compressor vs. limiter

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Matthew T., Jan 3, 2005.

  1. Matthew T.

    Matthew T.

    Feb 17, 2002
    Springdale, AR
    What do I want to equalize the volume between playing slap and fingerstyle, a compressor or a limiter?

    Recommendations would be welcome for anything under $100. The Digitech Bass Squeeze or Boss LMB-3?
  2. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    Compression with Peak Limiter.

    THIS is better then any pedal, with more flexibility and a variety of uses.
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    No, actually the Composer is a lousy sounding hunk of junk. It's only redeeming feature is that it can be bypassed. Better no compression than bad compression.
  4. Aphex Punch Factory optical Compressor
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    A 'limiter' is just a certain setting on a compressor: generally-speaking, that would be high threshold, high ratio, fast attack.

  6. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    No, a true limiter is much more effective than a compressor at a high ratio. They are different tools with overlapping uses, but they are not the same.
  7. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    It has sounded great and has worked extraordinarily well
    for me for the past 5 years.
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Huh-uh. Limiting is always a kind of compression, but compression is not always limiting - that's just by general definition.

    It is true that special, didicated studio limiters or compressors are optimized do one better than the other - hence the names.

    Isn't that how it works?

  9. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Right. But settting a compressor to a 10:1 or higher ratio with the fastest attack won't stop transients. A good limiter can.
  10. Tritone

    Tritone Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2002
    Santee, America

    You could use a decent EQ pedal to dial in your slap sound and be done with it. Compression and limiting often cause more problems than they solve....
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Right, I know what you mean when it comes to special limiting applications. I used to work at at a radio station that used special brick-wall limiters to guarantee that they were within some FCC regulation (satellite uplink or ?).

    This was just a generalized question, though, right? In general, if you want 12dB of uh.. fairly 'strict' limiting, you set the ratio as high as it will go, the threshold about 12dB below peak, and the attack as fast as it will go (but it often doesn't sound good for music to do this on a regular compressor). If you want 12dB of compression you could - for example - go with a 2:1 ratio, and set the threshold for at least 24dB below peak - more as you move the attack away from the fast-side. A bazillion other combinations (including LIMITING) would count as 'compression' too.

    Release is kind of the oddball in this conversation because it isn't really intimately tied-in with the definitions of 'compress' or 'limit'. I'm always stuck using cheap compression (but my three-piece band runs up to fifteen channels of it!), but for some reason it seems that all these econo-compressors that have built-in limiters on the channels have big honkin' long release times on them - I don't know why this is; it makes it pump really bad if you actually do exeed its threshold (but I guess it sounds better than digital recorder clipping or a blown speaker driver)!

    For regular channel insert compression I always use fast to fastest release times (if I have a choice - most of ours are 'auto'. Hey, should I complain at twenty-five bucks a channel?). Then there's 'leveling' - we haven't brought that up yet - to get a reasonable facsimile of that, you run slow attack AND slow release... But like the rest, special dedicated levelers sound best.

    At any rate: Generally speaking - a bassist can reasonably claim to use 'limiting' if he or she uses a ratio greater than 10:1 or so, and a faster attack time; in that case you'd kind of have to use a pretty fast release time too, to avoid a surging sort of sound (like the built-in compression I recently heared on a new Fender combo amp. Ick!).

  12. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I love my DBX 266 XL. It was cheap too.
  13. mksolid


    Jan 4, 2005
    I have a Demeter Opto Compulator. Anyone ever use this? I have a Hartke 12inch 60 watt combo and I don't notice any difference in my sound from when I have it off or on. Someone once told me that the difference might not be discernable until I get hooked up to a big rig? Oh and my guitar is Fender Jazz Bass
  14. Look out for a second-hand EBS MultiComp, the price tag is about 125 (euro/dollar) for a second hand. These things are so good that I sold my dbx!
  15. Thurisarz


    Aug 20, 2004
    I love my BOSS LMB-3, i can't play without it
  16. zero7


    Apr 16, 2004
    There's a myriad of ways to set up a compressor, and no one will ever agree on which is best.
    Be sure to get one that has enough knobs to let you do whatever you like.
    [edit: i mean one with ratio, threshold and attack time]

    I'd suggest you either Black or White Finger, or Carl Martin, which are all very good quality.
    If you want to stay on the cheap side, go with the Boss, but don't expect too much from it.
  17. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    Which dbx model did you have?
  18. dbx 266xl
  19. Ba55Man1ac

    Ba55Man1ac Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    I like my Digitech Bass Squeeze - it's a dual band compressor. I set it to maintain an even amount of bottom end in my sound whether i'm playing fingerstyle, pick, slapping or going up the neck.

    Tried going one step further with an Akai Hexacomp (6 compressors in 1 pedal!) but it sounds crap - too much phase distortion.