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To compress...or not

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by the dude, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    I've got an old dbx 160a.

    Play a fender p-bass - frequently with a pick and hit the strings pretty hard on average. I used to think I really needed a compressor to lessen the volume differences between notes.

    Haven't used it in some time, and wondered what others are doing.
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Sometimes I use one, sometimes I don't. The compressor I use is a Rane DC-24... it's easy to set for transparent operation. A few reasons for that... one is that it has very precise control of ratios less than 3:1. I usually keep mine set at 1.6:1.

    With yours: use whatever setting works for you. My only caveat: don't use it at rehearsal. Try to improve your technique so that you will use compression when you want to, and not because you have to.
  3. I bought one a while ago, a behringer 2-channel model (yes i use both). I don't think it's something I absolutely need in my rack but it's there, so I might as well use it.

    I think a bit of compression is nice for live band settings, if I get too aggressive I'm not going to start overpowering anyone as much as I would've without it.

    In the studio, I certainly use liberal doses of compression - but not the behringer.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i use a dbx 262 which is essentially a cheaper stereo version of the 160a. I use mine live inbetween the preamp and poweramp esp at high volumes to catch transients and occasionally when i use obscene amounts of low end. I'm assuming the 160A has the same "bypass" switch that the 262 does so in a live setup, so leaving it in your signal chain should have a minimal negative effect on your tone when bypassed. For me it's much more of an insurance policy against stupidity. In the studio i usually use much better compressors, and usually only after i track.
  5. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Excellent responses. Thanks.

    Amazing mega-thread. Thanks again.
  6. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    I started out on upright acoustic bass playing pretty simple stuff so I plucked the strings really hard. When I got an electric I had a small amp so I plucked real hard to get heard.
    As a result I HAD to compress becuase of my bad right hand technique!

    I don't know the proper technical term for this but two things happen when you pluck hard;
    1. The bass sounds louder (duh!) ... on the initial attack
    2. The note decays faster!

    By getting a loud amp and I forced my self to pluck softer which has many benefits;
    1. You have more stamina, there is less work on the right hand muscles and less wqear on teh fingertip skin, er calouses
    2. My "light touch" allows me to play faster!
    3. The dynamics of my playing is naturally smoothed out.

    Playing with a pick gives you smoother attack / delay which furthe rminimizes the need for compression.

    That said I am a "child of the 80s" and liek to slap/pop for which I really need compression for. Also, I like a "tarus bass" voice, which I create with an envelope filter, delay, and heavy compression.

    My point is, compression has it's uses, but don't let this be a crutch for developing a good right hand dynamic technique
  7. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I ditched compression for live playing long ago...if I play harder, I WANT it to get louder...and as previous post said...work on dynamics with your fingers and not relying on electronics will make your playing better. That being said, last night we practiced at a different location than normal and there was a little Fender Bass 60 wedge combo for me to destroy...I mean play through. It is extremely challenged at band volume, so the only way to get anything out of it is to turn it up and engage the compressor...which essentially squishes everything to death. When the band would peak in volume on a song, playing harder didn't really get me as much cut as playing with less attach so that the compressor wouldn't kick in so hard...very interesting experience. Like it was opposite day or something. I was kind of digging the special effectness of the sound...but just for one night...normally compressors drive me crazy, but I may add one someday.

    What is a good stomp box compressor?
  8. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    I generally play finger style and for that a compressor is a waste of time...It doesn't add much.

    But I recently started using one again so I can level of the peaks when I slap and pop. For this the compressor is really useful and helps save my speakers and horn.
  9. joeybcdt


    May 6, 2004
    SE Texas
    I have one of these on order: Bicomprosser
  10. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Trace Elliot dual. I don't leave home without mine.

    I like the sound of a little bit of compression, and I like being able to dig in to get some fret grit and not blast the band out, then back off to get round warm tones and have the volumes be a little closer than they'd normally be.

    160a is a great box.
  11. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    For sake of recording I've been doing, compression has helped a whole lot. It gives you a fuller waveform with less "spikes"

    It depends on the kind of recording for me though.
  12. any of you tried the EBS multicomp?
  13. Jackbass


    Dec 19, 2003
    Paris (FRANCE)
    I must admit I didn t like compression before using EBS one.
    The fafner compression is a great tool, and the multicomp peadl must be more versatile.
    Now I can say, I love compression because the EBS comp is very natural.
  14. I always liked the Art Levelar Tube compressor. It gave a nice warm compressed sound. Without too much squashing.
  15. It would be fun to have one of these guys in a rack... pretty famous for bass in the studio, although it may not be suitable for constant gigging.