Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by ffutterman, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    I know there are probably a million threads on this, but I'll ask anyway.

    I keep seeing that compression is almost a mandatory effect to have on-hand for bassists, so what's the cheapest, simplest compressor I can get that isn't absolute garbage?
  2. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
  3. DaveMurietta


    Jun 18, 2012
  4. BBE Opto Stomp...about $60 used is the running price. Check with the link above for reviews on that and others. Bongo is pretty solid on all of his reviews.
  5. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    GC has several used Line 6 Constrictors on their site for $25-30. Not the most flexible comp out there, but it's pretty hard to get a bad sound out of it.
  6. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    Thanks for the link. One of the cheap ones recommended there is the Boss LMB-3. Checked it out on Amazon, and it looks pretty good. Any "buyer beware" things on that one?
  7. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    It's my belief that you really get what you pay for when it comes to compressors. Also, it's useless and can be detrimental to ones tone without a good, solid understanding of what it does and how best to utilize it. There are compressors that are "transparent", there are ones that "color" the tone as well. Neither of these is an element by which to judge quality. When searching for a compressor, it is good to take into account what type of basses you will be using with it too. Hope this helps.
  8. Compression can be a very useful tool, but it is not a need until you've played through one and decide you can't live without it. It is not a need for me.

    This. More good info than you can shake a stick at. Maybe with two sticks, but one? No way.
  9. A compressor reduces the gap between the different levels of volume. By doing so, it also affect the attack and the decay/sustain of the note.
    Compression is a must for recording but a majority of bass players, me included, dislike using it live.
    When you play live at loud levels, your ears will naturally compress the sound. If you use a compressor live, it affects some of the transcients and the notes lose some of their perceive punch and impact. I'd say, maybe if it is a good rack compressor such as a DBX160XT (I love mine for recording) used with a light ratio, but most likely, it is useless. Also, if you play through a PA system, they will already have a compressor. If you read Bass Player Mag interviews, you'll notice you almost never see a pro bass player listing a compressor pedal in his/her live set up. So before buying anything, you should go to a store and try one. I personally hate it live, it kills all the nuances of my playing, does not bring anything to the sound and I usually feel there is less punch to the notes.

    Now, for recording it is a must. It re-creates on the track this perceived natural compression I was talking about earlier, bringing more presence and attack to the bass. A cheap compressor will suck the lows and the life and should be avoided. It's better not to have a compressor than having a cheap one (i.e Boss/Ibanez/... pedal, Alesis 3630 rack, berhinger rack...) Proof of what I say? places selling used pedals have tons of compressors all the time as people buy them hate them and sell them immediately. All this because they usually heard the same fable you heard, "you must own one". But again for recording, a good compressor will do miracles IF you pay the price (at the minimum a DBX160 or better a Demeter or any other fancy studio compressors). In addition you need to understand how it works, how to use it or again, it will suck bad. For bass, I recommend a ratio of 4/1 and a slow attack (which means the compressor kicks in a little after the envelop of note started which keeps the impact of the attack strong then reduces the volume). Most DAW have plug ins compressor anyway.
    So my advice, like someone already said, try one first before buying anything.
  10. Better tell Vic Wooten......)
  11. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    I am sooooo thankful for the minority and I am sure that other compressor manufacturers feel the same way.:)

    It has been a while since I have read a Bass Player magazine, but I remember the “pro” players that were interviewed were mainly “famous” bass players. There are thousands and thousands of “pro” players for every “famous” player. We have sold many compressors to “pro” players around the world for live use. And if we have many “pro” players using our compressors then think of how many are using the other brands.

    As for the OP's question. More and more bass players are using effects like overdrive that compress within the effect. If you mainly use dirt pedals or use a rig that compresses naturally by design, then you may find that a compression pedal isn’t for you.

    On the other hand… if you are a player that changes-up your playing style from song to song, you are a very dynamic player (soft to loud) or you are very animated player (moves around the stage a lot) then a compressor may be a great tool for you.

