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compression question (fishman, aphex etc.)

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by shwashwa, Sep 30, 2004.


  1. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    OK, i like the amplified gomez type sound (except with more botom)... i notice that the fishman pro platinum eq has compression on it. what can compression do for double bass? can it increase sustain? can it make a smoother sound? i'm just trying to figure out if i should try it, and since fishman puts on in the eq i figure it must be useful.
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Filling out your profile would help. What kinda setup do you have?

    I've spent much of the last ten years or so trying to get Eddie's sound out of my playing :), so I might be able to help...
     
  3. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    cool, thanks. well, i'm fairly happy with my tone, i was just wondering what a compressor would do to it, since i've been reading alot on the bass guitar side of this forum and they're always talking about compressors, and since the fishman eq has it. as for my rig, well it depends on the day.... my main bass is a kolstien with a bass max and a pick up the world with obligatos. when those strings die im going back to a steel string so that i can also blend in my magnetic pickup for problem rooms. another bass i use alot in gigs where i dont want to bring the kolstien is a chinese snow bass with a barbera transducer with the magnetic pickup blended in (helicore hybrid strings except the g which is helicore orchestral. this bass has lots of sustain.) and sometimes i'll bring out my old student bass, a carved romanian with a barbera and blend in the magnetic if needed. this bass sprots pirastro permanents which are an excellent match for the bass. i think this bass will always use these strings. i plug into a raven labs blender and put that into either a baby blue head or a walter woods, depending on my mood that day, and that goes through an swr 2X10 with an acoustic image extension cab hooked up as well. i keep a boss graphic eq pedal in my bag in case i need it. i find that although i have plenty of eq on my amps, the boss has a certian sound that i like. it definately adds a color to the tone. i noticed this first because harvie swartz always uses the boss eq, and his tone is great these days. i was wondering about the compressor because sometimes with certian basses and in certian rooms, some notes tend to jump out more than others, and i was wondering if this could be smoothed out with the compressor. likewise, some areas of the neck on some basses can sound more quiet than others too. i've read that compressors make the envelope of dynamic range smaller, so i was thinking that it could be of use for my situation.
    thanks again.

     
  4. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    hey ray, i just checked out your website. i play with bacas from time to time too. i play at the garage with him alot, as a matter of fact my group is playing there this sat night, although it's without chris. we start at 11:15 and go to 3:15 if you can make it.
    grooveapparatus.com

    the garage on 7th ave south and christopher
     
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I'm working in W'burg Saturday and won't be able to make it.

    Notes jumpin out in particular rooms is more a function of EQ, likely. You're hitting the room's resonant frequencies.

    For the recorded Gomez sound a little compression will help get you there. You might have better luck going with Thomastik Spiro Orchestra gauge. These will give you the sustain and midrange that you need to pull off the tone. A lot of Eddie's sound is through his articulations and adornments -- sliding into notes, vibrato, etc. You don't HAVE to have the strings lower to do this, but it does make it a lot easier to accomplish.

    The best setup that I ever had for getting this typ of tone was a plywood bass with an Underwood and Spiros through a GK MB200.

    Eddie's sound is so much better than it is generally recorded. I've heard some unreleased tape from the studio and he gets all of that vocal quality plus all the woodiness and depth that you are missing from the albums.
     
  6. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    thanks for the response. i guess my question was less of how to sound like gomez and more of "what will compressor do to a double bass?" i just put the gomez comment in there as a point of reference so that people could know where i'm coming from. some guys could come on here and say "you'll hate compression, it will make your bass sound amplified". but that's fine with me... i'm happy with my strings and pickups that i'm currently using, i'm just curious as to the effects of compression on a double bass in a live gig setting.
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The point of a compressor is to reduce the dynamic range of whatever signal is put into it, in effect squashing the peaks and boosting the valleys. In effect, it will give you a more "electric" type of solid tone, but at the expense of nuance. It can be a cool effect to add a tinge of in the studio if that's your thang (it's not mine, but I like a pretty "solid" tone nonetheless...), but in my experience, it's a nightmare live if you want to sound like an acoustic instrument. FWIW, YMMV, OMGWTFLOL, BBQ, etc...:)
     
  8. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    why is it a nightmare live? do you think it could help notes that jump out or weak spots on the neck?
     
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    For me, it's a nightmare because it takes control of the dynamics (and to a certain extent, tone) out of my hands and places them in control of a little metal box with no ears. If I wanted that, I'd still play slab. :)
     
  10. I think therein lies the answer. Compression is a great thing if used properly. For acoustic music, if you can hear the compression happening, it's not being used properly (in my opinion). Most modern jazz recordings use a goodly amount of compression, but its used to make the overall sound of the combo 'fit' on the media. Even though I hear the compression on these recordings, I don't hear the compression turning on and off (which accentuates the artificial effect), so I'm ok with it. I see it more as a 'mastering' effect of getting the recording - which by definition isn't real - fit the limitations of the media.

