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Compression Questions

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Kazz3lrath, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Kazz3lrath


    Jan 5, 2012
    I have three questions about compression:

    1. I use an MXR bass distortion, if I added some compression to tighten up my tone, would I want to add it before or after the distortion?

    2. I am considering getting an octave pedal. How well does compression work with an octaver?

    3. Compressor recommendations?
  2. chienmort


    Aug 15, 2012
    in my humble opinion you should put compression first but as to what to use, my head has a compressor so I never use outboard compression. The reason I use it first is that compression affects all other effects and also EQ.
  3. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    I always recommend the MXR Bass Compressor to a compression noob simply because of the gain reduction LED's, not to mention it really is a fantastic compressor. That said, I generally put my compressor in front of everything, I find that my dirt pedals work best that way. I found that if I put it after my fuzz, it squished it a little too much.
  4. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
  5. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
  6. +2
  7. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    I've always found that the best way to figure out what order to put your effects in is to try out every possible order and decide for yourself.
  8. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    Oh, and +3 for Ovnilabs.
  9. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

  10. J-Dub


    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin, TX
    +40 for ovnilabs.

    Personal experience, compression first makes everything better. But you can't go wrong experimenting for yourself.

    My personal favorite compressor is the Diamond Bass Compressor. It's like a tone machine; turn it on, and everything sounds fuller, smoother, beefier, and tastier.

    And it sounds great in front of my OC-2. Makes the tracking on it almost perfect.
  11. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    apologies...but I'm spoiled rotten....got an Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor as part of a studio liquidation amongst band mates...really hard to make that thing sound bad at any setting. Incredible piece of gear...and incredibly expensive and overkill generally for bass guitar. But if you ever get your hands on one...yummy!
  12. maguire


    Nov 24, 2010
    NYC / Westchester
    Markbass Compressore gives a lot of control over the compression. I like it but its a bit clunky.

    Toadworks Mr. Squishy is amazing, especially as a beginner compression pedal. It is very portable and easily dials a good range of compression settings. Not as much control as Compressore though.
  13. DinnerWithAGypsy

    DinnerWithAGypsy Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    My own personal thoughts/answers:

    1. Your signal chain should be (in this scenario) bass -> compressor -> distortion, or, to put it more simply, add compression before the distortion. :) Distortion/Overdrive tends to include varying amounts of natural compression on its own when engaged, but, obviously and as always, use your ears.

    2. I can't speak to this with any degree of personal certainty as I have yet to buy my first octave pedal, although I absolutely want one. I'm sure the two would work fine together, though, seeing as many players use both. I believe an octaver typically comes after compression.

    3. It depends on what you want, which you probably don't know yet since you're new to compression, which is fine. I love my Aguilar TLC. It's very transparent but it does work if/when I want it to. It sounds great in the studio, too. If transparent compression/peak limiting is what you want, I would wholeheartedly recommend the Aguilar TLC. But if you're looking more for really warm, fattening compression, I'd suggest you look elsewhere. I've heard the Markbass Compressore is great for that sort of sound/effect.

    And also, Ovnilabs is absolutely all it's cracked up to be. That's how I bought my compressor/limiter (the Aguilar TLC), and I've never looked back.
  14. DethByDoom


    Sep 23, 2012
    A lot of people put compressors after envelope filters and before everything else. I tried and never went back. Also be subtle. And look at difference between tube and optical. Test stuff. Take everything on here with a grain of salt.
  15. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    1. I find that putting a compressor after a dirt pedal has the effect of "taming" the dirt, which I don't want.

    2. I'm an "always on" compressor guy. I have an octaver in my signal chain as well. I can't say that the octaver behaves much differently with or without compression, to my ear. My octaver is before my compressor, but this has more to do with my autowah than anything else. I prefer the autowah before the compressor, because it's a dynamics-sensitive effect, so why squish the dynamics first? Also, because auto-wahs can throw off harsh resonant peaks, which can be controlled (to an extent) by putting a compressor after them. What does this have to do with my octaver? I love the combo of octaver and autowah, and naturally have tried them in either order. Of the two, I strongly prefer the sound of octaver into autwah rather than the other way around. By default, this means my octaver must come before my compressor.

    3. +1 to Ovnilab. I personally use a Markbass Compressore, and love it. Cloverfield nailed it: "warm and fattening". But there are lots of good options out there. Again, read the reviews on that Ovnilab link.
  16. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    +1. A lot of these "what order should I put my pedals in" threads come up, and while I enjoy putting my two cents into them, this is the wisest advice you could give in any of them.

    If you have a lot of pedals, this can be daunting. I suggest that you check out two at a time. For a random example, try plugging into your octaver and distortion, leaving any other pedals you might own out of the equation for the time being. Try them in both orders and decide what you like better. Do this for every possible two-pedal combination you own. You will find that for some combinations, you have definite preference, and for other combinations, it's six of one, half dozen of the other. Still other combos are things that you won't use one way or the other (for me, it's dirt and chorus. Don't like 'em together. YMMV :)). Use your findings to work out a signal chain order that works best for your preferences and the way you actually use your pedals.
  17. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    I'm go against he trend and say that I put my overdrive before compression. Overdrive is also a dynamic sensitive effect, so putting it before compression allows me to get a range of gritty tones at a more consistent volume. I should point out that I use fairly heavy compression.

    I also find that an octaver work well after compression, the compressed signal seems to track better IMO.
  18. Inconnu


    Nov 1, 2005
    My bass-ment
    1. I use my compressor after everything to keep the levels in line. I don't know about how it will affect your distorted tone, but I use a Bass Big Muff and adding a compressor after it makes the mixed clean/fuzzed tone sound more "united". In other words, it's pretty cool.

    2. Compressor after the Octaver. It will prevent the low frequency peaks caused by the octaver. You might have the work on your comp settings though (or not...).

    3. I use a very cheap yet super simple and effective device made by ART, the Tube MP/C. It's a small tube preamp with a built in compressor. The compressor controls are limited, but the result is great. No excessive noise, no lost of highs or lows. You'll get it for just over 100$ new, including the adapter. Not a pedal, though.