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Compressor misconceptions

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3 hours ago, Cuzzie said:

With no effects you are ‘unlikely’ to get lost in the mix, but you can be more present.

With effects like you mention you can easily get lost, hence compression or parallel paths or both 

I guess my assumption is, if people are asking for advice on a first pedal, they're probably unlikely to BE in any mixes yet, so it's more a horses for courses deal. 

For the record, I started playing bass because of Flea, so unless it's squashed to death by an LA2A, it doesn't sound like a bass to me. I just find how polarising the subject is, interesting. 

 

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47 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

The funniest is hearing from folk on BC who have comparatively little experience of playing live, lecturing others on what they should do when playing to a live audience and also what spares they need to be taking to gigs. Hilarious.

Misconceptions are a funny thing - just because what you buy, sell, use, not use and play is not plastered over forums/Facebook etc. One shouldn’t assume.

If you want to talk about performance to a decent standard, what it takes, what is required, what it’s like across different genres/activities to a large audience I’d happily go toe to toe with you based on personal experience and also experience of very very close people to me. If you slay what I have done/gleaned, congrats and kudos to you - certainly you would have worked hard for it.

The decision Cilla is yours.........

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, peteb said:

Can we ask how many gigs you have done, how many were more than 50 miles from your front door, what's the biggest audience you've played to and what level of musicians you have gigged with (have any of them toured / played with anyone famous, had a record contact, etc)??

Pete - you certainly can and it won't be a patch on what you have done and I have a huge amount of respect for you and many others for your real world experience, although I appreciate it doesn't always show in the cut and thrust of some of our exchanges! So please rest assured, my comment wasn't directed at you in any shape or form; it was more at folk who do 2 or 3 gigs a year but are prepared to lecture the rest of us on how we should be playing live. That irks. Maybe it shouldn't.

I typically averaged one or two paid gigs a fortnight pre-covid, with about half of them being at a distance where it wouldn't have been possible to get back to the ranch for spares.

10 hours ago, BadHands said:

I guess my assumption is, if people are asking for advice on a first pedal, they're probably unlikely to BE in any mixes yet, so it's more a horses for courses deal. 

For the record, I started playing bass because of Flea, so unless it's squashed to death by an LA2A, it doesn't sound like a bass to me. I just find how polarising the subject is, interesting. 

Here's Scott's advice on what he would recommend for the first five pedals on a pedal board (in addition to a tuner). In terms of his #1 and #2 I totally agree with him. Like you, a compressor doesn't appear to be on his list for someone starting out! 

 

Edited by Al Krow

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Perhaps this thread should be put to rest. This is supposed to be a fun place to discuss our borderline obsession, not for people to be made to feel bad. 

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13 minutes ago, BadHands said:

I guess my assumption is, if people are asking for advice on a first pedal, they're probably unlikely to BE in any mixes yet, so it's more a horses for courses deal. 

For the record, I started playing bass because of Flea, so unless it's squashed to death by an LA2A, it doesn't sound like a bass to me. I just find how polarising the subject is, interesting. 

 

No - I get you and get where you are coming from totally - believe me I all for expression and soundscapes and creativity, I certainly journeyed through a few and settled on where I know I need to lie - I guess that for the main part bass lends itself to be played with other instruments. No harm in noodling and messing about alone and actually I would probably recommend something simple like Garageband which has a few different effects (including a compressor!) which for no money at all allows you to mess around before taking the plunge - I still have fun doing that

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32 minutes ago, BadHands said:

Perhaps this thread should be put to rest. This is supposed to be a fun place to discuss our borderline obsession, not for people to be made to feel bad. 

Agreed. Bordering on bullying now. Everyone shut up 🤫 

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Posted (edited)

Can I get some clarity for future replies Which posts are you referring to? Constructive feedback citing the things I do on a gig. Dismissing someone who plays fewer gigs that their observations are less valid? 
 

