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Empress vs. Darkglass Hyper Luminal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by SlappityPoppity, Dec 5, 2018.


  1. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    I'm back with another compression thread.... Thank you all for your input on the other one, but I wanted to start a new one focused on only two specific compressors I am looking at. I will definitely be getting one of these two, but I can't decide which. Something is pulling me towards the Empress Compressor, but I can't pinpoint what. The multi purpose metering is a nice touch and and the specific attack and release knobs are cool as well. The Darkglass Hyper Lumina looks and sounds amazing, but does the Darkglass Suite hype live up to its' potential? They're both the same price essentially so that isn't a factor. I'm playing a Peavey Cirrus 5, Lakland Skyline 44-01, and a custom Fender Jazz Fretless(passive) so flexibility and high headroom is a must as all 3 basses are so freaking different. Thanks a lot y'all!
    #bassnerds
     
  2. StayLow

    StayLow

    Mar 14, 2008
    They seem night-and-day different to me, so for me the very easy choice would be the Empress.

    I much prefer the way the Empress looks and operates - am not at all a fan of the gimmicky (IMO) touch pads on the DG - and I prefer that with the Empress there's no need (or option) for connecting devices. I find too many choices counter-productive, and I'm trying to get away from phones/computres or how-to threads when doing music.

    Also the Empress has been out much longer so is proven durable and reliable.
     
  3. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    I totally see your point, and I think that is what is drawing me to the Empress. I don't want to have to take my computer to a gig with me if I don't need to, and it has been proven extremely reliable. Although, the CEO of Darkglass has promised the touch sensors will last longer than the actual knobs on the Hyper luminal, and I hear they have incredible customer service as well. I do like the options on the DG though, and I feel the ss mode would sound great for fretless, and the other two modes are perfect for the other basses I own as well. It's a hard decision tbh. Thanks for your input!
     
    StayLow likes this.
  4. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I've owned/gigged a lot of different compressors. Everyone has their own reasons for using one, and different designs give different results. If you're using compression as an "effect" then some boxes rise to the top (any of the Ross clones come to mind). If you're using it as "fattener" or "sweetener", then some other boxes rise to the top (Diamond usually gets praise for this). Some will do both.

    I liked the metering on the Empress and thought is sounded good. At the end of the day I found that I preferred my FEA dual band for typical use (which is the latter of the above categories). I now have the HL on my board, and I'm finding that it will do both. While I also tend to shy away from computer-based/associated gear (computers often do bad things at the wrong time on gigs), the HL doesn't fall into that category IME. You can hook it up to a computer if you want to (and I did - it worked seamlessly), but you don't need to. Having three different compressors in a single box, with a simple interface (no menus, just knobs and buttons with lights that show current state of the effect) is pretty awesome. I find the bus compressor is great for "always on", as is the FET using 2:1 or 4:1 ratios. The "all knobs in" mode on the FET is great as an effect. The SS is a bit dark to my ears, but that could be great with a piezo-equipped instrument.

    In actual use, I've found the HL to be great, and not at all software-ish. But YMMV.
     
  5. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    Thanks! It's hard to find anyone that has any experience with this pedal since it is so new. I really appreciate your help. It seems like an extremely versatile compressor. I might have to pick it up.
     
  6. hintz

    hintz

    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    I'm a huge DG fan, I've owned many of their pedals and I've owned the amp since it first came out. With that, I still have the same Empress comp I had even longer.

    What scares me away from the new DG comp is a lack of separate Attack/release knobs and I need a slow attack/quick release to be happy with any comp.... maybe you can preprogram it online to do this? I haven't looked into it TBH. My point is the Empress has killed off any gas for another compressor, it's that good!!
     
  7. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    Thanks! You can edit the specifics of the attack/release knob in the DG suite. That is also a concern for me too. I'll still need to ponder that one.
     
    hintz likes this.
  8. hintz

    hintz

    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    . Oh wow, maybe I'll have to check it out then!?
     
    SlappityPoppity likes this.
  9. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    For sure! I haven't seen a good in depth review of the Darkglass suite, but I also haven't really looked. I just wish it had a desperate knob for each. Not sure if it's a deal breaker or not though
     
  10. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    I've never used the Empress (way too huge for me) but the Hyper Luminal is the best compressor I've ever used. I even bought two of them so I could have one on both of my boards!

    The Keeley Bassist is still no slouch if you want something dead simple though. I still love that one!
     
    SlappityPoppity likes this.
  11. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    Thanks! Real estate isn't a huge issue for me at the moment, so I wouldn't mind the Empress in that regard. What stands out the most with the DG for you?
     
  12. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Easily done with the software. I find the factory attack/release combinations to work well, but you can change the way the knob works with the associated software (which is incredibly straightforward and easy to use).
     
    geolikezik, kesslari and hintz like this.
  13. symbolic_acts

    symbolic_acts

    May 24, 2004
    I have both of them. Both are amazing and I miss looking at the empress on my board bouncing around (darkglass is what im using now).

    Empress is much quieter. The darkglass gives me some mild audible hum when engaged but you would never hear it if you're playing.

    Empress is most similar sounding to the BUS mode on the darkglass to me.

    Overall though, the darkglass has more character and punch, to my ears.

    Oh, and the touch buttons are NOT a gimmick. I play with shoes off and can quickly hit the buttons with my feet if i want to change modes/ratios. Its actually awesome
     
    matdras, geolikezik, Fuzzbass and 3 others like this.
  14. ficelles

    ficelles Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    Well I was thinking about a different compressor and now I see this... how can I possibly not buy something called a Darkglass Hyper Luminal? If Björk designed a compressor it would have a name like that.
     
    Fuzzbass, gregmon79 and Matt Dean like this.
  15. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
  16. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    I'll be honest, the size and incredible build quality are two of the main things I love about it :)

    But soundwise, the Hyper Luminal just has some 'mojo' to it that I can't quite put my finger on. I just like what it does. It really helps bring out chords and gives them clarity and punch, but a lot of compressors probably do that as well. I know the Keeley does. One thing I've discovered about the HL is the attack knob. When I set it about 4 o'clock it gives less bite and has a nice round attack. At about 2 o'clock you get some bite back but don't lose any punch or bottom end which some other compressors do. I would think the Empress wouldn't have any problems here either, since it has so many controls.

    The HL also has a blend, but I'm currently liking it 100% wet for the thickness and sustain. I mainly run it in FET mode right now. But BUS mode adds a LOT of the aforementioned mojo and makes it a completely different sounding pedal.

    I also love the touch buttons, they work great. And I've only scratched the surface, as I've never messed with the software. Honestly it's fine as it is without doing that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    kesslari and SlappityPoppity like this.
  17. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    Yep, the HL is fine "out of the box" but the software is super easy to use and provides a lot of variability and flexibility.
     
  18. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    Haha that's awesome. Thank you so much! I love the concept of the Hyper luminal but love the looks of the Empress more
     
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  19. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    Awesome thanks!!! I love that knowledge
     
    mmbongo likes this.
  20. SlappityPoppity

    SlappityPoppity

    Jul 9, 2018
    Awesome. Thanks!
     

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