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Testing Compressors: Cali, Smoothie, Empress, Diamond, Keeley, FEA, Darkglass, Doc Lloyd, JHS & more

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by scubaduba, May 21, 2018.


  1. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    On my board this morning.

    8F3BC64A-FD5F-4DDF-96E2-12A675E64F75.
     
    wmmj, Jim C, cosmicevan and 1 other person like this.
  2. Drkwdsman@yahoo

    Drkwdsman@yahoo Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2004
    Birmingham
    So I think I have my list of tries after reading the reviews:
    -Diamond
    -JHS Pulp N’ Peel
    -Mad Professor
    -Doc Loyd Photon
    -PWNZOR

    *The other Worship Bass player has a Cali76 so I know how it sounds.
     
  3. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    So you think the Cali compact bass adds a sound? I didn’t think so, but I did think it had the capacity to add gobs of punch to the feel. I’m curious how you think the Cali alters the tone, so I can listen for it closer.
    But definitely the Diamond adds “magic tone.” I love mine.
     
  4. Killens84

    Killens84 Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    Mississippi
    I had a Cali76-CB, and it seemed to accentuate the highs and high-mids. It was a bit harsh sounding to my ears, so I sold it. Just too much added in those shrill frequencies for my taste.
     
    bdplaid likes this.
  5. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    That’s exactly right. There is noticeable added highs and upper mids. So in that sense it is coloring the tone. It is not as dramatic as the effect of the Diamond or Forest Green or the inherent darkness of the Super Symmetry for example, but it is there. The Cali76 is the opposite of that darkness. You get a boosted high and overall “punchy” sound. Very nice if that’s your thing.
     
    bdplaid likes this.
  6. bassboysam

    bassboysam Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario
    yeah Cali76 definitely adds some top end to my ears.
     
  7. berman3313

    berman3313 Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic
    Thank the founding fathers for this LONG (not compressed) holiday weekend! Looking forward to the reviews!
     
    Jim C, MascisMan and bdplaid like this.
  8. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Thanks for the clarification.
    Most comps to my ears squash the high end moreso compared to the low, so that's probably why it sounds "transparent" to me. Even so, I'll take the added punch any day. Of all my comps, this is the one that adds punch the best.
     
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  9. vlad335

    vlad335 Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Latrobe, PA
    Speaking of compressors changing your bass sound. What compressor best adds thickness to the tone?
     
  10. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    There are several options and I tried to call that out in each review.

    Here’s a few to consider:

    Diamond (use the tilt EQ)
    Forest Green (use the tilt EQ)
    Becos Stella (use the tilt EQ; it is more on the transparent side; very versatile)
    BVB Doc Lloyd Photon
    JHS Pulp ‘N Peel (use the tilt EQ)
    Amptweaker Pressurizer
    DOD Milkbox
    Smoothie (Also very versatile)

    Probably my favorites for this purpose are the following:
    Effectrode PC-2A
    Effectrode LA-1A
    Markbass Compressore
    You have to be able to deal with the unique power requirements.

    The Union Tube & Transistor Lab feels a lot like the two Effectrode compressors but doesn’t use tubes so doesn’t have the unique power requirements. It is very nice.

    That list should be plenty to get you started. Read my reviews of those to narrow it down.
     
    bdplaid, vlad335, Dee-man and 3 others like this.
  11. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    I must have missed this definition -- what's a "tilt EQ" ?
     
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Think of it like a see-saw. It’s a one knob eq. Turn up the bass and it reduces the treble. Turning up the treble reduces the bass.
     
    sonofshel and Low Down Brown like this.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Yep. Usually, counterclockwise from noon is warmer (more bass, less treble), while clockwise is brighter (less bass, more treble). Sometimes, a single knob is all you need.
     
    bdplaid likes this.
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I may have missed this earlier in the thread, but has anyone done a direct comparison of the Doc Lloyd Photon and the Diamond BCP-1? They both seem to occupy the same general school of compression (i.e. front of chain tone enhancement and gentle compression). I've used the Diamond in the past and really liked what it did up front and am considering another, but the Doc Lloyd sounds very nice as well. Thoughts?
     
    Low Down Brown likes this.
  15. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    In my review of the Doc Lloyd I referenced the Diamond.

    Testing Compressors: Cali, Smoothie, Empress, Diamond, Keeley, FEA, Darkglass, Doc Lloyd, JHS & more

    There are definite similarities but the Diamond will have more variety of EQ due to the tilt EQ. It will also color your tone more than the Doc Lloyd. On the other hand, the Doc Lloyd has a Mix control you let you blend more of your dry signal in. I’m a fan of that. I’d say the Doc Lloyd is the more useable compressor where the Diamond is has more impact as a tone enhancer. But that’s not to say the Doc Lloyd doesn’t add something real nice.
     
    Fuzzbass, bdplaid and Low Down Brown like this.
  16. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    This is an interesting point. I'm currently using a Cali76 CB and am finding the added upper mids and highs to be a little fatiguing when used up front, but I really like that pedal as an end of chain limiter. I never really used the tilt EQ on my old Diamond, but liked what it did up front all the same. I'd like to try the Doc Lloyd, but they're out of stock and there aren't any in the classifieds at the moment. Decisions, decisions, decisions...
     
  17. extreme

    extreme Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    The Doc Lloyd is always out of stock! I don't know if they don't get built and stocked back up or if they just move. I kinda feel like they haven't been getting restocked...not sure why though.

    The Doc Lloyd is nice in that I also love having a blend on a compressor. It also retains low end really well, which is generally a plus for bass. I can't speak to the Diamond. And I would love to try a Cali, but don't have any huge reasons to rock the boat and change from the Doc Lloyd.
     
  18. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    For me, the Diamond just didn't offer enough flexibility
    The fixed 3ish:1 ratio was too much of a 1-trick pony
    Love ny FEA-DECL but curious if the Doc Lloyd will offer some of the great compression qualities of the FEA but with some color.

    Also, I'm sure I missed it but is there a list of which of these boxes work well as a limiter?
    My FEA allows compression, limiting, or both.
     
    Indiedog likes this.
  19. extreme

    extreme Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    The Doc Lloyd Photon Death Ray is definitely NOT a limiter.
     
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  20. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks
    Meant this as two separate questions
     
    extreme likes this.

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