New to Compressor Pedals - what's good?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by kmac12345, May 9, 2021.

  1. kmac12345


    Dec 28, 2019
    Long time pro bassist but believe it or not I've never used any pedals with my gear. After doing a lot of recording and mixing during lockdown I've grown a tremendous appreciation of compressing bass guitars in my mixes and now want to bring that into my live performing rig as things open up again for performance.
    I use a mix of G&L M2500 usually with rounds and a Ernie Ball Sting Ray 5 with flats through a GK800 MB Fusion into either a Mark Bass Ninja 122 for smaller gigs or a David Eden w 4 10s and a horn for larger venues. Although I used to make a living playing R&B, blues, and jazz these days it's almost all Americana, country and rock.
    I've been looking around for a compression pedal to try but I'm so out of the loop and there are so many options I'd thought to throw it open here to see what you guys say.
    I'm looking at a Darkglass Hyper Luminal or a Aguilar DB 599 just as starting points.
    Given the rig and the genre, anyone have thoughts to share? TIA.
    mtt likes this.
  2. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Empress Bass Compressor. It’s transparent, has excellent metering and control, and just makes everything sound “better” without coloring your tone (unless you use the mid-boost or mid-scoop switch).
    Obese Chess, Zak TMD, Gabbs and 9 others like this.
  3. One Way

    One Way

    Mar 6, 2018
    Atlanta, GA
    Another compressor pedal for your consideration is the Cali76 Compact Bass. I couldn’t be happier however, in true TB form, I have an Empress Bass Compressor on order.
    Lots of demos for both of these pedals on YouTube
  4. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    The “testing compressors” sticky thread is really useful - it has quick links to reviews so you don’t have to wade through a bazillion pages!

    There are lots of good options - your main starting point is to decide whether you want clean/transparent sound, or something that colours or enhances your tone. From there you can look at how much control you want over parameters.

    I have the Hyper Luminal and would say it’s extremely versatile and sounds great, with some tone colouration.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  5. Hammerfield


    Aug 1, 2016
    Im digging the JHS pulp n peel v4.
    Easy to use, great big thick tone with a bit of tone magic, OD, DI, and tilt eq.
    Sounds great alone and with others preamps
  6. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
  7. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Pigtronix makes a few nice ones. They're optical and sound pretty good for inexpensive pedal units.


    BassToGoGo and Erik herman like this.
  8. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I think the Diamond Bass Compressor is a long time favorite for its enhancing and sustaining characteristics without squashing dynamics. It is my favorite, but is not well suited to situations where you need peak limiting. For transparency with greater limiting capabilities I use the Aguiar TLC. There are lots of excellent choices out there and will second what has been said about Empress being a great choice (as are all their products IMO).
  9. Skip Chucker

    Skip Chucker

    Dec 9, 2018
    @scubaduba help a brother out and point him to your thread... :thumbsup:
    scubaduba likes this.
  10. jdaunt

    jdaunt Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    Grand Blanc, MI
    I really like the Hyper Luminal when I had it, but then got a Cali76 Compact Bass, and ended up selling both and getting a Cali76-TX because I liked it so much. The HL is probably more versatile, but the Cali just sounds so good.
    pfschim, knumbskull, Spupilup and 2 others like this.
  11. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003

    This might help Testing Compressors: Cali, Smoothie, Empress, Diamond, Keeley, FEA, Darkglass, Doc Lloyd, JHS & more
    Jared Houseman and yodedude2 like this.
  12. JohnnyBottom

    JohnnyBottom Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    New Jersey
    Gregory H and TinIndian like this.
  13. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I haven't tested s bunch a compressor pedals, but, it was love at first sight with my Cali76. Have had it for about 2 years now and don't leave home without it. I love the high pass filter, the red/orange indicator light and the quietness of 18 volts. The thing just sounds good and never a need to tweek
    pfschim and Bassist30 like this.
  14. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    My three favs:
    Cali76 Compact Bass
  15. I own the V1 Empress and can count on one hand the times I've used it. For some reason compressors frustrate me the same way envelope filters often do. I love my Fairfield Circuitry Accountant. It's crazy effective and the limited settings are actually a relief. I'd rather play than spin knobs all day long looking for that "like butter" tone.
    DogsNbeer likes this.
  16. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    As I remember you were very up and down with the Cali76 TX and the Cali76 L. I really like my Cali76 TX and I have for the first time NO desire to get a different compressor.
  17. Jxff


    Sep 6, 2016
    South OC, CA
    I am thinking about getting the Boss BC-1X, lower price if that makes a difference and it has a meter.
    Clemouze and aprod like this.
  18. jdaunt

    jdaunt Supporting Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Don’t believe that was me, I haven’t tried the L. I went straight from the CB to the TX. Considered both the TX and L, but in reading descriptions and listening to demos thought the TX would be the way to go.
    Bassist30 likes this.
  19. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Commercial User

    I built up a Pumpernickel Compressor kit from Schalltechnik over the COVID lockdown. It’s a clone of the dbx 160A optimized for bass in a pedal form. I had a rack mount 160 back in the 80s and I loved it. I’m super happy with the Pumpernickel as well. It really is a first-rate compressor. The most important thing is that I don’t notice it when it’s on - I just notice when it’s not there.
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Cali76 is good. JHS Pulp'N'Peel is good and has some cool features including XLR DI and a switchable dirt circuit and can even function as a preamp if you want. Sushi Box Deep Dish is nice tubey goodness for much less than some. Wampler Ego is a good simple compressor.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jun 20, 2021

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