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Is using compression cheating?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ErikP.Bass, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    Cheating at what? Sometimes I use one, sometimes I don't. Studio engineers have check boxes: "HPF" and "Comp." "Well so and so uses one..." "Well, so and so doesn't use one..." Shave the ends it is compression. Squashing it all to hell, it's an effect IMO. Shape the way you want, it's YOUR rig/sound. Just play. Good luck!
    The Rage and Stumbo like this.
  2. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    How is this even a question from the OP???
    EVERY bass track you pretty much have ever heard is compressed. Plus the final mix always has compressiion on it.
    retslock likes this.
  3. BurtMacklinFBI


    Apr 3, 2018
    The amp isn’t to play through! Carrying it builds character!
    jamro217 likes this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Is using tone controls cheating?

    As we've all experienced, seen, heard and read about, speaker cabs seem to be the weakest link in our signal chain.

    Cabs operate within specific parameters.

    Engineers have gone to great lengths to give musicians tools to allow us to use the cabs to their maximum without blowing them up (for the most part).

    Blown speakers indicate that the signal has exceeded the cab/speaker design limit.

    HPFs/limiters/comps/eq/parametric/semi-parametric/notch eq can all work together to get the most out of whatever system you have.

    IMO, the only things that really matter are: Band mix for rehearsal, FOH or recordings and whether or not you blew your stuff up.

    If the mix was good and your rig made it through, keep on keepin' on, bro.:thumbsup:
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
    retslock and ErikP.Bass like this.
  5. chuck1073

    chuck1073 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Preston, CT
    Apples and oranges. In a recording situation, dynamics processing is applied to make components of the mix "play well together". If you're talking about your FOH guy using dynamics processing on the bass...that's closer.
    Of course, if what you're doing with your rig works for the FOH mix, then fine. If you're just compressing for off stage sound then, not so much. In my case, it's just personal preference. I'd rather have the full envelope available. I guess, if I was to use anything to protect the speakers, a peak limiter with a really high threshold would be it. Really though, just using my ears is usually
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  6. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    @ErikP.Bass NOT cheating.

    That said, practicing at home or at work(cubicle using a Behringer V-Amp3 into headphones or the great 2:1 Altec system in the cubicle) is mostly done with NO compression. ACME B-2's, SONY studio headphones, or Altec's all say exactly what I play and help improve technique. Sounding good without comp means you'll mostly sound amazing with comp if the operator knows what they are doing.
  7. Only if using an amp is cheating
  8. Another thing real bassists don't need is "no stinking badges". I get the connection between offensive BO and running afoul of the law, but didn't realize you could be deputized for smelling nice...
  9. Marcelo Coip

    Marcelo Coip

    Sep 30, 2018
    Learning from Talkbass is cheating?
  10. chuck1073

    chuck1073 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Preston, CT
    If exchanging ideas with other players, from all levels, is cheating then.....I think it's all good. I love the dialog.
    Stumbo likes this.
  11. We’re talking creative expression here, not building codes or by-laws or taxation regulation. Would a painter stop and think -
    “Oh, I can’t use that paint or technique to get my picture right, it would be cheating”.
    Not for a nanosecond would an artist rule out a colour/medium/technique needed to get their desired result because it may be considered cheating.
    Whatever it takes to make your “sound picture” work for you is the right way to do it.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
    Newbilong and Stumbo like this.
  12. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I've stopped using comp live. I'm liking the dynamics in my fingers more.
  13. I always tell ‘em the music is free, you’re paying for the lug.
  14. Jaco was the first person I ever saw use a looper at Weather Report’s Sydney concert so many years ago. There are no rules to creative expression so how can it be possible to cheat?
    Marcelo Coip likes this.
  15. Is using compression cheating?

    Maybe. But I do it anyways...
  16. Newbilong


    Aug 14, 2018
    I thought the point of playing an instrument was to make music. I didn't realise that there's a restriction on the range of sounds i can make because of someone else's rules about how i may use my instrument.

    So, for me, not cheating.
  17. JGrooveguy


    Feb 22, 2018
    I wouldn't call it "cheating", but if you've always used compression and don't know any different you may be missing out on some things. Some highly dynamic (esp older tube) amps can give an extra dimension of expressiveness by modulating how you play the strings. A soft touch gives a delicate clean sound, then digging in makes the amp liven up and sound more aggressive, which can be a useful contrast and make the amp sound totally different just using your touch. Note that these amps still have compression, but in a the power amp stage just before the speakers (rather than earlier in the chain in a pedal/preamp).
    Marcelo Coip and Newbilong like this.
  18. Its music, no matter how difficult (or easy) is to produce your sounds.
    There's no such thing as cheating.
    ErikP.Bass and Marcelo Coip like this.


    Nov 15, 2017
    Richmond VA
    owning a bass is cheating...and i am a serial cheater!...a proud serial cheater, compressor and all!
  20. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    If used with care and style compression is a great tool. But most times it degrades the tone.

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