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Robert Keeley Compressor Pedal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by smit1121, Aug 19, 2003.


  1. smit1121

    smit1121

    Feb 8, 2002
    Hi -

    There is a guy named Robert Keeley that is producing a great transparent compressor in a pedal. It is marketed towards guitarist, but there is no reason to limit it's use to guitarist only. It's priced at $219, with a few week wait to get one (but it's worth it!).

    I recieved my Keeley last weekend and used it live on Sunday. My rig is: Lakland basses->Keeley Compressor->Avalon U5->FOH mix. Generally, we insert a compressor at the board for bass (expecially in boomy rooms), but there will be no need for that anymore. The Keeley did a perfect job of controlling the volume of my notes (between fingerstyle, slap...) and didn't mess with my tone at all, truely transparent! My notes cut through the mix with much more detail and less EQ'ing than ever before (expecially in boomy rooms).

    The Keeley compressor has 2 knobs; "sustain" and "level". The sustain knob is similar to a ratio control. The "level" knob is clean gain, used to match the volume of dry signal when the compressor is off. It is also true-bypass, but there's no reason to ever turn it off.

    The "sustain" knob sounds best to my ears at 9:00; very similar to a 4:1 ratio or so. It is capable of very high ratios, which I don't find useful.

    The threshold is a built-in setting. You have to experiment with your volume knob to tweek that parameter. The effect is intended for guitars that are passive (Strat, Tele, ... all vingage guitars), so I'd try to get your volume output to match that of a cranked passive instrument, if that makes sense. (I try to have my active basses match the volume of my passive bass so I don't ever have to worry about gain structure issues if I grab a different bass.)

    The attack and release setting are not adjustable. The attack is slow enough to let dynamics still come through. The release is slow enough to avoid pumping or distortion. I have no complaints with his presets (which are not adjustable).

    Well, that's my quick review. It is truely a hi-fi unit, it doesn't chop low-end like standard guitar effects do. Infact, I hear that there are keyboardists swearing by this compressor now, so that shows it's really hi-fi. It is a very powerful tool that has radically changed my live bass tone without draining my account (like a studio compressor would) and breaking my back (it fits right inside my bass case).

    Sincerely,
    Doug Smith
    Minneapolis, MN
    DSMITH@deltak.com
     
  2. iloveloosey

    iloveloosey Guest

    Sep 9, 2000
    *bump*

    i'd be interested to know if anyone has ever tried this... it sounds really interesting.
     
  3. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    They're not really popular among bassists, are they...

    I bought one as well last year, and I'm very happy with it.
    Transparency is excellent. And it adds just the right amount of punch to my sound. Hard to describe, but it's a "warm" punch, as opposed to an aggressive one.

    The feature that had actually interested me the most, in the reviews I'd read before buying it, was the sustain which seemed excellent and not as noisy as most other units (when the instrument's sound decays and the comp takes over). And I can say I'm very satisfied with that. When dialed in right, over 12:00 on the "sustain" knob, it goes on forever.

    All in all it does what a compressor should do--whether I dial it for punch or incredible sustain--and it adds just a bit of warmth and fullness to my tone on top of that.

    (Btw, I posted a review at Harmony Central. I think it's the only review from a bass player...)

    Great pedal.
     
  4. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Here's the link to Robert Keeley's site.

    And a pic :

    [​IMG]

    As you see, it's as simple as it gets.
     
  5. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    I ordered one of these today based solely on reviews that claim it to be fantastic *and* transparent. Robert Keeley was really nice, quick to respond, and even offered me one he had with a bubble in the powdercoat finish for less money! (the brushed aluminum version is no longer available as they're all hand-sanded and just take too long to finish)

    So, if I like it, i'll post here - if not, it'll go back, and then i'll post here =0)
     
  6. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    One thing that had convinced me to buy-without-try was when I realized those sell on Ebay for as much as new (but w/o the long back order).

    I thought if I didn't like it, at least it seemed I could sell it back easily and not lose money.
     
  7. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Mr. Keeley sent it as a gift. No duties. ;)
     
  8. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    I'm not surprised.
    I don't see how they can justify it though : If both you and the sender say it's a gift, on what basis can they prove it's not ?...

    So far, I've never had to pay taxes on anything I've bought from the US that was labeled that way.

    *crosses fingers*
     
  9. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Good to know. I'm taking note of that.
    Thanks.
     
  10. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Okay, this is really weird, because 1. The Keeley compressor has the same controls as a DynaComp, and 2. I'm certainly not one to buy anything unseen/unheard, generally.

    But I just got mine and really, really am blown away. I hated the uber-farty dynacomp I tried just last week. Hated every pedal comp I tried, as a matter of fact. But the Keeley is just added power and control to your signal and nothing more. A little boost here, a little limiting there, and with the sustain between 9 and 10:00 your signal is still your signal, only better. Hard to describe but to my ear it's transparent enough and clean enough to make me a believer. Try it, you'll like it.
     
  11. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    So another believer.
    It's almost scary that no one who's ever tried this pedal didn't like it...

    I don't know if you see what I meant by it adding a "warm punch" to the sound. That's the best way I can describe this effect.
    That and the endless sustain are definitely its best features.

    No matter which bass I use now, the Keeley is always on.
     
  12. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    hey Raman - well, in my experience, everybody who's ever said something "warms up" your sound has used that term to describe a kind of humped-midrange round sound, which in and of itself i'm not a fan of on bass - but if you meant "punchy while retaining all the organic instead of sterilizing it" then you got it right.

    It *is* freaky that nobody doesn't like this pedal. It's the Sara Lee of bass effects!

    Yeah, I'm not turning mine off either =0)
     
  13. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Funny, I wouldn't use "warm" to describe midrange. I'd rather use "aggressive" or something in that vein...

    No, the Keeley doesn't change my sound. It just adds fulness to it and trims it up.
     
  14. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Yup.
     
  15. Raman

    Raman

    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    It's contagious...