Compressor; pedal vs. Rack mount

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Bunnfactor, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. I realize there is a thread on compressors, but I wanted to be more specific on the question;

    Which do you prefer, rack mount or pedal compressor, and why?

    Here are some factors for me personally;

    I just put a power conditioner in my rack with my Ampeg SVT-4 Pro, hopefully that will alleviate the hum in the PA from my direct out. This took all the room up in my amp rack. If I get a rack mount compressor, I will have to get another rack.

    Also, I just got a pedal board, and I read how a lot of people just have pedal compressors. That would add to my pedal board repertoire, further justifying my purchase of the pedal board.

    And while I'm at it, what about rack mount pre-amps vs. DI pre amps? I haven't found many rack mount pre-amps that cost less than $2000.

    Another consideration, I play live in a band, and I play regularly at a church. I don't lug my amp to church; I just bring my pedal board and plug into the amp on stage. And some of my live gigs either don't need an amp my size, or have an amp provided, so my amp doesn't get a lot of stage time, comparatively speaking, which makes it seem better to go with a pedal compressor. I'm just wondering if they are as good.

    Maybe I should get one of each, just in case. I guess I am just trying to justify not getting a new rack.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Check the FAQ linked in my sig to learn about both the compressor question and the preamp question, as well as the term "DI".

    Also if you haven't found preamps for under $2000 then where have you been looking??? Most rack preamps cost less than $1000, and there are lots of good ones for under 500. (USD)
  3. Yeah, I click on that before I posted this so as not to post the same thing twice, but I was looking more for players personal experience between the pedal and the rack mount and there personal preferences between the two.

    I am thankful for the FAQ and I will research it more once I make a decision of which route to go.

    The only rack-mount preamps I've seen are like Eden and Avalon, both of which are very pricy. GC didn't have any preamps for bass. GC has been sucking it up lately, honestly.

    I know that DI is typically used to directly interface with a PA or studio for recording purposes, but I was wanting to use my SVT-4 Pro as just a power amp and use a preamp to color my tone. I was just trying to figure if I wanted to do that at the pedal level or have it mounted in my rack.

    I actually have a Samsamp pedal, but I don't like the sound I get out of it. I was looking more for a tube preamp. From what I've read on here, a lot of people like REDDI and Evil Twin, and the EBS ValveDrive looks promising. But that would be more for a different thread I imagine.
  4. I read many reviews from bongo on compressor's...took his findings and bought a Markbass Compressore pedal and haven't looked's badass (for me)
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The point I'd like to make though is that choosing rack vs pedal must first be based on how you plan to connect and use the device, and with what other gear; and only AFTER that, based on personal preferences. For example if someone posts enthusiastically about a rack preamp that only has a -10 dBu unbalanced output, and you happen to have a power amp with balanced inputs and 1.4v sensitivity, then that preference-based recommendation is literally worthless to you. Same goes for compressors, which very often can only work well in one particular type of connectivity (line level vs instrument level, balanced/unbalanced).

    Sansamp versus REDDI is a classic example of this. Yes they are both meant to emulate Ampeggish tube-amp-type tones, but the only connectivity mode they share is running direct from an instrument to a mixing desk. Trying to use the REDDI to drive a power amp, or as an effect in line with another amp, will fail. So if you wanted to do one of those two things, all the glowing reviews of the REDDI mean nothing.

    BTW I love the REDDI, I'm not dissing it--just using it as an example.
  6. My ignorance is well apparent, then.
    Is there some link or review you can direct me to explaining why I would not be able to utilize REDDI as a preamp driving my SVT-4? Or perhaps you could enlighten me?
    Thank you, BTW, for your input. I hope I'm not coming off as unappreciative.
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    To drive a PA-style power amp, the REDDI doesn't have enough gain. It has 15 or 16 dB max, and a power amp typically needs at least 24 dB, and often much more than that. As an "effect" in front of a regular amp, it only has a balanced XLR output, while the bass amp only has an unbalanced 1/4" input. You can use a cable with XLR on one end and TS on the other, but then you'd need a second DI box for running signal to the PA. (The 1/4" thru jack on the REDDI is just a Y off the input, not an output from its tube tone stage.)

    So by adding a second preamp, or a special cable and a second DI box, you can make it work; but you reach a point of diminished returns.
  8. So, outputting from the REDDI via XLR and inputting to my SVT-4 Pro with a 1/4", I could use it as a pre-amp, then either mic my cabinet or direct out from the back of my amp to the PA would work, correct?
  9. Look at the ART TPS II. It's a 1U tube pre with 2 channels, and a switch to select different voicings for the tube circuit, including one intended for bass. It's around $300. They also have some non-rack-mount versions of this tube pre, some for under $50, all of which have enough gain to drive a PA amp directly, or you can DI into the board with it.

    ART Pro Audio
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yes. Caveat: the REDDI's subtle tone qualities will be altered by the subsequent preamp and DI or cab/mic stages, possibly even eliminating whatever tone benefit the REDDI gave altogether, by the time it gets through to the PA.
  11. Why not use the compressor and preamp on your SVT-4?
  12. ...and the basic SVT-4 sound is already pretty compressed...
  13. Caveat?
    Ok, with that in mind, I guess you see what I am trying to accomplish. What type of products would you recommend to achieve the goal I seek? I would not running the preamp on my SVT flat.
  14. Basscasey


    Apr 17, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Back from the dead.

    I'm at the point where I need a compressor. I'm running a GK 1001rb with 8x10 mesa cab, chorus, big muff pi deluxe, and a Korg pitchblack advance - no board, all on the floor. I might add a delay at some point in the near future.

    My first dilemma is do I get a compressor pedal (played with the fender the bends yesterday and it was absolutely fantastic) and get an actual pedal board (which I probably will anyway) or do i get a rack mount since it will always be on and I do need to get a road case for my head anyway.

    My next dilemma is...which compressor, whether it's rack mount or pedal. Like I said, I did really like the bends. It was super transparent and did what was asked of it.

    I'd like to keep it under $200 regardless.

    I know that's a lot of questions, but just looking for some advice and anecdotes.