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Please advice on compressor + envelope filter

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by DavidMP, May 9, 2006.

  1. DavidMP


    May 8, 2006
    Alberta, Canada
    I have been lurking around for some time in here, using the search function and learning lots from the previous postings but I have finally come up with questions I really need your input on.
    I started playing classical guitar when I was 14 (I'm 28 now) and switched to the bass about a year and a half ago. I think it was really good that I started on guitar; if I started on basss I probably would have never tried it.
    Anyways, I've been trying to get some good funk grooves going and (while I'll admit my technique neets lots of improvement) I have come to realize that I need effects to get the sound. I have searched in this forum and it seems that the right combination is
    bass->envelope filter->compressor
    I have narrowed the compressors to the EBS Multicomp or Aphex Puch-Factory and the filters to the EMMA Discombobulator or the EBS BassIQ. Any preferences, pointers, obvious pitfalls? Has anybody compared them side by side? What would be the advantage of a dual band compressor?

    Thanks a lot for your advice; I have to rely on you since I live in Canada and all I can find are the massive Electro Harmonix, Boss and DOD.

  2. A dual band compressor allows you to effect the high frequencies differently to the low frequencies. In a nut shell, this is very handy as it doesn't force you to compromise one for the other. This is especially useful, as it turns out, when using envelope filters. Env. filters tend to exaggerate the extreme frequencies, but at different times. That is, when the filter is peaking the high frequencies are exaggerated, when it sweeps down the low frequencies are exaggerated. Multiband compression helps you tame the sound quite a bit making it less likely to rip your head off or cause involuntary muscle movement!

    What you might not have realised yet is that the EBS MultiComp has two hidden controls that make it more flexible than the Punch Factory IMO. Download the manual for more details, but essentially it gives you more control over the multiband mode than what is apparent just by looking at the outside of the box!

    Now to make myself sound like a doting fan of EBS... I also think the BassIQ is an excellent pedal. It's simple and effective. Although to be fair I've never tried the discombobulator so I can't make a comparison.
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The units you mention are all great, as you've read here in various threads. The thing is, though, that they have subtle differences which are only "better" or "worse" to a subjective individual ear. You'll really have to try each of them to know what you like and don't like about them. There's a ton of gear out there which gets rave reviews but which don't actually suit everyone's tastes. Read the "amps" forum for discussion of Schroeder cabs, for example. No denying they are excellent quality, but they don't suit everybody. I like and recommend several different compressors and envelope filters for different purposes- one might work better with a given bass, or a given tune, or maybe I'm in the mood for "clean" one day and "dirty" the next.

    In short, get them all! Ideally, get them from someplace with a 30-day return policy.
  4. DavidMP


    May 8, 2006
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanks for the replies.

    I did have a look at the manual for the MultiComp, but it does not say if bypass is fully counter-clock-wise or fully clock-wise, nor does it say what is the cross over frequency or frequency bands in which bass and treble operate.

    Bongomania: I'd really want to try them but I know no canadian retailer for EBS or EMMA. I will buy mail order but in Canada taxes are killer and they rarely spare you so it would cost me 15% of the stated value every time something crosses the border plus any customs that might be imposed on that (and as far as I know this is not refundable). You can see this get expensive really fast. On that note: can anybody provide/point me to samples for the EMMA? I have heard the ones at the EBS website and liked them quite a bit.

    Also, I forgot to ask if I should also consider a Wah pedal instead of the envelope filter. I like the idea of the signal triggering the effect because I do not have to coordinate my foot (which is not bad at a slow tempo but it gets difficult if playing very fast; at least that was my experience when I used wahs with my electric guitar before) but maybe the Wah is better. I guess ideally I could find an envelope filter that can be triggered automatically or with a threadle. Any comments?

