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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
    Snag a PDR while you can. It's a great performer with a bit of tone enhancing goodness mixed in for extra credit.
     
    Lowendtech likes this.
  2. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    It totally depends on what you want and what best suits your style and tone goals. "Punchy" can be had in almost anything, if you set it right, because perceived punch is a byproduct of how you set the different compression parameters. Now, what those parameters are, don't ask me. I forget. Check Ovnilab's website about compression basics. Though some are capable or more punch than others. Some want clean, peak-limiting, doesn't-color-your-tone-at-all, surgical compression. But I wanted something that added character to my tone. Both options are equally viable. I've had clean compression, but didn't like it. I decided optical compressors were my thing because I like the warmth and gooeyness they add. The best tone-enhancing compressors I've had are the Fairfield Accountant (still miss that one, though it's nothing like the PDR), Mad Professor Forest Green (have almost bought that one for a second time a handful of times recently), the Floorq and the PDR.
     
    Low Down Brown and BunchyMutt like this.
  3. HCF

    HCF Of course, YMMV Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Amsterdam
    Since there's no way I can come up with a correct search query to find this in this threat; any opinions about the 3 knob Cali76 Compact?
     
  4. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Due to my purchase of an LA-1A, I am regretfully selling my FEA DE-CL. It hurts. I love that thing. Bought it new from Frank and had to wait for him to build it.

    Someone give it a good home.

    FEA DE-CL For Sale
     
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  5. So reading the new ports on the PDR, what would those who have had both say about the PDR vs. Smoothie?
     
    sonofshel likes this.
  6. ports=posts
     
  7. Honestly - It really sounds like you want to keep the FEA. Why not keep it? The losses will be very minimal flipping the LA-1A. It's already there in the US, so someone wanting one won't have to wait so that in itself adds value.
     
  8. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I’m still tinkering with the LA-1A. With no light or meter to indicate when it’s triggering it’s not as easy to dial in from bass to bass. I have buffer pedal with a boost. I typically boost my passive basses to bring the level even with my active ones. It theory that SHOULD hit the compressor with the same level. But I mistakenly left the boost on when I plugged up my active bass and slammed the compressor. Ohhh! That sounded good.

    So I’m not quite ready to toss out the LA-1A just yet. And honestly, the little Mini Becos is KILLING on my baby board. The new version has a side chain “deep” setting that lowers the compression of the low notes. It’s brilliant! I really can’t say enough good about that pedal. And the folks at Becos are super nice dudes.
     
    frankzap, Mohawk and BunchyMutt like this.
  9. Yep I have the CompIQ on my mini board also and it's fantastic. Had to sell my Empress (had=made myself) to get it, but once I heard it there was no remorse. Mine is the version before yours and I'm stoked with it.
     
    imabuddha and chadhargis like this.
  10. Ross McLochness

    Ross McLochness Living Room Bassist Extraordinaire Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Eden Prairie, MN
    Update - I received the PWNZOR the other day and spent a little time with it last night.
    For point of reference, my current comp is the Darkglass HyperLuminal.
    I didn't get to spend a ton of time with it yet, but my initial thoughts are:
    • It is considerably quieter than the Darkglass
      • Very little "hiss" at high gain settings out of the PWNZOR
      • I don't view the Darkglass as a "noisy comp", but at higher settings there is definitely more hiss
    • The PWNZOR definitely has a "syrupy" quality to it
      • Based on the comps I've had this seems to be a common characteristic for optical comps
    The Darkglass is definitely much more versatile (duh, as your getting three types of comp in one pedal).
    I'm going to spend more time with the PWNZOR tonight and will then post another update.
     
    Jim C, monkeyfinger, kranahan and 5 others like this.
  11. Ross McLochness

    Ross McLochness Living Room Bassist Extraordinaire Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Eden Prairie, MN
    So I’ve spent more time with the PWNZOR.
    The more I play around with it the more I like it. Of the comps I’ve previously owned it reminds me most of the FEA Opti-FET and Diamond BCP-1. In fact, I’d slot it right in between the two of them. It’s not as full featured as the FEA and doesn’t have a built in side-chain, but it does have more features than the Diamond. Like Scuba said in his review it’s definitely on the tone enhancement side of the spectrum (definitely an always on type of comp).
     
    scubaduba likes this.
  12. I'm writing on this thread because all the compressors I'm looking for are mentioned here and I would need to change my compressor pedal:
    Please note that I've read many times the reviews from this thread and ovnilab as well, but I still would like to have some suggestions.
    I learned the basic rules using rack units, but now I have settled to pedalboards only.
    My last 2 pedals were the EBS MultiComp (2nd version) and the Pumpernickel DIY kit.
    Now I would like to have some sort of blend control, 9v operation and maybe the option for a little of coloration like the tubesim mode from the EBS (but less than that - it was a little too much) while not the noise or the distortion I've got from it!
    The Pumpernickel was quite Ok but sometimes got noticable hum (ground noise) and a "sterile"/"boring" sound...
    I'm looking at the following pedals, which I can find in my country for less than 200 €:
    - Mad professor Forest green (sustain mode should have a sort of blend with level control) at 170€
    - Seymour Duncan studio bass at 185€
    - Becos mini compiq pro (the last edition with side chain filter) at 160€
    - Wampler Ego at 199€
    Basing on my comments, what do you suggest for me, from that list?
    Thanks
    Fabio
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  13. Ciao.
    Based on your comments, I'd say the Forest Green.
    I use a Becos CompIQ Mini which is perfect for me. It doesn't color your sound though.
     
    Low Down Brown likes this.
  14. frankzap

    frankzap

    Apr 11, 2014
    Bronx, New York
    Maybe a Fairfield Accountant would give you the kind of grit you are looking for? Other compressors that have some form of controlled clipping are Pigtronix Germanium Gold, JHS PnP, and Becos Stella (and Twain).
     
    Low Down Brown likes this.
  15. Reading again my previous message I understand that I wasn't clear enough: I would like a compressor with blend control and the possibility to add some colour when needed.
    I'm quite convinced by the Seymour Duncan studio bass with its tone switch for the dry signal and maybe the last edition of the Becos compIQ mini pro with the side chain filter on deep setting. Unfortunately I will not be able to try those 2 before buying... While I think to find nearby the Forest green and the Ego, but still would like to know your kind opinion
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  16. kranahan

    kranahan Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2009
    San Francisco Bay Area
    We shall see which one wins!

    A234220F-46C4-40F3-BB8D-2029B8D7161D.jpeg
     
    extreme, Jim C, friend33 and 8 others like this.
  17. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Michigan
  18. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    Oooooooooooh. I'm jealous. Mine has said "pre-shipment" since Monday. I think it's lost in postal purgatory. Do tell us what you think so I can live vicariously through you.
     
  19. kranahan

    kranahan Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2009
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Unfortunately, I jumped the gun here. I’m heading out of town this weekend so I won’t be able to plug in until next Tuesday. You’ll have to live vicariously through someone else but I promise a review next week... Or I could send it to @scubaduba today if he’d like to review it.
     
    mb94952 likes this.
  20. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    tenor.gif
     
    Jim C, mb94952, Rocksolid and 2 others like this.

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