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Compressor misconceptions


DiMarco

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9 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

 

I'd go beyond that. Most of the time, when I use FX live even I struggle to hear that effect in the mix and it doesn't get much better when I listen to @Silvia Bluejay's high quality recordings later.

I still use them, because I know that in isolation my chosen FX sound great so the chances are that they are a net benefit to the band sound overall, but can I hear the exact moment at which I kick in the octaver or the distortion? In the main, no.

Did I mention that my hearing is pretty poor these days?

 

Classic example of adding ingredients to a musical soup for a better result.

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For what it's worth a compressor is definitely not a good first effect candidate in my opinion.

I think you should have a license before you can buy one to prove you have an idea what to do with the bloody thing before you can walk out of the shop with it.

 

Save everyone a load of hassle that would...

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50 minutes ago, 51m0n said:

For what it's worth a compressor is definitely not a good first effect candidate in my opinion.

I think you should have a license before you can buy one to prove you have an idea what to do with the bloody thing before you can walk out of the shop with it.

 

Save everyone a load of hassle that would...

You know it makes a lot of sense. A "Simon does compression in Dallas" YT Course with a short Quiz at the end? You could even have red and blue merit awards. Although we probably need some input from the experts as to what these colours should signify - I'm sure Sid will have a view once he has retrieved his car from the ditch.

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At band practice last night I had to travel light so only my bass, no pedals, and used the rehearsal rooms amp. With my band I use a touch of compression and I really noticed not having it last night. It just seems to sharpen up the notes, or because it does that and they’re sharper and more defined that then makes my playing more accurate. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

You know it makes a lot of sense. A "Simon does compression in Dallas" YT Course with a short Quiz at the end?

To be fair, Simon has posted a lot about how to use a compressor. I have certainly learnt quite a bit from his contributions and I'm sure that others (at least those who want to) have as well. 

Edited by peteb
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6 hours ago, Cuzzie said:

trying to submerge it under false pretences is not correct

I think you're misunderstanding my stance on this.

I'm not saying it's untrue.

I'm not saying that the majority MAKES something true.

I'm not saying, "Agree to disagree?"

What I'm suggesting is that if Al hasn't changed his stance after 10 pages of analogies, stories qualifying knowledge, and being told he doesn't understand it, he's probably not going to now more people are seeing the thread and adding more, so let's discuss which amount of knobs on a compressor is best?

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5 hours ago, 51m0n said:

For what it's worth a compressor is definitely not a good first effect candidate in my opinion.

I think you should have a license before you can buy one to prove you have an idea what to do with the bloody thing before you can walk out of the shop with it.

 

Save everyone a load of hassle that would...

You jest, but this thread kind of proves my point ;)

 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, BadHands said:

Let's discuss which amount of knobs on a compressor is best?

 

Threshold

Ratio

Attack

Release

Makeup gain

At the very least, wet/dry mix is extremely useful too, as is a side chain filter.

Anything less and you aren't really in control anymore.

And at least a 6 LED gain reduction meter.

Edited by 51m0n
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13 minutes ago, BadHands said:

I think you're misunderstanding my stance on this.

I'm not saying it's untrue.

I'm not saying that the majority MAKES something true.

I'm not saying, "Agree to disagree?"

What I'm suggesting is that if Al hasn't changed his stance after 10 pages of analogies, stories qualifying knowledge, and being told he doesn't understand it, he's probably not going to now more people are seeing the thread and adding more, so let's discuss which amount of knobs on a compressor is best?

It’s not about 1 person, it’s about sharing knowledge, dispelling untruths, false myths and baseless assumptions for anyone out there who cares to know, wants to know more and newcomers to this - fortunately there are people on here with good knowledge who put a lot of effort in to demonstrate this.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

At band practice last night I had to travel light so only my bass, no pedals, and used the rehearsal rooms amp. With my band I use a touch of compression and I really noticed not having it last night. It just seems to sharpen up the notes, or because it does that and they’re sharper and more defined that then makes my playing more accurate. 

Lozz, that's good to hear. Have you come across Mark from Talking Bass? IMO he's one of the very best bass tutors in the UK. In this little freebie tutorial he's focussing pretty much on note dynamics and playing consistency: 

Out of interest, what comp did you settle on in the end and what attack and release settings in terms of fast / slow have you got your comp on to give the notes a sharper and more defined feel?

Edited by Al Krow
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Amused by references to "the truth" in a universe where we literally understand 4% of what exists and have no real idea what the remaining 96% is about.

There isn't a right or wrong answer about using a pedal board compressor live any more than there is right or wrong answer about whether you play a 4 or 5 string (or both) or choose to slap or have a dirt pedal on your board.

Not everyone wants or needs compression (i.e. ratio / threshold / make up gain aspects appropriately set) to control their dynamics and many of us are happy to get all the attack and note precision we need from using a pick and swapping back to fingers for a rounder sound, without needing a slow release and fast attack setting on a PB comp.