  5. I personally have gone off the sound of wah bass, it is quite distinct from an envelope filter even aside from any difference caused by the fact that it's not auto-triggered.
  6. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    go with the filter over the wah... that way you can take it one step at a time: learn more funk techniques with your fingers without having to worry about your feet.
    plus, i like filters better.
    so maybe i'm biased.
    but filters just sound so much funkier to me, mang.
    :bassist: (this guy's DEFINITELY playing with a filter ;))
  7. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    I have the PF and its like most people say, you cant hear it working. maybe thats a good thing if you only want to keep you levels/dynamics in check but not if you want to you commpression as an effect. i had the Tech21 Bass compactor and that gave more of an effect.
    I only use the PF now after my mini Q-Tron to keep the level down
  8. DavidMP


    May 8, 2006
    Alberta, Canada
    Very useful responses, thank you. The reason I was asking about the wah-wah is that in the EBS website they have the "WahOne" and say that it can get envelope filter sounds but again the manual is not very explicit. Has anybody played with it? Can you set to taste with the threadle and then only use your fingers like an auto-triggered envelope filter? (Harmony central has only one review which doesnt mention this) If it could I would buy it since I can use it for my guitar too.
  9. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Like bongo mantioned, all of the units you mentioned are really good, but different in subtle ways. The Punch Factory is really transparent (some love that, some don't), but the EBS seems to offer more control. It's all about what your needs are. As for filters, I have an Emma that I really like, but the EBS certainly sounds pretty damn funky as well. I don't think you can go wrong with either one. You're right on running the compressor AFTER the filter, or you'll lose the dynamics that trigger the filter.
  10. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
  11. jujube_2a


    Jan 18, 2006
    Corsica, France
    EBS are very popular devices.
    If you have problems to get them, then try EHX Q-Tron and Aphex Punch Factory which are other classic devices.
    But for me, the best Envelope Filter is the Maxon AF-9.
    And I gave up on compressor for bass
  12. DavidMP


    May 8, 2006
    Alberta, Canada
    Well, I can try an Aphex and a Digitech BassSqueeze. Can anyone compare them? I tend to like transparent compressors, can the DassSqueeze be set transparent?
    I have searched high and low for EBS WahOne reviews regarding if they can be also used as an envelope-filter and cant find anything. Has anybody played one?
  13. Axel F

    Axel F

    Mar 2, 2005
    Loughborough, UK
    I have a Toadworks Mr. Squishy compressor which I really like. It's extremely transparant, the only way I notice it is on the one one occasion I've had to run someone else through my pedal board and the sound was a lot less punchy. They're made in the US, not sure if you'll be able to get hold of one to try before you buy though.

  14. David - have you run across the Pigtronix EP-1 yet? For the record a] I live in Canada and b] I co-designed the pedal. I'm not spamming as that was a one-shot contract and I get nothing from sales.

    With that out of the way, I and other bass players find the Pig is a killer pedal. It's a phaser and an envelope follower but with a couple of twists. First, it has a "trigger in" which lets you setup your rig so the EF is being triggered by either an external source or, if you split your signal before any other effects, your clean signal. This lets you put the Pig at the end of your chain and keep the clean EF trigger happening.

    There are a number of mods Dave does to the pedal which really take it over the top. The Marv mod runs the pedal with both phaser and EF going at the same time. While it comes with an expression pedal jack for the phaser speed, he can add jacks for expression pedals on the resonance and sweep. This gives you really wild sonic options plus lets you run it as a normal wah pedal. Dave tells me he's also come up with a reverse envelope mod but I've not heard that one yet.

    Not a spam, just letting you know that this pedal can do everything you're looking for plus a bunch of stuff you've probably never imagined yet. Good luck in your quest.
  15. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    The name escapes me, but DOD has an Auto Wah/Filter pedal. They're not for me personally, but a band we played had a bassplayer that ripped at the funky slappin' and he was playing one. Sounded really good.

    BUT on another note, IMO funk is not really determined by the effect, but more by technique and timing and rhythm. I've met many a bad ass funk player that play totally clean. So I wouldn't stress on this stuff too much. But check out that DOD pedal. Someone here will give you the model and name. There was another thread about it.
  16. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    I haven't tried any of the pedals you're looking at, but if you're in the Toronto area you can try out the Punch Factory and the EMMA Discombobulator at Club Bass on Ossington (http://www.clubbass.ca/)

    And, welcome aboard.
  17. BassSteve


    Mar 12, 2006
    Try the Moogerfooger... I have an Emma Discombobulator and I like it a lot, but I have heard rave reviews of the MF..

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