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Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by bassturtle, May 28, 2004.

  1. bassturtle


    Apr 9, 2004
    Anyone tried any of the La2a or 1176 reissues/copycats? There are a bunch of them out on the market, but I haven't met anyone who has tried them out. There are also some kits that seem pretty decent. I usually rely on the Bomb factory versions of these guys, but I'm tempted to buy one of the real deals.
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi bassturtle, I've tried every compressor under the sun. Even the vaunted Fairchild 670 (which IMO is lousy for bass). At the moment some of my favorite vintage comps' are the Urei LA-4 and LA-22. I've gotten "marginal" results with the LA-2A in the studio, it's a lot better for other instruments (and voice) than it is for bass. The 1176 is "okay", but it has some serious distortion problems at low frequencies. The Purple Audio and all the other 1176 clones seem to suffer from the same problem, it's probably inherent in the circuit design. Another good one I like is the Klark-Teknik. Lately I've even been using an RNC for my piccolo bass, it doesn't like B strings but it works pretty well at the higher frequencies. I did have pretty good results with a Manley at one point, my understanding is that it's very similar to a Gates in many respects (uses the 6386 tube, but in a slightly different arrangement to make it sound a little sweeter in the low frequencies).
  3. Given your experience, can I ask what you believe to be the best bass compressor for <$200? Ease of use is a bonus and used is acceptable.
  4. dbx 166XL @ 4:1 ratio, threshold set so that you're compressing 12db tops. Two-fitty new at Sweetwater for example.
  5. rubo


    Aug 25, 2003
    Under $200 I would go for RNC.

  6. bassturtle


    Apr 9, 2004
    Thanks boys and girls. I was just wondering how the clones match up...thanks for clearing that up for me. Non, you think the RNC doesn't handle the low B very well? That kind of sucks. I was tempted to by one just because of the rave reviews they get. Hmmph.
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi bassturtle, my experience with the RNC is as follows: to get the sweet compression for fingerstyle and also to make it sound acceptable for fast slapping, one needs to shorten the decay time ("release time") down to a reasonable level. However, doing so creates an unpleasant distortion that is most noticeable at low frequencies. When the decay time is up high, the fast runs become blurred by the compression, and you don't get the desired definition in the attack of the individual notes (because the compressors stays on in between). So one finds a happy medium if possible, a compromise between the two extremes. On the RNC, this compromise tends to be on the side with more distortion. I wouldn't say the compressor is unusable that way, just that it's noticeable, so if your style involves a clean sound, you'll probably hear it. On the other hand, if you're using lots of effects or if you like to dial up some crunch on your amp or pedals, the RNC will probably work fine. It works great on anything that doesn't involve extremely low frequencies, like guitar, voice, and B3 (not including footpedals). Since I don't own a 4 string bass that I compress with, I can't really comment on how it works in that context. On my 5's, I can hear the distortion on the E string.

    I'd probably choose a DBX in the under-200 range, probably some version of the 165 (A,X, or XT). They're industry standards (more or less), and in my experience they're very reliable. They're also very easy to use, not too many knobs, and the ones with the LED meters are kind of cool looking on stage. They do change your sound a little (as do most compressors, the RNC being one of the more transparent ones), but it's a smooth change, and it's easy to EQ around. IMO they're a good value in that price range.
  8. http://recording.org/