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Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? #2980424
03/17/19 10:07 AM
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Winston Psmith Offline OP
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I am somewhat reluctantly considering a Compressor for my current pedalboard rig. I've had a couple of versions of the Boss Compressors in the past, as well as a RI MXR Dyna Comp; wasn't really taken with any of those.

I'm hoping to spend $150US or less, closer to $100 if possible, and I'd prefer something I don't have to order online just to try out. I don't need a combo of Comp/Boost or Comp/OD, just a straight-up Compressor.

So, what's your favorite Squeeze box?


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980432
03/17/19 11:46 AM
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My favorite was my MXR Comp. I had the MXR Dyna comp and +1 I didn't care for it. The Dyna worked well in front of the Distortion and OD but on it's own it didn't do anything for me. If you accidently had the knobs set wrong it would kill your volume when you kicked it in. The old MXR Comp on the other hand worked great. One of my buds who was a store owner and a super talented guitar player snapped it up when I put it up for sale...you can get a great clean boost with it or run it in front of the Dist and OD and really get some heavy sustain and gain... cool


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Larryz] #2980438
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@Larryz; I'm seeing a black box called a Super Comp; is that the one?

The Dyna Comp was the first Compressor pedal to use VCA's, IIRC, and yeah, it could clamp down on your signal if it was set wrong. Not good.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980449
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I'm not sure if there have been any changes Winston...as mine was an older model. It looked just like the M132 Super Comp which sells for $89 bucks and may be just like the one I had. MXR also makes a studio comp for $189 bucks that looks interesting... cool


Take care, Larryz
Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Larryz] #2980455
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Originally Posted By: Larryz
I'm not sure if there have been any changes Winston...as mine was an older model. It looked just like the M132 Super Comp which sells for $89 bucks and may be just like the one I had. MXR also makes a studio comp for $189 bucks that looks interesting... cool


Thanks for that, I'm sure we're looking at the same thing.

Well between those price points, Sweetwater has a nice Keeley Comp with custom artwork (colorful blue box, instead of black) for $130. Looking at Compressors, somewhere around $90 - 140 seems to be the mid-point. Quite a few $200+ offerings, but I'm not that committed.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980475
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I have an FMR Really Nice Compressor in my rack for recording. http://www.fmraudio.com/rnc.html it seems to have some really nice settings. I use it for all of my guitar and vocal input. I do not know how well it would work in a pedal-board as once it is on it stays on. I also have an ART Tube compressor https://www.zzounds.com/item--ARTPROCHANNELII in my rack as well The guitar goes into that, then into The Really Nice Compressor. The two of them smooth out the dynamic range so well I never have to compress those tracks once inside my recording app.

I think The Really Nice Compressor would work well for live but it has no stomp feature.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: desertbluesman] #2980486
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Keeley makes some great quality pedals Winston, so you can't go wrong with that manufacturer from what I hear. I only have one and it's the Memphis Sun which is more of a Delay and I really like it. It does not use batteries and must use a power supply. I'm not sure if all of them are set up that way, but I always use a power supply anyway...something to consider if you like using batteries. cool


Take care, Larryz
Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Larryz] #2980491
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My guitar hits a Barber Tone Press first, then into my rack. It's pretty transparent & definitely provides good sustain & evening out of my inconsistent playing. I suspect some of the newer comps which emulate UA 1176 studio comps do a better job, but of the devices I've used (basically MXR & Boss) the Barber is the best I've run across. I recall it being somewhere in the $120 range a decade ago.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Scott Fraser] #2980498
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I tried a few different compressors, (MXR, Yamaha, a few others) but was never able to make them work consistently.
Then I tried the VFE White Horse, and it did the job for me.

The reason it worked where the others didn't was it had a blend knob, allowing me to adjust the output between the affected and unaffected signals.

IF you're gonna work with a compressor and haven't had much luck with them in the past, get one with a blend knob. There are a number of them out there now, and I'm sure you can find one for $150 or less if you look.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: picker] #2980523
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Never had a compressor- don’t even fully understand what they do or why you’d need one.

BUT...

Keeley does make really good pedals, and I have a few. Definitely worthy of consideration.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #2980540
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Thanks, all!

@Scott Fraser - I've seen the Barber Tone Press at my FLUMS; not sure if they have one now, but I'll check it out.

