Should I use compression?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by OneKillWonder, May 13, 2004.

  1. I've never used compression before and I know very little about it... here is my situation:

    I play hard as hell (Finger style). I like the aggresive sound i get from this but because the attack of the note is so hard, the sustain tends to pale in comparison to the original note. im looking for a more even sound without changing my technique. Will a compressor help at all? thanks
  2. you should try one out and see. in theory it should do what you want.
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I use compression and limiting a lot; not a lot of compression, but a lot of the time! It will help smooth out the drastic volume variances due to varying picking techniques however - you might be better served by finding a different way to get that aggro sound. Overly strong finger picking can lead to other issues, not the least of which is carpal tunnel. Been there, done that and bought the Tee shirt ... it's no fun. I had to take a year off and then I had to learn to play *correctly*.

    I use the compressor / limiter as I move between light slap, finger style and vary my picking hand position for the variation in tone. A bit of comp helps to keep the overall vol in line for me. Your Mileage May Vary!
  4. Bass of Galt

    Bass of Galt Guest

    Mar 25, 2004
    Scrotillia Falls
    compression on bass simply rules. even the big boys who claim they just "go direct" in the studio are still being recorded and/or mixed with very nice high end compression.

    Compressor pedals blow though. Get a rack unit - and get the best one you can afford. It's better to do without one if you can't afford a good one than to use soem crappy pedal. I use focusrite cuz I like the character it imparts.

    Some cats just want the untility of compression (peak limiting and gain reduction) without any residual artifact or coloration to the tone. These are what's considered "transparent" compressors.

    I like the utility AND the tone of Focusrite. You could try them and think it sounds like a slightly muffled and midly wet chili-fart. That's why you need to become familiar with the sound of compression and start hearing the differences between the different styles. DBX is a good start.

    1 final though. Compression is not a replacment for good technique.

    Alright - who am I kidding . . . of course it is! :D
  5. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    For me, compression is a good thing. I play at an open jam every week and I can't really be messing with the amp. It has built in compression which is set pretty high I guess (it doesn't kick in until it's quite loud). I thought it sounded crappy when the compression kicked in, so I made sure to play lighter to get better (uncompressed) tone.

    But I learned last night (my bass teacher heard me play) that playing with such a light touch really sounds like I'm playing lightly, and my overall sound kinda suffers. So now I'll dig in more -- happily. :) It feels better anyway.

    Plus having some compression makes me not so afraid to thump on stage. :D
  6. Compression is useful to even out inconsistencies while playing. I use it only when I record. Live I prefer sustain, no compression for me.