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Compressor for boost?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by FourBanger, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    I've heard of guitarists using compressors more for the boost effect than the compression effect and I have a couple questions:

    Do all types of compressors behave this way, as in do all of them have a level boosting component?

    How much do bass compressor pedals differ from guitar compressor pedals if at all?

  2. Compressors typically have a knob for Makeup Gain to bring the effected signal back up to the original level, since a compressor compresses the dynamic range of the signal.

    The makeup gain can be used to boost the signal, but that's really not the essential role of a compressor.

    If you just want boost, get a boost pedal.

    There can be minor differences between a compressor for guitar or bass, but they are essentially the same.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  3. If the compressor pedal has an input/output knob, you should be able to use it as a boost.
    I use the Empress compressor and also use it for the purpose of keeping volumes the same between my different basses by making the adjustment depending on the bass.
    Driven Crane likes this.
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    99.999% of compressors do have an added boost stage after the compression. However not all of them boost higher than unity gain, since the purpose of the boost is mainly to bring your signal back up to unity after the comp turns the volume down. Many comp pedals are just copies of a couple of popular old designs though, and they do have boost.

    Don't pay attention to the words "guitar" or "bass" on any pedal of any kind including compression. But some comps are better on bass than others, irrespective of the labeling. A search will tell you more.
    Driven Crane and CatSquare like this.
  5. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Thanks bongomania, your FAQ is the one I was trying to find just after posting.

    ddnidd1, I ask because I have need for a mere smidge of both so if the compressor can boost me a wee bit than it is a 2 birds one stone deal, eh?
  6. blizward


    Feb 21, 2013
    Rennes - France
    I think a compressor is better than a straight boost sometimes. It will bring up the weakest frequency of the spectrum and a good compressor will help you get more of your overall sound. You can get more presence and sit better in the mix without actually being louder. Then if it can boost your signal, it's even better.
    Straight boosts are usually used to push an amp into overdrive. Guess what happens when you push an amp? compression.
  7. CatSquare


    Mar 7, 2014
    I tried a compressor as a boost and ultimately didn't like it -- replaced it with a boost that naturally compresses (and overdrives) at higher gain. I may experiment with them together at some point, but for now, the boost alone does enough, and I'm kind of an effects minimalist anyway.
    The compressor is a Mr. Squishy and the boost is a TC Spark Booster BTW.
  8. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    I use an MXR M87, and the output knob works as a boost
  9. AndreasK


    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    My EBS MultiComp can double as a boost, and has lots of volume on tap. But my Barbershop is better ;)

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