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APHEX 1404 Punch Factory� Advanced Optical Compressor


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I've tried one in a store. I recall thinking it was a very musical compressor, but I don't recall the exact details of why I thought that. Sorry!


I don't know if you are considering any multiFX units, but just in case...I recently picked up a Zoom B2.1u, and I'm finding the compressor algorithm they've built into this gadget to be VERY musical...see the Zoom B2.1u thread for details.



Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006


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Optical compressors use a light source and a light sensor to trigger compression. Some are of the opinion that this makes for a smoother sound.


I know nothing about the Aphex unit first hand.


I have a couple of compressors of which I am rather fond; Demeter Compulator and EBS MultiComp. Both are quality units, but very different.


The Demeter Compulator is one of the best sounding sub-$1,000 units I have ever heard. However, it is sensitive to settings, especially on bass, and I tend not to use it live. I do use it when I play guitar.


The EBS MultiComp is a great pedal, and very forgiving at various settings.


Compression is an effect. Often, these are marketed as "smoothing" devices or "protection" devices. They do not accomplish either.


I like the squash it will give notes in a hard-rock chorus. Why are you looking for a compressor, if I might ask?

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I am a kind of afficianado of compressors, so to speak. I have a few....incl. a Compulator (the best pedal type available, IMHO) a couple of UA re-issues (LA2A,LA3 and 610 Channel Strip), A Joe Meek, a Manley, a Retrospec SqueezeBox, a couple of dbx's...OK so my "home studio" is very well equipped....

...I have used the Aphex unit, and liked it very much. I sold it when I started using the Demeter, but I recently picked one up on Ebay. I found that that the Aphex, being extraordinarily transparent, works delightfully on piezo pickups. Tho, I have a number of compressors, I have not used one live for some time, but of late have wanted to again employ one in my solo acoustic bass setup just to slightly "tame" the incredibly wide dynamic range of the piezos in my basses.


The Aphex is not a "heavy handed" compressor. It is actually quite subtle. It won't really give you that maxxed-out-squashed-Tony Levin sound, not does it really impart any sonic characteristics of it's own (unlike many vintage compressors). It won't hit really hard limiting, and doesn't really try for the mega-sustain of some others pedal comps, but does give a very smooth and subtle (yes, "musical") mild compression without effecting the signal's attack transients--which, of course, for bass is essential for getting smooth, pump-less compression.


Like any compressor, it will not make up for lousy playing dynamics by the player. If you have your dynamics and touch together, then very light compression is all one really needs to get one's sound to slip into a mix smoother. Far too often players tend to use comps as a magic-fix-it-box.

They don't do that.


The Aphex is a nice little compressor...I like it.



...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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I, too, am looking for a compressor pedal. Something "musical" as I don't want that heavy squash. I wasn't sure about the Aphex, but I have read some good reviews, and if it's good enough for Max, it would probably do the job for me as well.


I am also impressed by the Aphex Exciter. While my Bergie sounds great, I sometimes miss that little something. I used to have a BBE Sonic Maximizer that sounded nice. The Exciter demo on the web site is impressive. The DI built into all the pedals is nice.


For me, I bring a slightly different set up depending on the gig. If all my stuff (BDDI, Puch, Exciter) had a DI, I'd be set no matter what.


I'll have to check them out.

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I have one and am very satisfied. I use it to be more present without excessive volume. I do not keep it switched on all the time: sometimes I like dynamics and strive to compress with my fingers, that allows a lot of headroom for solos and fill-ins.

I had an Aria compressor pedal before, that I did not like at all: it must have been a very cheap unit, I don't know.

What I like most is that the Aphex is almost invisible: it just gives mee more loudness, but the sound is pretty much unchanged.

I tried it on a Strat and it was beautiful: clean sound without thinness.

Batteries last for ages and it accepts almost anything as external power (including phantom on the DI).

It's silly, I know, but I like the little vu-meter thats built in because it is always available and gives me useful feedback.

I keep it as shown in the picture: gain at 5 and level around 7, so that I do not squash down the light (meaning maximum compression) all the time.

This means just play nice with the band and the equipment.

-- Michele Costabile (http://proxybar.net)
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  • 2 weeks later...
A couple of years ago, I tried out the Bass Squeeze. The dual band compression was nice. However, it really sucked out a lot of signal; had to have the Level knob practically dimed to bring the signal strength back to the original level. I ended up getting an Electro Harmonix Black Finger instead. Nice tubey warmth and a whole gammut of levels & tones available. Not dual band, but it gets the job done, and then some.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band


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Quote: I am also impressed by the Aphex Exciter. While my Bergie sounds great, I sometimes miss that little something. I used to have a BBE Sonic Maximizer that sounded nice. The Exciter demo on the web site is impressive.



Has anyone has any experience with the Aphex Exciter for amplified upright bass? Thought I'd ask before starting a new topic.

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