@Picker - The Keeley I'm looking at has a Blend knob, which is a serious consideration for me, too.

@Dannyalcatraz - IME, Compression & EQ pedals are among the most misunderstood, and thus mis-used, effects in the arsenal. I'm not generally a fan of either, considering them more studio tools than pedal effects.

Here's a gross oversimplification: Compressors contour your signal by clamping down on signal peaks, while boosting low-level signals. (The latter is why some people think of Compressors as noisy, because they can boost low-level noise, interpreting it as low-level signal.) There are legions of graphs & illustrations if you search on "Compressed vs Uncompressed Signal" to give you a better idea, but in general, the Compressed signal looks "smoother", if not clipped.

I want one to help smooth out the peaks & transients generated by my E-Bow, which hasn't been getting enough use lately. I've always used a Volume Pedal with an E-Bow, but lately, a Compressor seems like it would be a useful addition.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980543
03/18/19 10:54 AM
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On my guitar pedal board, I've got the MXR Super Comp. I like it better than the DynaComp, but to me it's still an effect for use on certain songs/styles or with certain guitars, not a leave on all the time pedal.

My favorite compressor had been an Electro Harmonix Black Finger tube compressor, which I used both live and in studio work, but mostly with bass. As a regular compressor, it was smooth and kind of warm; in "squash" mode, it was an amazing effect, especially on fretless bass. Unfortunately, it was very sensitive to certain power outlets, and anything low-powered or dirty would make it have random UFO sounds. Could also need new tubes... For your purposes, it's probably too big and expensive, as well. I replaced it last year with a Pigtronix Micro Philosopher. I like it, but again it's not a leave-on thing for me. Others I looked at and still think are pretty good are the EH Tone Corset the guitar version of the Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone, and the T-Rex Neo Comp.

I'm wondering if you need more of the limiting effect for peaks, rather than the true compression of the whole signal (which includes the raising of the quieter signals). Especially since you're intending to use it with an E-Bow. Maybe a Boss LMB-3 Bass Limiter Enhancer? (it's not just for bass anymore!) or Keeley GC2? It's a little more than you wanted to spend ($199) but maybe a good used one will be in your range.

Interesting note on a website for a Keeley comp:
"Tone Control and Blend
None – You don’t need a tone control or a blend control on a compressor. In fact, it’s not a good idea in our opinion. If you want a blend control, you are undoing your compressor. Instead, set the Threshold high and only let peaks be processed and then set the Compression Ratio to 2:1 or 4:1. Much smarter. Tone control? None hear, It has tone for days for of all, and there is no need to add treble response back into the mix. It’s ultra slick, feed-forward compression design helps maintain high-end treble response like no other design. Lastly, Tone Controls and Blend Controls can only add noise in a compressor. Why add noise to a compressor circuit?"

Hope that's some help.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Danzilla] #2980551
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Thanks, Danzilla.

Funny thing, the Keeley Compressor I'm looking at has both Tone & Blend controls?!?!? It seems like most of the high-$$$ Compressors do, Wampler, Walrus Audio, Keeley. Most interesting right now is the EQD Warden, but at $200, it's a stretch.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980567
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Another to look at if you see it is the Route 66,
https://truetone.com/route-66/

Again, haven’t tried the pedal in question, but I have several of their pedals from before they changed their name. Quality is job #1 with them- they’re built to be run over by trucks. No, not an exaggeration- they have a video out there doing exactly that.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Danzilla] #2980590
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Originally Posted By: Danzilla
I'm wondering if you need more of the limiting effect for peaks, rather than the true compression of the whole signal (which includes the raising of the quieter signals).


Limiting & compression are basically just different amounts of the same thing.

Quote:
Interesting note on a website for a Keeley comp:
"Tone Control and Blend
None – You don’t need a tone control or a blend control on a compressor. In fact, it’s not a good idea in our opinion. If you want a blend control, you are undoing your compressor.


If this is really coming from a highly respected compressor maker this is an astonishingly ignorant statement. "Blend" provides what now almost all studio hardware & software compressors provide, which is 'parallel compression'. This mixes compressed & uncompressed signal for vastly greater flexibility in attaining both more transparent compression, as well as more radical squeezy compression which doesn't sound stupid, but actually works. This is how records are made in the current world, with parallel compression. It preserves transients much better than not using the parallel aspect. Can't imagine any possible reason Keeley would say this, it must be from a forum admin or somebody taking it upon himself to speak for Keeley.

