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Compressors for live sound

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Hartland Brown, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Hartland Brown

    Hartland Brown

    Feb 3, 2016
    So I've just recently built myself a stack, Im running an SVT3-Pro through an ashdown 4x10. I've done a god bit of reading and have found that if I'm looking to play with a good clean live sound, the only effect that players usually use is compression. As I don't really want pedals, I'm currently looking at the DBX 160A(225$) and the alexis 3630(50$) compressors, both used. My questions are..
    (A) are these good for live bass playing? I've found reviews for the 160A that say yes, but nothing about how the alexis 3630 performs live.
    (B) Which would be better? I'm not opposed to paying 225 if it's going to be a reliable unit with plenty of good ways to enhance my sound, but if both operate pretty similarly, I'd obviously like to go with the alexis for costs sake.
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    In the pro sound biz we call the 3630 the "dirty 30". Just say no...
  3. Hartland Brown

    Hartland Brown

    Feb 3, 2016
    Thank you haha I'll just check out the DBX then
  4. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
  5. Hartland Brown

    Hartland Brown

    Feb 3, 2016
    yeah that's a bit steep for a first compressor haha, it looks great though, I like the simplicity of it. You ever play one?
  6. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    I was recording in a studio through a real one a month ago - $2000 <ouch>. I have a DBX 163X that I like and can get a 160 to do that - soft knee and ratio at infinity. The $50 Zoom B1on pedal's 160 emulation is pretty good but you want rackmount...
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I've logged some time with an SVT 3 Pro and I felt the front end was pretty soft. Soft enought that a compressor wouldn't help and frankly might hinder... That is not an overly punchy amp... It is a nice amp, just not one where you want to rob any punch. I'm mostly a finger style guy that pop's and very, very rarely if ever thumbs... Your mileage may vary...

    I am of the school that says if you notice a comp, it's either a bad one or wrongly applied... Unless you are a shredding Nashvile Telecaster slayer in which case never mind... Or you're in a band doing M2 or Vic Wooten cobers in which case - never mind ...

    The dirty 6 dirty lable is IMO underserved for the Alesis BTW. Yes it's a cute label but ... The 3630 was capable of some really extreme settings that supported compression as an effect and could be really un-musical... It's been ages since I had one... Set normally it really wasn't bad for a $100 stereo comp...

    If I were using a comp live, I would probably go back to the Demeter Compulator. That is still a very good sounding comp. Find them in the GFS here usually in the $150 range and as comps go - you have to spend a ton more to do better IMO. And if you have a ton more cash, I hear that the FEA pedal is seriously cool...

    If you want some very, very mild grit and a little compression the Durham Sex Drive is very cool. Mine stays on my guitar board though... If you want some compression and dirt as an effect the Pigtronix Philosophers Tone can do some pretty cool stuff. I have one on my guitar board as well as it can do some interesting things there. On bass ... Not my cuppa tea...

    For the most part, any compression or limiting applied to my bass is either baked into my Gk or applied at the boatd as I'm always in the foh.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  8. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    Check this out.
    Much info to be had about compressors.
    The author, bongomania is here on TB.
    Garret Graves and Zooberwerx like this.
  9. samson3382


    Apr 26, 2009
    Boise, Idaho
    I had one, hated it, quit using it. Practically had to pay the music shop to take it away.
    RoadRanger likes this.
  10. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    There is a Rane 1RU compressor currently listed in the TB classifieds (misc) that may be just what you need. User bongomania gave the unit a great review.
  11. Never really had any use for a compressor with the SVT-3. Just crank the sucker up and let the preamp tubes, tube gain and your fingers/pick do the deed.
    eigentone likes this.
  12. Xandrell


    Aug 23, 2014
    Try a PBC or a PBC.
    An FMR PBC-6A or a Pigtronix Philosopher Bass Compressor.
    I was impressed with these. A poor man's Distressor.
  13. Yes. Yes. Yes. Most players don't need any more "compression" than a little tube saturation -- and of course technique.

    I "lived" in a recording studio for several years. For the bassists who could play well, we really wanted to retain the dynamics of the original performance = no compression or just minimal limiting. Other times, we'd use compression to tame performances which… weren't so hot (ie a band-aid). Sometimes we'd use it for an effect. Of course, some engineers liked to compress the life out of everything. I grew to dislike that. I liken over-compressed recordings to eating food that was loaded with salt and sugar and photos that have been "enhanced" 8 times and have nasty artifacts.

    My recommendation: You probably won't need the compressor. A compressor will likely become a crutch which limits your instrument's potential. Save that $225 for your next amp or bass purchase.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
    KaizerRainMan and JvN like this.
  14. JvN


    Jul 4, 2011
    Totally true. It's all in your fingers. You'll not only save some bucks, but also become a better player.
    eigentone likes this.
  15. blastbass

    blastbass Banned

    Mar 8, 2016
    Using a DBX 166xs, I need 2 channels and I use the noise gate.

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