Distressor in signal chain on bass rig?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by joe the cop, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. Hey fellas I've got an empirical labs distressor and I would like to use it to tighten up my sound on my newly aquired bass rig. I have an Aguilar AG500 and I've been experimenting with the distressor in the signal path. My question is where should I place the distressor? Should I run my bass right into the distressor and then into the aguilar amp or should I plug my bass directly into the aguilar, using the compressor via the effects send? I've been having a tough time gain staging the effects send and return since the aguilar's master output controls how much signal the distressor gets at it's input; using the distressor in this manner seems to make my effects return become my master volume. I also have an Avalon U5 direct box with a thru output and have tried using that as a preamp, but I'm not sure which way would be better. I've never used a compressor on a bass rig before; good ol' fingers worked fine for me. My experience with compressors have always been at front of house using compressors via inserts. I would really like to use a compressor on my bass rig to balance out my sound since I'm experimenting a lot with spider picking. I appreciate any help you could give me. thanx Murph
  2. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    Firstly, consider yourself lucky. I'd love to have one of thoe for many, many uses.

    I'd plug straight into the Distressor, and out of that to the head. I'd think it would have enough adjustment on the I/O gains that you'll be OK. I've done this with various other compressors, and it has always worked out. My fave so far is the Spectrasonics 610 for that fat vintage sound. It sounds better in the signal path even with no gain reduction happening.
  3. I appreciate your reply, I've been hearing many different points of view about signal chain. yea you'd always get lucky buying pieces gear when you sell your truck for em. Thanx again bud. Murph
  4. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    One of the things about the distressor is that some of the changes don't sound like they are a big deal when you use them for single instruments. i.e. The British switch and the ratio settings may not seem like they make a huge difference at first. I really like the Distressor, but it can make a mess of things if you just start turning knobs... Watch the gain reduction like a hawk. And set it up having a plan for what you want it to do. The input gain is probably the key to the whole device.

    As for where to use it, I think that it probably sounds/reacts best in a buffered series effects loop because it is designed for line level use. From the Aguilar site: "FX Loop: Series/Parallel; Send pot is Push/Pull for Line or Instrument level; Return pot is Push/Pull for Parallel or Series operation." So I'd set it to Line and Series, that way the signal isn't split around the ELD.

    and yes, you have some work to do on gain staging since you have send/return volumes, plus input and output volumes on the ELD. I don't know where you would end up but I'd start with the effect loop volumes dimed, and work from there.

    Good luck, that is a tricky setup but I wouldn't mind having the opportunity to give it a whirl :bassist:
  5. Yeah it's not just tricky it's a pain in the @$$. Your describing the setup that I've had the most luck with. You gave me anonther idea though which I'm gonna try when I get home. If this idea doesn't work any better; the effects send route is what I'll stay with. I'm gonna try bass into avalon U5 take the XLR line output from there to the input of the distressor ( that way I don't have to fart around with so many gain stages ) have my fun with the distressor take the output phone jack of the distressor out to the instument input of the aguilar (that way I have my master volume back ). Utilizing the tone control of the Avalon at the front end could also lead to more gooder and more funner sounds. Happy day thanx bud. Later, Murph