How do you know if your compressor works good?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Broach_insound, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    I just bought a cheap 8 dollar rocktek compressor off musicians friend since I need it for when I do slapping and stuff , but since this is my first compressor I dont know what to look for in it to know if its good or not because I would like to write a review on it. it doenst make any new sounds or anything so I have no way of telling if it sucks or not and how do I know if its doing its job or not
  2. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    anyone? I would really like to know
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    If it sounds good, it is good.
  4. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Speaking from personal experience, I think it takes some time and lots of comparisons between various compressors to know which ones actually sound "good" and which do not. To make things even trickier, a lot of people will say that a good compressor sound is one that you can't really tell is working. By this they typically mean that the effect is subtle, reasonably transparent, and reigns your bass signal in without drastically altering the sonic qualities of your hands on your bass. I agree with this when it comes to getting a smooth, "natural" sound, but there may be times when you desire the heavy "squash" and subsequent "swell" you can get when using heavy compression. In that situation you're using compression as a more overt effect than just a slight enhancement to your sound.

    Let's hope the Rocktek you're buying comes with a decent manual with a decent description of how to use the compressor. If not, I would definitely seek out someone who can give you a live, hands-on demo of how to use it--i.e., someone in a music store, a fellow musician, or a sound tech. I know that when I was trying to figure this particular effect out, written descriptions proved to be somewhat useless. It took a sound engineer in the studio to push some buttons and tweak some knobs and then say, "Okay, here's your bass with compression, and here it is without. Hear the difference?" After a bit I did hear the difference.

    Once you know how the effect is supposed to sound when applied in a variety of ways and situations, then you'll be able to start discerning differences between "good" compressors and "bad" ones. You'll also be able to hear differences between various "good" compressors, which, while they all may do the job equally well, all have their own unique characteristics.

    For now, I'm sure the pedal you bought will be sufficient to get you started. Then you can decided if compression really is an effect you desire for your individual sound.

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

  5. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    I was looking for a little more indepth answer to my questions ,that doesnt exactly help obviously if it sound good that is something good about it no need to state the obvious.
  6. Broach_insound


    Jan 25, 2005
    New York
    Thanx alot Matt that was vey helpful I realy appreciate it! Im gonna go hit up a local music stoor and get some help from one of the guys there

  7. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Munji got it right though.

    If it sounds good, then it is good.

    Its as simple as that.
  8. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers

    If any of you run into an $8 pedal of any kind that sounds good, let me know. I'll take 2.

  9. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO

    And despite my more involved answer, I do believe this is true. If it sounds good, you don't question it, right?

    However, if you don't even know what a compressor is supposed to sound like, you don't have a frame of reference for whether or not it's doing its job properly. What if you bought a really lousy compressor that did little more than, say, add a bunch of distortion to your bass signal? If you don't know that that is not a compressor's primary function, then you might be inclined to say, "Hey, I think that sounds good, so it's good! Cuz, like, that's what them dudes on TB told me!"

    As true as your simple answer may be, it's far too simplistic an answer for someone who is trying to figure out what a particular effect is supposed to be doing in the first place.