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

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

  1. CheckBass


    May 22, 2020
    New tests in progress: testing my last two GAS acquisitions :)

    IMG_20220805_173035 (2).jpg IMG_20220805_173025.jpg
  2. Giff


    May 30, 2022
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  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

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  4. 75Ric

    75Ric Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    The word of the day!
    Loring, Giff and j5eugene like this.
  5. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Just posted my review of the Donner Ultimate Comp: https://www.compressorpedalreviews.com/post/donner-ultimate-comp-review

    The Donner compressor is a little compressor pedal that also has a little price point. It is the least expensive compressor I have reviewed at a price of just $37.99. Is this a case where good things come in small packages?

    I'd recommend it for cases where you want to level out your playing in a transparent way on a budget. It does a great job of keeping your playing in check. Build quality seems nice and the circuit is overall very quiet. It's the same size as offerings from Becos. Compared to the Becos CompIQ Mini One Pro Compressor, the Donner lacks the superb multi-LED gain reduction metering, has no dry/wet signal balance, and has no independent threshold control switch. Compared to the Becos CompIQ MINI Pro Compressor the Ultimate Comp lacks the gain metering, wet/dry signal balance feature, and also a hard/soft knee control, and full threshold dial. The Donner is all about simplicity.

    Despite how inexpensive it is, the Ultimate Comp has a quality feel to it, notably because of its weight. It is surprisingly hefty feeling for its small demeanor.

    It seems its mojo is staying out of the way by not entirely killing your dynamics while nicely boosting or attenuating notes without noticeably deviating volume level. There is one aspect of how the circuit responds that almost fooled me at first. See the full review: https://www.compressorpedalreviews.com/post/donner-ultimate-comp-review

    Where I was most impressed is how well the compressor performs at more extreme settings where the Comp dial is at 1:00 or higher. Additionally, The Ultimate Comp is excellent for slap style on bass where it does a fantastic job of evening out the slap and pop yet doesn't really ever feel choked.

    It's an interesting device, especially considering the price.


    Donner sent a promo code for 15% off for Talkbass members:
    Code: CPR
  6. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
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  7. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    Sounds logical to me.
  8. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    @CheckBass please do it. I have the Diamond but am def intrigued by the Mira. Would love to hear your thoughts
  9. CheckBass


    May 22, 2020
    DSM: Big issue: lows loss. Sounds great with a guitar though.
    Walrus Mira: I liked it a lot. Slightly coloured, punchy and wooly.

    I spent some hours testing the DSM ClearComp and the Walrus Audio Mira.
    Disclaimer: I do not intend to compete with compressors guru's Scubaduba and Bongomania ;)
    I made these tests at home. Gear used: MIM P-Bass (mainly) with roundwound strings, Phil Jones Double 4 amp, Audio Technica ATH M50 headphones. No preamp or effects for a "pure", unaffected sound.
    I play fingerstyle only.


    The results:
    DSM& Humboldt Clear Comp: Big deception :(. The issue was the loss of lows. I tried anything I could (9/18 V, all kind of settings, active bass) but the lows were gone! The blend knob had no effect. I was wondering if i had a defect unit so I tried the ClearComp with my Fender stratocaster where everything went ok, it sounded great: very transparent, natural, articulate, lot of definition, lot of sustain.

    I might do something wrong, feedback from other users is welcome.

    Walrus Audio Mira: I enjoyed it a lot :bassist:
    What I liked:
    -The look / build quality: Nice design from Walrus Audio as always.
    - The sound. I actually could not make it sound bad. I wish I could share some sounds but I do not know how to do that. So how to describe it? The Mira is definitely not transparent, it adds something (mids ?). It fattens the tone, adds some punchiness/ wooliness.
    Like others I was intrigued how it would compare with the Diamond Bass Jr which is also optical. Well these are 2 totally different animals. The Diamond is much more percussive and darker. The led metering on the Diamond is also better (different colours).
    The Walrus Mira sounded different than the other compressors I have.
    - Ease of use/ flexibilty: The attack and release knobs are smaller but this is not an issue for me.
    There are 2 leds: one on the bottom right that shows the compressor is engaged, one in the middle shows how much compression is applied. It has only one colour that gets more or less brighter.
    The threshold is quickly reached: at 5 o'clock (off, all the way up) the compressor does not react but it does at 4:30 already. Same thing with my active bass and stratocaster.
    To be honest I did not notice a difference with the Side Chain Filter switch (on the side) engaged. Maybe it does with a 5 string bass, or maybe this is due to the basic conditions of this test.

