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DBX 160A Question

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by 2string1, Apr 3, 2013.


  1. 2string1

    2string1

    Apr 1, 2013
    I have been using the 160A compressor for years. I bought it brand new. Could someone explain what the overeasy button is for.
     
  2. 2string1

    2string1

    Apr 1, 2013
    Thank You
     
  3. overeasy is the like a softknee if not mistaken!
     
  4. 2string1

    2string1

    Apr 1, 2013
    I'm pretty stupid when it comes to gain reduction,soft knee,ect. Still don't know what to expect when I attack my strings when in the below or above mode.
     
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The thing to expect is that the softer you play, the less compression it applies, and the harder you play, the more compression it applies.

    The same can be said of regular compression too, but in a more primitive (less calculated) way.
     
  6. MonkeyBass

    MonkeyBass

    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    It gently brings the compression ratio into the signal BEFORE it reaches the threshold. Then once it's at the threshold it is at the full compression ratio.

    So, for example, if your threshold is set for -10 and you'r ratio is set to 4:1, so at -12 or so, it will gently start to compress the signal. So imagine the signal comes in at -12 it will start to compress at a 2:1 ratio, -11 3:1, and finally at -10 4:1. Then anything above -10 stays at a 4:1 ratio.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. 2string1

    2string1

    Apr 1, 2013
    What is the overeasy push button for? Does it simple turn on or off the overeasy or does it let me choose over or below?
     
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It only turns the overeasy on and off. When it's on, the other knobs do nothing; when it's off, the other knobs control the action.
     
  9. 2string1

    2string1

    Apr 1, 2013
    Well I decided to call dbx and the guy I spoke to explained how it works. When the overeasy is on the knobs still control the action. I understand what hard knee and soft knee means now. Soft knee is"overeasy". I sometimes get excited an hit a note a little to hard, so I would think hard knee would be better for me. Is there preference for you bass players?
     
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Hmmm... Guess I was mistaken. But I have used some dbx models where I'm pretty sure the overeasy is an auto setting that overrides the other knobs, controlling more than just the knee. I'll have to go back and re-investigate.

    Either way though, I can tell you that "getting excited and hitting a note a little too hard" is not really related to hard or soft knee. The whole point of it is it changes the ratio automatically in response to your playing. I'm not saying you need a soft knee, only saying it is meant to work with players playing inconsistently.

    OTOH, if you only want to use the comp as a peak limiter, which is a perfectly good approach, then you would want a hard knee, a high ratio, and the threshold set high enough that your signal is not getting flattened all the time.
     
  11. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    Both hard knee and soft-knee compression work really well at controlling the dynamics. I prefer the soft-knee, especially with limiting and higher ratio compression. I used to hate most limiters until I realized what I disliked about them… when they hit the threshold it was almost like a quick blip of distortion or an audible “click” on the faster attacks. I did not hear the distortions and clicks with soft-knee or “overeasy” transition. IMO the soft-knee limiters have a much more natural feel to them and if you look at the ratio graphs of soft-knee vs hard-knee you will see that there are no sharp corners in the transition of the soft-knee graph. I think that soft-knee is more musical and less obtrusive.

    Bongo’s example for a hard-knee peak limiter is a great example for speaker protection. But, if you are looking for compression or limiting with a lower threshold for increased sustain, then a soft-knee unit may be better than a hard-knee design, because you will be over the threshold with most of your signal.


    -Frank
     
  12. MonkeyBass

    MonkeyBass

    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    It does not automatically change the ratio. It just eases the compression in before the threshold.
     
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    So what do you mean by "eases"?
     
  14. MonkeyBass

    MonkeyBass

    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    450px-Compression_knee.svg.
    This.
     
  15. MonkeyBass

    MonkeyBass

    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    I just realized I wrote that explanation horribly.

    OK here's what I was trying to say now that I've had some sleep:

    In this example you would:
    Set your threshold at -10
    Set your ratio to 4:1
    Push the soft knee button

    At anything below -12 it will be a 1:1 ratio (no compression)
    At -12 it will start to compress at a 2:1 ratio, gently increasing the ratio until you get to -11.
    At -11 it will be a 3:1 ratio which will gently increase until it reaches -10 (where our threshold is set)
    At -10 and above the ratio will stay at 4:1.

    Obviously that will change more drastically as the ratio in increased. And it may not happen exactly 2 dB below the threshold. I'm just giving you the concept behind the circuitry.
     
  16. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    IOW, obviously, it automatically adjusts the ratio.
     
  17. MonkeyBass

    MonkeyBass

    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    No, it doesn't.

    It's not changing the ratio constantly. The ratio is set. The voltage of the signal is in constant fluctuation but the ratios don't change.
     
  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Facepalm. The ratio constantly changes, between 1:1 and the maximum chosen with the knob. I don't see how you can write it out yourself and not see that.

    Saying "the voltage of the signal is in constant fluctuation" is exactly like saying "the waves of the ocean are in constant fluctuation". Yes, they are, and yes, it is--that is the nature of audio signals. The voltage of the signal is its amplitude--nothing more, and nothing less. The compressor changes the ratio automatically in response to the signal's amplitude. That is the whole point of soft knee.
     
  19. MonkeyBass

    MonkeyBass

    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    With all due respect I think you don't understand how a compressor works.

    Or, we're saying the same thing in a different way.

    Without a soft knee. Here's how a compressor works:

    Let's say we set the threshold to -10. Now let's say we set the ratio to 2:1 (to make the math easy). Now let's say you pluck your bass and the signal goes 4 dB above the threshold (-6). At a 2:1 ratio, the compressor will reduce the signal by 2 dB. Since 2:1 of 4 dB is 2 dB. So the signal will leave the compressor at -8. The ratio didn't change. The voltage is reduced according to how far above the threshold it goes. The further it goes, the more it's reduced but the ratio stays the same.
     

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