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What rack compressor?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bassman_2_1, Mar 9, 2008.


  1. bassman_2_1

    bassman_2_1

    Dec 31, 2005
    Looking for a really reliable good compressor. I was looking at buying a drawmer but there are so many choices so i cant be sure which one would suit me best. They seem pretty pricey too so might look second hand, just looking for any advice when buying as i am not using in a studio but just for live sound, Any recomendations that wouldnt cost me too much cash would be great! cheers
     
  2. Alaska Bass

    Alaska Bass

    Dec 31, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    A dbx 166 in good shape will work without coloring your tone much, and for a good price.
     
  3. santucci218

    santucci218

    Jan 26, 2007
    Pittsburgh
    find any post ever by bongomania and read his reviews till you find what you need.
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Here I am! :) Check the reviews in my sig. FWIW the Drawmer 1968 is supposed to be very nice on bass, but I haven't reviewed it yet because of the price. I also haven't reviewed the more affordable 241/251 because I have not yet read or heard even one comment saying they were worth the price. I'm sure they're very nice and clean, but there are a lot less expensive units that get a lot more love from bassists.
     
  5. I bought a dbx 1066 from a fellow TBer and I can't say enough about it. Love it. So far I am just using it with basic settings that dbx suggest but have started to tweak things a bit. It's 2 channel with stereo coupling.
    And the best thing.......lots of pretty flashing lights! :D

    I was a little intimidated with the 1066 at first and I am only part way up the learning curve but high recommendation anyways.

    P.S. read Bongo's reviews. That's where I started.
     
  6. JohnDavisNYC

    JohnDavisNYC

    Jan 11, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar, D'Addario
    the drawmer is pretty cool. i have used the 1960 a bunch (the version of the 1968 that has mic pres in it) and it is cool, but not what i would call a go to bass compressor... compression is so specific to style...

    i am a big fan of the DBX 160A or T or XT... the simplicity of them, high quality of parts, and tone are all great for bass... they can sound a bit 'pinched' with tons of gain reduction happening, but for light compression, they can sound really round and nice.

    my favourite all around is a nice 1176. we have 2 of them at my studio, one of which was modified by purple audio, and that one is amazing on bass... it is really tight and 'rigid' feeling. the flexibility of an 1176 is unbeatable, and for me, that makes it my desert island compressor for bass.

    LA4 can be cool, too.... it is very transparent, but can be a bit grainy... good for aggressive rock sounds that need to be controlled dynamically.

    as far as flat out tone goes, i have a federal am864/u that is totally killing for bass. it is smooth, deep, and the time constants are pretty much perfectly matched to my playing. it has one knob, which is the input gain, so this thing either is perfect for your playing and tone, or it isn't....

    also amazing is my Gates Sta-Level... it is very similar to a Fairchild 660... the particular 6386 based vari-mu compression of this box enhances low frequencies in a really nice way, but sometimes it is too 'pretty' sounding... more of my go-to vocal comp than bass comp...

    i would stay away from any cheaper rack compressors, like the dbx ones with a billion knobs, because generally they are IC fests inside, and don't really improve tone..

    i look at compressors as devices that not only affect the level of an instrument, but affect the tonal color of it... different time constants, make up gain amp designs, and transformers all create different compressors that can be chosen for their tonal imprint, not just their ability to 'control peaks'....

    but yeah, compressors are fun.

    john
     
  7. JohnDavisNYC

    JohnDavisNYC

    Jan 11, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar, D'Addario
    oh, bongo... awesome compressor review page... one minor correction, however... the main difference between a dbx 160a and an x or xt is that the x and xt are both transformer balanced (hence the slightly better, thicher tone) whereas the a is not.

    yay compression.

    john
     
  8. Chronicle

    Chronicle

    Sep 13, 2006
    NY
    I'm gonna buy the Aphex 204 once my tax refund comes in.
     
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Actually I own an XT and it is not transformer balanced. The description I wrote of the technical differences is copied from information provided by Jim Williams (AudioUpgrades) who is known for the internal work he does on these units. However I have heard of people modifying the X/XT to have an output transformer, so perhaps you've got (or have used) a modified unit.
     
  10. JohnDavisNYC

    JohnDavisNYC

    Jan 11, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar, D'Addario
    really? that is wierd.... i have only ever used ones with transformers... well, you learn something new every day.

    john
     
  11. I have a Symetrix 501 that I love. It is a single channel compressor, but it is like having two compressors in one. There is the RMS side, which compresses your regular playing, and a peak limiter that helps tame those really hard spikes from slapping. It doesn't mess with my tone, just cleans it up a bit and makes it punchier.
     
  12. JohnDavisNYC

    JohnDavisNYC

    Jan 11, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar, D'Addario
    some interwebs research shows that an output transformer was a factory option, and there is a jensen model specified if you want to install yourself.

    john
     
  13. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Generally I want transparency even when I occasionally use a high ratio and a low threshold. The Rane DC24 dual-band compressor does that with a nifty top-notch crossover that can be recombined (that's how you get dual-band compression when biamping or not), and throws in two channels of downward noise expansion/gating and limiting at the end of each chain. Good metering, and very easy to use (one of the few that sounds good without having to set attack and release), and tough to get a BAD sound out of it.
     

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