    Live music doesn't sound like that typically (different media), so I don't see the point in using it live with acoustic instruments. To take the point further, I see less of a point of using compression to compensate for an unwanted ism of an instrument - because the compression will invariably affect something that you wish it hadn't.

    I gotta add a disclaimer though. This is just a prediction based on general experience. The best thing to do is try it on a gig. Who knows, it may work like a champ and you'll love it. I'd try a 'smooth' compression like with a RNC or something like that. Some of the optical compressors get a little too 'artificial' for me...
     
  11. DaveB

    DaveB

    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    It took me a long time to use compressors but once I figured out (a) what they did and (b) that it's like Tabasco sauce (a little is way more effective than a lot) I now find them indispensable.
    With my URB I use the Fishman Platinum Pro - the combination of subtle compression and depth really work for me especially if I go direct to the PA. For electric I use the Aphex Punch Factory. I like the way it smooths my tone. But, I don't like the Fishman for electric and I don't like the Aphex for URB.
     
  12. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Shwashwa --

    Just found this thread from last year. Any luck in your search for a compressor???

    These are some of the same issues I'm having. I also use a Barberra pickup, Boss EQ (love this box), and an SWR 2x10.

    Acoustically, my bass has an uneven volume from string to string which is "amplified" considerably through my rig...even with the EQ relatively flat.

    I'm thinking of a compressor pedal that can pull "double" duty with my upright and electric basses. I don't want to squash the tone -- just fatten it up a little. I love the sound of a great compressor on my bass in the studio, by the way.
     
  13. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    hey, thanks for interest in this old thread... my i have not purchased a compressor, and i havent really even tried one. someone gave me a zoom multi effects pedal, and it has a compressor in it. a really cheap one most likely, and i try it with my eub. it sounds great here at home, but i brought it to a rehearsal and hated what it did to my sound. it did show some potential however, and i suspect that if i were to try a nice unit then i might be really pleased. the messenger bass has a barbera and there is definately some uneveness with the volume of the strings. i'm wondering if that's the issure with my other basses as well... 2 of them have barberas on them and have spots that are very hard to hear. the more i think about it the less i think it's there when i play acoustically. a compressor still may be of value, and if i had access to a nice one that i could bring to a gig i'd love to try it, but i'm afraid to just buy one without trying it on a gig first. the tone from my house to the gig varies greatly. so, having said all that, my live rig has changed alittle in the last year. i use the raven labs blender with flat eq, and i send that into a sans amp para driver preamp for my tone coloring. i love that box. really warms up the sound. the boss is no longer a part of my rig. i think if you like the boss you'll love the sans amp para driver. the mid control is key. i send that into the power amp section of my walter woods and then into the swr 2X10. it seems a shame to waste the eq section of my walter woods by not using it, but the sound i'm getting lately is great. i've solved the dead spot problem by adding a magnetic pickup to the barbera and that picks up the notes (mostly thumb position) that are weak with the barbera. i set the magnetic kind of far back from the strings so that it's not really doing anything unless i go into thumb position and the string then moves much closer to the pickup. if i could find a compressor that would solve these problems i think it would be an easier solution and much less wires on stage with me. last night i tugged on one by accident and my whole rig, 2 preamps (raven and sans amp) and amp came tumbling down. a real pain, but the tone was just so good last night that i have to keep using it. please keep me informed of your experiences with compressors, and sorry for the epic post...

     
  14. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Thanks.

    My strings sound uneven acoustically which is made more noticable when amplifying it. I must say I have a rather inexpensive bass -- one of the no-name Romanian models from Lemur that I bought a few years ago.

    The Barbera is by far the best pickup I've found in terms of loudness and clarity. However, it can sound a little "electric" when you scrutinize it. However...just about everyone who hears my bass (even bass players) tell me things sound great and are loud & clear. Drummers love it.

    I was just wondering if adding a little compression would smooth out the bumps and make a more consistent sound through my amp. I too wish to minimize the amount of cables and boxes I use -- and I've been very happy with the Boss EQ with its powerful gain boost and serious low-end goodness. I can also dial out the mids nicely and get a solid, clear tone.

    I remember how essential a compressor seemed to be from my early rock guitar playing days...I had an old but noisy Boss Compression Sustainer (the dark blue one). I might also try the new Boss Bass Limiter to see if it firms things up. It's also relatively inexpensive.

    Maybe it will work like a Wonderbra for the bass. Yuck...sorry about that! :rollno:
     
  15. shwashwa

    shwashwa

    Aug 30, 2003
    NJ
    well, let me know if you ever try one. let me know how it works. you may also want to check out the para driver. it warms up the barbara, or any piezo nicely.. takes some of that "electric" sound out of it. and just a slight hint of drive makes the bass really stand out. low frequency distortion gives the illusion of clarity.