    As for the DSM, feedback / critics from other users are welcome. I am curious about Scubaduba's review.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2022
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  10. odarellmc

    odarellmc Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    I'm surprised the blend function didn't help with bass on the DSM
    kranahan likes this.
  11. DirtyDuke

    DirtyDuke Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2012
    guelph ontario
    Partner Southampton Pedals, Partner CCP

    I would return the DSM. I don't have any loss of lows using mine
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  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

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  13. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    It reminds me of the Whirlwind OC but with blend and presence features added.
    I'd love to hear one of these, thanks for bringing it to our attention.
    Does anyone know what type it is - FET, Optical, VCA?
    It doesn't specify on the web site or on the manual.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022
  14. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    My Walrus Mira shipped.
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  15. davelowell2

    davelowell2 Uhh... FaFaFooey is BaBaBooey... Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Ugh, I finally scored a V2 Compressore on Reverb only to open up a Super Synth when the box arrived. Hoping they make it right…
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  16. scubaduba

    scubaduba Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2003
    This arrived.

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  17. WhtMtnGrv

    WhtMtnGrv Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2015
    Crestline, CA
    Question for you compressor connoisseurs out there:

    I’m looking to snag a compressor pedal soon, with the main objective of the purchase being to obtain a tool for smoothing out volume peaks while playing live (more on principle than to remedy an observed issue). I don’t have a particularly inconsistent attack or anything, but I like the idea of cleaning that up where needed.

    Secondarily, the compressor would be for tone shaping purposes. I do like my current uncompressed tone of my basses through the WD-800, but I’m always open to new flavors and tweaks in tone. The ability to use the compressor for recording and for other instruments is a nice added feature, but not anywhere near the top of my list.

    That being said, do you think the Broughton Omnicomp would be overkill for my goals? I’m not sure if a more simple compressor would be a better choice for what would effectively be my first foray into compression other than having the MXR M80(?) compressor (the red box).

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
  18. Giff


    May 30, 2022
    I can’t speak to the Broughton, sorry. I will point out that the Empress Bass Compressor has a switch with two alternate EQ curves. Both sound good, but I’m more likely to use the lower-mid dip setting than the upper-mid boost. I haven’t even tried the internal dip switches yet for overdrive. This pedal just works and sounds great - evening up any unintentional heavy-handedness pretty well without killing dynamics IMO. I had the Becos Twain, but I have since moved to only the Empress FWIW.
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  19. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    I would like to recommend the Diamond BCP-1 (big or jr version) as it perfectly describes what you’re looking for. It’s more tone mojo than compressor. It has a low compression ratio, so it’s really easy to use while not really ever getting a bad sound out of it. The major drawback is Diamond went out of biz a year or so ago. And while you can find this pedal on Reverb, the used market prices are extremely high. Like 150+ more than what they would have normally sold for used. But here’s the thing, nothing really did, or does, what Diamond the can do. So to me, it’s worth price if you can find a used one for under 300. The new Walrus Mira is something that just came out. There was a review where someone mentioned it was more of a tone mojo box than compressor. The Mira has more control over the compressor than the Diamond, in addition to have the ability to compress at higher ratios. The Mira might be something to look at as well. Price wise, the Mira is in-line w most new pedals. It’s 250 new.
    bdplaid likes this.
  20. Giff


    May 30, 2022
    Diamond made such fantastic pedals. It’s a shame they aren’t in business anymore.
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