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I need Guidance

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Mud Flaps, May 6, 2004.

  1. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    First of all, I don't want anyone with under 4 years of experience anywhere near this post.

    Secondly, I need guidance.

    I'm not sure if I should get a new head, or get the good compressor. I have the crappiest Gallien-Krueger head and no compressor. When I knew less, I bought a limiter thinking it was the same thing as a compressor, but I don't have an actual compressor.

    I want to know whether I should go for a new head (I was thinking of that tube Yorkville with the built-in compressor), or the DBX compressor.

    Which do I go for? Help!
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Depends. What model head do you have? What kind of music do you play? What's the target venue you need the amp for?

    A compressor/limiter might solve your problem with your existing amp, or it might not. Give us some more info!
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I've never owned a compressor, and have never had a need for one. What is it about your head that you don't like?
  4. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I don't know what to describe about my head that I don't like. It's the cheapest model one, the 250BL. It sounds bad.

    I don't know how to describe why I want a compressor! I feel like I need to be compressed! I feel expandy, I need compress!

    I like the sounds of tube amp more than solid state by a lot, and I like the sound of good compression over my sorry multi-FX compression by a lot, I just don't know which makes more of an impact.

    Good compression with crappy head, or good head with crappy compression?
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yup - you only get out (of life/everything) what you put in!!
  6. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Other stuff I just remembered to post (sorry):

    I currently play for the second highest pier of my high school jazz ensemble, but I want to get a gig of my own together. Next year, I'll play for the combo, which means I'll play a lot of highly populated gigs. I don't like the GK sound, mostly because it sucks. Why? I don't know.

  7. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    I've been playing for 2 1/2 years and I can tell you that a better head with a worse compressor "if any" is the smarter choice. You can ignore my comment because I have had the required limit of year experience but....you can play for 22 years and still be an idiot...
  8. To me it sounds like you should get another amp,... but I don't know what other gear you're using (bass, other effects, etc.).

    I believe I got a lot of calls to play in bands when I bought my Peavey TKO 15, and then a lot more calls when I bought my SWR WM 12. A good sound goes a loooog way, and good low end is what most people want from a bass player.

    I also think if you opened your mind up you might receive some helpful advice from players who have only been playing for a year or so. I know I have.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Generally, my view of amplification is that I want it to faithfully reproduce the sound of my bass - so it is about what you put into the signal chain, that you get out!

    I want to hear the sound of me and my bass - not an amp - but that does mean, most of the sound is down to you...:meh:
  10. I agree. What were the heads/equipment that you used?
  11. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    My amp line up:

    1. Squire BP-15
    2. Ampeg BA-115
    3. Ampeg B-2r with Ampeg SVT-410HE and SVT-115E
    4. Mesa Boogie M-Pulse 600 with Ampeg SVT-410HE and SVT-115E

    That was in consecutive order, I had borrowed my guitarists compressor when the B-2r was my main head *now backup* and it was decent but the M-Pulse 600 has a built in compressor which is very very well made. The head itself is designed to meet the compressors needs and vice versa. I don't really use that much compression unless I'm slapping and playing in my metal band....gotta be loud or else I'm not heard :). My basses have been:

    1. Squire P-Bass
    2. Warwick 5 String Corvette
    3. Ibanez SR886
    4. *soon to come* Warwick 4 String Corvette FNA JAZZMAN **drool**

    When I had the Warwick I definitely needed strong compression because of the activeness inside....my head would clip like crazy :).
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Why not just :

    Turn the gain down
    Turn the master bass volume pot down
    Play more softly/consistently!!
  13. karrot-x

    karrot-x Banned

    Feb 21, 2004
    Omicron Persei 8
    I kept the gain at about 3, the bass knob on the amp was at 4, the the bass control on the bass was flat. You can't fight a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier with the 4x12 rectifier cab and a extremely vicious drummer with such low settings. I asked everyone to turn down but that wasn't really an option, the drummer would dominate then the guitarist would compensate which lead to me being drowned out. I do have a tendency to play angrly but that's what happends when you're playing angry music. The Mesa head has made a 200% change in everything, I'm audible, there's a nice harmony between all the instruments, and I'm not as agressive on the bass. The one thing I do need is new cabinets because the Ampeg's just can't handle my low B on the 6 string Ibanez :/. I'll be getting a 4 string Jazzman soon so I'm not going to worry about that right now.
  14. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Keep it coming everybody, I'm listening. How about some people who prefer to use compression posting too.
  15. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Ya know, when I read the original post,,, this is EXACTLY what came to mind... I had a whole paragraph here, suggesting you look more at your skill & style, but it kinda started sounding like I was slamming you, & I didn't want that.

