ for two reasons (barring hollowbody and acoustic players mind you): removing resonant frequencies or boosting the mids. Unless you can't acheive the sound you want, then you'd want a fully blown parametric EQ to sculpt your tone.

    Some people use compression as part of their sound. If you like the way your bass sounds compressed through your rig better than the uncompressed, then go for it. But IMHO, I feel a compressor just isn't needed live. The less processing you have in your rack, the cleaner your sound will be.
  10. Well brianrost, I must admit that goes against what the profs at the audio recording school I went to for the last year were teaching us, but I also have to admit it makes some good sense.

    The insert points on the 3 boards we had there were all between the EQ and the input fader, but there was also other patch point options.