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Do I really 'need' a compressor ?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Big String, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Hi All
    I've been doing quite a bit of reading on compressors since another post on a different subject got my attention. What I'm trying to accomplish if I can is to give my live sound more HEFT to the notes. Kind of the description used when referring to say a DB750/751 which I've owned and familiar with that feel.

    Currently my rig is Demeter VTBP-M-800D; which I like very much; is quite different in most respects than the big Aggie. Cabs: One or Two Bergantino NV115's. (also one HD112). Basses: Either a Sadowsky NYC UV Jazz or a Birdsong C-Bass with a hot Dimarzio pup. I also have a Quilter BB800. Not sure if the Quilter circuit would like a compressor?? Or the Demeter either.

    So far I'm seeing some units/pedals etc that are appealing to me at different price points which is not a deal maker or breaker for me. I just want to make sure I can utilize a compressor in the live mix. I have no effects but may warm up to some in the future. I don't know much about compression even though I've read some really great explanations and pretty much understand the uses. Further I'm not doing any studio work where I realize a compressor would be most useful or even required. I've seen some with multi band compression.. ?

    Looking at
    Origin Effects Cali76 Deluxe (Best in class? possibly way overkill for me?)
    Aguilar TLC
    MXR M87
    TC Electronics SpectraComp (this one is really simple to use.. one knob)

    I don't know if the Demeter compressors are 'geared' more to guitar than bass. But James makes great gear for sure.

    Hey Thanks very much in advance if you care to comment.
    San Diego Phil and dpaulb like this.
  2. Personally I'd recommend the Cali 76, BUT the Compact Bass - not the Deluxe.
    31HZ, PeterH, Veldar and 2 others like this.
  3. fasterpussycat


    Sep 3, 2018
    'Heft' is a quality I associate with 'lead sled' class a/b amps with big power supplies. I briefly had an Ampeg PF500 and neither the inbuilt comp, nor my Diamond bass comp did anything in the heft department.

    The first time I turned on my 200W valve head there it was -- that's what was missing.
    Miles_ONeal, Kriegs, Artman and 2 others like this.
  4. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    Ya maybe I'm seeking something that is beyond my current gear in comparison to big iron or possibly not describing correctly what I think I'm missing. I'm not unhappy at all with my gear just looking for a way to get more from it without changing amps again. The one post I read sorta indicated that a good compressor would in someway improve the weight or impact of notes dynamically I guess is what was meant .
    My style is 98% fingerstyle with good articulation and accuracy.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  5. All the compressors you listed are good ones. I know the MXR is very transparent and from what I've read the TLC may impart a bit of its own flavour but it'll be a good flavour. A compressor will be beneficial if you change styles (finger to slap) or if you start digging in.
    BrentSimons and Big String like this.
  6. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    No it's not a necessity.
  7. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    This is copied from the Origin Effects website... I guess "weightiness" was the word I was liking. I hope this would be the result playing live. I do like the HPF idea.

    In addition to this pedal’s low-noise circuitry and fast, musical FET response, two special features lift the Cali76 Compact Bass above the competition.

    The first is the Dry Blend control, which lets you mix your dry signal back in with your compressed signal for true parallel compression, an indispensable studio recording technique. By combining the compressed and dry signals, you get all of the tone thickening and increased sensitivity of the Cali76’s 1176-style compression, while retaining the natural attack and dynamic expression in your playing. It’s the ultimate in transparent compression – both fat and punchy at the same time.

    This pedal’s second secret weapon is also culled from the studio engineer’s handbook. The Cali76 Compact Bass allows you to rein in the amount of compression applied to the lowest frequencies via a variable-frequency high-pass filter placed in the compressor’s side-chain. With the HPF control dialed in, the compression ratio effectively becomes frequency dependent. The low strings come back to life, adopting an extra weightiness, power and dynamic response, while the higher strings are strictly controlled, preventing slapped and popped notes from leaping out of the mix. This unique bass compressor is like having your own studio engineer sat on your pedalboard!
  8. Low84

