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Compression question

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Alvaro Martín Gómez A., Jan 18, 2012.


  1. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Hi everybody.

    As many of you already know, I'm a compression newbie and it's being a very interesting subject matter for me. Experimenting with my MXR M87, I found that the shortest release time (fully clockwise) causes the bass tone to distort. It doesn't happen (or can't be heard) with a high threshold, but a low threshold combined with a high ratio makes that effect very noticeable. The attack time doesn't seem to have any influence on that distorting artifact. So that's my question: Why is it that a short release time distorts the tone? No doubt that's the expected result, but I just want to understand the logic behind it.

    My apologies if it's a pretty obvious question. Again, I'm just getting immersed into this compression stuff. Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    If the compressor is adjusting the volume faster than the cycle of the note you're playing (or faster than the op amp can swing), it can show up as distortion. Interesting that you can hear it with a fast release but not a fast attack.
     
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Well, while the effect of the release knob is very noticeable, I have a hard time trying to get the differences between different positions of the attack knob. Bongomania says that its range (20 μs to 800 μs) is very narrow, and I guess that's the reason for it.
     
  4. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Regarding attack time, it's interesting that most websites suggest settings of several milliseconds, while the MXR's maximum attack time is 0.8 milliseconds. I guess a live band situation is the real test (can't tell playing alone at home), but maybe the MXR attack knob in the fully counterclockwise position (combined with a moderately fast release time) does a good job at taming peaks effectively without the tone losing "punch".
     

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