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compression distortion

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Son of Bovril, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. is it normal for my compressor to cause distortion if I turn the attack and release settings more to fast...?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It is normal for many compressors to distort at extreme settings. Some compressors make a big deal about how clean/silent/invisible they are, and those designs are harder to distort. Others, like the MXR rackmount dual limiter, are all about the distortion. I love my Dan Armstrong-clone compressor because it has a nice subtle edgy distortion to it. If you like fast settings and don't want distortion, you probably need a different pedal.
  3. I'm actually using a DBX 166XL rackmount. if 12 o'clock is neutral between fast and slow attack and release, then I start getting distortion as soon as I get past 11 o'clock towards the faster setting with either the attack or release...

    It has an auto setting which adjusts the attack and release according to input levels, which sounds pretty good, and doesn't distort...
  4. 12bass


    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada

    Why does the RNC distort my bass guitar?
    At the risk of sounding too esoteric and philosophical, there are many universal laws that are, many times, inconvenient (like, say, gravity). Well, there's a mutual (and universal) exclusivity between low frequency fidelity and fast compressor release times. Stated another way: the faster a compressor's release time, the more distorted the lower frequencies will be. "Okay, okay!", you say, "I know that! But why don't I have similar problems with my other compressors?" Simply put, the RNC's normal mode release times are shorter than many compressors (some of the fastest that we've seen). This means that the RNC will induce low frequency distortion more frequently than your other compressors. "Why didn't you make the RNC so it wouldn't distort my bass notes?" Because then we'd limit (no pun intended) your creative choices for other sound sources where a really fast release time would sound really gonzo...like on kick or snare drums. Try compressing a snare drum track with the RNC set for really fast attack and release times. You'll here drum resonances that you've never heard before that can be creatively used to add spice to your mixes!
    "How do I avoid or reduce the low frequency distortion?" This one's easy: increase the release time until the distortion goes away. (Doing my best Groucho Marx impression: "Does it distort when you do that? Well don't do that!")
  5. Sweet, sorted! Thanx for the link and explanation 12bass. I think I'll be using slower attack and release settings from now on, as I believe that that makes the sound more punchy as well...?
  6. Can anyone explaint to me why my sound engineer keeps telling me that since I've been using my DBX166xl in the mix, that everytime I play lower down, it is jumping out louder and when I play higher register stuff, it is too quiet?

    this seems to be the opposite of what the compressor should be doing right? I have the attack and release set on auto, the ratio at 3:1 or 4:1 and the threashold pretty low, so that when I play hard, I get about 10db compression? I do heve it in overeasy(soft knee) and the contour button is in... (could it be the contour button!?)