    Compression can also be used as an effect (dips, swells and sustain)… this is something that the player needs control over and not the sound guy.

  12. vinnydbass


    Feb 4, 2008
    Agreed. If a player needs compression, they should be the one controlling it. Not to mention that compression is also helpful at the front of your signal chain to boost the activity of effects that follow it (if you use a lot of pedals, its really a big difference, put a comp before an octave pedal, the difference is huge). Putting a compressor at the PA wont do that. Not only does a compressor affect the dynamic range, but in doing so, affects the way the bass sits in the mix. You may find that there will be too much low end coming from a guitar, or that the high end of your bass is getting lost in the mix with the guitar. A compressor helps the bass, or any instrument really, find its spot.
  13. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    That page is THE page for compressor info!

    I never use one when playing and only rarely when recording. I'm classically trained and prefer to have more control over things with my fingers. I have used some compressors in the past as an effect - the Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone was a cool effect when I was looking to get closer to Billy Sheehan's tone.
  14. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    My octave pedal sounds best when its before the comp
  15. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    When I had a compressor pedal I liked it before the octave pedal.
  16. RhynoRock


    Dec 19, 2012
    Fredonia, NY
    So I have a situation & a question I'd like to present about compressors. The recording studio guy I worked with recently suggested to me to include a compressor for my live sound, to tighten up my part of the music, because we play metalcore. Modern stuff, tuned in C standard, the lead guitarist uses a 6505+ which is a ridiculous gain monster and our rhythm guitarist uses a Line 6 Spider II, big heavy drums, fast and slow tempo changes throughout a song, and pretty straight forward timing changes. I'm competing with a pretty thick sound. So I'm a little sketchy about buying a compressor of any kind. My gear consists of a Ric 4003 thru a SansAmp pedal, into a Peavey Kilobass running at 500 watts, sitting on a 2x15 cab. The sound I have "settled on" is a bright, growly, sorta updated version of Geddy Lee's tone, minus any compression. I play pretty hard on the strings, I dig right in, but I also do move around on the fretboard.

    So my question is, does anyone feel that a good compressor could provide any benefit to my live sound, or add to the tightness that my recording guy said it would? I have an old DOD FX82 bass compressor that I've been messing around with. It seems to do SOMETHING to my sound, but I cant say for certain exactly what my ears are hearing, and I don't know what I SHOULD be hearing in this case. I trust what the studio guy tells me, he definitely has a good ear for modern metalcore sound, judging by his work with local band's recordings. But compression is very foreign to me, plus I just love gear to play with :) Also, I REALLY love Geddy's live tone from Rush In Rio, and ideally if a quality compressor could help get something close to that, I'd delighted. If other pieces of gear would help in this venture, any suggestions would well appreciated.

    Thoughts anyone?
  17. JBNeedsBeer

    JBNeedsBeer Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New Brunswick, NJ
    I run an mxr m87 with my 4003 and it didn't seem to cut much of the brightness from my tone. It definitely helped a ton with adding a lot better sustain, but I'm also really lazy when it comes to frequently changing strings. You may want to try one with a low ratio and a longer attack
  18. RhynoRock


    Dec 19, 2012
    Fredonia, NY
    I was looking at that one, and also the MarkBass Compressore, but like I said, I wouldnt know what to do with either, but I definitely wont buy junk.
  19. RhynoRock


    Dec 19, 2012
    Fredonia, NY
    Actually, if an admin or moderator would like to delete my messages in this thread, please do so. Thanks.
  20. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    You can delete your own posts if you click edit and then delete message.

    In regards to your previous post, I don't think a compressor is going to help. I tried out that amp at Willis Music a few years ago and passed on it because it was a little "loose" or too warm and not enough punch. A 2x15" cab is bound to have a similar effect. So while a compressor may slightly improve your tone's tightness, it's probably not going to be what you want. My suggestion, save up for a different amp (GK comes to mind).