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Compression Question


Seamy ALB

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I have played all my career in the live setting basically effect free. On recordings I have always been the subject of compression. Off late I have been looking at these new orange aphex pedals and wondering if I am missing something. My question is what would one of these devices do for my live sound. I play a 6 string Warwick Corvette as my main bass and play in an original rock power trio and a we'll do almost anything bar band.

 

Any heads up would be welcome.

 

Thanks

 

Seamy

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I have the Aphex and a couple of rack mount compressors. While they sound ok on record i find that i never want to use them live. I want as much dynamic range as possible, it's called expression.

When people talk about evening out the signal or making the sound more consistant I always think that they haven't adjusted there pickups to acomplish that goal.

I'm not trying to flame forceman different strokes for different bass players.

When i first get a bass i adjust the pickups to get the same volume out of each string on the bass. Through headphones all tone controls flat using my ear and VU meters. General rule of thumb is that the thicker and lower strings need to be farther from the pickup.

This brings up the huge advantage of the Fender Precision Bass pickup. It's one of the few pickups that allow setting the pickup for different heights for each string. The genuis of Leo Fender.

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I think you'll find some compressors are very "clean" (doing nothing but altering volume peaks) and others add significant "color" to your sound. Oddly enough, my DigiTech Bass Squeeze adds some nice "growl", much like a SansAmp.

 

The better (rack-mount) units allow control over lots of nifty things like attack, ratio, threshold, etc. Stompboxes generally are hard-wired, and don't have too much flexibility.

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I also have the DBX 160x as well as the Demeter Compulator pedal and neither make an appearance in my live setup. Some people do like to use compression for effect, though. I leave the compression for recording only. What works/sounds good live doesn't always work in studio and vice versa. See if you can borrow one to try it and see what it does for you.
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bar band - classic rock, blues, modern rock, sing-along country (eg, Friends in Low Places)? that kinda stuff?

 

I think you would benefit immensley from a compressor. In a live situation with a rock band, there's usually only one or two dynamics - loud and really loud. Nuances are lost on everybody except the musicians in the crowd paying attention to what you're playing, rather than the song.

 

I'm not saying that you want to use a comp to make yourself louder, but having one in your signal path to even out the peaks and valleys will help make you more present in the mix.

 

Plus, you mentioned that the warwick is your main bass, implying you have/use others. a comp can make switching between instruments with different output levels a breeze. No re-adjustments necessary.

 

now, as to which compressor to get, I haven't a clue. :)

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This seems to be one of those "agree to disagree" type of issues. I have gone back and forth. If you like it to "even out" your sound, great. If you don't, great. I don't think a compressor has to take your "expression" away from you. I don't think that use of a comprressor implies bad technique, either.

 

I used a Rane DC24 for a while in my huge rack. It was nice. I still had control. I totally depends on how you set it up.

 

I have an Eden WT-550 head that has a compressor built in. It is controlled differently from other compressors. I think I have found a nice setting, I still have dynamics, and it sounds nice and smooth.

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Believe me i'm not trying to knock any bodies technique, if you like a compressed tone fine, go for it. I like the aphex compressor a lot it does a fine job and doesn't color the tone to much.

 

I was just trying to bring up a point that lots of bass players miss, that is adjusting pickup height to "even out" to levels of the instrument. If you want to use a compressor, go for it. I mostly use mine for a particular "Joco" funk on fretless, as an effect for a tune once in a while.

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I've used compression live for fretless bass playing when I'm with acoustic players or the venue is a very small club where everyone has to play and sing through the PA. It keeps the volume even for those moments when I do octave slides, especially on the lower (heavier) strings. Plus it compensates for the dead spots on my low-end fretlesses.

 

Lately I've considered using it on acoustic-electric bass as I've had feedback issues from the top vibrating. I use a feedback buster on the soundhole, but at times I have to anchor a finger onto the top near the piezo bridge to hold back excessive vibration. I'm not sure if it will help or not.

 

Compression is also a fact of life for anyone performing with a wireless unit - the signal is compressed to allow for faster transmission and then expanded at the receiver - or so I'm told.

:wave:

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I'm a fan of compression. I used to have a Trace Elliot Dual Compressor and have been using an EBS Multicomp for the last few months.

 

For rock/metal/blues bass, the compressor will even your tone a bit and help you to stay in the mix all other things considered. You can set it low so it doesn't totally kill your dynamics, or compress the ever livin' snot out of your sound giving it more of a sound/no sound situation.

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I use the compressor in my Digitech live. I never did before but one night in a small boomy room I used it and it really smoothed things out and brought more presence to my tone. The settings are something I could play around with forever so I use the "Fullrange" set and make minor adjustments to my EQ.

Whooda thunk it.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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