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Compressor dilemma

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Danlowdown, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Danlowdown


    Dec 12, 2016
    I used and was happy with the onboard compressors on my various SWR (and a GK) amps for over 20 years. I never turned them off. But when I switched to a smaller rig - my SWR SM900/Goliath III 4-10 cab is wonderful, but with the work I get these days it's like driving an Formula One car to the convenience store - I found how much I depended on those onboard compressor/limiters for my sound. That down-sized rig I bought is a Fender Rumble 500 (2-10s). Loved the sound (and the weight), but didn't notice until I'd handed over the money that it didn't have a compressor. I tried using my old red MXR DynaComp guitar compressor, and quickly learned it wasn't designed to deal with the low end of an E-A-D-G four-string guitar bass (at least not my old fretless Stingray and mid-'70s P-bass).
    So, a friend gave me one of his retired studio workhorses, a dbx 163X Over Easy Compressor/Limiter half-width rackmount. Not sure that it's the answer, though it's certainly better than nothing. Maybe I just haven't worked with it enough, yet, but it has only a single slider control and a trim (input sensitivity) pot. No ATTACK or other compressor parameters. Then again, the SWR and GK amps didn't have more controls on their compressors either. Not sure if I'd get something more out of using a dedicated bass compressor pedal with all the extra variable parameters most of them have. Looking for some advice on the dbx rack unit vs. what a pedal could do for me, if anyone has experience with both.
    Besides cost, my considerations are that I've already got that dbx unit, it uses 120-volt AC "wall" current and saves on 9-volt batteries and the floor clutter of a pedal, but on the other hand, the dbx needs either a rack or some kind of a mount which doesn't fit into or onto the Fender Rumble 500.
    On a related subject, Fender really pissed me off by buying a great bass audio company, SWR, then killing it and not supporting its loyal customers. And, secondly, Fender, besides putting a compressor in the Rumble 500, you could make that amp's knobs stay in place better? A weak breeze is almost enough to change my settings. I put rubber bands under the knobs to provide a bit of friction and better hold them in place. Cheesy looking and feeling workaround! I'd prefer Fender had designed the amp with detents on the controls, or even just friction discs to hold the knobs in place. On the other hand, the Rumble 500 sounds great, only weighs 38 pounds and was a bargain compared to anything else I found with a sound and weight I liked.
    Dave W likes this.
  2. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    I have a pre Fender SWR750X that I love!:thumbsup:

    That dbx 163x is an extreme soft knee compressor. It is designed so that most of your signal will be compressed by different amounts (similar to the ratio curve in my avatar), that's why there is no ratio control. I believe the 163x is also designed with program dependent (automatic) attack and release circuits, which would explain the lack of those controls.

  3. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    Invest in an automatic paragraph generator.
    FullTime Tim likes this.
  4. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I've used both rackmount and pedal format comps. My newest amp came in a form-fitting 2 space rack so a rackmount is out of the question. Sounds like you're looking for a simple two-knob jobby including comp level & make-up gain / volume which is pretty much what I'm using. One of the better buys is the older yellow & white BBE OptoStomp. Drop some addt'l coin and you can get something really nice embracing the same format.

  6. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Banned

    May 26, 2010
    Doesn't the newer Rumble 500 have a built in compressor of sorts? I don't really know, but I use an Xotic SP Compressor with good results. It's fairly affordable, super small footprint and has a blend knob, which is key. It's not the most flexible, or easiest to adjust given that there are dip switches inside the pedal and to adjust them you need to remove the bottom plate. But for me, once I dialed in a setting I liked, I haven't messed with it since.

    Interesting in what you mention about having trouble with the knobs turning too easily. I've never had that issue. I think the way the controls are placed, being recessed keeps them from accidentally getting moved. I'll routinely put my Tuki cover on the amp, put in in the car and transport it to and from rehearsal and my knobs don't move.

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  7. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    I just fund out the other day that it does have a limiter built in, but beyond a vague mention in the manual there are no details about when and how it kicks in at what gain and mastervol settings. I still put a compressor into mine.
  8. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz Banned

    May 26, 2010
    Same here. Using the SP comp and it works well. Off topic, I used to have one of those Black Eagle's that you have on your avatar. Should have never got rid of it!
  9. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Hey, it's my favorite! I had an awesome original that I never should have sold (only one I've ever seen under 10 lbs; trying to get it back!!), but my first one was, and this one is also, a reissue. Amazing bass for not much money!
    Vinnie Boombatz likes this.
  10. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    who has one?!! are they as great as the artwork makes me want ....
  11. XXL

    XXL calm seas dont make skilled sailors

    Jun 14, 2007
    I have a Photon Opto comp and I love it. Top shelf compressor as I have ever tried or owned, somewhere in one of these effects threads I did a mini review of it.
    pacojas likes this.

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