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Where to place a compressor in your chain

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Musicman1901, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Musicman1901

    Musicman1901 Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I have a very large array of effects and have just traded for a compressor. Alot of people say to put it first in the chain but I have also heard people say to put it after envelope filters as they rely on your attack and touch so much and the compressor will affect this. I have no experience with compressors as i've never used one. This is my chain now in order.

    loop 1-fuzz
    loop 2-chorus-ring mod-flanger
    loop 3-Fuzz-Envelope Filter-Pitchfactor-Booster-Delay
    After the looper it goes to a tremolo which splits my signal.
    The first output goes to my amp. The second output goes to a rat then an eq then my other amp. Obviously the compressor wont go on a loop so I guess i'm wondering if it should go in the beginning of my chain or after my loops before my tremolo splits the signal
  2. bass - comp - all the rest of what ever you have there....

    But try to experiment. You can get different sound response depending on where you insert the compressor.
  3. I put the comp after my envelopes, octave and drive. It smooths out the peaks that these can cause. Mainly the octave and envelopes.
  4. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
  5. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I put my tuner and Envelope filters before the comp, since the filter is sensitive to the playing level of your fingers.

    I put all the dirt after (Fuzz, OD).
    And put my preamp at the end of the chain.

    So my signal chain goes:

  6. I have used a compressor after a looper before. It can be quite effective if you play the loop section with a slightly reduced volume or attack. Then if you solo over the loop section, you can bring up your volume or attack which will allow your live performance to come up on top of the looped part, while the compressor reduces the overall volume back to where it should be. Depends what you're using the looper for, I guess.

    Edit: Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

    Edit2: And watching that clip I now realize what horrible left-hand thumb position I have! :eek:
  7. Musicman1901

    Musicman1901 Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Heres the thing, I agree with the idea of putting the filter before the comp but I need the filter in that 3rd loop for a few reasons (songs and stuff I use it for etc) so If I want to run the filter before the omp I essentiall have to run that entire loop before the compressor
  8. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Just try different places to put the comp. I'm certain you are going to find a way to place it where it sounds cool to you.
  9. BassManPatsFan

    BassManPatsFan Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    San Francisco
    I find that my compressor (EBS multi-comp set to tube sim) works best toward the beginning of my signal. I plug straight into my overdrive (Swell B-pro) then I have my tuner, fuzz (Depth Charge) and then my comp. I find that dirt pedals sound better if you feed them an uncompressed signal and compress it slightly after.

    Experiment and find what works best for you. Every pedalboard is different and playing with pedal order is sometimes half the fun.
  10. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Mine is the very first pedal in the chain.
  11. Musicman1901

    Musicman1901 Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Yeah I was wondering about dirt pedals. I was thinking running a compressed signal into dirt pedals might not be as good as running dirt first then compress it after. I dont know though as I have never used one. I guess i'll mess with it once it gets here
  12. coyote1


    Mar 23, 2012
    Stick players tend to put it first, to smooth out those attacks and make them more consistent.

    You could of course have two comps, one before and one after. If the stuff you're doing on a particular passage demands lage variance in attack, simply put the first comp on bypass.

  13. bludog


    Apr 3, 2012
    Brooklyn 11217
    Some think it's excessive but I actually have 3 comrpessors on my rig. Each have their place given my needs.

    1. One that's first: Cali76TX
    -I do this for the color it adds to my pre-effected tone

    2. One that's after my Gain effects: 3Leaf PWNZOR
    -I like to compress the gain sometimes for certain applications. Also sometimes the pre-gain compression is not good for germanium Fuzz (IMO).

    3. One that is just before my volume pedal/time effects: Analogman Juicer (Orange Squeezer Clone)
    -Surprisingly, this is my favorite of my compressors (hard to choose though). It's very effecty and I like what it does to my sound be it by itself or after a bunch of stacked effects. It's go to be after the modulation and before the time-based effects for me.

    As you can see, I use my comps more for effect than utility. I could give one up but with a big board I really don't have to - besides I like them too much. Based on my experience I could see reason to have the comp first, middle or (nearly) last in the chain. All depends on your needs.

    EDIT: There are also times where I'll stack 2 compressors without any other effects engaged. This works regardless of where you place them.
  14. My FEA Labs Dual Band Compressor is right at the beginning after the noise gate. I set the main, low-end compression level fairly low so I retain a lot of my dynamics, just a tad bit more controlled. I use a filter, but it just enhances the effect in my opinion. Now when I solo, I crank in the other side and squash it a tad more, but I don't generally use my filter whilst solo'ing.
  15. BryanB

    BryanB Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    theRocco likes this.

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