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In praise of EBS Multicomp

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by FromTheBassMent, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass.

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    After going around and around about what compressor to buy, almost pulling the trigger on an OKKO Coca Comp, I decided to take a chance on the EBS Multicomp. While I was concerned that Bongo's review mentioned distortion problems with high-output basses, I felt that in every other way this compressor was exactly what I was looking for. I just couldn't find enough info on the OKKO to commit to it.

    I just spent a weekend with it in my pedalboard... three gigs in 48 hours! Friday night I was subbing in a rollicking oldies cover band, Saturday afternoon was an indoor party that was moved outdoors due to gorgeous weather where a changing mix of musicians got all Grateful Deadish, and Saturday evening was my vocal trio at a 100-seat coffee shop.

    I had spent some time at home messing with the internal trim pots, and ended up with them set exactly per Bongo's recommendation (low frequency at midpoint, high fully clockwise) and running exclusively in the multi mode. My signal path is:

    EBMM SR5 HP fretless -> MXR Bass Envelope -> MXR Phase 90 (R28+C11/12 mods) -> Multicomp -> VT Bass -> EBS Omnichorus -> Markbass CMD 121P combo.

    In every musical setting, the Multicomp was simply flawless. It did exactly what I desire of a compressor, adding singing sustain without squashiness, increasing note definition in the mix, and mildly evening out dynamics (especially on the piezo pup) without either diminishing attack or adding "character." While I tried both the normal and tubesim modes at home, I didn't like either of them well enough to try them live... I was much too busy enjoying the subtle but wonderful improvement to my sound provided by the multi mode.

    I noticed no discernable added noise unless I really cranked the highs on the VT Bass and amp eq simultaneously... which is not something I'd ever do in a real playing situation, so live I heard no hiss at all. Also, my concerns about hot signals distorting were for naught. Perhaps EBS has rememdied the problem Bongo described with the active/passive switch seeming useless on his unit... on my unit depressing the switch to place it in active mode makes an enormous difference (running the 'Ray with the eq's dimed in passive mode caused considerable distortion, but none whatsoever in active mode).

    I purchased my EBS Omnichorus when they first went to true bypass, and have really grown to love that box. EBS seems to manufacture very high quality gear, and the Multicomp certainly does not disappoint in this area... seems like I could hammer nails with it and it would still be fine.

    So, if you're considering a compressor and are looking in this price range, I can't recommend this unit highly enough. It's not really "effecty," and it doesn't have a "personality." I don't think you could dial in a high enough ratio for limiting, so it's probably not an ideal choice for agressive slappers. But for adding definition and sustain for fingerstyle players, it's gotta be one of the best bass compressors out there.

    At one point Saturday afternoon I tried shutting it off for one song. It was clear I was already hooked... the sound without the compression was disappointing. So this is definitely going to be a leave-it-on effect for me!

    :hyper: :bassist: :hyper: :bassist: :hyper: :bassist: :hyper:
  2. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks; great review.
    Don't know if this matters to you, but is the LED indicator easy to see in reagards to when the unit hits the threshold?
  3. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    i want one now =[
  4. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    In your first thread I mentioned that I'm not a compressor guy when it comes to fretless. In fact, prior to trying the EBS Multicomp I wasn't a compressor guy at all. But I love that compressor, and it has become a standard part of my slap sound and setup. Very musical and dynamic tool.
    Nice review, BTW. and very cool to hear that it's working so well for you.
  5. JulienJeff


    Mar 1, 2009
    same experience here. I've been using the multicomp for the last few weeks and I really like it. Always on.
  6. Livewire

    Livewire Yahtzeeee

    Nov 13, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    I always leaves mine on. The thing is great! I need to start taking better care of it tho, the knobs are starting to give way :(
  7. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I've had it on my board (per Bongo's review) for about 2 years now. It's also never been turned off for about the same 2 years. :D

    However, I've found that after running with the bass trim at 12 and the treble trim at 3 in Multi mode for the first few months, I actually prefer the Tube Sim mode more.

    Also, I'm running hot, active Spectors and have run it both in active and passive bass modes with no distortion either way.
    I do run it active at all times now because it seems to breath a little better in that mode (with these basses anyway).
  8. Another Multicomp user here. I got one a few months ago, my 1st comp ever, and it goes to every gig with me. Does just what I want it to and nothing more.
  9. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass.

