What compressor do you use, and why?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by H K, Feb 7, 2023.

  1. H K

    H K

    Jun 18, 2021
    Looking to streamline my pedalboard, as its a mess and mix. I'd like to hear what you guys use, and why, and maybe you might even use TWO compressors?

    Lay it on me
    Dennis Layman and Fuzzbass like this.
  2. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Personally, I use a Source Audio Atlas. It's literally the last word in Compression. It's dual channel, it's got dual compressors per channel, so many compressor models to choose from and it sounds great.
    logdrum, AlvarHanso, N4860 and 6 others like this.
  3. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Origin Cali76 compact bass, it just sounds so good and aggressive without sounding compressed.
  4. MXR Studio Compressor. Transparent and easy to dial. Also, because of LED indicator.

    I used to use a JHS Pulp'N'Peel v4. IMO, one of the best compressors I've ever used. I will probably get one in the future (I have had and sold 2). However, the fact that it doesn't have a LED indicator makes me rethink about purchasing it again.
    E Joe and chuck65 like this.
  5. RevOgre

    RevOgre Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2015
    Lakewood, OH
    I'm A/B testing the Cali76 and Empress Bass Compressor. Both are great and I can't decide but I think right now the Cali76 is winning? Maybe?
  6. Derek Williams

    Derek Williams Gold Supporting Member

    May 14, 2020
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I use 3: Lusithand Alma and Effectrode LA-1A are always on, very light compression and tone shaping. I also use a Source Audio Atlas when I want "real" compression, but it's usually off. Don't ask me to pick a favourite :D I recommend all 3.
  7. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Darkglass Hyper Luminal

    good amount of control, clean blend, 3 nice sounding models, LED gain reduction indicator.

    Pros: versatility, sound, LED readout. “All buttons on” 1176 setting (very heavy squish) is amazing. Superb build quality, small footprint.

    Cons: not the simplest to use. Comp ratio is set to preset steps instead of a smooth sweep. Not quite either a “tone fattener” or a clinical, clean compressor. Some early units seemed to have had power issues (fixed on later models)
    SiSoldier, pcake, Jxff and 4 others like this.
  8. Polfuste


    Sep 10, 2010
    South France
    Keeley bassist here. First idea was more to limit peaks than other things. But this thing is magic: it brings one more life level to the sound without changing the natural one. Like if bass sound have been "mastered". And so easy to set up... Magic.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    *Seymour Duncan DoubleBack

    *Resident comp on Tech 21 Bass Fly Rig

    *dbx160 emulation on Zoom B3n

  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Aguilar DB599. Simple and solid. Previously had the TC Electronic SpectraComp. Horrible pedal. Tone Prints got way too much going on for me. Kept getting weird sound anomalies. Had to go.
  11. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Either a Markbass Compressore or a BBE Opto Stomp, mk1. The BBE is dirt simple to use and always delivers a really transparent compression that is very hard to mess up and plays well with everything you throw at it. The Markbass imparts a nice flavor, but is real finicky to dial in. It makes your tone THICC, but so is the pedal. It's a space hog.
  12. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    An MXR M87 is always on for my base bass tone (see what I did there?). When I kick on my Tech21 MP40, I add an EBS Multicomp 3 after it to help keep the Geddy fenced in.
    javi_bassist, E Joe, chuck65 and 2 others like this.
  13. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    My compressor journey has been a pretty short one compared to other pedals (dirt and preamps).

    Aguilar TLC: My first comp. Bought because "you gotta have a comp".
    Either I was to green to set it up properly or it was not my unit at all - at higher settings I had dip&swell and at lower settings I could not hear if it's on or off.
    MXR bass comp: Many moons later I got this one. The metering made all the difference for me. I could see what's going on and set the unit accordingly. I used it late in the chain and it was hit by a signal with a lot of bass EQ turned up, which could cause it to introduce farting sounds when redlining. Apart from that, a solid choice, fairly transparent. One thing that gave me trouble was that the gain/threshold (I forgot what it was called) knob had all the important range between 1 o'clock and 01:00:01.
    Keeley Bassist: Very transparent. Boring.
    Empress comp MkII: The best metering out there. Superior to the MXR in basically every aspect.
    The pedal itself felt surprisingly light. Side chain HPF. It felt like it introduced a certain harshness into my sound, using the color options only made that worse. I liked the idea and the execution, but I did not like the sound.
    Cali 76 CB: The perfect compressor for my application. It's fast, it can limit peaks, when compressing, my ear tells me it gets fatter and warmer - the corners sound rounded off. Sidechain HPF, too.

