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compression or distortion

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by LittleJaco, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. LittleJaco


    Nov 4, 2004
    I play in a three man alternative rock band and my guitarist suggested a compression pedal to fill the sound up more.

    1.Will the pedal help?
    2.will a distortion/overdrive help more?
    3.What are the cheapest (and best) compression pedals out there?

  2. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I am in the same position you are. I am getting a couple of overdrive pedals to try (and one distortion pedal). I am hoping they will help fill out the sound when the lead guitar solos.
  3. well, i'd get an overdrive or light distortion...i've got my ODB-3, set lightly, and that really fills up the sonic space in my 3 piece blues band...boss makes a cheap compressor...
  4. Arion and Behringer will be the cheapest. The housing for the Arion (MusiciansFriend.com) is pretty cheasy, but actually sounds quite good.

  5. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    A compressor is definitely not what you need to fill up sonic space. The best way to fill up sonic space is by using an overdrive or distortion. I'd recommend an overdrive pedal in your case. The reason for this recommendation is that any distortion type pedals add overtones that weren't there before. So now your sound has more sonic components to it.
    If you like the sound of an overdriven Bassman then try out a Boss Blues Driver. Other pedals in your price range that I'd recommend trying are the DOD 250, Ibanez PD-7, and the Digitech Bass Driver. You can also try out the Boss ODB-3, but it's more of a distortion than an overdrive.
  6. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005
    i was trying for the same thing. After a whilei got kind of pissed at the odb3 just cause it's not very versatile and its pretty harsh sometimes. A while ago i discovered the EHX double muff. It's awesome just cause its a much creamier overdrive, like an overdriven tube, plus it give sthe tones a warmer feel. Also, i just got the mxr bass octave pedal, and that set really dry right after the double muff makes a HUGE SOUND.
  7. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    My ODB-3 has been doing me right.

    I can run it real light for either a nice tube-ish warmth (highs-control and drive turned all the way down); I can sort of simulate a distorted rhythm guitar+bass by running the treble and drive at about 12:00, and the blend back at about 8:30 or 9:00... Here's one: really decent dub-tone with the settings highs=7:00, lows=4:00, blend=4:00, drive=7:00, and back-off the bass' neck pickup volume as-necessary (tone on the bass all the way down, of course).

    I always run a compressor before the ODB, but these sounds aren't too bad without. Especially for the dub tone example; if you back-off the outupt of the bass just right, it acts like light compression on it's own - it's a good sound that I can't get with any other combination of bass/amp/compressor settings.

    On the other hand (!), if I could only choose between compression or distortion, I'd definately choose COMPRESSION. I use mine full-time, and it does fill-out the sound, just as your guitarist says. I wouldn't want to be without compression, but the combination is powerful! Run compressor first, then OD.

  8. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    I guess there are two interpretations to filling out the sound. I mainly think of filling sonic space. Adding overdrive to a bass when the guitarist solos fills in some of the sonic space that was once occupied by chord overtones.

    When speaking of compression, I don't really think of it as filling out the sound, unless you think filling out the sound means evening out your dynamics.

    So I guess in the end, you should try both really. For compressors within your price range, I'd look for an MXR Dyna Comp or a Digitech Bass Squeeze.
  9. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    It seems that this 'evening out your dynamics' aspect is all I ever hear about when it comes to compression. It's sort of back to this old idea that 'compressors are used to compensate for bad technique' thing (I don't mean to be putting words in your mouth, Melvin - I'm just saying that I think the idea of 'dynamics' is looked at too narrowly sometimes).

    True - a compressor will help someone who has a 'problem' with even plucking or whatever (since I use full-time compression, I use plucking force to control the TONE of a note, therefore if someone were to listen to an un-compressed version of one of my parts, they may say that I have horrendous dynamic control, but I'm listening to the compressed sound, and using the plucking dynamics to adjust tone as I play) - but what LittleJ' and his guitarist are talking about is reducing the dynamic range of individual notes, not note-to-note variations. In this case it definately DOES fill-out the sound, because the volume envelope of each note is more constant - better 'sustain'.

    It does work. I play in a three-peice myself, by the way, and it really does work just like we're talking about. Now I wouldn't want to be without my ODB-3 either, though.

  10. Melvin7822

    Melvin7822 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2004
    Broomfield, CO
    Compressors really have two functions, they're an effect first and a tool second. A lot of people think it to be vice versa. I understand the potential of using a compressor in the way you speak. However, compressors aren't the only type of pedal that share this function. Clean boost pedals such as the MXR Micro Amp and the Fulltone Fat Boost also help when it comes to sustain as well.
  11. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I don't know if I'd go with a distortion effect. I think some kind of overdrive would be better. Might I suggest something on the lines of a SansAmp Bass Driver DI. It can give you that overdriven sound, or a really distorted sound - alla Kings X - to a warm tube tone - which I prefer.