OK, how does one rig a rackmount compressor?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by HeavyDuty, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I'm considering picking up a rackmount compressor (maybe a Behringer MDX1400 or a Nady CL5000), but am a wee bit confused. I’ve never used compression before.

    I gather from reading past posts a compressor belongs in the beginning of the signal chain, but all of the rack mount models I've seen pictures of have backside input only. Huh?

    I'm trying to avoid a pedal, since I'm starting to go wireless.

    My rack is currently a SansAmp RBI >> Carvin DCM1000, with a Korg DTR2 in receive only mode from the RBI (I’m not running my signal through it). I'm trying to even out my signal - I'm rather anal, and the occasional blip in my fingerstyle playing really bothers me.

    Comments from rackmount compression users?
  2. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    No matter what you read, you won't be unhappy putting it in the effects loop of the RBI. I have a BDDI and it will soon feed the same power amp... and eventually be replaced by an RBI. I plan on using it's effects loop for compression.
  3. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    Compressors won't necessarily fix the blips, they may in fact make them more apparent by raising the signal floor.

    I don't know how musch time you have spent playing in bands, but the little blips matter very little in live band situations. You should only pay attention to them during rehearsal, and then only a little, but when recording, pay a lot of attention!!!
  4. A compressor can be used as a leveling device or for volume regulation, but only if it is used in the effects loop. Leading with it into your input signal will just make those little snafus louder. Setting the release really slow and threshold high with a ratio to about 2:1-5:1 should get the effect you want, very descrete. Discrete compression can be a great tool, but if you want you could drive you sans amp RBI into overdrive and set the compressor to harsh limiting (8:1 or higher) and get a RATM type tone.
  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    low-z: It bothers me and I prefer a slightly compressed sound.

    MontyP & BF: Thanks for the info re: using a compressor in the effects loop. Common wisdom can be misleading! That's exactly what I'm thinking of - a moderate smoothing of output levels.
  6. I'd suggest running it between your preamp and power amp as opposed to the effects loop. just run the signal from your pre to the ins on the compressor and out of the compressor to the power amp. But, depending on where the loop is placed in your pre, it might not make a difference.
    Don't f*ck around with a Behringer or Nady. Buy a DBX and be done with it.

  7. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Behringer is quite good, up to par with dbx IMO.
    If you want to step up in quality, take a look at SPL or similar stuff.

    In most cases the best place is just before the poweramp, but any slot in the FX loop is ok, I'd put modulation FX (chorus and delay) and octaver behind the compressor for example.
  8. Ditto. You don't want to smoosh the sound of your effects, and you do want to feed them a compressed signal.

    In the effects loop and before the poweramp are basically the same thing aren't they? Seems to me the only advantage to doing that would be using different settings for each channel and switching between the two, unless you need to switch off your effects loop from time to time.
  9. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Good point - I hadn't really thought that one through. (Doh.) They would be virtually the same, wouldn't they? I don't really use effects, so I've never had a use for an effects loops before. I guess I still don't!

    Well, I did something original...and read the manual. Not a bad guide for the newbie, actually. Their suggested starting point for instruments actually sounds pretty good, with very moderate compression and a 2.5-1 ratio. I like the subtle difference it makes in my playing - smoother.

    Thanks, everyone!
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