Is this crazy? Or Genius?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by JBoogy, Aug 29, 2022.

  1. JBoogy

    JBoogy Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Pensacola, FL
    I really like the sound of the Effectrode Photo-Optical Tube Compressor Model PC-2A. I do not have room on my pedalboard for it. So I was considering buying one and setting it on my amp head to run. I use an ampeg pf-800 amp head. My current signal chain is
    Bass->Broughton Buffer->Empress Bass Comp->Octaves (Broughton Synth Voice, Octabvre, Ampeg Sub Blaster)->Fuzz/Distortions (Ampeg Scrambler,JohnK Fet Drive,Life Pedal,Brown Dog)->Filters (Agent 00, Spaceman Polaris)->Always On Tone Enhancers (Pork Loin, Submarine) -> Ampeg PF-800(starts with compressor, then EQ) and in the FX Loop I run a PLethora x3 for modulation and delays.

    Would it be crazy to add an Effectrode PC-2A? There would be 3 compressors in my signal chain at that point, but I would probably run it in limiter mode as a last-in-the-chain enhancer.
    Should I put it in the fx loop after the Plethora?
    The Ampeg PF-800 has a preamp out, power amp in as well. Should I run the Effectrode here instead of the fx loop? Run the preamp out into it and then run it back into the power amp in?

    All of this is unnecessary obviously, just curious of thoughts. Also if I do add it, it opens up the possibility of a small pedalboard on top of my amp. Any other tone enhancers or always-on pedals that it would make sense to add in and utilize on top of my amp?
    willddd, Killing Floor and johnk_10 like this.
  2. JBoogy

    JBoogy Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Pensacola, FL
    Thoughts from anyone?
  3. AlvarHanso


    Jun 20, 2011
    Seems like a reasonable option in limiting/tone shaping at the end of the chain. Hopefully, what it does to your clean sound that you like so well will work just as well at enhancing your effected sounds. It could also be a nice boost at the end of the chain.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  4. BEADist


    Mar 24, 2022
    The Netherlands
    Would this Effectrode comp not need to be at a specific stage to give the sound that you say you like?

    Seems to me a compressor after octavers / in front of your drives could be beneficial also? But you have no space on your board. That is a serious limitation in experimentation!

    Regarding 'always-on pedals on top of your amp': An always-on HPF could be usefull seeing your use of octavers?

    Either way I do not think its either crazy nor genius, just...thorough :) !
    BrentSimons likes this.
  5. Serious question because I'm trying to learn more about compressors...

    Why would we need more than one?

    CletusMarley and BEADist like this.
  6. BEADist


    Mar 24, 2022
    The Netherlands
    We (in general) don't need more than one compressor haha!

    But there are applications where it's usefull. Compression in front of effects has benefits, but compression after effects also has benefits. If you use both subtle you can make compressing less audible...

    I learned about multiple compressors on this forum. There are a few threads about it. In studio's it's common practice to use multi stage compressing.

    Here is a video with an application (start at 14:50, if timestamp doesn't work):

  7. AlvarHanso


    Jun 20, 2011
    You can use a compressor as a sound shaping tool, to level things out, to combat wild synth pedal volume spikes, and can have them in various places in a chain to do those things. You could use it as OP was suggesting as a final limiter going into the amp, where as I said above, one could also use it as a nice clean volume boost (assuming it has a volume control, which every compressor I've had did, but I know at least a couple don't). My main applications for compression are to even things out between the low and high strings, shape the sound to a little more bite to it, and taming volume spikes with synth pedal usage, and clean boost. I always have at least one (SA Atlas) on, and likely have it engaged in the SA UltraWave as well. The UW is before the C4 synth pedal, and the Atlas follows the C4. Whether I need both on is less clear, but using the Source Audio ecosystem for all my sounds, I make scenes using at least the EQ2, UW, Collider (for a touch of room reverb), and Atlas for a "clean" sound, anything is gonna be at least a little overcomplicated and 2 compressors is the least of my worries. But the proof is in the pudding, and since I got the UW and Atlas over the last 18 months, I've really enjoyed the thick pudding I've been making. :)
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2022
    willddd, BEADist and Ba55Man1ac like this.
  8. OK. Thanks... good info.

