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Is a bass compressor really necessary?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Mattbass97, Jul 19, 2012.


  1. Mattbass97

    Mattbass97

    Apr 9, 2011
    Hello, I'm fine tuning my pedalboard after finally finding my sound after a very long time. My mxr bass di is doing miracles for me and Ive finally found the sound I love. I play through a rumble 350 combo and I love it great amp, I sometimes play through other Amps at gigs and practice etc anyway my fender rumble has a built in limiter that's active inside the circuit so I can't change It, It doesn't bother me at all but I'm wondering if there's a point in me getting a compressor? What will it do to my sound that my set up hasn't already done? And I don't really experience volume spikes. I do see however when I slap the slap notes aren't as full but I'm sure I could eq that.

    I hope you can all help!

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Anaughtybear

    Anaughtybear Guest

    Apr 3, 2012
    Fargo, ND
    I say no, you don't need a compressor. Some people consider it cheating. It's another crutch for not having decent tone and attack in the first place. Personally, I like that uneven Geezer Butler sound that rises up like Cthulhu wading out of the ocean to mess with the mix. Compressors are like anti-depressants. They keep things in range, but you can't get any great moods out them either.
     
  3. Ajak

    Ajak

    Mar 31, 2012
    Bern, Switzerland
    For slapping I recommend a compressor over EQing but I wouldn't get a "always on" compressor if I don't feel like I really need it (and I don't). And except for that slapping part you seem not to really need one either.
    If I were you, I'd get myself a compressor for slapping, but beware of keeping it on all the time!
     
  4. Ajak

    Ajak

    Mar 31, 2012
    Bern, Switzerland
    +1

    Nice one.
     
  5. willbassyeah

    willbassyeah

    Oct 9, 2011
    Singapore
    I think looking at compressor as a tool for compression only is a big mistake. I only kick in compressor when i slap or tap to even out volume. You know there are other way to use a comp such as use it before octaver to help the thing track better
     
  6. Skygonzo

    Skygonzo

    Jul 8, 2012
    No. It's a "nice to have" gadget that most people do not know how to use. In 97.3% of the cases, it is used to hide sloppy or incorrect technique. It is applied correctly only in that remaining .7% with outstanding non-spongy-mushy-plasticy results. Wow, I sound like Sheldon....LOL.
     
  7. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    you could always blow speakers instead of using it.....
     
  8. Mattbass97

    Mattbass97

    Apr 9, 2011
    I see guys, thanks for the help!
     
  9. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    I didn't use a compressor at all, for well over 40 years. I dabbled with a few, both in pedal form and on amps like my old Trace Elliot AH350SMX. Even with dual band compression such as on the Trace I could never find a setting that I liked or one that really did anything for my sound. My view on compressors is that, unless you are using them for a specific effect (and I'm not big on effects) they should be applied very lightly and be transparent - and if they're transparent to the point that you can't tell that they're working what's the point?

    So, I've been quite happy using my fingers to control dynamics. Until a few months ago.

    I bought an ART ProChannel, mostly for it's EQ so that I could tweak my sounds for the room and also because it has a thumping great output that has no trouble in driving the rather insensitive Crown 1000XLS that I use as my power amp, but the ART has a compressor (in fact it has a choice between tube and optical compression), so I thought I might as well try it since it was there.

    After a bit of experimentation I've found that I prefer the optical compressor and I set it relatively lightly (otherwise it does sound squashed) but get the settings right and it lends an indefinable quality to the sound that I really like. It still allows you to play softly or really dig in and control your dynamics just as you would expect, but it seems to add a certain polish and sparkle to the sound - it's hard to describe a sound quality in words but the best I can think of is that it's still me, but better. It really is very musical.

    Anyway, I'm converted after all this time. Maybe it's finding a compressor that you like rather than judging all compressors equally?

    Oh, and to all those people that think it's a crutch for poor technique, do you really think there have been any albums recorded in the last 40 years (even live albums) where the bass track wasn't compressed to some extent?
     
  10. CnB77

    CnB77

    Jan 7, 2011
    NJ
    I feel the same way. I got one, had good reviews on bongo's site, and found that it just wasn't for me
    You're missing a few percent...
     
  11. I'm going to sit with Jools & Jaco on this one.
    Having popped my fair share of 15"s in the past, with a suggestion from a fellow TBer I purchased a compressor. I had my amp and a 2x10 at home which after setting the compressor and stepping on an off the pedal noticed some notes are amplified louder than others on my five-string, active Yamaha. Did a little slapping and you can really hear the difference in volume which can't be good for speaker excursion.
    You may find you have no issues which would be great. If you start hearing farting from your speakers or you blow one or both, a compressor may help going forward.
     
  12. Mattbass97

    Mattbass97

    Apr 9, 2011
    By farting you mean? What kind of noise does it give off?
     
  13. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    Simple compromise-- use a little.

    Why must everything be one extreme or the other?

    Use just enough to avoid drastic peaks and even the levels out a bit but not so much where the sound is squished and there's no punch or dynamics.
     
  14. +1
     
  15. Play long enough, you'll probably cycle in and out of a compressor phase a few times.

    I'm currently "out" of the compressor phase, letting my touch, technique, and dynamics do the job. Liking my tone better.

    Catch me in a few months, that may all change.
     
  16. Clearwave

    Clearwave

    Sep 29, 2011
    The Future
    +1
     
  17. This.

    I went from having a compression unit in my rack to just using a little of the built in compression on the PODxt live.

    I also noticed that the more wattage I was using the less I used compression. In one of my bands, a little bit of compression kills their signature bass distortion sound. So I don't use any in that instance.
     
  18. The farting sound of a speaker sounds like the an unpleasant distortion from the speaker. Others know this science way better than I but I believe it is when the speaker cone is reaching its limits.
    Guaranteed, this is not a sound anyone wants to hear.
     
  19. This.

    I will be the first to say its not necessary though. One of the main reasons its not necessary is that every good soundman, live or in the studio, is going to put his compressor on you whether you're using one or not, for the first reason noted in the quote.

    To say it's somehow cheating is crazy. Along those lines, isn't overdrive cheating, especially since that adds natural compression? Wouldn't even using an amp at all also be considered cheating? What about EQ, why isn't that cheating? That's just crazy talk IMHO.
     
  20. Mattbass97

    Mattbass97

    Apr 9, 2011
    The only time ive experienced that is when I turn up to max and play hard! Which I never ever do and never will do because that is not good haha
     

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