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Which compressor would you suggest?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Timmah, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Timmah

    Timmah Supporting Member

    May 19, 2011
    I've been on the hunt for a compressor lately, and someone gave me a gift card towards a pedal so I guess now is the time. I've been looking around on the Ovnilab site, but the terminology in the reviews confuses me a bit, particularly the line between "peak limiting" and "smoothing" or other uses for the effect. The reviews suggest certain pedals for certain applications so I want to be sure I'm looking for the right things.

    I play primarily aggressive fingerstyle with a little bit of slap (usually for fills and emphasis) and some pick, generally in a rock context. The biggest thing I'm looking for is to tame some peaks when I dig in and maybe to fatten/solidify the signal a little bit. Tone shaping or color is probably icing for my needs. I play a solid state head and an active bass (though sometimes a low output passive too). Am I looking for something for "smoothing" or "limiting" or something else? Thanks
  2. Paul M

    Paul M

    Jul 21, 2005
    My search ended with the TC Electronics Spectracomp. It's a mulit-band compressor with a lot of parameters that you can edit on your computer or with the Toneprint presets. It can sound like many types of compressors. I use a preset that is very transparent, it makes the whole range of my bass sound full and even without sounding compressed. It has other presets that can do the opposite and sound very compressed, like vintage Beatles or MoTown.

    I also own a Markbass Compressore. I don't use it because whenever I set the way I like, it actually sounds better bypassed! I tried a Diamond Bass Compressor in a store once. If I had found it first I might not be using a Spectracomp. The Diamond sounds very good to me, but it is not transparent.
    reggie hall and kat888 like this.
  3. What is your budget?
    Fuzzbass likes this.
  4. XLunacy


    Nov 28, 2013
    Whatever your choice, I'd grab a unit with some kind of visual feedback : MXR, Empress, FEA, Smoothie.
    Also :
    Compressor Reviews
    Have a look at the FAQ. Tons of reviews too !
    Philly Watts, chaak and John B jr like this.
  5. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Read this, then get a Diamond.

    Edit: Never mind. I see now that you're looking for some limiting. Just the same, read Compressor Reviews.

    ...Then get a Diamond.
    kat888 likes this.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Folks...paragraph 1, sentence 2: I've been looking around on the Ovnilab site
  7. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    For peak limiting on a budget, you can't beat the Boss LMB-3. Spend a bit more and you can get the Boss BC-1X, which bongo has reviewed as being particularly good for slapping and picking styles.
    seedokebass and Philly Watts like this.
  8. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
    If you are new to compressors it may be to your advantage to try one that don't have a lot of knobs and a LED light to let you know its working because you might be tweaking for days and some be working and you may not can tell.
  9. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Sounds like your primarily looking for a clean limiting type compressor pedal.

    I'd recommend the Keeley Bassist Limiting Amplifier for that. Zero coloration to your sound; provides very clean boost if you want any (there's enough gain on tap you can use it purely as a clean +30 dB boost pedal if you want to by setting Compression to 1:1); and just as polite as can be taming peaks while very gently thickening up your sound. My goto workhorse compressor.

    Thing I like best about it is it "just works." And you don't need a pilot's license to figure it out. You actually have to work at it to get a bad sound out of it. It doesn't have the number of controls you'll find on some compressors - including its big brother, the Keeley Pro. But everything you need for real-world use is right there.

    Cool tool. Highly recommended. :thumbsup:
    Rickter, Basstards, Fuzzbass and 7 others like this.
  10. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Keeley Bassist. Done.
  11. Twocan

    Twocan Living the Dream

    Oct 5, 2009
    Markbass Compressore will suit your needs fine... what's that? Why, yes! I have one for sale! What's that? Yes, I am in New England!
  12. taylor16


    Dec 25, 2012
    Keeley Bassist. Amazingly simple to use, very transparent. Love mine.
    Planespotter likes this.
  13. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Cali 76
  14. Mikey F

    Mikey F

    Aug 12, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I have had used Trace Elliot, MXR, EBS, Diamond, and FEA labs.
    The FEA optifet is never leaving my board.....ever. The Diamond was pretty cool too. The MXR was my least favorite.
    kat888 likes this.
  15. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    The Diamond is fffat!
    kat888 and Bodeanly like this.


    Nov 13, 2009
    Being new to compressors. I bought the Seymour Duncan Studio Bass. The clean blend and the controls make it very easy to get a great sound.
  17. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    It's just big boned.
  18. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    Well, as much as I love my EHX Black Finger (tube driven optical compressor), it doesn't sound, from your description, that it would be the right choice for you.

    I don't know a lot about compressors and I haven't tried out a lot of different ones either, I just know the Black Finger gives me exactly what I want, a slightly more defined and smooth bootsed output, while adding a fair deal of punch and some undefinable overall niceness to the tone of my bass.

    And while I don't agree with Bongomania's review of this particular pedal on his Ovnilab site, and therefor am sure we have far from the same taste in what a compressor should do, I am pretty convinced that his reviews by far are more qualified at guiding you to a compressor that would fill your needs than I am.

    Well, guess this didn't help you much, and I might just have posted for the sake of giving myself another chance to promote my favorite pedal and get another meak go at justifying it as a great compressor pedal.

    At least I know that while a compressor is a somewhat subtle effect, it does in fact do a huge difference for your overall tone, like the icing puts the dot above the i of a muffin, and makes it even more delicious for the eye as well as your taste receptors.

    If you prefer chocolate, strawberry, lemon or plain vanilla icing and weather you want it just evenly applied on your muffin or richly ornamented is not up to me to decide anyway.

    Good luck though.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  19. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    I jumped and bought a Fairfield Accountant and then learned it was not my thing. Sold it and got the Keeley Bassist. Done.

  20. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA

    From our resident compressor expert!

    I've had a number of comps come and go, the Smoothie is staying.
    Fuzzbass and red_rhino like this.

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