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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. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Agreed: both ways will work, depends on what you want. I usually run comp first, but still retain some touch responsiveness, perhaps because I use parallel compression with plenty of dry: the valleys aren't as low, but the peaks are still high when digging in.
     
    sears and Obese Chess like this.
  2. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Yes, my dynamic control when playing live (remember that?) is not as consistent as I'd like it to be, so this is to get a more even volume and to keep the sound tight. Nolly (ex-Periphery) uses a Cali76 at 4:1, with very slow attack and very quick release, into a B7K to keep things punchy and even on more staccato/muted parts, and I'm trying to build my own hard rock/metal tone around those same principles despite trying to move away from the now-standard "Dingwall/Darkglass" sound.
     
    kesslari, Loring and Fuzzbass like this.
  3. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    The Cali76 CB is a great one.
     
    Loring and Obese Chess like this.
  4. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    So I have heard! But the cheapest version $200 more than the Keeley and $100 more than the Empress, and I am a budget-minded individual. Of course, if that's the best tool for the job, it's worth it. :)
     
    Loring and monsterthompson like this.
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The Cali gear is excellent, but the good news these days is that you don't have to break your budget on a quality comp. Maybe you could find a pre-owned Keeley and see if that works for you? If not, you could flip it for what you paid. Others here may have additional suggestions in that price range.
     
    Loring and Obese Chess like this.
  6. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    I hear you. I am on a budget as well. I have tried so many . . . . sooooooo many . . . compressors. Some of them have been reviewed here, some have not. I always tried to find something on a budget. But you really do get what you pay for. Once I upped my game a bit and was willing to spend some money, you get into a whole other league of compressors. It really makes a difference.
     
    Jim C, kesslari, Loring and 1 other person like this.
  7. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Cool. I looked at the Empress and it actually seems to be exactly what I want in terms of features and ease of use (lots of knobs but all clearly labeled, plus it's got a small form factor and it's purple and sparkly) so it's between that and the Keeley, and of course, the Cali. :)

    Maybe someday I'll be able to go into a store and try them out again. Sigh...

    Thanks for putting me on to the Empress, and for all the help, y'all. :)
     
    kesslari, Fuzzbass and Loring like this.
  8. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    The Empress is also my reigning champ. I can't see trying anything else at this point. It does what I need and then some. It's a really good one. And it doesn't color your tone unless you want it to (via the "tone & colour" switch).
     
  9. Dee-man

    Dee-man Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    But it's blue, not purple. :bawl:
     
  10. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    why does it have a color switch if I can’t choose? :spit:
     
    kesslari, Fuzzbass, StayLow and 2 others like this.
  11. It needs one of them thar Kustom Kar flip-flop paint jobs: iffn' y'look at it one way, it's neon-blue sparkle; n' iffn y'look t'otherway, iss all burpley sparkull.
     
  12. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Reckon so!
     
  13. Dee-man

    Dee-man Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Now THIS is purple:

    IMG_0748.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Ponciponci, gonzkal, Loring and 5 others like this.
  14. kranahan

    kranahan Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2009
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I have a Monocomp (second one) and Mozztronics CO-2 en route. One will be named king... for the moment!

    By the way, I purchased the Mozz directly from Peerless Music in OZ. It’s around $20-30 cheaper than buying a new one on Reverb or eBay.
     
    kesslari, Jim C, Dee-man and 2 others like this.
  15. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Still enjoying the Empress Bass Comp. My first world problem - does it move my Doc Lloyd off my board (one becomes the "small board/take-to-jams-whenever-the-heck-those-resume" pedal).
     
    Btbp and Loring like this.
  16. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    If I still had my Doc Lloyd, I'd run them both. Empress for pure compressing ability, Doc Lloyd for smooth tone enhancement.
     
    Low Down Brown, kranahan and Fuzzbass like this.
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Also: serial compression, maybe*? That's a bit much for most of us, myself included: a single comp gives me what I want even when I'm not using overdrive. That said, I'm still curious and would like to experiment with stacking comps at home sometime.


    *Again: common studio trick; concept being that two comps set to 2:1 will perform better than a single one set to 4:1
     
  18. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I love my Empress BC too. I also recently added an Source Audio Ultra Wave. It is marketed as a unique type of distortion pedal, but it also includes a compressor which can be used without engaging the distortion circuit. The compressor turns out to be very nice indeed. It is super clean like the Empress with more features. I like to use it for heavy compression effects. It also has a built-in 10 band eq which can be engaged separately. So I bet you could get some Doc Lloyd style compression with some mixture of these effects. Oh, it does tremolo too! Did I also mention it is a distortion pedal? Well worth your consideration IMO.
     
  19. jacoby75

    jacoby75 Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Coldwater, MI
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Guitars, DR Strings
    For a hot minute, I had both the Doc Lloyd and Cali76CB and ran them both back to back. It was fantastic. But I ultimately sold one off for financial reasons, and decided it wasn't necessary to have both. Unnecessary, but sooo awesome. One comp can totally do the job, but 2 is almost always better than 1.
     
    Loring and Fuzzbass like this.
  20. basstalkname

    basstalkname

    Jan 16, 2020
    I stopped in to my local store to interrupt my boredom and bought The Warden. I'm no compressor expert; my only experience with a compressor pedal is the BOSS LMB-3 which always seemed more of a utility then an effect. @scubaduba I found your post and chopped it up to point out all the things I completely agree with. The Warden allowed me to dial in the tone and feel I have been after for a while...even, controlled and warmer and fuller overall.
     
    sears, odarellmc, Fuzzbass and 3 others like this.
  21. 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.

     
    Feb 28, 2021

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