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Using Levelars

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by LeftyLB70P, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. LeftyLB70P


    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    I know that there are many fans of this compressor on this board and I count myself as one of them but I would like some input into using it to get the best sound.

    Ok, here's my story:

    I have 2 Levelars (bought one and was given a 2nd one) and am planning on working this week on setting my pedal board up so that each of my basses gets it's own due to the radical differences in the basses themselves (this way I don't have to adjust anything when swapping basses onstage).

    I am very happy with the Levelar(s) but I can't seem to achieve a sound that I am looking for: I describe it as something along the lines of a water balloon that is being squeezed almost to the point of bursting. Big, round, tight, sound.

    Oh, let me say also that I have replaced the tubes in both pedals with 12AX7's.

    Can you visualize/audiolize <made up word??> this?
    If you can, offer advice on the settings of the Levelar. Heck, even if you can't, offer advice on the settings.

    My 2 basses are: 1 MIA Precision w/Barts, 1 Carvin 5'ver with stock pups & preamp. At a practice last week, using my P, I noticed for the first time a heavy 'breathing' sound. I don't know why this was happening (tube issue maybe)& haven't investigated yet. I don't think that I had changed any settings on the Levelar but I was definately cranking everything up. If you want to make comments on this great but again, settings and such would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    The breathing issue sounds like too slow of a release time. A buddy of mine has an ART preamp/compressor that I was very interested in looking into, but the choices of release times is fast and slow, with BOTH choices being WAY too slow!

    I wish I could get my server troubles fixed, here! I have a great recent studio recording that features my bass with a rediculous amount of fast-release compression on it (...pedal before the amp, analog limiting on the way to the A-Ds, digital compression on the track AND tons of overall compression on the master), for a VERY 'pressurized' sound!

    A slow release'll kill'ya, though.

  3. LeftyLB70P


    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    ahh, so that sound that I am describing, you hear as a strong compression with a fast release?

    That seems to fit.

    And with my compression experience being limited to the Levelars & a BOSS limiter (which I didn't care for at all - got me nowhere near the sound that I describe) perhaps I just haven't sampled enough gear yet.

    Thats helpful, thanks Joe.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hey - I got it to work!

    http://www.narwold.org/joep/Disco Dazz (small).mp3

    ...Yeah - Like handling a wet, bulging water balloon.. Yeah!

    Now There's some compression for ya'...

    Let me know what you think. I just finished mixing it, and this is the first time I've 'distributed' it!

  5. LeftyLB70P


    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    yup - that's the sound!

    Ok, so my question is:
    since this seems to have to with release times, what are some recommendations of pedals that will give me greater control of the 'squish' and 'release'.

    I have read lots of post here about various compressors however I only now am forming a firm idea of what I looking for so please, give me some ideas. What might be a pleasing replacement of my Levelar(s) in order to get that sound?
  6. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Well that's just the sound that I love - and here's what I'm doing:

    - Peavey passive foundation 5 bass with T.I. Jazz Flats
    - Both pups; tone either full-up, or maybe backed-off a tad.
    - On-the-floor is a Boss NS-2 (bass plugs right into this), with a Boss CS-3 to an Aphex Bass Xciter in the loop (supressor's 'SEND' goes to compressor's 'IN'; compressor's 'OUT' to Xciter 'IN'; Xciter 'OUT' to supressor's 'RETURN'; Supressor's 'OUT' to amp head).
    - The NS-2 is set 3:30, full-CCW (left-to-right, per 'clock-face') - the threshold knob has to be set for your bass and playing, though.
    - The CS-3 is set 11:00, 3:00 (treble BOOST!), 1:30 (slower attack), approx 'noon' (hmm... maybe 11:00? ..but this last one has to be set for your bass' output)
    - The Aphex is set (left-to-right, per control panel markings) 5.5, 7.5, 6.5, 8.5
    - The recording was taken from the POST-out on a GK 700RBII, with the bass-boost ("5-string" button) OFF, conture OFF, presence 2:00, treble 10:30, high-mids CRANKED, low-mids and lows 12:00 - and the 'boost' control up a-ways for just a tad of that GK growl.

    Another thing that maybe shouldn't be forgotten is that I run a PA CABINET for a bottom (JBL JRX125), so my stage sound is just like the 'post-out' sound (minus a little-bit of lowest-lows)! Also - there was some more compression that went-onto the recorded track, but my amp-sound IS very similar to this. I am planning on adding a rack compressor into my head-insert in the future, and probably also a parametric EQ (that's the other difference between the recording and amp-head: I put a little - just a little - parametric 'bump' in the upper-mids on the track. I don't remember what freq right-off-hand.. But it was just a little-bit!).

    Here's another clip; if you want to hear the same setup, except with an ODB-3 distortion after the Xciter (on all-but the verses), and the bass set for bridge pup, tone rolled-off all-the-way:

    http://www.narwold.org/joep/Jungle Love (small).mp3

    The ODB is set: output=9:30 (set for the same VU-meter reading when engaged and not), bass=1:00, treble=11:00, blend=9:00, gain=2:30. Remember that for THIS high-gain sound, the remote-sensing noise supressor is MANDATORY!

    Still nice'n 'water-balloon-y'!