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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. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I haven't read all 192 pages (yet!), but has anything in this vast comparison unseated the Empress as "compressor pedal least likely to add extraneous hum and hiss" ??
     
    imabuddha likes this.
  2. tedsalt

    tedsalt Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2010
    Kansas City
    scubaduba, DirtyDuke and mikewalker like this.
  3. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    FEA products have all been very quiet as well.
     
    scubaduba, Fuzzbass and mikewalker like this.
  4. I just moved my Empress on and replaced it with the Becos CompIQ. It's only early, but I don't regret the decision at all. Pretty much all the features in a unit a 1/3 the size. No noise that I can hear.
     
  5. cardinal

    cardinal

    Jan 13, 2016
    FWIW I was using a CAE boost/line driver pedal at the end of my chain for a slight clean boost into the amp. It seemed to add back punch and presence that gets lost through a pedal board. It's a very flat and transparent clean boost.

    I recently went bonkers and decided to replace it with a Cali76-TX. It's... different than just a clean boost. I'm liking it, as I'm realizing now that my low B was super boomy and the compressor is reigning it in. At the same time, that "boom" from hammering the low E and B strings was kinda fun, so the compressor is kinda raining on my parade a bit.

    It feels cool because the notes struck real hard aren't super loud now, so I can add a bit more boost so my softer notes can be heard better, so it does enhance "dynamics" in my attack.

    But even at the lowest ratio and low input level, it's not just a clean boost. There's something it's doing to the attack and such. And man it was expensive.

    One unexpected benefit though it for some reason it made all the pedals in front of it sound "better." The Qtron is more controllable. The OC-2 sounds fatter. The dirt pedals sound meaner and angrier. Chorus... eh, I click the compressor off so far, but otherwise everything else sounds better with it. I have no idea why.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
    Low Down Brown likes this.
  6. jacoby75

    jacoby75

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    An apples to oranges comparison, of course, but that's exactly what I feel happened with the Saffron Squeeze. It totally reigned in the boom, which might be good in a studio setting, but took all of the fun out of playing live.
     
  7. cardinal

    cardinal

    Jan 13, 2016
    It's just taken some time for my ears to adjust, I think. It's easy enough to click the compressor off if I want that boom for a certain riff or passage. But after letting my ears adjust, it's probably for the best not to have that booming volume spike most of the time. The compressor actually might even help me to hear the notes themselves better rather than merely feeling the room rattling from them.
     
  8. jacoby75

    jacoby75

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    I'm sure you're right. But I . . . want . . . the . . . boom! (he said in his screaming toodler voice, whilst stomping his feet).
     
    Jim C and cardinal like this.
  9. jacoby75

    jacoby75

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    Hey compressor-people-who-are-smarter-than-me,
    In my never ending quest to find a compressor I’m satisfied with on a budget, I am considering ponying up some money to try a used Keeley Bassist. It seems to get an awful lot of praise around here. But the limited control options scare me. And the fact that it’s labeled a “limiter” makes me wonder if it will suit my purposes. In terms of the act of compression, what I’m looking for is tone-leveling and added sustain. Something that will make notes ring longer when I’m holding out long notes in worship settings. But will a limiting amplifier do that? Like, if I set the threshold low enough and compression high enough, would it actually add sustain to my notes, or is the Bassist just good for taming high peaks in a transparent way?

    I think I’m just going to have to bite the proverbial bullet some day and buy a Becos Compiq mini. It checks every box except “adding color” or “magic” which are also things I wanted but could live without, but I have yet to find a good deal on one.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  10. Go for the Bassist, you won't be disappointed. I'd not call its controls "limited", those controls are exactly what you need for that kind of compressor imho.
     
    BeauZooka and jacoby75 like this.
  11. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    @jacoby75 Sure, go for it. Best thing is to give it a try. You could always sell it pretty easily because the Bassist is a popular device.
     
    jacoby75 likes this.
  12. oren

    oren

    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    Is there a review of the Bassist somewhere in this thread? I couldn’t find one, but maybe I’m insufficiently caffeinated.
     
  13. jacoby75

    jacoby75

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    MMBongo, whom I consider to be the godfather of compression reviews, (while Scubaduba is the reigning Roger Ebert, or insert other favorite reviewer here ______ ) reviewed it over at his Ovnilab site:
    Keeley GC-2 Limiting Amplifier
     
    kesslari and oren like this.
  14. Jim C

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

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Bassist = Good clean comp, super easy to use, and a safe buy
    There is one in the classifieds right now for $130.
    If it were me, I'd go with the Becos Compiq for something like $165
    You can't go wrong with either.

    Note to self: Why not get out the router and rear mount the Becos in your bass?
    Wonder how long a 9-Volt lasts at 25 mA plus the active pre?
     
    jacoby75 likes this.
  15. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    I haven't done one of my extended reviews of the Keeley Bassist though I did have one early on when this thread started and shared some thoughts. However, I did do a formal review of the Keeley Compressor Pro which is essentially the GC-2 plus a lot more versatility.
    Testing Compressors: Cali, Smoothie, Empress, Diamond, Keeley, FEA, Darkglass, Doc Lloyd, JHS & more
     
  16. jacoby75

    jacoby75

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    For a difference of $30 +/-, I might just give the Becos a shot. I do like the simplicity of the Bassist, though, and Keeley is synonymous with "quality compression." But I'm afraid I might find myself wanting the additional controls the Becos has to offer. But I've bought 4-5 pedals over the past couple of weeks in a massive outburst of flipping. Well, I flopped, but I didn't flip the ones I actually already have yet. I need to get some pedals moving and raise some more cash before I spend anymore, or my wife is going to make me sleep on the couch . . . again.
     
    DirtyDuke and egarcia like this.
  17. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
    Get the Becos. I don't think you will regret it long term.

    There is an auto mode on the Becos if you want to keep things simple.
     
    jdc866, Jim C, egarcia and 1 other person like this.
  18. jacoby75

    jacoby75

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    An auto mode on which one? The Compiq Mini Pro? That's the one I was thinking of. I didn't see anything about that on the website, but that could make things even more intriguing.
     
  19. Auspuff

    Auspuff Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2019
    SoCal
    What is it that little sucker can do which makes it so popular/valuable?

    I mean, there are some with well over a thousand knobs, lights, and buttons, and this 'lil sucker comes along and makes people go, "Wow!"

    Is less more?
     
  20. jacoby75

    jacoby75

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    I don't have one, so take my opinion for what it's worth. But I'm going to say . . . the amount of features that it packs into such a small package. It (at least the ProMini that I'm looking at) has most of the features that many of us look for in compressors. And it doesn't take up much real estate on the pedalboard.
     

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