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Compressor Discussion

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Toastfuzz, Apr 6, 2009.


  1. Toastfuzz

    Toastfuzz

    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I've been dabbling with the idea of getting a compressor lately, and need to justify the $80 or so for a decent Boss stomper.

    After all my research into the purpose and use of compressors, I think it will suit my needs. I play primarily fingerstyle and slap, Claypool-strumming, and use alot of funk-inspired ghost notes and muted slaps/strums. I know a compressor set correctly should equalize the volume between fingerstyle and slap, but would it also boost ghosts and mutes to make them more audible? For example, Primus's Lacquerhead: the verse riff is is just heavy-thumbed muted notes, would a compressor bring these out? Same for chords/strums/slides that sound "diminished" compared to fingerpicked notes.

    I also use a few effects that I think could benefit from a compressor, namely the FX-25 envelope filter and DD-7 digital delay, and I've heard that a compressor can keep envelope filters from peaking and clipping.

    Thanks all
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm not at all a fan of using effects to correct technique issues, although they do work. And the Boss is more of an effect than a compressor like what you're looking for. Those cost, though. Check Bongomania's compressor FAQ.
     
  3. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Good question(s)! Best thing you can do is invest in an inexpensive quality box (Boss, BBE, Aphex Punch Factory, etc) and experiment.

    Riis
     
  4. maybe try a danelectro pedal?
     
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think the BBE is as good as any for the money. Actually, I don't think the Demeter is that much better. I've had both but went with the BBE as it does what I need at a reasonable price.

    Again, compressors aren't always for hiding technique issues. Many people use them effectively. I'm using one again and my technique is fine. I just like the sound a little subtle compression gives me.
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Agreed, but if we're being honest with ourselves, in this case it is ;)
     
  7. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Fair enough, everyone should strive to clean up their technique as much as possible but when playing a style like Claypool's there is a limit to how even you can get slaps, pops, strums, fingerstyle and ghost notes to all sound. Even more so if you are a player that utilizes a lot of harmonics. I don't see a problem with cleaning up your technique as much as possible and then letting a compressor even things out a bit more.

    I wouldn't necessarily say that. First off, it depends on which Boss Compressor he's talking about. The LMB-3 is a solid limiter, but it wouldn't be my first choice to fatten up and "round out" my sound. But it isn't "effecty" type compression. The CS-3 is the other available Boss compressor. Personally, I think the stock model is pretty poor. But after borrowing the Humphrey modded version, it is a very solid unit. Tightens things up well, adds some nice sustain and is a pretty good limiter.

    True enough.
     
  8. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Audio Mike Lull Custom Guitars Gallien Krueger amplification Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups Darkglass Electronics
    I don't think there is anything really wrong with this.
    (Not saying you do Jimmy) If there is a professional Audio advantage then when not utilize it.

    Its like a top chef saying...

    Well I'm only going to use
    1 pot, 1 Pan and nothing else because that is all I need to cook a word class meal...

    I think its the best piece of external gear a bass player can have.

    I own a couple of DBX 166s and think they are great. S
    Pretty much transparent, just there enough to know they are doing there job.
     
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I don't want to derail the thread, but it is a bit of a pet peeve of mine when compression use is automatically related to lack of technique.
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The thing about your chef analogy that I'd say is that make that chef use only one pot and one pan and he'll make you a world class meal anyway. I still say you're better served by working on it with your technique, but I'd agree that compression is a nice thing to have. Wouldn't go so far as to call it an indispensible effect, but it's got its moments.
     
  11. Toastfuzz

    Toastfuzz

    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Thanks Jimmy, I was actually expecting this to come up, since I followed a long debate of yours in the compressor megathread regarding the same issue.

    The only way I could modify my technique to do what I want is to ease down on my fingerpicking and slap technique to get the other techniques (mutes/ghosts) up to the same volume. Since ghosts/mutes/slides are more for effect than anything else, and the fingerpicking/slap are whats important, I'm not going to change that; admittably I have a very aggressive picking and slapping style, and can't mute or ghost a note hard enough to get it to match.

    I've been reading up on the Boss Limiter/Enhancer, which sounds good. Which do you think would do a better job at enhancing mutes and chords, the Limiter/Enhancer or the Boss Compressor?

    Please, please please dont start arguing effects vs. technique. Its been played out far too long.

    EDIT: If any compressors do affect the bass tone, let me know. I'd rather have options to shape the tone than to have a completely transparent pedal, as long as it can still do a compressed clean sound.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would think a compressor because a limiter just cuts peaks and does nothing for valleys. I could be wrong about that, though.

    And OK, enough about technique. Fair enough.
     
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I highly recommend you try a dual-band comp like the Rane DC24 rack unit or the EBS, Ashdown, or Trace pedals. Read the "dual band" article in my FAQ for more on the subject.

    All of the playing "effects" you describe, muted notes, ghost notes, etc. are lower in level then regular plucked notes. A compressor just adjusts levels. Therefore yes, when set correctly it will "bring forward" quieter sounds, regardless of how you generate them. Note that this includes background noise as well, and that the more you raise the level of the quieter sounds, the less dynamic your louder sounds will be.
     
  14. Toastfuzz

    Toastfuzz

    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA

    But wouldnt the Enhancer function in the LMB-3 work on the valleys? From reviews I read I kind of inferred that the limiter works to hold down peaks (good for envelope filter and slapping), and the enhancer would enhance the playing nuances I want louder like a volume boost, so also a tone boost.
     
  15. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    AFAIK a limiter is just a compressor with a higher ratio meaning there's really no difference in how they work other than the amount of compression applied to the notes above the threshold.
     
  16. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The enhancer is just an EQ control that boosts the highs and lows, leaving the mids scooped. That's literally it.
     
  17. Toastfuzz

    Toastfuzz

    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Man, thats pretty weak. I'll probably look at the Boss blue Compressor or EBS box, see if I can test them out somewhere.

    Bongo, I like how you and Jimmy are always up for a compressor discussion
     
  18. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    One other thing is enhanced by this box, to a very high degree.....Hiss.
     

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