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Limiter vs Compressor

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nicoli, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Hey guys, I'm playing my first big outdoor show in a few days and have a question about my rig seeing how I've never had to push it this hard before.

    I'm running a Fender BXR 200 head with a Sunn 4-10 (300 watt handling) cab, and the head has the option of running either a limiter or a compressor. So my question is which one makes more sense to have selected for running the amp at around 7 or 8 for volume?

    Also, I find my limiter/compressor light coming on incredibly early lately, even with the volume set as low as 3... is this a normal occurence?
  2. nobody?
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Depends on what you want to achieve.
    A limiter is just a compressor set to a ratio of infinity : 1.

    Limiter: When the signal level reaches the threshold, it limits the level, it can't get any louder. This is used to prevent the (power) amp from clipping, below the threshold level the signal is unaffected.

    Compressor: When the signal level reaches the threshold, the compressor "dims" the signal, e.g. with a ratio set to 2 : 1, a signal that's 2 dB louder than the threshold level, is only 1 dB louder after passing the compressor. This makes the sound fatter and evens out the dynamics. You can run a higher signal level without clipping than without a compressor.

    For your particular problem, increase the threshold - if there's a pot for this. Most internal compressors suck bad, get a decent rackmount compressor, e.g. dbx, Behringer, etc.

    If there's no possibility to set the threshold, your only option is to lower the input gain of your amp.
  4. nerdcore


    May 12, 2002
    So when using an external compressor in the effects loop, should I turn off the internal limiter of the head?
  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    It should be ok to run both. The limiter, if set correctly, does absolutely nothing until you push that little bit too hard. Ideally you want to set it up so the compressor is working most/all of the time, and the limiter only kicks in to save your equipment.

    If it's a big enough PA, ask for bass in your foldback. It'll take the pressure off your poor little amp.
  6. Ditto to this. Outdoor gigs are really tough on bass frequencies because you don't have walls reflecting the sound waves. Even the largest bass rigs tend to get lost when trying to play outdoors. Roll off the bass eq because you won't be able to make the whole outdoors shake like you can in your garage. Doing this will also save your amp from working way too hard in a futile attempt to rumble the earth.
  7. But I'm still going to try! :D

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