    My concern was compressors compressing compressors... is it a good idea or a potential hot mess? Too much of a good thing?

    My background is more audio recording and broadcasting. We do a lot of multi-band processing where stuff get split into separate audio sub-bands and processed in smaller chunks of frequencies. A lot more granularity of what gets compressed and how much. Also a lot more room to make a mess. Most of what I was involved with was classical. The goal was dynamic range, keep the music as pure as possible. Compression was the Kryptonite.

    Pedals and compression for bass is kind of new territory for me. But I can see how live events have very different needs from my world.

    I suppose a lot depends on how they are set up and interact?
    BEADist likes this.
  9. Yeah! Kind of a sea change for me (or at least a large lake) from where I was coming. Thanks.
    -Must reprogram brain- ;)
    BEADist likes this.
  10. AlvarHanso


    Jun 20, 2011
    Exactly right about it depending on set up and interaction. I tend to use fairly light-medium compression, even though the signal is almost totally wet compression on the Atlas, but not squishing kind of compression (at least not for bass). To your point about possibly overdoing it, I have pretty much stopped adding compression via plugin in my mixing, because I'm loving the Atlas and UW combo so much, as it does the trick in setting things in the mix I feel, so a bit less time spent in mixing lately. I can easily see other people benefiting greatly from compressing parts of an elaborate effects chain at different points along that chain. And partly that's the due to the versatility of compressors, even a one knob compressor can be the effect that is the cornerstone for a bassist's clean tone. Probably why there's so many compressor threads and compressor pedals themselves (and rack units, and rack units made into pedals), and so many diverse opinions thereupon...

    For live gig situations, I let soundmen do their job, and if they compress my signal, I hope it sounds decent. I'm lucky if I feel I've heard myself well from my amps and the monitors, and the sheer noise of the swirling morass of effects, especially wild synth sounds. Which is again where those compressors come in handy, taming the squirrely nature of synth sounds, but also helping in sustaining notes, and I also employ the compressor as a nice way to adjust master volume in that scenario. Then again just great for making it pop in the mix on clean bass, especially keeping the higher notes in the mix, and keeping the low ones from muddying things. Very similar to your dynamic range usage in recording classical.
    Old Garage-Bander likes this.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    I like a compressor first.
    And there’s no such thing as too many pedals.
    willddd and JBoogy like this.
  12. willddd


    Jul 4, 2012
    I like a compressor first too. Running lots of compressors is fine IMO, but the most important thing is that you know the signal you're sending to FOH, it's like your finished product. Dialling in multiple compressors can get difficult as well.

    Did a festival gig yesterday, outdoors, big PA, backline supplied, I got an SVT with the sealed 8x10 fridge. It sounded great, but the compression effect (mainly the sealed cab I think) from the Ampeg (which was nice but also a bit over the top) completely rode roughshod over my delicate dialling in of the compressor in my chain. FOH undoubtedly had their own compression as well. I was glad to know what I was sending to FOH, despite what I was hearing on the stage.
    Killing Floor likes this.
  13. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    IMO, using multiple compressors in a live sound MI application is a waste of equipment.
    There are only a few times that I can recall using more than one compressor (in a studio environment) really made that much difference. When I did use two is because a track needed compression and limiting simultaneously usually due to either and oddball instrument or a beginning player.
    I own a number of high end MI compressors and don't think combining them to their inherent tone would ever be audible in a live mix.
  14. eeyorebass


    Jan 2, 2008
    If you aren't sure you need the additional compression in your chain, have you considered a Sushi Box FX MORE? It's essentially the gain stages of a tube compressor without the compressor part. Might be just the ticket.