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Mr Fudge

Compressor ... do I need one ? have I already got one?

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This may be GAS ... a midlife crisis ... but at certain gigs I have been a little disapointed with my bass tone as it has appeared boomy and thin.

I have some great gear. Nice Fender Jazz basses with wizzard pups. Markbass SA450 with VLE filters and I run one effect, a tech 21 sansamp to get some growl. The tone problem arises in bigger more hard surfaced venues where the tightness of my sound in small pub gigs is lost. Do I need a compressor to nip and tuck everything? I run the VLE filters on my SA450 flat as I dont like the effect they give. Are they filters anyway?

I see Geddy Lee is using an Orange AD200 MK3 ... Would something like this stop all my messing about?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

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The Sansamp compresses your sound slightly anyway, as will using any kind of overdrive/distortion.

When you say you're running the filters flat, are they turned all the way anticlockwise, or are they in the middle? With those, anticlockwise is actually turning the filters completely off.

The thing about losing the tightness of your sound at (I'm assuming) higher volumes is quite common with a lot of rigs. When I have my amp quiet at home it sounds thin, nasal, very brittle. And when I turn it up to gigging volumes it really pukes out the low end like nobody's business. Maybe try turning the Lows down a smidgen and see if it makes a difference :)

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maybe try playing with the filters?

the filers are basically a low pass filter and the other is a mid scoop with bass and high boost! after getting an lm tube i remember how much i love then in use together actually sounds amazing!

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[quote name='chrismuzz' timestamp='1339705565' post='1693200']
The Sansamp compresses your sound slightly anyway, as will using any kind of overdrive/distortion.

When you say you're running the filters flat, are they turned all the way anticlockwise, or are they in the middle? With those, anticlockwise is actually turning the filters completely off.

The thing about losing the tightness of your sound at (I'm assuming) higher volumes is quite common with a lot of rigs. When I have my amp quiet at home it sounds thin, nasal, very brittle. And when I turn it up to gigging volumes it really pukes out the low end like nobody's business. Maybe try turning the Lows down a smidgen and see if it makes a difference :)
[/quote]

Yes, I can relate to a lot of this ... I have my VLE filters totally anti clockwise. The boomyness is at high volumes. Perhaps I need to roll a little tone off my Jazz and the Tech21 graphic is very sensitive although I have it pretty midish.

I think I need to get my gear to a rehearsal studio and go back to basics a little bit.

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[quote name='0175westwood29' timestamp='1339707058' post='1693250']
maybe try playing with the filters?

the filers are basically a low pass filter and the other is a mid scoop with bass and high boost! after getting an lm tube i remember how much i love then in use together actually sounds amazing!
[/quote]

Yep don't know what i'd do without them! I always have the VLE at about 8:00 - 9:00 and the VPF on about 10:00 - 11:00 :D

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[quote name='Mr Fudge' timestamp='1339707362' post='1693255']
Yes, I can relate to a lot of this ... I have my VLE filters totally anti clockwise. The boomyness is at high volumes. Perhaps I need to roll a little tone off my Jazz and the Tech21 graphic is very sensitive although I have it pretty midish.

I think I need to get my gear to a rehearsal studio and go back to basics a little bit.
[/quote]

maybe just try a little bass cut? or low mid?

i also i would experiment with thhe filters as they are really cool

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[quote name='Mr Fudge' timestamp='1339707362' post='1693255']
Yes, I can relate to a lot of this ... I have my VLE filters totally anti clockwise. The boomyness is at high volumes. Perhaps I need to roll a little tone off my Jazz and the Tech21 graphic is very sensitive although I have it pretty midish.

I think I need to get my gear to a rehearsal studio and go back to basics a little bit.
[/quote]

I found the Sansamp gives a Low + High boost even with a flat EQ. Either way, you might benefit from simply turning the lows on your sa450 down a tiny bit when you turn your amp up loud. I do that with my F1! :)

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[quote name='0175westwood29' timestamp='1339707940' post='1693267']
maybe just try a little bass cut? or low mid?

i also i would experiment with thhe filters as they are really cool
[/quote]
[quote name='chrismuzz' timestamp='1339707948' post='1693268']
I found the Sansamp gives a Low + High boost even with a flat EQ. Either way, you might benefit from simply turning the lows on your sa450 down a tiny bit when you turn your amp up loud. I do that with my F1! :)
[/quote]

A couple of great suggestions ... many thanks.

