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What does a compressor do?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by de la mocha, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    All this time, I had it on my effect processor but never even messed with it. Yes i'm a newbie....
  2. seventhson

    seventhson Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    it evens out the high and low volume in your signal. if someone were talking, it would boost their whispers and turn down their shouts to (for example) normal talking levels. The range between quiet and loud is called dynamic range. A compressor basically squashes the dynamic range. It's a useful device for bass playing because going from fingerstyle to slap is a huge dynamic range. So if you're playing at a good volume fingerstyle, the slap can really pop the speaker if that signal is not attenuated a little. And even if you're just playing fingerstyle, it evens out the volume.

    Some bass players swear by them. Some hate em.

    There are sound samples on: http://www.analogman.com/rossmod.htm#comp

    You'll probably listen to those sound samples and say "***? i don't hear any effect at all!" That's because popular music recordings are really compressed using studio compressors. but it's definitely something you would notice playing live.
  3. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    Thanks for explaining this so well! I'm gonna fiddle with mine right now...
  4. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    Here is a great post, mostly writen by fretlessbass and slightly modified by me, that explains compression basics very nicely.