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Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by joshuadick, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. joshuadick


    Mar 15, 2005
    JD here in Atlanta....new member.

    I have a question about compressors....My band Soulhound (www.soulhound.com) just played with Nashville band Mile 8 (www.mile8.com) and the bassist (Neal) had an amazing sound. He attributed it entirely to his compressor.
    Question: Any thoughts on a good inexpensive compressor for live apps? He had an el-cheapo Behringer, but I've heard great things about the FMR RNC (Really Nice Compressor) and the EH Blackfinger under $200. Thoughts?
  2. If you try a search for "compressors" in the Effects Forum, I'm sure you will find a wealth of info. :)
  3. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio

    I think that if you need a compressor to have an "amazing sound" then you probably need to re-evaluate your rig or bass selections. (Not a slam on you, btw- just my POV).

    With that said, a compressor/limiter is a handy tool to have in your arsenal. I think it can have 3 basic fuctions, depending on how you set it up. The first is speaker protection. A compressor is good for smoothing out any peaks from effects or just pounding the crap out of you bass that can blow you speakers. The second fuction is that it can level the sound out- it can bring quiter parts within better audible range. The third is as a true effect. The Distressor and the Squeezer are good examples of that- the Distressor dirties up your sound nicely while a Juicer can help you emulate a fretless by giving you that "squashed" sound.

    Some people hate compressors- they claim they are tone sucking machines. A good transparnt one will not have that effect though if used correctly. Only you can judge this, but in the end if you are using one to "make" you sound there are other more viable alternates, like a SANSAMP BBDI.

  4. dadodetres


    Dec 19, 2004
    a well used compressor will help you out to take the best out of your rig, thats all i think
  5. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    I use the Aphex Punch Factory and am very pleased with it. Its around $140 new.
  6. The best compressor IMO is from the pro audio world. It's the Rane DC24. It does not suck your tone (I use it after my preamp before the power amp), It is dualband (meaning you can compress the lowend and highend separately) and it has gate/expander and limiter functions.

    Very good indeed.
  7. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004

    Tube compressors often provide a smoother, less "squashed" sounding compression effect. Set up prooperly, a compressor can add to both attack and sustain.

    I use an old ART Levelar for live performance for punch and sustain. I think I paid $65 for it on ebay.

    BTW-- I agree with the comment re: the SansAmp bass driver di. IMO it's the best way to beef up your tone without spending an arm and a leg. My chain is: bass=>sabddi=>levelar=>PA (and combo amp as stage monitor).

    I have heard good things about the Aphex Punch Factory and the RNC but I have not tried either one. I do find tube compressors to be more to my liking than digital compression or even straight optical designs.


  8. What other compressors have you used and how do/did they compare with the Punch Factory? I'm looking to get one but don't really know what sound I'm after.
  9. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    If you're talkin' cheap and new and dependable, you might want to do what I do.

    I'm still building-up my bass setup. The band is working almost every weekend now, so I'll be upgrading just about everything over the next year, I hope.

    For now anyway, I'm running really low-budget! I have a Peavy Foundation-5 (US-made), and a little borrowed (from our guitarist) Hartke 140W head and Hartke 4X10 cab. I've tried to make the best of it, and I'm actually kind of amazed at the good sound I get out of this setup.

    What made all the difference is when I added a Boss CS-3 compressor. I never run without it now; it's on full-time. The setting I usually use is level=11:00, tone=2:30 (treble-boost), attack=2:00, and compress=10:00-12:00 depending on the song (usually about 11:00). The compress adjustment would be tied to how hot your bass output is, so it'd probably scale different for you.

    Most of the talk I've heard around here kind of poo-poos the CS-3, and I'm sure there's plenty better, but up-til now I really love this cheap little thing!

    My full signal chain is all-Boss: CS-3 to ODB-3 to CEB-3 (chorus). I run pretty heavy full-time compression, very often run the overdrive set for a very light not-clipped harmonic distortion, and ...well - I just bought the chorus, but my plan it to use it mainly to richen-up just the quackier highs (it has a control that lets you put chorus on only the high-freqs, and send the lows through un-touched!) that the ODB has for when I want to actually run a more clipped-sounding distortion sound.

