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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
    Ahh the Warden. There should be more chatter about this one.
    basstalkname, Dee-man, Loring and 2 others like this.
  2. merlin252


    Apr 22, 2016
    Just a follow-up for anyone interested - I put some new Rotosound Roto Bass 45s on my Precision last night and it sounds, well, exactly how a good P should sound, and gets on perfectly well with the Rothwell. Maybe the flats are dead? Maybe I just got bored of that sound and needed to hear the clank of a P with Rotosounds on?
    Fuzzbass and Rich67 like this.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Maybe both?

    I'm mostly a rounds guy (and love that Entwistle P-bass-with-Rotos clank), but keep flats on one of my P-basses because it's also a great tone and I love variety. And flats can go too dead for my taste. I recently replaced a set of flats that had gone "too fundamental", so to speak.

    Flats can also physically wear out. James Jamerson famously refused to change his flats because "the dirt keeps the funk", but producers and engineers complained when his strings became so worn they wouldn't intonate properly. Of course Jamerson was an extremely busy pro and mostly a one-bass guy, so very few of us would ever reach that point.

    odarellmc likes this.
  4. SumOne


    Oct 26, 2017
    London, UK
    I just got an FEA Opti-fet and it's by far the best compressor I've used (MXR M87, Pigtronix Philosopher Bass, and Zoom and Helix multi effects).

    A lot of compressor talk seems to be Empress vs Cali 76 but I'd encourage people to compare against the Opti-fet - it sounds great, lots of controls, it's tone colouring can be altered internally, and a footswitch enabled sidechain with 3x EQ controls is a very useful thing.
  5. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Interesting observation today.
    I’ve been using a Hilbish Compressimiser and enjoying it. My only issue with it (aside from the gigantic enclosure) is that it can click/pop when engaged. Or so I thought... Today I plugged my line-level (and I think balanced) synth output into the box to see how it would work and the click/pop seems to have gone away. So, similar to the pre-fix new Empress, it is sensitive to the signal path. Though, I suspect the design and reason for the pop is different.

    It still sounds good, and it works as it did on bass.
  6. Charlie Tuna

    Charlie Tuna

    Feb 21, 2005
    Key West, FL
    I think people have been gravitating towards comps with a dry blend as of late so the Opti-Fet hasn’t been getting as much love. It’s a great comp and quiet. Smoother to me than the Cali.
    SumOne likes this.
  7. WorktheWood

    WorktheWood Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2014
    I had an Opti-Fet and loved how it fattened my tone and the compression was nice. The issue I and others had with it is that it is a very dark sounding compressor. The Cali is a good bit more lively, though that could be an issue for some. The Empress BC doesn't seem to add anything to the tone, maybe thickens it just a bit, but the compression is very smooth. If you want a compressor that has "tone magic" the Empress is not what you want. The Cali has a bit of it and the Opti has a lot of it.

    SumOne likes this.
  8. Embra

    Embra Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2013
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I have all three and they are all superb; not sure which is best (like picking your favourite child...?)
    Low Down Brown and SumOne like this.
  9. SumOne


    Oct 26, 2017
    London, UK
    That sounds about right - I don't have the Opti on its most transparent setting and that's good with me, the 'tone magic' is part of its appeal to me. But those after more transparent compression I guess might favor other compressors (as long as they realise the Opti can be made more transparent than default by internal switches).
    Embra likes this.
  10. BunchyMutt

    BunchyMutt Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Literally this
  11. merlin252


    Apr 22, 2016
    Do you know what the input impedance is?
  12. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    i don’t. I don’t have the tools to test it, and Hilbish doesn’t publish that info.
  13. deepestend

    deepestend Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    What do your Warden settings look like? Can you post a pic? I've always wanted to try this one out.
    Low Down Brown likes this.
  14. Low Down Brown

    Low Down Brown

    Jan 8, 2018
    EQD makes some great stuff and the Warden is one of my favs. I've been wanting to get another one for quite a while now. It's got some mojo to it and it sounds fantastic in front of a V4B RI. Nice score!
    basstalkname, kranahan and Rich67 like this.
  15. Erithon

    Erithon Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2018
    Ian Allison talking about his Cali76 TX-LP: "What I like to do with it is dial in a pretty aggressive setting on the comp side, 12noon input, 8:1 ratio, slow(ish) attack and medium release, then I dial in about the same level of clean into the overall signal. MAGIC HAPPENS."
    Low Down Brown, PeterH and Fuzzbass like this.
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I love parallel compression. :thumbsup:
    PeterH, kranahan and Low Down Brown like this.
  17. Erithon

    Erithon Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2018
    Me too! I don't have a TX-LP because those are crazy expense so I place my Cali76 TX-L in a Damnation Audio Low Passed Loop Blender. Using the Bloop lets me run a clean (non-compressed) signal with just the lowest frequencies in parallel with the compressed signal. The idea is it mimics the HPF side chain on the Cali76 CB, only rather than leaving the lowest frequencies uncompressed here I compress all frequencies and then mix in some uncompressed lows.
    PeterH, Fuzzbass and stephenleejp like this.
  18. odarellmc

    odarellmc Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    Look what I got all the way from Germany...
  19. ibuki


    Jul 4, 2019
  20. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It’s on my shortlist. I already have his Slampegg Bee. The man definitely makes great pedals. :thumbsup:
    ibuki likes 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.

    Apr 22, 2021

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