One problem I do have is that I also set up the PA, lights, and baby sit the others, especially the g*****t.

I need some me time ... :rolleyes:

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[quote name='Mr Fudge' timestamp='1339708323' post='1693278']
One problem I do have is that I also set up the PA, lights, and baby sit the others, especially the g*****t.
[/quote]

I must be the only bassist ever who manages to get out of doing that crap :lol:

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If you don't know whether you need one, the chances are probably not. I must say unless I'm doing a recording, I like to compress the sound slightly by adding a bit of grit.

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im fighting of gas for the markbass compressor! just to experiment with it as i sadly couldnt sort out a deal on a ta501 markbass that was on here that had a built in compressor!

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I use a compressor to rid excessive boom, as I`m a bit heavy-handed. Just have it set to stop the lows wallowing too much (and it brings the higher strings volume in line with the others as well). I`ve also just bought an SFX Micro-Thumpinator, as have liked what I`ve read about them, being a low-pass filter this should also remove some wallow.

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Compressor won't fix boomy ness, but it will thin.
A lot compressors cut the lows and the highs but decent ones like the MArkbass and Trex squeezer are very transparant. Although the T-rex gives low mid hump, but sounds very nice anyway, just depends on the rest of the room.

the boomyness can be remedied with a bass cut, or better cab placement, away from walls/corners etc. get it tilted back, or raise it up off the floor. Usually at extreme volume at rehearsals I always cut the bass anyway to help not going deaf. The MB heads is centre at 40hz which is pretty darn low. Boom can be helped by cutting around the 100hz mark. I've not heard of people sounding thin and boomy at the same time though...

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[quote name='Lozz196' timestamp='1339714142' post='1693370']
I use a compressor to rid excessive boom, as I`m a bit heavy-handed. Just have it set to stop the lows wallowing too much (and it brings the higher strings volume in line with the others as well). I`ve also just bought an SFX Micro-Thumpinator, as have liked what I`ve read about them, being a low-pass filter this should also remove some wallow.
[/quote]

Just took delivery of mine. It is a low pass filter but it cuts the super low end that you probabaly don't hear, and it's more to help amps run without clipping and cabs run better as it isn't wasting energy on frequencies that don't matter. some amps already have this sort of protection anyway, but some only when things are getting really loud. Havent had a good play yet but I can hear a difference and it is harder to clip the input aswell.#

Not sure how to set up my compressor to rid the boom and bring highs in line though. something to do with comp and threshold though I think?

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Well my compressor (MXR Dyna Comp) only has Output and Sensitivity controls, so I set the Output to match my regular volume, then the Sensitivity to between a third and halfway, wherever the excess boom stops really. Bear in mind though, the excessive boom of my sound is largely caused by my hitting the strings hard, so it`s more just levelling the overall volume between strings, and not really eq-ing out any specific frequencies.

Am looking forward to using the SFX, should be interesting.

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Well I have a T-rex Squeezer, and it sounds fantastic. But I still struggle to set it up, which is it's only down side. So much control and they all interact with each other.

Try it one but with everything off is hard too, cause attack and release both have to be fully clockwise(I think anyway). It is a bit noisy too, but having proper isolation helps too.

I try and have it so it levels everything out as my playing on the gig can be very sloppy, where as at home I don't really like playing with it on. As I can usually 'compress' myself with my playing technique.
A decent compressor (one with lots of control anyway) is a good tool to have in the box.

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[quote name='Prime_BASS' timestamp='1339714755' post='1693378'] Just took delivery of mine. It is a low pass filter but it cuts the super low end that you probabaly don't hear, and it's more to help amps run without clipping and cabs run better as it isn't wasting energy on frequencies that don't matter. some amps already have this sort of protection anyway, but some only when things are getting really loud. Havent had a good play yet but I can hear a difference and it is harder to clip the input aswell.# Not sure how to set up my compressor to rid the boom and bring highs in line though. something to do with comp and threshold though I think? [/quote]

Isn't the Thumpinator a high pass filter set to @ 30hz? Regardless, it certainly seems like a handy bit of kit.

