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Whirlwind OC Bass Optical Compressor

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by stingray56funk, Dec 29, 2013.


  1. stingray56funk

    stingray56funk Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Atlanta
    Just got this in from Sweetwater. Very nice comp! Love having the switch between compression and limiting in conjunction with the different attack settings.

    I thought the pedal would be physically larger than it is but it turns out it is a nice size and doesn't take up too much real estate on my board.

    I was hoping it would have the same juicy EQ effect the Diamond has but it does not. Just as Bongo has said, it is cleaner but not completely on the clinical end either. What it does have is headroom for days and no noise! Love it!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. LSMFT6

    LSMFT6 Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    California
    None
    Right on. I bought mine directly from Bongo and I love it. I don't change the settings, but it's good that they give you lots of options.
     
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  4. rmars

    rmars

    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    Cool. I recently switched from a Markbass to a Diamond but the Whirlwind was on my short list as well. Still want to try one. I like the effect the Diamond adds but I'd kind of like to have a second compressor that's more transparent. How is the Whirlwind at adding punch? The Diamond is a punch machine.
     
  5. stingray56funk

    stingray56funk Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Atlanta
    Definitely adds punch. Transparent with headroom and punch. I'm not as much a slapper as I used to be, but this thing is fantastic for slap bass and cool effected slap bass like the 80's. Think The Time.
     
  6. Jman2089

    Jman2089 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    San Jose, Ca
    Have you had a chance to try a pwnzor for comparison? I'm drawn to the limiter portion of the whirlwind. I like the reviews this pedal is getting.
     
  7. LSMFT6

    LSMFT6 Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    California
    None
    I recently A/Bed the Whirlwind with a Diamond and I actually prefer the Whirlwind. The attack is a lot more natural sounding to me and that's great for punch. I like how the Whirlwind handles the lows without the need for a Tone knob too.
     
  8. rmars

    rmars

    Jan 2, 2004
    Bettendorf, Ia
    My Diamond can add a ridiculous amount of punch so if the Whirlwind adds more that would be impressive. Not sure what you mean about the lows though. Set flat I have no loss of lows with the Diamond, it does tighten up the bottom so I can see how someone might initially perceive it that way (especially at higher compression settings). Set flat the eq tilt is true to my tone and it just boost highs or lows depending on how I turn the knob.
     
  9. eeyorebass

    eeyorebass

    Jan 2, 2008
    Anyone had a chance to A/B the Whirlwind with the Empress comp?
     
  10. stingray56funk

    stingray56funk Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Atlanta
    I have not used a pwnzor, but have heard good things. The limiting portion of this pedal is very usable and adds the versatility to it that I like.
     
  11. stingray56funk

    stingray56funk Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Atlanta
    Fantastic!

    May I ask which basses you were using? Passive or Active?
     
  12. stingray56funk

    stingray56funk Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    Atlanta
    +1
     
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I didn't directly AB them, but I can tell you the main distinctions IMO are that the Whirlwind has a stronger low end, while the Empress offers more detailed/refined controls and metering.
     
  14. eeyorebass

    eeyorebass

    Jan 2, 2008
    Resurrecting this thread because it's the most recent one I could find specifically about the OC Bass compressor. I emailed Whirlwind to get some more information, and I thought I'd share here. Hopefully, it's helpful for others:

    I asked, What are the ratios for the Compress and Limiter settings? and is it a soft-knee or hard-knee action? and What are the attack and release times for the different Attack settings?

    They said:
    "My first reaction is "This isn't that type of compressor limiter".
    Very approximate numbers are:
    In Compress mode it is in the neighborhood of 2 or 3 to 1. In limit mode its more like 6 or 8 to 1.
    In Limit-Fast mode its around 5 ms attack. In slow mode its around 50ms attack.
    Release times are around 100 to 200 ms.

    These numbers really don't help you understand the OC-Bass at all.
    The control characteristics of optical compressors is non-linear in that changing the control current for the LED in the optical circuit does not have a linear relationship to the amount of attenuation. This is the nature of optical compressors.
    Like old Fender amps and many effects processors, we relied heavily on listening tests in designing the product.
    Hours and hours of listening determined the various tradeoffs."

    Hope this helps others.

    jeremy
     
  15. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    Even though the LED current vs CdS resistance has a nonlinear relationship in an opto, the side-chain control circuit should be compensating for that nonlinearity if designed correctly (for both feed-forward and feedback designs). Opto's vary wildly from one part to the next, so the side-chain control circuit should be able to compensate for these and other nonlinearities within the circuit. A good design will give you the proper dB reduction regardless of the nonlinear components used in the circuit. Feedback style of optical compression has the benefit of the control circuit accurately correcting opto nonlinearities by 'seeing' what the opto is doing and instantly adjusting for it.

    Feed-forward opto designs don't have the benefit of the side-chain 'seeing' what the opto is doing like in a feedback style. Thus, the opto's need to be carefully measured and selected for proper matching to the control circuit in feed-forward designs.

    -Frank
     
  16. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

    I'll zombie the thread again to ask a question: I have a Whirlwind and have been using it, but not sure I'm using it right - bought it based on the reviews on @bongomania 's ovnilabs site. What I'm confused about is what exactly the "input gain" knob is doing. The manual says it "controls how much compression/limiting is applied to the signal." the Ovnilabs review describes it as a threshold control. When I crank it all the way left (in compression mode, medium attack, output volume at noon), I get low volume and the LEDs show very little compression happening. When I crank it all the way right, without changing the other settings, I get a lot more volume and the LEDs max out. That doesn't seem to me to be a threshold, at least not as I understand it, that seems like an actual gain stage - so it's simultaneously boosting the signal (when cranked right) but ALSO compressing it more? Can someone explain what exactly it's doing?

    If it helps, the application I'm trying to use it for is this; I put it at the end of my effects chain after a VT Bass Deluxe; it's tricky to get the various channels of the VT to have the same gain output, so the compression is to keep the gain going to my amp even when I switch channels. I've tweaked them to keep it pretty close, but the compression is for a final smoothing-out of the signal. Thoughts?
     
  17. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    With most non-VCA compressors, the distinction between threshold and input gain is blurred. Sometimes it's hard to say which is which without a word from the designer, who themselves is under mandate from marketing and finance to keep it simple and use as many design shortcuts as possible--and the idea of using input gain to control threshold is one of the most common shortcuts they all use.
     
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  18. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

    So how does it usually work? Is it sort of two-controls-in-one, which increases the gain as you turn the knob right but simultaneously lowers (or raises?) the threshold or increases the compression ratio or something?
     
  19. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Depends. Mainly it's just input gain. However with many common circuits, the ratio and knee change dramatically depending on the strength of the signal you feed into it.