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If I like the Effectrode PC-2A but not the Empress bass compressor ?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by jibreel, Feb 23, 2021.


  1. jibreel

    jibreel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Seattle
    I am running through some compressors as I have most of my other effects covered.

    Love the PC-2A I have on my board now and just tried the Empress Bass compressor. The Empress was brittle and thin compared to the PC-2A which is fat, full and buttery !! Rich harmonics and tone enhancement.

    Is it the tube, the optical or a combination?

    Although I love the PC-2A, I wish that the control knob allowed for even a smaller amouth of compression. Even all the way counter clockwise, there is still sometimes to much compression.

    Any other suggestions for high quality compressors that sound similar to the PC-A2 ?

    Thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  2. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    Not sure why you don't just get another PC-2A?

    Your comment suggests a drastic tone change with the Empress, which is something I would not expect. Perhaps it's damaged or you had it adjusted improperly. All the comments I have read suggests Empress Compressors tend to be fairly tone neutral

    Possible reasons for a tone shift: The newest version of the Empress Bass Compressors has a 3-way tone switch: 1. mid-scoop, 2. off, 3. mid-boost. The Compressor Mk II has a 3-way HPF switch in place of the tone switch: 1. 120hz, 2. off, 3. 240hz.
     
    jibreel and Fuzzbass like this.
  3. How about some more tubes?
    Leveling Amplifier Studio Grade Compressor - Effectrode
     
    red_rhino and jibreel like this.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The PC-2A seems to give you what you want. So as Wasnex said, why are you looking elsewhere?

    Understandable that you don't care for the Empress: it's designed for transparency/clarity (outside of the colour switches).
     
    Gabbs, jibreel and Wasnex like this.
  5. jibreel

    jibreel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Seattle
    Firstly, thanks for the replies.

    I should have been more that I have the PC-2A on my board now. So the truth be told, I am tone chasing, seeking that 5% "better tone" that some other similar pedal may have :D.

    I know Empress is great quality but I knew immediately that it was not the effect I was looking for. I am assuming it is the tubes and/or optical components in the PC-2A that I like.

    Although I love the PC-2A, I wish that the control knob allowed for even a smaller amouth of compression. Even all the way counter clockwise, there is still sometimes to much compression.
     
    Fuzzbass and Wasnex like this.
  6. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    Now we are getting somewhere...we know what you don't like about the PC-2A.
     
    Fuzzbass and jibreel like this.
  7. Since you like the PC-2A, don't look elsewhere, look at working with what you've got & like, ie fixing that too-much compression.
    Contact Effectrode and ask if they'll mod it for you. If not, take the PC-2A to a qualified tech and have them mod it, if possible.

    Alternatively, put something like an EHX "Signal Pad" pedal in front of it so you're hitting the compressor with less overall volume (after all, the Signal Pad is just a volume pot in a box with a bypass switch). Or just roll back the volume on your bass, see if that does it.

    HOWEVER, then you might need some make up gain after the PC-2A (if not increasing the PC-2A's own gain)... and suddenly you've got all this extra nonsense going on when all it really needed was a tweak to the original circuit — contact Effectrode!





    I'm sure people with more experience than I have will see my Signal Pad solution is fraught with holes/complications/misunderstandings of how it'll affect the compression/signal chain, etc. Hey, I'm still learning/trying-to-learn, so shoot it up!.
     
    Ralph Manak and jibreel like this.
  8. Have you talked directly to Effectrode and asked if they had any recommendations? Would they possibly mod it for you?

    Also, not sure what the compression knob does, but if it mostly just sets the threshold, you could try turning your bass down to decrease how much compression it’s triggering.
     
    jibreel likes this.
  9. Low Down Brown

    Low Down Brown

    Jan 8, 2018
    Erf
    Pretty sure you already know about it since you know Effectrode, but the LA-1A has a little more flexibility + 3 tubes, although it is a little bigger. It sounds absolutely amazing and kinda killed my search for other compressors...for the time being :whistle:
     
    tonym, red_rhino and jibreel like this.
  10. Alien8

    Alien8

    Jan 29, 2014
    Did you adjust the internal controls? PC-2A Supplemental - Effectrode full
     
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  11. jibreel

    jibreel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Seattle
    I did but I should revisit to make sure I was adjusting correctly. Thanks for the link!
     
  12. jibreel

    jibreel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Seattle
    Yeah, this is def on my radar. No used was for sale anywhere at the moment.
     
    red_rhino and Low Down Brown like this.
  13. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    Definitely start with the internal pots. Rotate the Attack all the way clockwise to slow the attack which will have the effect of allowing more transient through before the compression latches on. Then rotate the knee dial all the way clockwise for a softer knee which will have the effect of making the compression feel slower to respond and thereby feel less grabby so quickly.

    If you already like the inherent qualities of the PC-2a I suspect these adjustments might solidify its favor for you.
     
  14. callofcthulhu

    callofcthulhu

    Oct 16, 2012
    Just put literally any pedal with a volume knob on it in front of the PC-2A and set it for less than unity gain.
     
    jibreel likes this.
  15. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    If those adjustments still don’t do it for you an option with a similar vibe but potentially a little more open feeling at low settings would be the Union Tube & Transistor Lab. It is an optional circuit with no tube but has some tube qualities.
     
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  16. Empress compressors don’t color the tone they just help to squat something evenly in the mix. I have a feeling you will keep tone chasing back to the instrument you’re holding if the complaint is that the empress compressor is “weak and thin” sounding. Not saying this in a judgementa way, but I’ve been down this road myself.
     
  17. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    Depends what Empress Compressor you are referring to. The new MKII and Bass Compressor are absolutely capable of coloring your tone.
     
  18. Retrospec Squeezebox is the one. I searched far and wide for the perfect tube-0-licious human squishy bass compressor, with lots of control ranging from inaudible to heavy compression... and this is it.

    I can't speak for the reissue version, but my vintage squeezebox will be compressing me to the grave.

    Retrospec Squeezebox
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
    jibreel likes this.
  19. jibreel

    jibreel Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Seattle
    Just adjusted the trim pots. They were mostly there but I needed to turn them all the way. Def helped.
     
    Low Down Brown and Wasnex like this.
  20. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Not a cheap solution, but I have The Empress Bass comp at the start of my chain, and I added a Shaw Tube Injection at the end. That way I get great control and metering on the compression, and the fat tubey thickening laid on top of it. Just a suggestion that the warmth and compression don’t have to come from the same source.
     
    Dbass35 and jibreel like this.
  21. 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.

     
    Mar 4, 2021

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