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Using Compression and an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jjcox333, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. jjcox333


    May 15, 2014
    Boston, MA
    Hello -

    Just picked-up an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 and two matching DB 112 NTs....good times.

    So, I'm thrilled with the amp's tonal versatility and warmth (and grit) but I'm trying to find "my" tone setting that I will keep it at most of the time.

    For a long time, I have been using light compression from an MXR Compressor to "even-out" my sound and add a bit of punch and tightness. I assumed I would do the same with the new amp but, I am finding that the compressor actually seems to cut some part of the signal that the Tone Hammer uses to "make the warm, grittiness".

    I have found myself clicking the compressor off which is a shame because I like the way it performed.

    Has anyone had a similar experience or any advice on using compression in front of a Tone Hammer amp (or even a TH pedal)?

    If it matters, I play a '63 custom shop P-Bass usually with the tone rolled most or all the way up.

    Your pal,
  2. markorbit


    Apr 16, 2004
    Have you tried it using the effects loop to see if it makes any difference?
    AMp'D.2play and BassBuzzRS like this.
  3. jjcox333


    May 15, 2014
    Boston, MA
    I read that effects loop was for rack mounts and that pedals should be plugged into the front input.

    I can try it and see what happens...

  4. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
    The Drive is very sensitive to changes in playing dynamics. The compressor out front is reducing the dynamics to a point that the OD effect doesn't quite kick in. Try boosting the amp gain a bit more, as well as low mids and see if that helps.
    arai and eigentone like this.
  5. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    I've been using a TH500 for 8 months now. I've been using an mx87 compressor pedal for 2 years or more. My settings on the th500 vary with the bass I'm using and the room I'm in.
    I don't use the compressor pedal alot, and usually only with a passive J. The compressor settings i use are different when I'm using the mx87 and J with the th500 than they would be using a different amp.
    So, in regard to the th500, to make the mx87 mate up well (for me), I use 8:1 ratio, setting input (threshold) to no more the -6db reduction under moderate plucking pressure. Makeup gain just above dry level (by ear). Then I usually bump the low EQ on the amp one notch to put back a bit of punch.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  6. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    fwiw the TH500 is probably the last amp I'd ever use a compressor with. It tends to be pretty thick/compressed out of the box.
  7. I used a TH350 for a couple of years, and always had a compressor on in front of it. I used four different comps, and all of them sounded amazing. I didn't notice any limitations in warmth or grit; if anything, the compressors contributed to that. Now, three of the four compressors I used were optical and known for their "warmth", but regardless I never thought of them as doing anything other than enhancing an already amazing tone that comes from the amp.

    I don't really think that using the compressor in the effects loop will work well, although feel free to give it a shot, nothing to lose and no potential harm in trying.
  8. I use a TLC in front of my TH500 (or TH DI). I have it set just to trim the peaks when I'm slapping/popping and it's extremely transparent. I can barely tell it's on at all.
  9. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown, Lakland, Hardwire
    I recently picked up the TH500 and 2 SLC 112's and I'm finding that the low end seems to be a little "farty". I have always used a Keeley Bassist and tried it with this amp setup and it doesn't help like it did with my Ashdowns. I'm using AVRI Fender USA Jazz basses.
  10. Type-55


    Jul 20, 2000
    I use an TLC with my TH 500 as well, just to smooth it out.
    Sounds great.
  11. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    I use an Empress comp, and it's like taking the ear muffs off when engaged. I love what it does. The ability to mix the wet and dry signal is the ticket.
  12. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
    I would venture It's a combination all of your bases and cabinets. My bass with the tone hammer with my cabinets is anything but farty, even at high volumes. The low end is thick and deep, and clear as a bell.
  13. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown, Lakland, Hardwire
    It sounds the same with 4 different US Fender Jazzes and 2 US G&L JB 2's. And it's only really the E string. Some are 105's and some 100's. Very weird.
  14. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    My SL112's aren't farty
    dcbassist5 likes this.
  15. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
    I was gonna blame the cabs but...

    So I just don't know. What do your settings look like? Higher gain plus drive may cause that. And/or Too much lows or low mids. Try cranking the master knob, then bring the input gain up.

    If you're having that issue with all those basses I gotta wonder if your playing technique isn't a factor. Not necessarily bad, but maybe a little too much attack on those low notes on the E string.
    dcbassist5 likes this.
  16. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown, Lakland, Hardwire
    Yeah...I actually play a little aggressive and have semi-low action. That may be it....just weird that my Ashdown rig and Mesa rig don't do that. I appreciate the input!

    I run the drive at zero, gain at about 9 o'clock, everything else at about noon. I'm also running the tweeters on the cabs at noon. I'm also wondering if I'm just not used to the reaction and sound of the 12's?

    Another strange thing is that 3-4 of my OD / Fuzz pedals that I've tried sound somewhat assful with this setup. I think I need to spend some time with a looper tweaking settings and also change my string attack as you mentioned.

    Does anyone know the specifics of the freq range of the mid freq control?
  17. bassjnky1

    bassjnky1 Supporting Member

    I almost always have my Markbass compresore in front of the TH500. The settings depend a lot on the bass I'm playing. My go-to bass for the moment is a Carvin SB5000 that has a preamp that tends to be very hot. The compressor really helps even the sound out.
    Everyone has a playing style that's different. Some have a light touch and some really dig in. I am somewhere in between, but, towards the more aggressive side and the comp helps a little. My settings are low (ratio never more than 3:1) because I still want full control in my hands.
    My band plays a very wide range of tunes...very funky when we need to be.

    Love my Compressore!
    dcbassist5 likes this.
  18. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I just picked up a Diamond bass comp a while back and I love it. Really smooths things out nicely.
    That being said, my TH500 sounds fine (great!) with or without the Diamond. I usually leave the pedal on all the time, but it's nice to know I'd have no problems gigging without my pedalboard.

    Lately I've been (trying) to run the TH500 with the volume maxed out and adjust volume with the gain control, but even with the gain at 0 it's still sometimes too loud. In that case I leave the gain at 0 and back the master volume off to an acceptable level.

    Drive: 12:00ish
    Bass: 1:30
    Mid: 12:00
    Treble: 1:30
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  19. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    in the loop? or before the input?
  20. Om Flyer

    Om Flyer

    May 19, 2013
    Smoothie compressor is always on with my TH500.
    MUCH more dynamic and alive for me with compression.
    BTW: GK Neo 112(2) cabs.

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