Quote:
Instead, set the Threshold high and only let peaks be processed and then set the Compression Ratio to 2:1 or 4:1. Much smarter.


No, not the same thing at all. One can sort of get there by slowing down the attack, but that's still not the same as parallel compression, even though it does a reasonably good job of preserving attacks.

Quote:
Tone control? None hear, It has tone for days for of all, and there is no need to add treble response back into the mix. It’s ultra slick, feed-forward compression design helps maintain high-end treble response like no other design. Lastly, Tone Controls and Blend Controls can only add noise in a compressor. Why add noise to a compressor circuit?"


No, that's just plain incorrect. Well, sorta correct with the tone control, since cranking high end emphasizes hiss. But parallel compression doesn't do that. A compressed signal is noisier than a non-compressed signal, by definition. Adding a non-compressed signal to a slightly noisier version of itself doesn't increase the overall noise. In fact the opposite, since the noisier signal is being 'diluted' with the less noisy signal.


Scott Fraser
Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #2980620
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Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Another to look at if you see it is the Route 66,
https://truetone.com/route-66/

Again, haven’t tried the pedal in question, but I have several of their pedals from before they changed their name. Quality is job #1 with them- they’re built to be run over by trucks. No, not an exaggeration- they have a video out there doing exactly that.


I have been looking at that pedal for months. Compressor, 808ts clone and either true bypass or buffered bypass. It doesn't have a blend, but it has a clean mix. Would that be the same thing.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: surfergirl] #2980623
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Originally Posted By: surfergirl
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
Another to look at if you see it is the Route 66,
https://truetone.com/route-66/

Again, haven’t tried the pedal in question, but I have several of their pedals from before they changed their name. Quality is job #1 with them- they’re built to be run over by trucks. No, not an exaggeration- they have a video out there doing exactly that.


I have been looking at that pedal for months. Compressor, 808ts clone and either true bypass or buffered bypass. It doesn't have a blend, but it has a clean mix. Would that be the same thing.

A review on Reverb says yes:
Quote:
The Truetone Route 66 is a pedal you used to know as the Visual Sound Route 66. The new version (V3 for those keeping score) represents a full-scale redesign of the Route 66. This new version of the Route 66 replaces a fairly traditional take on the classic 808 with the Reverend Drivetrain circuit, adding individual Bass and Treble controls to the mix. And for even more versatility (and as you can surely guess), Truetone added a clean blend control. Unlike most of the pedals in this list, the Route 66 clean blend is “wired in reverse.” With the knob turned all of the way to the left, you get only clean sounds, and turned all of the way to the right, it’s all distorted tones. The magic lies in the middle. The distorted tone heard is one you know well. The clean blend simply adds articulation and a little sonic complexity to the mix.


See also this from Tone Report:
https://tonereport.com/reviews/truetone-route-66-v3


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #2980650
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My compressor pedal experience is limited to one pedal that I tried out: an Electro Harmonix Black Finger. I thought it was fantastic, and I keep saying that some day I'm going to buy one. Sorry I can't be more help.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Sharkman] #2980665
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I have a Boss CS-3 compressor/sustainer which works for me quite well. I have it on all the time, even clean. It's the first pedal in my chain. I find that setting everything fairly low, volume, tone, attack and sustain, cuts down on any noise. I have different settings for each of my guitars, however this works for me generally speaking.

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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Scott Fraser] #2980709
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Ah, thanks, Scott, for weighing in . . .

Seemed really strange to me that almost ALL of Keeley's Compressors have Blend & Tone controls, given the content of that statement.

Still looking at the Keeley 4-knob and the EQD Warden.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980713
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A lot of the pedals are the same or very similar things repackaged.

I've used the Wampler Ego for a quite a while but I went to a smaller board I bought the new version of the Route 66. I used version 1 for a longtime. I like it a lot. I don't really miss the Ego. The drive side of the new RT 66 is cool. It's basically a Reverend Drivetrain. A cool 'transparent' drive designed by Bob Weil for Reverend. Version 1 used a TS808.

