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Compressor/Compression for sustain?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by LilRay, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. LilRay

    LilRay Commercial User

    Dec 27, 2007
    Between my Roscoe and Leather
    Owner: Cockeyed Cow Custom Leathercraft
    I have read several reviews, both here and on ovinlabs and I don't see a lot mentioned about adding sustain. I would like that in a compressor not just limiting.

    Looked at the Keeley Bassist and it said specifically limiting only, no sustain.


    God Bless, Ray
  2. Sustain explained

    While you are there, read the whole ovnilab site, not just the reviews. You won't find a better reference out there.
  3. Ryan Wells

    Ryan Wells

    Feb 17, 2009
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Oddly enough, I was going to ask the same question but never got around to it!

    But the Pigtronix Philophers Bass is a fantastic compressor for sustain, and the blend control is a must have feature so it gets my vote.

    Now, the reason I was also going to ask for other good sustain compressors is because I also love the 'grit' control on the Pigtronix and want that on a separate pedal and have just about given up trying to find a distortion pedal that sounds the same. So I'm just about ready to move my Pig over to 'grit only' duties, leaving my compressor slot open. And it just seems odd to me to run two of the same pedal on my board even though they would be doing different things, so I'm open to hear about other sustaining compressors. I won't hesitate to run two Pigs though, if nothing else can match what it does. I love it.

    The Seymour Duncan Studio Bass is the only other one I've really seen so far, but I've read a couple of things about it not liking high output basses very well which is a requirement for me. The Pig has tons of headroom so high output basses are no problem for it.

    I can also add that the Keeley Bassist, MXR M87, or EBS MultiComp are not what you want. They are great compressors..especially the Keeley...but they are not sustainers.
  5. blizward


    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    I see where the problem might be.
    It's pretty much given that a compressor will add sustain. It's job is to lower high levels and raise low level. It will help avoid peaks in your playing and smooth the decay as your not ends, making it last longer = sustain.
    Not all compressor can be limiters, that's why its limiting abilities might be a selling point.
    When you advertise for a distorsion, you don't say that it can add gain. It's its purpose. You'd advertise its ability to be transparent or its powerful EQ because not every distorsion pedal has these features, see?

    As for ideas, I'll just say that I spent a lot of time on the Ovnilab website lately and it helped me a lot to understand what I needed.
    There are also very well made videos around the web by Just Nick and That Pedal Show that helped me understand how to make the best use of compression.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  6. blizward


    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    blindrabbit likes this.
  7. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    The Pigtronix PT was specifically designed as a sustainer pedal with over 50dB of gain available. So, that may be exactly what you are looking for, but I suggest that you try it to see if some of the reported quirks are going to be an issue for you.

    blindrabbit likes this.
  8. kat888

    kat888 Guest

    Oct 13, 2015
    As I understand it, the Keeley Bassist (not having been paws on with one yet) results vary with the threshold setting. The lower you set the threshold, the earlier the onset of compression. There are a few youtube reviews, including a long one in German!
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I just now added a couple of concluding sentences to that short article about sustain. Basically, use clean blend. That way you can use heavy compression settings without totally killing your tone and dynamics. :)
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  10. blizward


    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    Also, here is a review that explains how a compressor is set for sustain:
    Palmer Deepressor
  11. MGR

    MGR Banned

    Jan 18, 2015
    Bronx, NY
    I just got a VFE White Horse. With the blend knob and the sustain knob, this thing packs a serious punch. I highly recommend it because it can do what Bongomania says in the above quote. Plus it has a dirt section built in. This thing is a very muscular sounding pedal.
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Oh yeah, good choice.
  13. also looking for a compressor that lends itself to sustain - are the philosopher units still about the best way to go? i don't care about adding color and changes to tone, i'm using overdrive and/or distortion as well...i was looking at the boss cs-3, the milk box, or the philosopher's tone...i hate to start a new thread, and i've looked at bongo's site - i pretty much chose the mxr from reviews and whatnot, but it didn't do what i wanted it to do at all...just curious - thanks!
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Those three are good choices. One thing I neglected to include in that article is feed-forward vs feed-back circuits. Feed-back lends itself more to a sustaining effect compared to feed-forward. I left it out because almost zero pedals ever say which one they are, so there's no point in looking for that spec. But in hindsight I should have included it for accuracy. The reason I mention it now is that I'd be willing to bet that the MXR M87 is a feed-forward circuit. One clue is the use of separate attack and release controls--it is difficult to separate those controls with a feed-back design. The OTA types and most classic optos are feed-back.
    Fuzzbass and neptoon like this.

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