    It's been said by any number of professionals that frequent talkbass, that the player the single greatest impact on his own sound, than any of his equipment does.
  16. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yes, those are all good points. I've been playing bass for about thirty years. I used to compress, for about the first fivei years or so, and I feel it helped me learn my way around the fingerboard. But once I got up to speed on technique and started playing out live, I quickly realized that compression wasn't for me. Over the years I've become a member of the "preservation of dynamics" school of thought. But that's just me, YMMV and all that.

    I agree that a new amp would be the better investment. It sounds like you might be able to use a little more power, that would be a good place to start. The bigger GK heads are pretty good, like you might think about upgrading to an 800RB or something like that. You can find those used for very good prices on eBay. IMO the watts are the single most important thing for a bass player, there's nothing worse than being forced to max out your amp and getting crappy sound that way. I wouldn't select an amp head just for its compression capabilities, there's plenty of excellent outboard compressors that'll work fine. The amp is the most important thing (next to the bass, of course).

    If you've decided to compress, there are several things that come to mind. One is, the DBX units are kind of the "industry standard", but AFAIK they only come in rack-mount versions. The DBX-160 series is very popular, and all the various versions of that are pretty similar inside (electronically speaking), the main difference being the bells and whistles (like the XLR outs on the XT, that kind of thing). I use these in the studio sometimes, along with vintage units like Urei LA-4 and LA-22. Another thought is, I've had some good luck with the EBS MultiComp, that's a very nice stompbox style unit. It has three different (selectable) types of compression, so you can choose the one that sounds best to your ear.

    Compressors "in general" will change your sound, so expect to have to do a little re-EQ'ing to get your sound back.
  17. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Although I highly appreciate the players with incredible dynamic control, and I hope to become one of them any day now (with more practice, of course), I still like the sound that I get with my compressor. It isn't even a great compressor. But since I play rock/heavier alt-rock type music, it gives my playing some added punch plus it reins me in when I am jumping around on stage. As much as I would like to be a dynamic purist, this is where I am for now and I'm cool with that.

    It seems as though you aren't quite playing the kind of gigs I am, so while you are working on the dynamics everyone highly values, I suggest first getting an amp head you would be proud to call your tone :D . Then pick up a compressor that is within your means. Of course, there are compressors from dirt cheap to expensivo, so you have come choices to make. But from my compressor experience, there are compressors out there that compress alright, but add so much due to what they do, and their noise gates are horrible to use (too sensitive, not much flexibility, etc). So find one that can smoothly compress AND noise gate to your liking. Not sure if noise-gating is such a problem with jazz ensembles/combos, but you can tell ME that.

    As for your amp dislikings, I didn't like my amp for quite a bit either until I tweaked the settings enough. I'll assume you have and still don't like it. If a new amp is within your means, what are you waiting for! If not, you may not expect to like your sound no matter WHAT you do to it. Just my opinion.

    Good luck!

    (experience years withheld :ninja: )

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Technique is a big part of your tone. For Jazz I personally do not think a compressor is neccessary. You are better off controling the dynamics/consistancy with good technique. As for your amp....you could go with more power, but you would be better off first trying to make the most of what you have. The Gallien Krueger 2x10" combos are excellent amplifiers if you are looking for something a bit bigger with a better tone.
  19. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    I agree with Adrian that jazz is the last genre for which I would reach for a compressor.

    I'd improve your amp/cab first. (well, first I would work on your fingers, then the cab, then the amp, then have some pie, then...) If you do go for a comp., give a look at the RNC.
  20. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    I generaly feel that compression o a bass rig is not needed. A compressor is not going to change the sound of your amp. A good compressor should go un-noticed. You should not be able to tell that you are using a copmpressor. A compressor is designed to even out the peaks and valleys of your overall volume. Compression will reduce your volume by "x" amount of db (ratio) at a certain level you demand (threshold). This will allow you to get a tad more volume out of your amp. Compression is not a majic cure-all/band-aid that is going to change or alter the tonal charectaristics of your amps tone. It's main purpose is to protect clipping and aid in volume control.

    What kind of speaker cabs are you using? What kind of bass are you using? These are all things to consider as well. However, since you stated that you think your amp is a piece of junk, that would probally be good reason why your tone sounds like junk. You cant polish a turd. Rember that! A compressor will not make your GK sound like an SVT 8X10 rig.

    I only have 4 hours of bass playing experience, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt.