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StTomp Box Compressor

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Howard K, May 14, 2002.

  1. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Hi Chaps,
    I have couple of questions:

    1) I have borrowed a Boss compression pedal from a guitarist friend on a trial basis.
    I've experimented with it and found that I do have a use for compression - to give me a more even sound from the amp, especially when slapping furiously!
    Q: How does guitar compression differ from bass compression? i.e. is there a difference in the way they work that will undoubtedly mean I would be better off with bass compression?

    2) I particularly want a stomp box unit as I dont drive and travel to gigs/rehersal via public transport so a rack-mounted unit is out of the question (too costly too).

    What pedals can can people recommend within the £150 ($300) price range?

  2. benevan


    May 2, 2002
    I use the EBS MultiComp or the Trace Elliot SMX Dual Comp depending on the mood. The TE is no longer sold new here in the states but I think it may be in Europe. If not, they are always popping up on eBay. Check it out.

    If you want higher quality and more control/features, you may want to consider a rack unit. I have little experience with them but that seems to be the consensus here at Talkbass.
  3. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    There is only one compressor pedal to consider in that price range, a Retrospec Squeeze Box. It is the baddest, thickest bass sound you have ever heard. It is basicallythe Urie 1176 photo-cell driven tube compressor in a pedal. It is phhhhat in a box. Very hard to find now. I have one and have been looking for another for a friend for months. They sell for about $250 used. I don't think they are made anymore, but you can try. http://www.slidingdelta.com/retrospec/squeeze.html
  4. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I'll check out ebay and the link above, but I'm in the UK, so this might not be too much use?!

    I'll probably check some second hand places in London - tips like the Retrospec Squeeze Box is what I'm after. Thanks!

    Re: rack mounted - yeah, I gathered that would be better in terms of sound quality, but I'm really after something compact & portable.

    EBS is quite reasonabley priced - I shall check that out, as well as the Tech 21 bass compactor.

    So.... any one know differences between guitar compression and bass?
  5. guitar compressors don't handle the low freqs correctly and may sound muddy..
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If you are only considering a stomp box, I would strongly suggest the trace Elliot dual comp if you can find one. As mentioned, they pop up on ebay regularly.


    The frequency range of a bass is is very broad. Much more so than a guitar. This matters. The reason this matters:

    The three basic controls of compression are:

    Threshold: How high the signal level can get before compression begins.

    Attack: how quickly the compressor reacts to the signal peak

    Ratio: How much compression you want. For example a 5:1 ratio allows 1 db of output signal increase for every 5 db of input signal increase. Infinate:1 is, in effect, a limiter.

    Some compressors such as dbx also feature a "release" function. This is not available on all compressors. This is simply when the compressor stops compressing.

    OK. Back to the top and the note about bass having a broad frequency range.

    Different frequencies have different dynamic character and are thus effected differently by compressors.

    Higher frequencies peak MUCH quicker than lows.

    So, if you have only one set of controls, if you adjust the attack for the highs, the lower frequencies are lopped off by the compresser in mid-peak, and you get that pumping, breathy sound that is very annoying.

    If you adjust the attack for the lows, your highs will peak and decay before the compressor ever kicks in. With slapping and popping, this is very bad.

    The Trace Elliot allows you to set the controls for the highs and lows independantly, and thus remove many of those concerns. I used one for a while and really liked it, despite it being a bit noisy.

  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Thanks that is bluddy ace!

    The one I'm trying out has that breathy pumping effect you described, but I didnt know what it was.

    I need to get my head around how the compressor did what it does to help me find the right box.

    I'll avoid guitar compression like the plague then!
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Tech 21 NYC, makers of the beloved SABDDI, make a stomp unit called the bass compactor, which I use whenever I don't have my rig. It's very, very good, about $100.
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I tried the Bass Compactor, and it was one noisy mofo. Boss makes a bass compressor pedal, the LMB-3. I've never played one, but it's less than $100 street.
  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    That's odd, mine's very quiet. Anyway, try gear before you buy I guess. I have the boss as well, it's more of a limiter than a compressor IMO.
  11. pudgefactor


    Mar 28, 2002
    I second the "noisy mofo" comment. I tried a Tech21 Bass Compacter a couple of times and
    couldn't get by the static noise coming out of it.
  12. I just ordered the EBS Multicomp and I was wondering where to place it in my chain. I don't run my pedals through my loop, I keep everything in front of the preamp. Right now I go bass, tuner, octaver, wah, envelope filter, chorus then into the amp. Would I benefit more from putting the Multicomp after my tuner or after my chorus?

  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I would start by putting it after the chorus to allow the filters a chance to work on the uncompressed signal first. Fiddle with it by itself for a few though, a compressor requires some tweaking.
  14. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I used one of these for about a year. Normally, I would say right after the bass. The only problem I found was that the compressor seems to have a buffered output. This is good except that it changes the sound of your dynamic effects. (This is why I use the Squeeze Box. It has no transformers.) I suggest putting it after you dynamic effects but before the time-based ones.
  15. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Check out the Carl Martin Compressor and the boutique Blackbox Oxygen.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    SMASH ~

    Thanks for your assessment of the Boss LMB-3. I've never had the opportunity to play through one, so I was curious. Especially since there's so little talk about them, and they are hard to find in stores. I guess I'll stick with my dbx 1066.

    That Tech 21 was a huge disappointment for me. I took it back the day after I bought it. I'm a gargantuan fan of their other gear (SABDDI and Acoustic DI). Maybe I just got a scrotum.
  17. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Munji I think you did get a "scrotum".:D
  18. crud19


    Sep 26, 2001
    I know you're leaning in the stompbox direction, but please consider a used dbx 163x compressor. It's a 1/3 space unit, and could attach to a pedal board or sit on top of your amp. It's incredibly simple (almost to a fault) with just a slider for the amount of compression, an output knob, and an LED meter. Excellent for bass, especially if you're just wanting to knock down your peaks. Also, you can find them for $50-$75 on ebay. Another 1/3 rack unit to think about is the Really Nice Compressor by FMR Audio. More control than the dbx, a little more expensive, but considered to be of the same quality as compressors costing $1000-$2000. Check 'em out.
  19. black_JB62


    Aug 10, 2003
    I recently purchased the Carl Martin Comp/Limiter used, and was trying to muddle through the online instructions. This is my first comp, so please bear with me as many of you may be detecting some stupidity ahead.:D

    For those of you who haven't seen one of these things, the CM Comp has four knobs - Threshold, Compression, Response, and Gain.

    I've been tweaking around a bit and I've figured out (and have been able to detect audibly) what threshold and compression does. However, I am close to giving up on understanding what Response does. Since all the controls are interactive, I am finding that my sound changes significantly depending on my Compression and Threshold settings. Can somebody who owns one of these things explain in layman's terms what this knob is actually doing?

    FYI, my target sound is a "thump" effect accompanying fingered notes.

    Thanks millions.
  20. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I second the Trace Ellot SMX-compressor.
    Picked one up on e-bay about 6-mo. ago.
    With adapter box and instructions.
    Great for bass
    Will not record or play live without it.