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Compressor advice sought - evening up output from a 5er

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Hi folks

I've had a look at a few of the threads on here with great interest but have, as yet, not been able to decide what my best suit my needs.  I therefore took the rash step of starting another thread.

What I'm seeking to do primarily is to balance up the output from my 5er.  I have an active Lakland 55-01 and I would like a bit of outside help to even up the output across all the strings as the bottom end is pretty powerful on the bass.  I am tweaking the EQ to see if I can compensate a little (probably for my technique) but I though a bit of light compression my be a nifty way to go and then it becomes one less thing to think about.

Has anybody had any experience of this type of issue and can maybe suggest a few options please (even if not compressor related)?

Thanks in advance.

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29 minutes ago, jrixn1 said:

Does it help if you lower the pickups on the bass side?

I have adjusted them as much as possible.  I was also thinking of putting a small foam mute in to help with damping.

9 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Does your bass sound right out in the room?

This one i can't answer as I acquired the bass during lockdown so have not been able to inflict it on the unsuspecting public just yet.

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If the E/A side of the pup measures 8/64ths from string to pup when E string is pressed down on the last fret, and the D/G side when pressing down the last fret on the G measures 6/64ths, then sound should be balanced across all strings.

Edited by Paddy515

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Sounds like a limiter/comp might help. Set a high ratio and back off the threshold so that it kicks in when you dig in on the B string. Should have a natural sounding effect on the overall output  whilst leaving dynamics below the threshold unaffected (depending on the comp/limiter obvs)

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2 hours ago, Paddy515 said:

If the E/A side of the pup measures 8/64ths from string to pup when E string is pressed down on the last fret, and the D/G side when pressing down the last fret on the G measures 6/64ths, then sound should be balanced across all strings.

I don't have anything quite that accurate but will check as best I can with the old steel rule.

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2 hours ago, ped said:

Sounds like a limiter/comp might help. Set a high ratio and back off the threshold so that it kicks in when you dig in on the B string. Should have a natural sounding effect on the overall output  whilst leaving dynamics below the threshold unaffected (depending on the comp/limiter obvs)

Thanks Ped.  Sound-wise that's exactly the overall effect I'm seeking.  So something with those controls on should suit.

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5 hours ago, ead said:

as the bottom end is pretty powerful on the bass.  

 

I MUST HAVE ONE!!!!

But seriously, the TC spectracomp comes with gazilions of presets so you can just scroll through until you find what fits. They go for £50 on here and if you do not like it you can flog it and not lose your money. I like them so much I have 3 for different places. 

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1 hour ago, owen said:

 

I MUST HAVE ONE!!!!

But seriously, the TC spectracomp comes with gazilions of presets so you can just scroll through until you find what fits. They go for £50 on here and if you do not like it you can flog it and not lose your money. I like them so much I have 3 for different places. 

:lol:  It has more heft than a hefty thing on heft pills.

Thanks for the heads-up, I've seen a few Spectracomps around but I've stayed away so far as I'm slightly nervous of menu driven stuff.  Are there demos where you can hear the natural bass and then the same thing through a few different presets?

I'm going to put some new strings on too.  Firstly because the set it came with are old and knackered, and secondly I'm going for slightly fatter B and E strings to maintain equal tension across the board making the B string a little bit tauter and that might help a bit too.

Edited by ead

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The presets just get loaded in and you spin through them until you find the one. You can get all menu driven if you want, but the cool kids don't do that stuff. 

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How are you setting the EQ on the bass and amp? And how do similar basses sound in the room?

I don't really want to be that guy, but while compression can be used to fix this kind of thing, it really needs to be a last ditch attempt. It will likely come with as many drawbacks as it solves.

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I personally think judicious use of a comp should be essential regardless

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7 minutes ago, owen said:

The presets just get loaded in and you spin through them until you find the one. You can get all menu driven if you want, but the cool kids don't do that stuff. 

I love my Spectracomp. Tend to just use the default and occasionally a couple of the presets. Works just fine for me and haven’t done anymore than just briefly look at the tone editing page on my Mac and left immediately 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, ped said:

I personally think judicious use of a comp should be essential regardless

As do I, good sir- well, perhaps not essential, but it's rare that I don't use one. But if the reparative to uneven string output is a compressor, then I'd want to advise a second one to add the benefits of good compression once the first had fixed the problem of unbalanced output.

An appropriately set multi-band may help the issue, but smacks of 'fix it in the mix'. As most decent engineers will say- get the sound right at source, and the track mixes itself.

The end fix may be a compressor, but I would want to look at all the options first- a Lakland really ought to be able to sound acceptable without external processing. Once the bass is making the right sounds, then I start the comprssion nerding! 😄

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I may have inadvertently overstated the issue here.  It's not like the B string is massively louder it's just I don't need to pluck it with the same energy as say the A string to get the same result.

I guess that with a mass/unit length for the B string that is over 7x greater than that for the G string, coupled with sub-optimal muting technique on my part, some of it will just be physics.

@Jus Lukin I normally run EQ pretty flat at the amp and manage it locally on the bass as needed for differnt rooms etc.  At gigs (remember them) I will take a walk out front with the Smooth Hound plugged in to listen to the overall balance before and during the sound check but, as I mentioned earlier, I've only had this bass for a month or so and have not had the chance to do this.  At the moment I have the bass at c.-10% and the mid and treble +10%ish.

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I’ve found with every bass that I’ve had that if the pickups are adjusted to manufacturers height spec that the E string is overpoweringly loud in comparison to the others. As such I lower the pickups to about 1mm height from the body of the instrument and that usually tames it - and then adding in light compression evens it out even further.

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