1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
  2. Welcome Back!  Please see this thread for more info about the site outage.  Thank you for your patience as we work out bugs and tweak server configs.

Help me understand compressors

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BlueTalon, Feb 28, 2021.


  1. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Eastern Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    First, a bit of background. Most of my adult life was spent in college/military/overseas, during which time my only equipment was a Rickenbacker and a Roland Cube, so I just don't have the same long term experience with equipment that most bass players here take for granted. Most of my knowledge about equipment came in the last ten years or so.

    So about compressors... It seems that most people hear swear by them. I have tried using a compressor a few times, and each time, it felt like my tone and dynamics were being strangled, and I couldn't stand it. It seems to me that the whole point of them is to limit one's dynamic range. Is that it? Or is there a tonal aspect to them that I'm not getting? I really feel like I'm missing something.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  2. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    #1) Usually an indication your have the rascal cranked too high, spec'ly the threshold or ratio. It's a common complaint.

    #2) When applied properly, it's intended to "fit" an instrument's dynamic range within the confines of a recorded medium or any form of sound reproduction.

    Here's a great tutorial which is suited for both the novice and advanced player.

    Compressor and Audio Gear FAQ

    Hope that helps. JOOC, what compressor(s) have you used?

    Riis
     
    BlueTalon likes this.
  3. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Eastern Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I couldn't tell you. I only tried them briefly, I never owned them. And I'm pretty sure they were not higher-end compressors, which may make a difference.

    Thanks for the response and the link.
     
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    You're welcome. Some of the cost-conscious compressors are more than respectable but, alas, are just as prone to the pitfalls associated with mis-application / operator error. If interested in purchasing one for yourself, I'm sure we can come up with some almost fool-proof selections that won't break the bank. I have my favorites but, in your case, I'd go for something with LED metering so you'll have some visual feedback as to the level of compression.

    Riis
     
    BlueTalon likes this.
  5. Compressor is a weird animal because it can be used as a utility or as an effect. With a light setting you'll bring quieter passages up closer to the level of your heavy strokes increasing your playing's dynamic range without losing it to the mix, and at heavier settings it'll eat your dynamics and expand your sustain forever, and with clever in between stuff you can do a little of both.

    I get the most use out of compression on slow songs with a lot of half and whole notes + by digging out sustain. Most of my other usage is either barely there or I don't like the way it feels when I play through it, but a lot of people get more out of it than I do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
    BlueTalon likes this.
  6. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I have never liked them for the reasons you describe. I did find though that they add something spunky when you are using a pick since the sound is already sort of naturally limited by the pick.
     
    BlueTalon likes this.
  7. BlueTalon

    BlueTalon Happy Cynic Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Eastern Washington
    Endorsing Artist: Turnstyle Switch
    I had to read this sentence a few times before I realized it didn't make sense to me. I don't play with a pick, but I like the sound pick players get. (I started out playing with a pick, but after a few years I gave it up because it would eventually slip out of my grip -- either it would rotate out of position or I'd drop it.) I'd characterize such playing as bright, often gritty, and so spunky is a word I could also use to describe the sound of pick playing.

    So I assume our definitions of "spunky" are different. Or maybe I don't understand what you mean when you say the sound of pick playing is "naturally limited."
     
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 14, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.