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Fiddling With New Compressor

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by danqi, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    Is that how to write "fiddling"?

    Anyhow, I have got myself a dbx 163x and am not quite happy with the results. The main reason I got a compressor was neither sustain not overall volume eveness, but to get a punchier sound. Unfortunately, in that sense, it seems to work only on higher notes. Lower stuff, lets say below the second lowest E, sounds muddy and actually less "punchy" to my ears. It definitely sounds less aggressive.
    I have the bass directly plugged into the compressor before my combos preamp because in the effects loop it sounds much worse and is a lot more noisy.
    I guess the compressor raises the bass and mids while lowering the highs on the high notes, making them sound more meaty. But on the low notes the bass and the mids are already naturally relatively loud compared to the highs, so it lowers my precious mids (and bass). This results in a less "meaty" or "punchy" sound.
    Is there anything I can do about that?
  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Wrong compressor, if you ask me!

    You have a couple things working against you: First and formost, the 163 doesn't have provision for delaying the attack time - the main way to get punch with a compressor is to turn up the attack time, so that the initial transient of a note 'sneaks through' relatively uncompressed, and THEN the device begins to level-out the volume. That's where most of the 'punch' comes from.

    Secondly - and this is more of my personal taste, I guess - it's a 'soft-knee' (DBX calls it 'overeasy') compressor. What that means is that it starts compressing (reducing gain) EARLY (at a level that's lower than the set threshold) with a small compression ratio, and then 'sneaks up' on the final ratio as the signal aproaches the true threshold. If you run soft knee WITH an attack control, then you can partially cancel-out the soft knee effect, but then a faster transient will overcome the soft knee more than a slower one (which can be kind of a cool sound, like for drums). Soft knee works better for vocals and the like.