    Give it a try; I need someone else on my side here to help stand up for the poor little under-appreciated CS-3.

    "Aphex-schmaphex! The Boss is BOSS!.. Go-CS, Go-CS, Go-CS..." (it's a CS-3 pep-rally)


    (edit) Oh - it's like $69 or $79 new, if I remember correctly.
  10. I tried both the BOSS CS-3 and BOSS LMB-3 and liked the LMB-3 better because it seemed "gentler", perhaps more transparent. You can have the effect on and the Threshold turned to 5o'clock and not really hear much effect going on. As you turn the threshold counter clockwise you hear/feel the effect more. With the CS-3 it was just always "there" and I found it hard to tame.

    My 2cents
  11. Hey Joe P,

    What do you think of the compression on the Hartke amp?
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    It doesn't have an adjustable threshold, so the amount of gain reduction is tied to the volume - this alone leaves it pretty useless to me. Also, as far as I can tell from the little I played with it, it has a low or automatically-varying ratio. I prefer a higher ratio - maybe 6:1 or 8:1 - and a hard-knee, and a fast release. Since I use the CS-3 full-time, I leave the Hartke one off - else it kicks-in way too early, and you can't get full volume out of it.

    I really do like the characteristics of this CS-3 that I have. I wonder a little if there's a slight low-end roll-off. My current Hartke rig (borrowed from our guitarist - I'll be buying a new amp of my own with the money I make from our band's nearly booked-up schedule... TF? GrooveBass? Genz?..) Doesn't have any low-low bass response, but once I'm running the Avatar twelves I'm planning on getting, I may want to send it in to be modded with bigger caps - or by then I MAY have gone with a studio compressor in the amp-loop, but I don't know - I really like my sound with this thing.

  13. joshuadick


    Mar 15, 2005

    I bought the dbx 166xl...I'll let you know what I think. I've read alot of great things about the 160, and the 166 is apparently the 2 channel "light" version of the 160.
    I played through an Alesis at my gig last Friday and didn't dig it at ALL (although I didn't have much time to mess around with it either)....Just a thought to the others looking for compressors!

  14. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Is that one only 'overeasy' soft-knee? I've never liked soft-knee for bass. I like to set things up so that when I pluck with 'normal' pressure it's all comressed (high-ratio), then I can suddenly back-off the plucking or tapping force into 'dynamics-zone', and know where I'm at. With the way soft-knee sneaks-up on the set ratio, I can't make the sure, definate switch like that.

  15. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003
    As a matter of fact, a cheapo Behringer Composer
    does sound superb with bass.

    Pedals don't cut it.
  16. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    You can upgrade to a 160X for around $170.00.

  17. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    I have to disagree with both of these statements.

    1) We all know the Behringer discussion, but I'll only say I have had bad experiences with the dependability of those products- especially in a gigging enviroment.

    2) You've never stepped on an Analogman Bi-compROSSor or similar quality pedal, I take it?

  18. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I just bought an old Trace-Elliot SM7 dual compressor that I really like. I also like the Levelar a lot, but what I really want is an LA-2A..... :)
  19. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I have a LA2A re-issue from Universal Audio, and, on loan an original Teletronix LA2A. Both are supreb. Both are very expensive. There are a few(fairly) affordable options to having that sound. The first being the Langevin Optical Limiter. Made by Manley Labs it is basically a LA2A-soundalike in a SS design (all discrete audio path) and single space housing. Very nice at somewhere around a grand.
    The next option, and one you might want to explore in looking at pedal compressors is the Demeter Compulator. It has a definite LA2A feel and response. No it does not have the tube or input inductor character of the LA2A, but it comes very close. I prefer this to my Retrospec Squeeze Box (another LA2A based design).
    Also..if you are into spending are the Demeter rack compressors the HC1 and VTCL. Both with run you a couple of grand, but the perfromance and sound is unparalelled.

  20. While I have a dBx in my large rack mount amp set up, I've been using the Fishman Platinum Pro bass pedal with my small rig and have been very pleased. Not only is it a flexible compressor, but it also has 5 band eq and is a direct box as well. Makes it a bit easier to fight against the sound guy if you're going direct. The battery seems to last forever, but I generally use it with AC power.