    Effectrode LA-1A: This would be a comp that you use for sweetening up your tone and get sustain for days, but not really useful for peak limiting (too slow). You also introduce that certain timbre that is done by very well executed tube circuits that run super clean without introducing noise.
  14. _One//Man//Mutiny_

    _One//Man//Mutiny_ Gold Supporting Member

    I’m all in on the Diamond bass Comp big one on the main board, Jr on the smaller board and a spare big one, not that I’d ever need it.
    Nice fattening tone sweeter. Just a very pleasing compressor I run at the very beginning of my chain to give a consistent even response that sweetens my tone up, hasn’t met a bass it hasn’t worked well with. Not the most tweakable comp out there, but I’ve found it to be the most easily repeatable and consistent. The mid shift switch and tilt eq gives it more range than what initially meets the eye
  15. Al T.

    Al T. Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2006
    Richmond, VA.
    I still have my original Ovni FX Smoothie v.1. It is, for me, a set and forget pedal. It sweetens the tone and makes my bass sound better.
  16. NoSlapForYou


    Jan 9, 2019
    Durham, NC
    I use the Whirlwind Bass Compressor. I got it because I had their EQ pedal already and loved it. I actually was using the Empress as my compressor, which I know everyone loves, but I felt it changed my tone too much. It also was kind of noisy. I saw the Whirlwind at a great price and decided to give it a try.

    I'm not disappointed. It's an always-on pedal. It's hard for me to explain why. I like optical compressors on bass in general. I also feel like the effect on my tone of this pedal is minimal, and the changes it does make are for the better. It tightens up the low end -- probably because it grabs those frequencies harder -- and it gives a pleasant squishiness to the attack of notes when I really dig in. Idk, I suck at describing compression.

    All I know is I never would have thought I'd own a compressor that I leave on all the time. Most of my life, I've generally preferred a more "natural" sound.
  17. RustfeatherBass

    RustfeatherBass Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2022
    Haverhill, MA
    I use the Wampler Ego Mini as always-on, set and forget bass comp. It’s tiny, and does exactly what I want; adds punch, evens things out, it’s quiet, has a clean blend. Also great on guitar.

    I no longer use a pedal board, so it lives in the head case.
    E Joe, Auspuff, JRA and 1 other person like this.
  18. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    My first compressor was an EBS Multicomp v.1. I really liked the simplicity of the pedal but eventually wanted more control over certain parameters. I sold it and got a Cali76 Compact Bass which is the best compressor I've ever tried in my life. It just makes everything sound better.
    I also got a Markbass Compressore that adds that tube magic to compression and recently got also a Source Audio Atlas that is probably the most complete and versatile compressor in the market nowadays.
    If I was about to buy my first compressor, I'd probably get one Source Audio Atlas. It has many available presets from the community of users and you'll get a great compressor that'll fit your needs. There's not much you can't do with it.
    If I had already some experience with compression and just wanted a quality one that provides what I need, then the Cali76 Compact Bass is the best answer.
    cosmicevan and Phaidrus like this.
  19. El Trueno

    El Trueno Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2022
    I’m with you. I had a SpectraComp and that thing sucked. Tone prints are not for me, it seems.
    I dont use compression much but if I do, I use the MXR M87. It’s transparent, easy to dial in and has LEDs. I also have a Boss BC-1X but I haven’t gotten to grips with it. It colors my tone, and actually sounds good - BUT I prefer the transparent M87.
  20. kmon

    kmon Supporting Member

    May 11, 2009
    Chocolate Disneyland
    The big diamond and the origin compact bass, the latter replaced the former. The origin evens things out and fattens things up, I started with the basic compression preset from the manual. Works for me.

    I could go back to the diamond any time and be happy. But I give the Cali76 the edge on this particular day.