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Does anyone NOT use a compressor? (... and why not?)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by stringthrough, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    At my gig last night I added an Xotic SP compressor between my passive P bass and Markbass amp and got the best sound I ever recall getting. The compressor evened out my volume and added a clean "grind" to my sound. Just loved it! Has anyone who's tried using a compressor chosen not to make it an essential part of their signal chain? And if so, why not?
  2. wmhill


    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    for the last couple of years, I've been compressorless. When I bought my Tecamp Puma900, i was told by several trusted folks that also use the same rig that there would be no use for it, and they were right.It's avery tight sounding rig and just not needed. The 20 odd years prior to that, i always used comp on all my rigs.
    jeff7bass and TalHaz like this.
  3. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I use one but it is not an always on effect. I only kick mine in for two-handed tapping. I really only use it to assist me with peaks and valleys from two-handed tapping. I would use it for slap and pop too but I have never played in a band that called for the technique.
    joebar likes this.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I own a pair of nice pedal compressors (Empress and Origin).

    I usually do not use compression. One reason is that I often use overdrive, and of course compression is inherent in overdrive. Certainly, compression can sound great when used with overdrive, but I rarely bother. Also: sometimes I want to keep my rig simple and not bother with any pedals whatsoever.

    When I do run compression, it's not so much for dynamic control, but for subtle smoothing (sitting in the mix) and/or to fatten up my tone. Also, my Origin Cali76 G-P has a germanium circuit built in that adds some nice harmonic richness ("sparkle") to my tone.
    hintz likes this.
  5. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    I use compression or OD but not both. They kindof do the same thing dynamics-wise...
    Shortie, Jazz Ad and Boone_Mc like this.
  6. "Q"


    Feb 9, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    Well anyone using a small enough amp would not need one so much. They used to make small amps a long time ago lol.

    So yes, when I'm playing on a small practice amp or a 100 watt-ish sized tube amp I don't usually use a comp. It's a must for sending a nice signal to the board live however, something that i think the non comp users are forgetting. I prefer to not wait and see if the sound guy knows how to use his compressor, if he has one.
    Okstatefan likes this.
  7. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I've gone back and forth for practically all of my gigging career, but I go without a compressor more often than now. I like the concept of using a compressor or limiter to tame signal spikes and possibly slightly even out volume, but the fact is that I still usually prefer my tone without a compressor on. The few compressors I've tried that didn't negatively affect my tone weren't particularly great from a functional standpoint (at least in terms of what I'm looking for). So, the question will be whether I can find a compressor that meets my criteria for both tone and function (including tone and function when combined with other effects), or whether I'll have to choose between either giving up the use of a compressor or dealing with some minor negative affect on my tone.

    Most recently I used the Fairfield Accountant for a while, which colored my tone but not in a bad way, but it wasn't particularly great at limiting spikes. Right now I'm working with an EQD Warden and enjoying it so far, so we'll see how long it lasts.
    EASonBass and Lia_G like this.
  8. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I do not, but kinda wish I did.
    My short list of compressors both cost $250+, so I'm not in a hurry to buy.
    I may build an optical limiter for myself to see if it peak limits the way I think I need peak limiting.
    This would be for my FOH signal only, as the amp I use has a built in compressor I set for limiting, occasionally.
    Still don't know if I really need/want compression, but I am curious enough to want to experiment until I do know for sure.
  9. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008
    Nope. I've tried them but decided to adjust my technique so that I don't need it.
  10. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    I hardly ever use one. Only if I use a particular bass.
    As to the why, cos I don't need it.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I do not. And every time I have owned one it has only been for a short time. To me it takes the edge off of my sound. It makes my tone less "live". Now, to be sure sound engineers put it on my FOH signal anyway. I rarely run into a sound guy who doesn't compress bass. So it would just be redundant.

    Those who use them usually have a tone I can get along with. So I am not opposed to them per say. But they don't do it for me personally .
    dukeorock, Shortie, torza and 3 others like this.
  12. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Don't use one. My amp has dynamic compression built in.
    Fender Rumble 500 v3.
  13. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    I don't.

    Because I'm one broke dude.
  14. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I don't know how it would improve my tone.
    sm49341 and bolophonic like this.
  15. I will use a comp or limiter if that sound or feel is needed but it is not an always on effect for me. Otoh I will usually be using an amp model or for recording the Submarine that does impart a subtle form of compression.
  16. guitarflinger

    guitarflinger Not all who wander are lost Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    Front Range, Colorado
    I had a 10-11 pedal chain, with compressor (Aguilar) and Mini thumpinator at the end of the chain. I found that I had a fair amount of noise coming out of the amp whether the pedals were on or off. I added a noise gate, which helped with the noise, but made the transients sound funny and decreased my sustain. At that point I started eliminating pedals 1 by 1. After getting rid of the compressor, noise gate, and thumpinator, my signal is much quieter and my note transients seem natural. I don't know which pedal was the main culprit, but I don't miss them tone-wise. I am down to 5 pedals plus tuner and very happy.
  17. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    Same here, man. Same here.
  18. BassikLee

    BassikLee Commercial User

    Feb 13, 2004
    Deltona, FL
    Owner: Brevard Sound Systems
    I don't use a comp. I play pretty evenly.
    jazzyvee and Okstatefan like this.
  19. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    I always want one, start saving for one, then buy something else. New Smoothies will be out soon, yeah?
    Japheth M and hintz like this.
  20. Always in studio, never on stage.

    that's what FOH is for.

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