I would just make sure you get a Comp with a clean blend. The more you squeeze the more you murder your highs and initial pick attack. The clean blend lets you really squish things then dial your attack and highs back in. They are easier to get good sounds with. The Barber Tone Press is good. It was always one of the less expensive comps with a clean blend.

A good comp without a blend I like is the Diamond Compressor. It's more costly. But a nice comp for funky stuff. The Slide Rig and Cali 76 are sort of magical but all three are over budget. More than I would ever spend on a comp pedal.

80+% of these pedal are just repurposed Ross and Dyna Comp circuits. Just get one with a blend control and you'll be good. This stuff is more alike than it is different.

Last edited by CEB; 03/19/19 10:41 AM.

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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980714
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Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
Ah, thanks, Scott, for weighing in . . .

Seemed really strange to me that almost ALL of Keeley's Compressors have Blend & Tone controls, given the content of that statement.

Still looking at the Keeley 4-knob and the EQD Warden.


Keeley did a 360 last year. The market
Place kind of warranted it. If you don't want to blend cleans back in then turn the knob all the way to the right. He was just being stubborn.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: CEB] #2980720
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Thanks, CEB -

I figure it's much like the OD market, where there are so many TS clones, it's hard to avoid them. In this case the Dyna Comp and the Ross are the archetypes, and most of the others are variations.

Part of why I'm curious about the Warden, in spite of the price, is that it's an Optical Compressor, not VCA-based. I can do an A/B comparison at my FLUMS next week sometime.


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Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Scott Fraser] #2980728
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Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
My guitar hits a Barber Tone Press first, then into my rack. It's pretty transparent & definitely provides good sustain & evening out of my inconsistent playing. I suspect some of the newer comps which emulate UA 1176 studio comps do a better job, but of the devices I've used (basically MXR & Boss) the Barber is the best I've run across. I recall it being somewhere in the $120 range a decade ago.


I have a Barber Tone Press and like it a lot... it's different from every other comp pedal I've tried in that it doesn't have that "pop" at the front of the note. That's cool.

Sometimes I want that stereotypical "pop," though, so I use my Janglebox... especially with my electric 12 strings.

Other comps on my wish list are the Xotic SP, tiny and cool:





The Keely Compressor Plus... and the Origin Effects SlideRig or Cali76



except I'm not buying any more pedals for a while... I'm not buying any more pedals for a while... I'm not buying any more pedals for a while...

Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: CEB] #2980741
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Originally Posted By: CEB
A lot of the pedals are the same or very similar things repackaged.


Pretty much they're mostly some improved version of the Orange Squeezer, but that's because there are only so many ways to constrict dynamics without clipping. VCA, FET, optical, & variable mu are the methods used in studio compressors, & every device is basically a variant of the same fundamental circuits. Just like there are only a few basic ways to make a tube amp.

Quote:
I would just make sure you get a Comp with a clean blend. The more you squeeze the more you murder your highs and initial pick attack. The clean blend lets you really squish things then dial your attack and highs back in. They are easier to get good sounds with. The Barber Tone Press is good. It was always one of the less expensive comps with a clean blend.


Yup, a blend control is pretty important, unless the device has separate attack & release controls, which almost no pedals do. The problem with earlier comp pedals was that they destroyed pick attacks. I have a 70s era DynaComp, which hasn't seen use for a number of decades. I got it out a few years back for a minimalist gig where I was asked to be the clean, no-effects guitarist in a band, but I wanted to thicken up the sound a bit. I was amazed how thoroughly awful the DynaComp sounded to me after having become accustomed to studio quality compression. It totally damaged the attack of every note. Optical compressors have an inherently slow attack time, allowing the pick transient to slip through before the compression starts clamping down. This is the secret of the Roger McGuinn sound. Two LA2A tube optical compressors in series. Pretty sure there are only a couple true optical comp pedals available.

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The Slide Rig and Cali 76 are sort of magical but all three are over budget. More than I would ever spend on a comp pedal.


The Cali is a pedal model of the UA1176 studio compressor, which has been one of the holy grails of studio hardware comps since the 60s. I have a pair in my studio, & every serious studio I've ever been in has at least a few. It is one of the absolutely essential food groups for making records, & has been for half a century. The pedal version would be my desert island comp pedal choice. If I could afford it. I can't.