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    I can see it clearly when the threshhold is crossed (it gets brighter in a hurry). It's harder to see the gradual dimming as the compression tapers off. It's a good visual tool to help set the internal trim pots and the ratio, but once I found the sound I was after I really don't bother looking at it any more.

    It's interesting... although it definitely doesn't "pump" at all, I can definitely hear when it's doing its job.
  10. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    At one point I was using 2 different pedalboards, for different bands, and chose the MultiComp for my smaller grab n go board. Loved it. Quite natural, and very impressive. When I gave up the 2 board idea, and went back to a single, bigger board, I had 2 comps, and a tough choice as to which would stay. It was my Trex Squeezer that stayed, but it was a difficult decision. I even tried putting them both on my board at differnt locations, but in the end, it was just overkill. Just the same, I agree, EBS pedals rock. I just bought back my Valve Drive after selling it last year. Would love to have the DI pedal, as well.
  11. GroovinOnFunk


    Apr 30, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Endorses Cleartone and SIT Strings
    so the EBS multi-comp is good for slap playing?

    I was leaning towards the LMB-3 because I've been known to beat the crap out of my bass when I slap and pop... not always... but sometimes I get excited. Regardless, I do slap a bunch.
  12. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Unqualified yes from this user :D
  13. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass.

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    Really? It provides enough limiting? It seems to me that with a maximum 5:1 ratio it's still going to let a lot of spikes through that could lead to clipping your amp... especially with a very aggressive slap/pop style.

    But what do I know? I don't play that style, so I haven't tested it out. :confused:
  14. RFord04


    Apr 8, 2009
    Flint, Michigan
    I got one about a month ago and I leave it on, but I usually use tube mode. I think it makes my slap sound great actually, and I certainly don't go soft when I slap, but then again, I don't beat the crap outta my bass either. I bought two more EBS pedals this week, the BassIQ and the Octabass. EBS does not disappoint.
  15. MooseLumps

    MooseLumps Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    It's less the ratio and more the attack time that lets those spikes through. Many slappers like the initial attack to pop through, followed by a controlled note. I would prefer a hard limit as well, so I'm still looking.

    I love my Multi-comp, I really want to try the new version, but I would give up a mode or two for a more comprehensive set of controls.
  16. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Good review, and another thumbs up from me for the Multicomp for all the reasons stated here.

    My signal chain is really similar to the OP's, too:

    Bass >>> (NS-2 Gate) >>> MXR filter (when it arrives) >>> BSW >>> Multicomp >>> VT >>> Boss chorus >>> Markbass 102p combo (with 115 extension cab for most gigs).
  17. I love mine. I also picked this pedal out of all of bongomania's reviews. I am really glad you posted this, I forgot to follow up with the internal trim pots. Half bottom and full top sounds about right, I will try that out.

    Multi mode was my choice, I love it. I keep the gain at unity and the result is very good.

    My sig chain is not as nutty as some, but it has a lot of in and outs to it. I am still debating this comp pre or post my QBalls... atm I go post to handle those spikes and it works out very well. My clean tone now is pretty much just this comp pedal ran after the [sfx]Microthumpinator. I run that into a Source Audio Multiwave Pro on a clean setting (using the eq to further handle my fingering tone) and morph into a mild distortion. Those 3 carry most of my weight.
    Love the EBS MC
  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    IMO, not speaking for kesslari, the EBS will work great for slap if you already have pretty good slap technique and if you aren't super aggro. If you are still dialing in your hand-control of the note volume, or if you play wild/hard, the EBS will not be an adequate peak limiter. The Maxon CP9Pro+ and the Aguilar are good limiters, and the Demeter is pretty decent too (though its max ratio is 10:1).
  19. cienfuegos


    Apr 22, 2008
    Denver, CO

    The LED pulsates brightly when you dig in or slap really hard, and much less so when you play more softly. The only time it's hard to see is if you're playing outdoors in daylight.
  20. BBEgo


    Apr 14, 2010
    Corona, CA
    Another happy MultiComp user/lover here.
    I just recently (like last weekend!) assembled a Pedaltrain Mini board, and took the MC out of mothballs to try it out again. I had been using the onboard compressor on my Bmax-T preamp, but I thought I'd give the EBS a go.

    I'm somewhat ashamed to say that the main reason for including it was to look good next to my newly acquired BassIQ, but I guess I'm just shallow like that... :D

    I am pleased to report stellar results. I currently use mine in Normal mode, but now that I've read all the positive press on Bongo's trimpot settings, I gotta try MultiMode out.

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