Talk to me about compresors

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by redhotblues, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Listening back to a bunch of live recordings, I'm thinking I would benefit from a compressor. I can tell when I get a little "too into" the tunes that I start digging in and it not only changes the volume but also the tone. Perhaps its bad technique, or just losing my head "in the moment"... maybe its cause I'm a guitar player masquerading as a bass player for some extra gigs... but It seem to me a compressor would smooth a lot of this out.

    I'm currently looking at the Aguilar TLC compressor... but perhaps I should be looking at other things?

    Tell me more about compressors~
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I like this.

    Some complain of noise issues, but it has only been a problem for me once in a building with dirty power. The whole band was having noise problems that day.
    Sunset Shalom likes this.
  3. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    There's so much involved in this topic, and there are a million recommendations that ppl will give you based on what they like and use. You really should start here, though:

    It's basically the compressor compendium, created and maintained by TB user Bongo. Look around there at the reviews, and especially at his write ups about compressor types and uses.

    Myself, I currently use and own the Joe Meek FloorQ (very amp-like and versatile), and the Rothwell Love Squeeze (literally the most transparent compressor on the market).
    Dieboy, monsterthompson and Fuzzbass like this.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i agree with superheavyfunk : too many options and TB'ers always claim their own choices/gear as "best there is."

    IMO: the biggest mistake players make is thinking a compressor will 'fix' faulty technique. compressors are actually built for solving problems when technique is not the issue.

    good luck! :thumbsup:
    Dieboy and alecduncan like this.
  5. Col Pruse

    Col Pruse Supporting Member

    May 28, 2003
    Savannah, GA
    I've been researching compressors lately as well. Probably read the ovnilab site 2-3 times over, and most compressor threads here. Stupid internet and it's wealth of info.

    I think I continue to read reviews and listen to youtube demos in the hopes I can buy one compressor and it does everything I think/hope it's supposed to. Likelihood is I'll need to try a few before settling.

    Reviews of the Diamond sound like what I want but I might go for the Diamond CPR JR based on size/cost.
  6. kurth83


    Mar 28, 2016
    Smoothing out your playing is one of many uses for a compressor, and happens to be my main use for one.

    Light compression with a gentle ratio is generally how you tune a compressor for this application. Ratios of 3-1, 4-1, or even 2.5-1 sit well with me. And 'light' means setting it so compression only kicks in when you are getting on the louder side, although you can up the sensitivity a bit if using a lower ratio like 2.5.

    One poster here said it like this: "compression is better felt than heard".

    Set like that, my compressor smooths out the playing, adds a little sustain, but also slightly increases background noise from bad technique. If your playing is clanky, or muting technique is poor, you will find the need to improve increases with the amount of compression used.

    Tip: if you are using heavy EQ (like a high-pass), put the compressor after your EQ.

    Things that I find helpful in a choosing compressor:
    - lights, makes it much easier to dial in, especially if it is your first one. Heavy compression doesn't need lights to get it just right, but subtle compression really does benefit from visual feedback.
    - clean (I avoid those that color the tone).

    Things others want that I don't.
    - blend (blends uncompressed signal with compressed signal).

    Once I became familiar with compressors I was able to dial them in without the aid of lights, but it is time consuming and annoying, I only suffer with this because I like the idea of the Zoom stuff that does it all in one pedal.

    The MXR compressor was my fave for a while (the lights helped me a lot in learning how to use a compressor). There are lots of good ones, too many to make picking one an easy task.
  7. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    There’s a lot of threads on this, but I LOVE the walrus audio deep six.
  8. Just keep reading and learning. Understanding how best to use compressors for you is not an over-night endeavour. As you learn more, your tastes regarding compression may change (as will what compressor's on your pedalboard will change).

    It's an enjoyable exploratory journey if you make it so.

    PS: What works well on guitar may not be your best bet for bass. Different instruments, disparate sonic ranges, divergent goals...
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  9. Col Pruse

    Col Pruse Supporting Member

    May 28, 2003
    Savannah, GA
    This comment from the ovnilab Daiamond CPR review is what has me interested: "Really where this pedal shines is in making your tone bigger, fuller, more "present". I love the tonal improvement it gives. So if your main interest in a compressor is just beefing up your tone, and helping your signal "pop" through the mix, then the Diamond will give that to you better than most other pedals. It's not so great at keeping unruly signal peaks in check, balancing high and low string levels, or other "utility" uses of compression. But again though, for adding oomph and shine to your tone, it's pretty much unbeatable."
  10. That Coyote

    That Coyote

    Apr 7, 2017
    Keeley Bassist. Amazing pedal. Totally transparent and will smooth all the peaks out. Very easy to use as well. I really can't recommend it enough!
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Sep 20, 2021

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