Compressor pedals seem to distort

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Bassist30, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    Can anyone suggest how to stop compressor pedals from
    Distorting? Now it must be me? Too many seem to use them and with no complaints. I have used EBS, Demeter and the small DBX (Which they don't make anymore). The only thing regarding compressors is that the racks mounts that I have used will not distort. Even with the demeter I lower the output and still distortion when played hard. I use active basses. Both the Sadowsky 5 and the Roscoe LG3005 distort with these pedals. Does anybody experience the same thing?
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    With the rackmount ones, they are built to expect a line-level signal (much hotter than a passive instrument signal), so you wouldn't expect them to distort. Pedals are generally designed to expect an instrument-level signal, but some basses are just way hot! Nothing you can do about it except turn down the volume on your bass a little. With an active bass, your tone will not generally change when you turn down the volume.
  3. It would also depend on your definition of distortion. All compressors distort the low end.

    I have the dbx minicomp, is that the one you're referring to? That's great, but I wish the controls for each channel were separate.
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Could you elaborate on that? I'm not disagreeing, just curious.
  5. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Inactive

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    +1, cus I've never noticed that on my Punch Factories...
  6. It's a double edge sword for us slappers. You want a punchy sound, so you dial in a relatively fast attack and release. Trouble is, too fast an attack and the compressor will actually change the gain during the period of the waveform itself - ie; within one cycle of the waveform! Because of the long periods of bass frequencies, they're are affected more by this phenomenon. High ratios make it worse, effectively causing soft clipping for a short period right at the transient.

    I'm sure this has been discussed here before, but with the search feature down at the mo... yadda yadda.

    Again, there's distortion and then there's distortion! If you're not troubled by what you hear then that's all that matters! It's sometimes a fairly academic argument this one.
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    No, I get you now! I have gotten good and sick of the little "pop" everytime the limiting (high ratio compression) kicks in. I was wondering whether it was a pseudo-digital artifact I was hearing, or what. I've been using a limiter just to keep the stray peaks under control, which is great until I start playing aggressively and every note has that little pop noise just after the attack. :mad: Gotta work on my technique so I can get that agressive sound with a lighter touch!
  8. Like I said, it's all about walking the line with compressors. I guess that's why guys like Tony Levin use multiples... maybe the idea is to sneak up on heavy compression rather than just going at it with a sledgehammer.

    Groan... what a terrible pun... it wasn't intentional ok! :D
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
  10. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    Your right. It seems to stop the distortion. Its not the clipping sound as one person said. Its truly a distorted sound. It just come from pedals. When i did lower the volume of the bass itself and raised the volume of the amp it was resolved. I guess pedals can't take the levels of an active bass. As you said.
  11. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    Distortion is basically clipping....

  12. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    The Demeter Compulator has an internal trimpot that you are supposed to adjust to match the output of your bass....If you get distortion, turn down the trimpot until you hear no distortion.
  13. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Yep. You beat me to it.
  14. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger

    Feb 21, 2006
    Boise, ID, USA
    Same here - doesn't happen with my Aphex Punch Factory, either.

    However, the Punch Factory is built to handle higher inputs rather well, and has an active/passive switch for those super-high-input circumstances.

    Other compressors, however, aren't so great. My old MXR Super Comp, for example, distorted on high compression settings. My old Boss CS-3 wasn't much better.

    I sold both because of both clipping issues at high settings, and overall lackluster compression.

    The Punch Factory, on the other hand, is awesome :D
  15. Well, clipping IS distortion, and clipping was mentioned in relation to a general compressor phenomenon, not directly related to your problem.

    I can support the idea that actives are sometimes too hot for pedals though. I struggled with a good solution for this for a while - I wasn't content just to turn down my bass for various reasons. I ended up looking for something to sit right at the top of my signal chain with some controls to tame my Stingray and bring it in line with my passive Corvette. EBS Microbass II was the eventual winner and it's awesome!
  16. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004

    Done that still the same...............
  17. rockerc


    Mar 4, 2006
    Rockwall, Texas
    also make sure you don't raise the gain as a volume control. that'll cause distortion too cuz the pedal overdrives the amp. my boss LMB-3 used to distort a little bit with the gain at 3 o clock. so i lowered the gain to 1 clock and raised my 50 watt Ampeg amp's volume to 7 from 5to make up for the volume loss. and it stopped and my volume and tone was the same minus the distortion :). it's all about compromise and finding that happy medium with pedal volumes
  18. didier


    Aug 4, 2005
    that's a good point. And active bass throught the compulator with the volume up can overdrive the pre/input on my head and sounds just bad. One solution, if you have it available, is to pad the input on on the head (switch the acitve/passive input on the head).

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