Keeley Bassist vs. Duncan Studio jack compressors?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by mmbongo, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    I love my Keeley Bassist. I really really do. It's the best compressor I've used for...I guess what you'd call peak limiting...evening things out so all the notes are the same level. I'll always have one on my main board.

    But I'm changing my secondary board around, which is a Nano, and I may need something with top jacks to make everything fit. So has anyone compared these two for peak limiting? Also open to other top jack compressors. I tried an Aguilar TLC and it could not dethrone the Keeley. Some type of metering is a 100% must.
    Spidey2112 and Zoobiedood like this.
  2. Whatever choice you wind up making, please don't sacrifice one single bit of what you seek out of a comp, both sonically and functionally, just so you can have the form factor/convenience of top jacks...or maybe start considering exactly what it is you're willing to let go to in order to have them? I'll be interested to see some of the recommendations and I wish you luck on your quest!
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    You are correct, and judging by the stunning number of recommendations it looks like nothing touches the Keeley :)
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  4. Keeley or Duncan...i’d recommend either any day. Wont part with my Duncan and if your Keeley does it, don’t part with it lol
  5. geolikezik


    Mar 13, 2016
    I tried the MXR 87, Empress, Hypergravity and Studio Bass and chose the latest to fill my requirements ... small footprint, battery powered, dry blend and some subjective punch/sustain. But it has no metering and not too sure about peak limiting because of the slow attack though the ratio goes to 20:1 ...
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  6. J Posega

    J Posega Cat Dad and Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I haven't used the Keeley, but the Duncan replaced a Smoothie. It offered some of the same tone magic with top jacks. I used it for evening out notes, not limiting, so I'm not sure it'll do what you want. Now I have a Madbean 4:1 I built into a 1590B with top jacks that I like just as much as the Duncan, but my comp needs are simple.
    Zoobiedood and alecduncan like this.
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    One to consider even though it has different goals than the Keeley is the Cali76 Compact Bass. It has the top jacks you're after, although it's a pretty long pedal by the time you add cables and measure from the butt end of the cables to the pedal housing down by the footswitch. It might not fit on your Nano board, but it could be worth a look regardless.
    willsellout likes this.
  8. BunchyMutt

    BunchyMutt Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    I have used both, sorta: Keeley GC-2. It was better at peak limiting to me than the Studio Bass. I also found it more transparent. While the Studio Bass is pretty transparent, it added a little thickness that changed how distortion reacted. In a way that wasn't bad at all, just not how I wanted.
    BassBuzzRS likes this.
  9. XLunacy


    Nov 28, 2013
    Anybody had the chance to compare the Keeley to the MXR m87 purely for peak limiting ?
    On paper the MXR is superior for that application : ultrafast attack and release times (20us / 50ms), but the Keeley unit uses an unusual adaptative type of setting that does not tell me exactly how reactive it is going to be :
    "Bottom line: Attack and Release times vary on rPogram content. Attack times are generally speaking, about 100 times faster than release times. Attack Time: typically 15ms for 10dB, 5ms for 20dB, 3ms for 30dB Release Time: typically 8ms for 1dB, 40ms for 5dB, 80ms for 10dB, 160ms for 20dB, 240ms for 30dB" (from the user manual)
  10. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    I didn't like the MXR at all. I forget what exactly it was other than the general sound, but I couldn't wait to get back to using my Keeley.
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  11. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    I too am having a hard time picking between these two...I like the simplicity of the Keely...however the blend feature of the Duncan and the fact that it is 30.00 dollars cheaper than the Keely has my attention...

    and this isn't helping...Compressor Reviews
    Zoobiedood likes this.
  12. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    I own the Duncan Doubleback which is predecessor to the Studio (same pedal, smaller box). I also own the Keeley Bassist and a GC2. Either Keeley wins hands down, much more quiet and transparent than the Duncan and easier to configure on the fly during the gig. The Duncan isn't bad, its just the Keeley is sounds better to me in direct A/B comparison, and it's made in the USA. Keeley has awesome customer support too.
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  13. vivaknoxvegas

    vivaknoxvegas El Duderino Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2002
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm trying a Duncan out soon. Should be in mid week next week. I like the top jacks and anxious to use the blend function.
  14. MattB88


    Sep 11, 2016
    Endorsing Artist: LowEnd basses, DR Strings, Warm Audio, Shaw Audio
    Anything above a 10:1 ratio is considered limiting but a slow attack time would certainly negate true peak limiting.
    geolikezik likes this.
  15. Grahams Groove

    Grahams Groove If it feels heavy, it's heavy. Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    Curious how the Keeley Bassist users in this thread are typically setting the blend knob?

    I've used some comps that had separate controls for wet/dry signals, and I found that setting them to similar levels (for unity gain) resulted in some over-exaggerated lows/thickness at the expense of things sounding less even further up the neck. Almost like the first and second position, particularly on E & A, sounded super fat with the combined signals, but moving up the neck that thickness wasn't as pronounced. So the difference in volume and balance was accentuated. Ultimately, I had to go 80-90% compressed signal with just a touch of dry signal for dynamics in order to get the balance I wanted across the fretboard...
  16. geolikezik


    Mar 13, 2016
    I am not sure that the Keeley Bassist has a blend feature ? Did you mean SDuncan Studio Bass ?
    In which case, the blend give you the option to choose what frequency to blend, low/mid/full and also like you I realized that depending on the sound I want to get, one doesn't need to blend at similar proportion, unity gain with bypass is achieved with the level knob.
  17. stambroker

    stambroker Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    Adding my voice to the SD Studio Bass love - it's the first compressor that 100% fits my setup, and it's always on for me. Absolutely love the blend feature and the attack knobs - I adjust attack slightly when switching between my Jazz & fretless, and sometimes flip the blend from Low to mids as songs demand.

    Never played the Bassist but heard it's great - I tried out the Keeley Compressor Pro and I honestly had a bit of a hard time finding a good setting for me. I think it was just too transparent! It'd probably be much more useful if I was still playing active basses and slapping more.

    A lot of people dig that transparency but I like my compressor to add a bit of warmth and sustain to my setup.
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  18. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    lol these further comments are not helping...which one do you guys think would work better with distortion?
  19. stambroker

    stambroker Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2011
    The SD makes my ss/bs Mini sing, probably due to the pumped up lows and extra tiny bit of gain I have on it.
  20. filler83

    filler83 Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Cleveland, OH
    I’ve had both keeley and the Duncan studio. I use compressor to just even out and smooth signal. The keeley won. I think best feature of the keeley, as others have mentioned, is the simplicity of it and how easy it is to get a great sound.

    Of the compressors I have tried I would rank them:
    1. Keeley bassist
    2. Smoothie
    3a. Seymour Duncan studio
    3b. Aguilar tlc
    5. MXR compressor

    Tried milk box and lmb too. Milk box was too noisy for me and lmb was good value for money
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