Compressors Again: Running Two?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by keto, May 22, 2018.

  1. keto


    Mar 3, 2016
    I run a decent sized board with a bunch of dirt on it. I run an Empress Comp first in my chain, it's my only always on pedal - used for fattening and medium squash, though blended 60-70%.

    What I'd like to do is run the Empress at the END of my chain, and set it up more like a clean (tone wise) limiter. Honestly, I'm hoping someone who replies can also give me some advice on settings to do that, though I think I can probably get there with some experimenting - I'm guessing high blend, low ratio as a starter, though maybe I have the ratio wrong.....

    Why? In part, because I've struggled getting levels right on the nastier dirt. ie., Big Muff or other heavier fuzz, sounds loud as hell at sound check, lost in mix due to lack of volume (I understand about EQ points, and there may be issues there as well, but let's focus on volume, can we do that part first please?) when the band's roaring.

    I have a couple other comps to play with as first in chain, for fattenning and maybe a touch of flavour - FF Accountant and Wampler Ego. I can mess with those and decide, it's the end of chain I'm more concerned with.

    Anyhow, anyone run 2 comps, and for what purpose, and where in your chain, and always on or for part time effect?
  2. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove Never succinct... Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    There are definitely some threads to dig up on this. There are folks who will run multiple comps with the same purpose 'tone enhancement' early and limiting at the end.

    If you are limiting for stage volume, speaker protection, etc. then you should probably go fully compressed on the Empress. Dry signal will be counter-productive depending on your goals. Ratio should be high.

    Compressor versus Limiter
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  3. I use two compressors. One as a pedal to send a good signal to my other pedals (first), the other is a rack comp that I use mainly to boost and compress my signal from the floor suitable for use into a power amp (last). Works great.

    Both always on.
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  4. keto


    Mar 3, 2016
    Messed around with
    -moved Empress to end of chain, always on, not looking for total clampdown so 60% mix 4:1 ratio for fattening.
    -put a Wampler Ego up front always on, messed around for a couple hours, hated it
    -just tried my Fairfield Accountant, at the ovnilab best liked position it’s great, but as an effect rather than always on. Bit of grind, medium comp. I find a very slight low bass loss, putting volume just above unity gets most of it (perceived, I know the frequency doesn’t come back with volume) back.

    Will test in band mix next week.
  5. Northfear


    Mar 15, 2017
    Staged compression is pretty common in bass mixing. The first compressor usually does most of the work. 4:1, medium attack, fast release ~8 db reduction.
    The second one should do the limiting function. Fast attack, fast release. Higher ratios are fine. Just a few db of gain reduction (2-3) for peaks control (although I've heard about going the other way around too. Reducing peaks to decrease the load on the second one).
    Empress can be used at both positions. It's very tweakable.
    Fairfield Accountant got attack at 5 ms, and release at 500ms. It may actually work as first compressor in the chain with 3:1 or 6:1.
    Don't know about times of Wampler Ego, but there's attack control so I guess it can be used at both positions.
    Just set up the first one properly first and tweak the other one to your liking.
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  6. Ringhammer

    Ringhammer Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2016
    S. F. Bay Area
    On this topic, I am considering running two compressors as well, one as an always on for fattening and evening the tone constantly, and one to kick in when my guitarist is doing a solo, (we are a power trio) to just bump up my volume, to fill the space, and sometimes use it with a little distortion.

    Has anyone done this?

    I have a Boss BC-1X and a EHX Bass Preacher at my disposal. Was thinking of using the Boss as an always on and the EHX for occasional boost.
  7. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I use a booster after the compressor, which is the first effect in the chain. My next preamp has a limiter built into the end of the signal path. Looking forward to this set up.
  8. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    I'm not actually sure a second comp would help here. If your fuzz sounds loud at soundcheck but gets lost in the mix, you probably just need to increase the volume on the fuzz pedal until you are heard. A limiter at the end of your chain stops you from doing this, and any attempts to push the volume just result in more squash!
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