IMO it's entirely valid to hold a different viewpoint about the value and use of compression in different circs e.g. studio (where it is pretty much always used) vs PB compression live (where it's often not). This guy happens to hold a viewpoint on the topic that I find myself in full agreement with:

Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass? – No Treble

If you're a better more accomplished bass player and educator than him, then feel free to shout him down 😉

 

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And there you go. 

Dynamic control is not the only job of a compressor.

Its also a timbre control, and a transient control, and a means of making space in a mix.

Even on a pedalboard.

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4 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Amused by references to "the truth" in a universe where we literally understand 4% of what exists and have no real idea what the remaining 96% is about.

Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass? – No Treble

 

Talking about what we do and don’t know about the universe obfuscates and deflects the issue, we are not talking about universe misconceptions, it’s Compressor misconceptions and I am pretty sure more than 4% is known about it (not including myself in that btw)

The article is interesting, but the key points were:

Control your sound

Dont let the FOH be the one to ride faders and control too much for you.

In certain situations he can see its use despite being not for him.

Focus on your own playing (universally agreed by everyone)

Learn to use your compressor properly

 

Despite being not for him - he has pretty much agreed with what the ‘fanboys’ have said 

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No one needs a compressor.

 

You have asserted repeatedly that you can't hear the difference live. Ergo they are useless.

That's a classic logical fallacy first of all.

Secondly it completely disregards those who can hear and or feel the difference, and arguing that compressors on pedalboards are useless is therefore ridiculous.

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I don't need to shout him down, or be a better bass player or educator than him to hold a different opinion.

I would think it fairly possible that I might be a better sound engineer than him though...

Which is perhaps more relevant.

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7 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Lozz, that's good to hear. Have you come across Mark from Talking Bass? IMO he's one of the very best bass tutors in the UK. In this little freebie tutorial he's focussing pretty much on note dynamics and playing consistency: 

Out of interest, what comp did you settle on in the end and what attack and release settings in terms of fast / slow have you got your comp on to give the notes a sharper and more defined feel?

In the end - after a few tryouts - I settled on the Seymour Duncan Studio Compressor, and have just set it to the manuals “even things up” setting. It doesn’t sound like it’s doing anything until it’s switched off which really suits me. Compression level fairly low, Attack on minimum, it levels everything out nicely, doesn’t affect the tone at all but just allows each note to have a greater clarity. 

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21 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

My gig wagon is a Jap import (Toyota Alphard), and a very sophisticated thing it is. When I turn the ignition key, the satnav shows Yokohama harbour and the dash starts talking to me in Japanese.

Seriously.

Wakarima-sen.

 

 Domo arigato.

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I have a wampler ego mini at the start of my chain, which has the blend dial that I find essential; especially for my technique (or lack of) 

I've also made myself aware of how hard I pick the strings and how tight my grip on the plectrum is, which has helped just as much.

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Posted (edited)

In his response to the "readers question" Erskine does apply this theory to a jazz gig where the nuanced and dynamic interplay of each musician might be more applicable within a more intimate setting over the Dog and Duck rock band vibe or the slap gig or a big ensemble etc etc.  It would be good to know the wider opinion based on other gigging settings. There's certainly a different feel and vibe to the jazz trio gig and rowdy pub gigs - there's no denying they're two very different contexts.

What's Erskine wider take on compression? He seems to value it and as an educator I think I read an article where he advised using the compressor as a way to establish feel and touch - set the compressor up then play with a consistent feel but without triggering the compressor. It's a great lesson in developing touch and consistency. It might have been Victor Wooton  and I'm maybe mixing it up with his great exercises about playing a constant 8th note with a drum machine then cutting out the drum machine and trying to back in on the dead on beat when triggering it again) so apologies if I'm conflating the two.

Again the point here isn't oppositional defiance for the sake of it it's just highlighting that a device which can be applied to manage the dynamics of a player could also be used to train and develop dynamic control if applied in that way. If one believes they have a great touch and feel set up the comp to be quite sensitive and play along to a track without triggering it. It's a great exercise in player dynamic control or to train it in new players especially if the pedal they're using has metering. Sure it's not everyone's go to application of a comp pedal but it can still be employed as a training/learning tool if so desired. Damien has/had a comp on his board but likely just to even out the signal for using effects...

The point is not too dissimilar to what you said earlier - compression has it's uses in many contexts and for some players that's in a live setting too and not just the studio and perhaps gig dependent?

As Frank of FEA Labs (and he's well regarded in the design and building of quality compressors as we all know) said compression can be used for...

Dynamics control.

Tone enhancement.

Speaker/amp protection.

For added sustain.

As an effect (ie Tony Levin).

Only for pop/slap.

To keep filters/other effects from blasting ears.

So I can use a much lighter touch on the strings

 

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Edited by krispn
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