I got a compressor, but i dont know how to use it

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by kirbywrx, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Im currently borrowing a Trace Elliot compressor of a freind. I have no idea how to use it though!

    It is a Trace Elliot SMX Dual Compressor. Ive looked for it on the net but cant find anything. I took a picture of it. Sorry bout the quality :rolleyes:

    Anyway can anyone help me with it? What buttons do what? I played with it last night and it did help a little, but when i was playing through it there was alot of background hiss. Im not sure weather it was the bass or what. More likeley to be the bass.


    Any help? I feel like an idiot, the mod of the Amps forum and i cant use a compressor :meh: :D :meh:
  2. what kind of controls does it have?
  3. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    There are 5 knobs and 2 stomp buttons
    from left to right the knobs are Inout, Low compression, E.Q. balance, High Compression and Output.

    Ive managed to find the manual from the Trace Elliot web site, but i still havent got a decent sound out of the thing :meh:
  4. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Probably explains why you don't see too many of them.

    -Input is your gain control.
    -Low compression adjusts the amount of compression on the low frequencies.
    -EQ is a set pf predetermined EQ curves.
    -High compression adjusts the amount of compression on the high frequencies.
    -Output controlls the overall volume.

    That's my guess anyway. I'm guessing the stomp buttons activate each of the compressors, one for hig, one for low, but I'm not sure........
  5. rockindoc

    rockindoc Daily Lama

    Jan 26, 2002
    Bonham, Tx
    You put trash in it till it's full, then you turn it on and it comp.... Uhh, wait a minute, that's a Compactor. Never mind.:confused: ;)
  6. sincity


    Oct 16, 2002
    Here is the manual for the compressor.

    I have the same pedal. Read the manual and don't go over the top with the settings. A little goes a long way.

    SMX Compressor Manual
  7. amorosomolto


    Sep 10, 2003
    I have that compressor too. I hardly use it. I found the manual to be tedious to read. It does sound good sometimes. I want to sell it.

    "Train of Thought"
  8. 2pods


    Mar 27, 2002
    I used to have both the pedal you have, and the "onboard" version in a few TE amps.
    After setting your gain and output levels, I arrived at a setting I liked.
    Low - about half way
    High - about 9 O'Clock
    Balance about 11 O'Clock

    Since I changed from TE amps to Ashdown I missed it, so I bought a TC Electronics Triple C.
    Seems quite good, but not as easy to adjust.

  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I bought one of these from recommendations on places like this and magazines - never again!! :mad:

    It was the most useless thing I ever bought - never got any decent sound out of it and it was part of what decided me that most compressors are a waste of time.

    So - this was a few years ago and I bought my first 6-string bass - I thought one of these pedals would help me.

    But as you have found if you can get it to have any sort of effect it produces vast amounts of hiss - which make it very irritating. Avoid the hiss and the effect on the sound was effectively inaudible - might as well not have it on! I also found it very frustrating as I did have a manual but it never quite worked how they said it would - I mean it's not rocket science! But I had it for quite a while and never got anythig out of it and sold it on!

    I found that what I was searching for, was best achieved with better technique and/or a better bass.

    So the balance problems I had had with that first 6-string, were non-existent when I bought a Yamaha TRB6P - but it took me many years and many expensive mistakes like this, to discover that it is best to always start with a decent bass/amp and not try to "patch up" sound problems with pedals!! :(

    So - this is why I often appear negative about thes things - I am only trying to help others avoid the mistakes I made and maybe save them a bit of money and time. So you don't have to get to my great age to make these realisations!! ;)
  10. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Unlike Bruce, who swears at this pedal, I swear by it. Here's how I recommend using it:

    1. Play your bass as hard as you are likely to and adjust the input volume until the bi-colour LED flashes red on the loudest notes.

    2. Set the EQ control to 12 o'clock and leave it there.

    3. Adjust the output volume so your volume with the pedal switched on is the same (bearing in mind that compression is a dynamic effect the thus the volume does not change linearly with the effect on) as your bypassed volume.

    4. Select high compression bypass (i.e. so only the LF side of the compressor is working). Adjust the LF ratio knob until you're getting enough added punch (try setting it about 10 or 11 o'clock) without losing too much dynamics. I prefer to leave the LF compressor on all the time as it adds significant punch to my tone once placed in the context of the mix whilst not compromising my dynamics.

    5. Now the high compression side - you have to be careful with this. Because the attack is very fast to catch dynamic pops you can risk losing a lot of the attack of your sound and if the ratio is set high you'll raise the noise floor thus increasing hiss. The hiss you're hearing is from your bass - if you have a passive bass or one with quiet active electronics this rarely becomes a problem. I only use the high compressor when I'm slapping though you may find it sounds good with pick playing. Try setting the ratio knob between 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock - it very much depends on how you attack your bass and how squished you want things to sound.

    Note, the LF side of this compressor is very transparent - it controls your dynamics and helps you fit in the mix without sounding like an effect. Whilst playing your bass on its own the compression will be pretty hard to spot but as soon as you're onstage in a loud band you'll realise the benefits. YMMV, IMO, etc.

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Far better to "control your dynamics" with technique and listening to other people - and ditch all the pedals and their noise!! ;)
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