    Low84 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Not a must like a tuner or a trustworthy cable... but a compressor (even one of today's inexpensive models) is a nice add... smooths things out.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
    BrentSimons, Artman and eriky4003 like this.
  9. Sonicblaze

    Sonicblaze Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2016
    Omaha, Nebraska
    FYI, this is about as far from the truth as possible :D although the pedal itself only has 1 knob, you can hook it up to your computer and use the TC Toneprint editor and modify somewhere between 30 and 100 parameters. It gets a bit overwhelming, at least it did to me.
  10. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Some compressors have a "sound" to them and you might like it. There are surely some effect pedals and rack gear that will add "heft". But technically speaking the job of a compressor is to lessen the difference between the loudest and softest notes. I use an MXR bass comp set to gently compress if I dig in too hard or hit a big fat note on the B string it's not too loud compared to the others. It doesn't change the sound of the bass, just keeps the loudest notes from being overpowering. Do I need it? No. Does it help me? Yes. Does it change the tone of my bass? Not much at all. Could you use a different compressor more aggressively and maybe achieve what you're looking for? Probably yes. Do you NEED one? Nope.
    Justice57, ScotRFM, sutarappa and 6 others like this.
  11. I don't know if a compressor can match what a DB750 delivers but for what it's worth my guitar playing buddy who obsesses over these pedal thingies swears by the Cali76.
    PeterH and Big String like this.
  12. hell no.
    BrentSimons, bassbully, Cheez and 2 others like this.
  13. saabfender

    saabfender Banned SUSPENDED

    Jan 10, 2018
    No and running one might be counterproductive to your sound. You should leave yourself open to the possibility that it won't help. I was playing a country thing with a thumpy P Bass and it helped smooth things out. Not using one for the current '90s & now cover band and the bass I'm using for that. Took too much impact.

    "Further I'm not doing any studio work where I realize a compressor would be most useful or even required."
    Like you'd bring your own compressor to a session? *Awkward*
    BrentSimons, JRA, wmmj and 1 other person like this.
  14. Jonny5bass

    Jonny5bass Supporting Member

    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Alright, everyone start your timers. How long will it take for this thread to get out of hand? My guess is two days before non effects people start pooping everywhere and turn this into another internet brawl. Ready. Set. Go!
    swink, Fuzzbass, BrentSimons and 6 others like this.
  15. Perhaps. That’s not me though. I have a compressor. But it’s not necessary.
    BrentSimons and saabfender like this.
  16. Big String

    Big String Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2000
    Northwest Indiana
    I really appreciate all the replies. You guys may have saved me a few hundos ... :bassist:
    I've never actually used ANY pedals or effects playing bass. I've got a mint condition Ibanez UE300 from back when I played guitar in bands. Long time ago.
    Tried it with the compressor/T9/chorus at home .. didn't sound awful but didn't like it much. Of course that compressor might not work well with bass .. shrug.
    saabfender likes this.
  17. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    To the extent that a bass sound that emphasizes transients from hitting the string at the expense the sustained part of the note lacks "heft", a compressor can help, by reducing the extent to which the high harmonics in the transient are louder than the rest of the note.

    TBH, I'm terrible with compressors, but would like a "set it and forget it" compressor pedal to go with my more excitable basses.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
    JimmyN2, swink and saabfender like this.
  18. Jesuguru

    Jesuguru Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2003
    DC area (for now)
    I wasn't sure whether I'd benefit from one either until I got a Wampler Ego Mini a couple months ago. I definitely appreciate how it thickens the tone and evens out the notes, without overly coloring my overall sound. It has a blend control to mix in your unaffected tone and keep your natural dynamics, which IMO is a must.
    Big String and jj4001 like this.
  19. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The quality of heft you're after probably has a lot to do with how the lows and low mids are voiced. You might try a gentle broad band boost if you have an EQ pedal.

    Light compression might help clean up the low end a bit, but I don't think you're after heavy squish. If you do try a compressor and EQ together, experiment with the order. I generally prefer to apply compression to a flat unprocessed signal, but you might prefer to apply EQ first, especially with a gentle broadband boost in the lows.
    Big String and jimfist like this.

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