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I need advice on which Compressor to buy.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by steve66, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Rig.

    I am hoping you gear heads can give me some input. I read the stickys and the compressor reviews..(Thanks Bongomania). Very helpful by the way. Here is my pretty standard rig. In addition to it, I run Avatar 212 Delta and Avatar 210 NEO cabs.

    This is my deal. I have about 250 Dollars to spend on a rack compressor. I play both passive and active basses. Occasionally a passive 5 string. I play all types of music, getting more into Motown and Funk. Ultimately, I would like a compressor, limiter and gate in 1 single rack space. I am looking for transparency and very little "noise" if any.

    I am into company's like Rane, Dbx, and BBE. I have been searching craigslist and Ebay for a Rane DC24, a DBx 166a / 266xL, BBE MaxCom, or Symetrix 501. I would like to stay within my price range. I am also open to used gear. I probably wont use the compressor to record with.

    Is there any thing I am missing? Maybe a different company or new models that haven't been reviewed? Are my choices decent? Any recommendations? Pros and Cons?

  2. I've got a 501, and I love it. Pretty much transparent, but does a good job of reigning it in. It doesn't have a gate, though.
  3. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Symetrix 501 is the choice from what you describe. You might like the valley people Gain Brain (not transparent but great squish) or Dynamite if you can find them. All 3 are good enough for pro studio use also. If you want to be different, look for an old DBX 128, same vca's as the vintage 160's, more of a tabletop unit, not rackmount. Those vca's were also made by valley people IIRC.
  4. I have a 2 channel dbx 1066 and love it! Bought it in the TB classifieds. Transparent and very tweakable. Too much tweaking available probably for a goober like me. Nice rack set up by the way.
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I see those Rane and Symetrix units on Ebay all the time, there are plenty on the market within your budget. Those would be my top suggestions for you, unless you can score an Aphex 651 in good shape. Any of those three would rock in a pro manner.

    Re: gates... they generally suck. I have used exactly two gates that did not suck, the TCE Nova Dynamics and the Ashly SG100. Both of those are surprisingly good. But the ones that you see as a feature on a multi-purpose comp/limit/gate unit, those gates are rotten IMO.
  6. Thanks to you all for replying. I'll see what shows up on the bay and the TB Classifieds
  7. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Run away from an all-in-one. Bongo's right, the gates suck...then blow...then suck again.

    If you can do without the limiter (and you very well may be able to do so), take a serious look at a good used dbx 160.

  8. Thanks Mark,

    I can do with out the gate, but with only 1 rack space left, I would like some kind of limiter. I am leaning toward the Symetrix 501 or the DBX 166A.
  9. From everything I've heard the older DBX units are the bomb. I know most sound engineers I've worked with love those things. Personally, I just bought a TC Electronics CB300 gate/compressor for ~$125 used and have been very happy with it. It has 2 channels and both are switchable between compression/limter and gate/expansion with dial in preset setting which can be tweaked with the knobs. Very easy to use.

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