Mr Fudge, what cabs are you using?

[quote]The tone problem arises in bigger more hard surfaced venues where the tightness of my sound in small pub gigs is lost.[/quote]

In small venues you'll have a lot of soft furnishings that soak up sound. In the "bigger more hard surfaced venues" those sounds won't be soaked up & reflected back to you, making them twice as prominent. EQ is your friend. In the bigger venues, turn the VLE up a couple of dots & roll the bass back a couple too.

I used to not use the filters at gigs but now I use a mix of both VLE & VPF. It's like finding that 6th gear on your new car.

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Ah, it may well be high-pass, not low-pass. I`m not very good with this tech lark, but yes, it weeds out all the frequencies below 30hz. Really looking forward to using it - will report my findings.

Re the compressors, I`d like a compressor pedal with only one control, would make things much easier. Agree, for those wanting specifics this probably wouldn`t do, but for those like myself, who leave it on all the time, this would be a lot easier. Get the volume on your amp, adjust pedal to the required compression, re-set volume on amp if necessary, away you go.

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Thumpinator is high pass - the higher than the stated frequency point frequencies can pass through, the rest cant.

OP you are living with the reality that crap acoustics are beyond your control. Hard surfaces reflect more, and that can cause real issues. Certain room shapes and sizes can cause vey obvious peaks and nulls in the dispersion of different frequencies throughout the room (nodes). You cant stop these with any amount of eq, compression, or anything else shoprt of treating the room acoustic. It is not possible. One thing that does help is a packed venue, a lot of meat imbetween the surfaces acts as a rather effective bass and full range absorber. Answer, have more people turn up to your show.

If it is boom due to a nasty stage resonating then you could try a Gramma Pad under your cab - a lot of people have reported great success with these bad boys.

The VLE is a low pass filter, it turns down more and more of the top end frequencies. You dont need this, it wont sort out the situation

The VPF is a filter that scoops mids and bossts top and bottom. You may like this (especially for bedroom practice) but too much in a mix is a way to turn your sound into sludgey boom and click with no definiteion really quickly.

Eq less generally if you can, just a bit less gain on the eq section throughout, and see if it improves things in the mix at all. Certainly any big boosts in lo and hi eq bands are probably not helping the issue. But the issue sounds like its the acoustics and you cant completely solve it from the rig.

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The reason I suggested trying the VLE is that it takes the treble off & whilst it won't sort the issue, it can help take away some of the harsh reflections.
I've never liked the VPF on it's own, but when used with the VLE, it makes a sound that the band likes & fits nicely (although it is subjective to your band's sound).

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I think you need to ask yourself why do you want one or need a different one and what do you want from it.
Is it to change the sound or is to control the dynamics.
Some compressors sound can sound great even without compressing because they add subtle distortion and noise. a suspect that you will not get that in a pedal ore low voltage form but a may be wrong.
Do you want to change the sound of your bass, add sustain or change the envelope of the notes maybe?
Or do you want to control the dynamics of the sound so the bass fits better in a mix? if this is the case you are far better to do this at the mix stage because the engineer can hear the sound in the context of the mix.
My personal view is don't buy anything unless you know why you are buying it. one compressor that you know well is worth twenty that you don't.

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[quote name='xgsjx' timestamp='1339746570' post='1693538']
Isn't the Thumpinator a high pass filter set to @ 30hz? Regardless, it certainly seems like a handy bit of kit.[/quote]

Yes excuse me, meant High pass.

It is a handy bit of kit and it does take away some excess rumble, but the best bit is that it I find that I'm not clipping the input as much as I normally am. That's witht he same input gain as with it out of the chain. It is kind of liek having a peak limiter on in the signal chain. you think it isn't making much difference until you take it out.
Especially now my rig is a lot bigger it makes even more difference, I think cabs that can go a bit lower and louder would benfit from it even more, such as the big units from barefaced.

Edited by Prime_BASS

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