What Compressor are you using?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BluesBrian, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. BluesBrian


    Aug 16, 2004
    S.F. East Bay
    Anyone with suggestions about which compressor to get?
  2. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I have a Keeley Compressor that I really like, but in my bass rack I have a BBE MAXCOM, which is a compressor and sonic maximizer together in one unit. The meters in it are cheap, but they work well, as does the unit. It's worth a look.
  3. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Compressors suck. I would suggest practicing technique. That's my opinion. Or, get the DBX 166a.
  4. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    That's quite a statement there. If you think compressors suck, then I would suggest learning how to operate one.

    Of course, to much of anything is a bad thing...
  5. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Uhhh, compressors are one of the most widely used effects for recording. The only "suck" if you set them to. :)

    I use a simple Behringer Composer Pro. It sounds good, is reliable and is also relatively inexpensive. I have also used Fairchilds and really do not see what all the hype is about.
  6. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    I think you read my statement the wrong way. Compressors suck, suck tone. If you are trying to level playing volumes live, practice. Compressors are great tools in the studio. Especially the 3000 dollar old school tube stuff. They leave tone alone. You wouldn't want to be carrying one of those around with you. I had a DBX 166a for years and used it on everything, then one day I turned it off and the tone was amazing. I since have learned to play with "manually compression" in mind. I learned this from Nathan East. Controlled playing.
  7. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Controlled playing is great and admirable, but those "old school" compressors were anything but transparent. Pultechs, UREIs, Fairchilds, Neves, these were all great sounding compressors but they had definite sonic signatures.

    The dbx 166a has a sonic signature too. You don't care for it. Neither do I. But that doesn't mean "compressors suck tone."

    My faves for bass are the Manley El-Op and the Purple Audio MC77, followed by the Empirical Labs Distressor, the Drawmer DL241, and the FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor.

    Haven't tried too many pedal compressors for bass, though I plan to soon.
  8. Eldermike


    Jul 27, 2004
    I have been using a Presonus Eureka Channel Strip for recording. I am going to try it live. It has both eq and compressor and some other sonic abilities to emulate tube. Compression is like salt on eggs, you have to have it but one shake to much and you can't stand it.
  9. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Let me ask this. What is the price range? What is the main usage(live or studio)? I love the manley also, used it on the latest recording, but $1800 to $2000 is a lot for a traveling rig comp, unless your doing sound. I haven't tried the purple yet, looks cool.
  10. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Oh, I agree, the Manley and Purple Audio are too expensive for live use unless you're in the absolute top tier (of income or talent, say the Eagles or Anthony Jackson).

    That said, a lot of session bassists use them. But for the road, that's hard to justify.

    The Distressor is about $1200, the Drawmer is about $700, and the FMR is about $200 or a bit less.

    Of the last three, the FMR is actually the cleanest and the least colored, but it can work *too* well for some bass sounds- it can be set with the release too fast so that it will actually track a low frequency waveform, which can result in distortion. But at moderate settings, it offers truly transparent compression.

    The Drawmer is quite nearly as transparent as the FMR, but isn't fast enough to distort on low waveforms. A better choice for bass in some cases, but over three times the cost.

    The Distressor is just an awesome awesome thing. Google for more, though I recommend www.mercenary.com.
  11. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I LOVE the Distressor. The "Nuke" setting has to be heard to be believed.

    Most people, even if they are not comping at the source are usually going through a comp at FOH anyway.
  12. EBS Multi-Comp - superfly funky sounds and a nice Gain boost to any sound - I like it for the funk etc - gives my fingerstyle a little more punch without me having to dig in as hard - but when I do dig in - it's even cooler, I'd recommend trying one of them.
  13. DB5


    Jul 3, 2001
    Austin Texas
    Just a touch of RNC for me at the board.
  14. Aaron J

    Aaron J

    Jul 16, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    EHX Black Finger. Great pedal. Can go from very transparent to very fat and tubey sounding. I have been using the later sound on a weekly salsa gig with wonderful results. You can also overdrive the tubes by cranking the pre-gain and get a really nice and warm (not over the top) grind. It is not a pedal for those who just like to plug and play. There a five knobs that are very interactive and it takes some time to get used to the pedal.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have a Black Finger too. I agree with everything in your post. Great, transparent compressor, and can do some pretty wild stuff too. And a very high learning curve.
  16. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Y'know, it's kinda funny...I have a pretty good collection of compressors: Avalon, Manley, Retrospec Squeeze Box,RMC, TL Audiio, Universal Audio, LA2A, Empirical Labs,Joe Meek...even a dbx 166, but I had not until very recently been using any comp on bass in a live setting (all the above are in my studio).

    Of late I have been using an Aphez Punch Factory pedal to tame the wild and wide dynamic range of piezo PUs. Just a touch, if my own dynamics get a bit wild (I have been for a long time an avid believer in manual control of dynamics rather than electronic squeezing of them).
    The Punch Factory is a real nice optical comp, very transparent and musical. Small footprint, easy to use, just enough dynamic control to tame rather than obliterate the dynamics of playing.... Really nice in my solo shows....

  17. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    aaggh.typos...meant Aphex..not aphez (but that's kinda a cool name, too).

  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well, I haven't used one for the last 27 years but I just put a dbx 160A in my new rig, and have been playing with it. My first gig with the new rig is tomorrow, so we'll see if I join the ranks of the compressors.
  19. Finger Blister

    Finger Blister

    Jul 8, 2003

    No they don't.
    When dialed in correctly, a compressor gives punch and sustain.

    Allow me to share an opinion regarding
    the ol' "Compressor to cover uneven attack Myth"

    Every recording you have ever heard has compression on Bass.
    Even those guys (like Stu Hamm) who "don't use compression"
    have Bass compressed on their recordings and when they
    are pumped through the PA in concert.

    I've never known anyone to use compression to cover
    bad technique or the "even playing level" myth.
    Compression requires even better technique because
    fret clank, string zip, and other lower volume nuances
    (improperly dampened strings) are boosted and made louder
    under compression.

    Most Bassist who hate compression,
    contrary to popular belief,
    is because it magnifies sloppy playing.

    Been using a Behringer Composer Pro MDX 2200
    for quite some time now.

    It's just fine for stage.
    Almost doubles apparent volume without farting out.
    And provides a couple of extra XLR DI's Out.

    If your dealing with a soundman, they will have compressors for you (or them) to use.

    If your in the studio, they will have studio quality compressors
    for you (or them) chose and use.


    If you have pedal FX that require compression, go with a
    pedal compressor.

    If you are looking for gain staging, extra volume, and speaker protection,
    go with a gangable stereo rackmount.
  20. I just picked up a MaxCom and like it so far. Besides being a good quality compressor (similar to a dbx 166a), it's also a BBE Sonic Maximizer, and a noise gate. I'm going to have to play with it a bunch more before I realize its true potential... but at this point I'd have to say it's a very nice package.