Scott Fraser
Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Scott Fraser] #2980744
03/19/19 01:45 PM
03/19/19 01:45 PM
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p90jr Offline
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A guy I'm in a band with has the Compact Cali 76 and he's "bored with it," so I might try to get it from him... he's enamored with one of my Crowther Hotcakes so maybe he'll trade?

Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: p90jr] #2980753
03/19/19 02:23 PM
03/19/19 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted By: p90jr
A guy I'm in a band with has the Compact Cali 76 and he's "bored with it," so I might try to get it from him... he's enamored with one of my Crowther Hotcakes so maybe he'll trade?


I wonder if he just hasn't figured out how to get it set right. "Attack' at about 10 o'clock, 'Release' at about 2 o'clock, 4 to 1 ratio, 'Input' set to provide about 3 to 5 dB gain reduction, & 'Output' to drive downstream devices to taste is the starting point for several million recordings over the last half century. That's if the pedal truly matches the real rack device. Of course, what works in a studio may not be the sound he likes on guitar on stage. It is possible to make anything sound bad through an 1176 because they give you so much flexibility. 'Attack' set wrong makes all the difference, as will too much gain reduction.


Scott Fraser
Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Scott Fraser] #2980838
03/19/19 09:36 PM
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hurricane hugo Offline
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My fave compressor was the compressor circuit in the old Scholz R&D Rockman XPR preamp. Haven't found a pedal comp that even gets close.

Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Scott Fraser] #2980849
03/19/19 09:57 PM
03/19/19 09:57 PM
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p90jr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
Originally Posted By: p90jr
A guy I'm in a band with has the Compact Cali 76 and he's "bored with it," so I might try to get it from him... he's enamored with one of my Crowther Hotcakes so maybe he'll trade?


I wonder if he just hasn't figured out how to get it set right. "Attack' at about 10 o'clock, 'Release' at about 2 o'clock, 4 to 1 ratio, 'Input' set to provide about 3 to 5 dB gain reduction, & 'Output' to drive downstream devices to taste is the starting point for several million recordings over the last half century. That's if the pedal truly matches the real rack device. Of course, what works in a studio may not be the sound he likes on guitar on stage. It is possible to make anything sound bad through an 1176 because they give you so much flexibility. 'Attack' set wrong makes all the difference, as will too much gain reduction.


We play together in a band that does the music of The Smiths. I get a lot of use out there f my Janglebox to approximate what a Johnny Marr did in the studio so he went on a search to find a good cause mpressor, too... but since I made him try out my Chase Tone Secret Preamp and he immediately ordered his own he’s found the tone of his dreams and it makes his Supra Supreme and Vibrolux compress “naturally” enough that he finds the Cali redundant. I will pass on your settings... and he wants an electric 12 string after hearing mine so much so the Cali will probably be mated with that...

Re: Putting the Squeeze On: Fave Compressor? [Re: Winston Psmith] #2980894
03/20/19 02:39 AM
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What guitars- more importantly and specifically, what kind of pickups- are you likely to use the most through said compressor pedalry?

The reason I ask, is that I've found that the typical Ross/Orange Squeezer/Dyna Comp type constrictors can be great with single-coils, but, in my humble oppinion, not so good with humbuckers.

I've found that optical-circuit compressor-pedals can work VERY nicely with humbuckers.

Some outstanding examples- and compressor-pedals that I own:

My two (yes, two, one a generous gift, and another I bought for its added Attack control) HomeBrew Electronics Compressor Retro pedals (aka HBE CPR's) are WONDERFUL Ross-inspired squeezes that I'll never part with. I can highly recommend them! Cleaner, clearer, and lower-noise than the vintage Ross Compressor pedals that they're upgraded, enhanced versions of. FANTASTIC, just MAGIC with a Telecaster, and pretty damned impressive with a Strat. Just... not as pleasing to my fingers and ears with my Les Paul...

On the other hand, the VFE White Horse Compressor, an optical-circuit based squeeze, is VERY, VERY EXCELLENT with my Les Paul and its particularly hot humbuckers. Its Blend control is the icing on the cake! HIGHLY recommended for humbuckery constriction.


Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
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