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DBX166XL Compressor & Ampeg B2RE Head

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by mi-fletcher, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. mi-fletcher


    Apr 16, 2009
    Hi guys, I'm after some help & advice if you're in the know

    its fundamentally a signal chain query, though with a few specifics...

    The Kit:
    I have my bass - Line6 Variax 700
    plugging into an Ampeg B2RE head
    which is my preamp and poweramp - running a 4x10 Cab
    I'm also looking to buy a rackmount compressor, most likely the DBX 166XL

    My Initial Thoughts:
    I want to control peaks & general inbalance in volume across strings, so i'll use the DBX166XL as a 'posh stompbox' - i.e. before the preamp.

    My Concerns:
    Will there be enough signal from the bass for the compressor to deal with?
    Would that still be the case when using a passive bass?
    The effects loop is line-level, though especially with no wet/dry mix, is futile for controlling dynamics.
    Wouldn't compression be more effective after the pre-amp but before the power-amp?
    The ampeg head has a preamp-out and poweramp-in socket, though use of the poweramp-in is documented to bypass the preamp.

    My Questions:
    1. will the 'outboard style' compressor _happily_ handle an instrument (passive and/or active) input?

    2. is using the compressor in the effects loop as futile to its functionality as i think (theres no wet/dry mix so there'll always be uncompressed peaks)

    3. would i, in theory, be better putting compression into the chain after the preamp

    4. Does the use of the Ampeg's poweramp-in stop the preamp from operating, or merely prevent it's signal patching through?

    5. What if i throw a Boss ODB3 overdrive pedal into all of this?!

    Thanks for reading, any help is appreciated!

  2. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    I used to use
    Bass > OD pedal > DBX 166 > input of B2Re

    but the DBX is not really designed to be used like that.

    If you use channel 2 of the compressor for your ins and outs, you will effectively have two compressors at your disposal - in mono you can make settings on channel 2, when you engage stereo coupling the settings from channel 1 control the output and channel 2's controls have no effect. I set up ch2 for my overall sound and ch1 for something more appropriate for slapping or percussive playing. If I had kept that setup I would have wired a footswitch jack for the stereo coupling and bypass switch so I wouldn't need to be pushing buttons to make the changes.

    I put the dbx in my studio rack and don't use it now for bass. Next comp I get for my bass rig (if I get one) will be a stomp box.
  3. mi-fletcher


    Apr 16, 2009
    hey zenrad, thanks for your reply. that sounds like the kinda thing i was after with the DBX. weird how you pretty much use(d!) the exact same gear & setup...

    since posting, i've been thinking about it all a bit clearer...

    providing the B2RE poweramp-in doesn't disable the preamp, i'd be ok

    however... complicating things further... it would limit me to post-eq compression... i really need to get my hands on a decent compressor and play with my setup

    hmhm... and separate pre&power amps or FULL control is a must on future purchases!...
  4. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    Yeah, well, it's a fairly common compressor I guess, and I do have a good number of different ones :)

    Plugging into the the Power Amp input will bypass the preamp stage.

    I'd say if you already have the DBX and a rack space for it then give it a try. I never had a problem with my bass directly plugged into the compressor and then to the amp, passive or active. The +4/-10 switch on the DBX input should take care of that. Having the 2 switchable mono channels was a nice bonus too. Sort of like getting two compressors for the price of one.

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