@pedSome guidance from the mods please. Cheers. 

Edited by krispn
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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

So please rest assured, my comment wasn't directed at you in any shape or form; it was more at folk who do 2 or 3 gigs a year but are prepared to lecture the rest of us on how we should be playing live. That irks. Maybe it shouldn't.

You thing that you have to bear in mind is that the reaction you have to people like that is similar to the reaction that guys like me sometimes have to your posts. I am always aware that guys who play at a higher level than me (say, someone like SteveK, for example) may have the same thoughts about what I say on here! 

Ironically, if someone in a similar position to you were to ask my advice on if there was anything that they could do that would be an easy way to improve their onstage sound, the first thing I would suggest would be to put a PB compressor at the front of their chain...! 

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Just now, peteb said:

You thing that you have to bear in mind is that the reaction you have to people like that is similar to the reaction that guys like me sometimes have to your posts. I am always aware that guys who play at a higher level than me (say, someone like SteveK, for example) may have the same thoughts about what I say on here! 

Ironically, if someone in a similar position to you were to ask my advice on if there was anything that they could do that would be an easy way to improve their onstage sound, the first thing I would suggest would be to put a PB compressor at the front of their chain...! 

Pete it's a very fair riposte and I really also should have learned my lesson about getting drawn into compressor thread debates by now! And to rising to the bait from certain individuals on this forum, whom I've asked to steer clear (to little effect, excuse the pun), rather than taking Chris' wise advice to "ignore" them, which I shall endeavour to do so once again. I do hope some of us get a chance to come along to one of your gigs and to buy you a beer in the not too distant post-Covid future.

And to the kind gent who seems to be stalking my band in order to provide comment on my playing style on a public forum, rather than sending his "constructive feedback" via PM, I promise to let you know in advance if I ever require such feedback again 😂

In the meantime, have a good rest of the weekend. 

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Posted (edited)

Fair enough if anything I said appears off or not of any value feel free to disregard it. You’re posting you opinions and links to your live playing on an open public forum. Watching those videos and commenting on those opinions does not constitute stalking.

@ped any views on calling someone a stalker? 
I jest but you get the point right?

Edited by krispn
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I was just going to jump in and comment that I've got a few compressor pedals, and have used them on maybe a dozen gigs over the years. I don't particularly like them up front because I prefer how my pedals react with the compressor off, so when I do use one it's normally to tame my signal at the end of my chain when I'm stacking a lot of pedals. A few of my favourite players use compressors all the time, and I love their tones, but they aren't an essential piece of gear for me.

Is that cool, or do I need to state my gig credentials first?

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I've never used one down the Dog'n'Duck, and a no point have I thought I'd need one.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, wateroftyne said:

I've never used one down the Dog'n'Duck, and a no point have I thought I'd need one.

How much is that due to your amp? As I remember you use a Handbox and, at voloume you may get  a certain amount of compresion from the power amp.

Edited by Chienmortbb

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29 minutes ago, Chienmortbb said:

How much is that due to your amp? As I remember you use a Handbox and, at voloume you may get  a certain amount of compresion from the power amp.

There’s an optical limiter (not sure if that’s what you’re referring to) but I rarely - if ever - hit that limit.

That said, regardless of head, I’ve never knowingly used compression in a backline-only situation.

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This is an interesting thread to read with some good contributions.  I've never knowingly used compression; am not anti-compression but more that I'm already generally satisfied with my sound so not actively on the lookout to change anything.  For years with my P bass with flats I was pedal-less (bass straight to amp); then at some point I added low-gain overdrive, initially just for the Motown tunes but then realized everything sounded and felt better when I left it on.  As I understand it, overdrive adds compression; if so, am I inadvertently a fan of compression, albeit not having the control over it that I would have if I was using a dedicated compressor pedal?

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7 minutes ago, jrixn1 said:

As I understand it, overdrive adds compression; if so, am I inadvertently a fan of compression, albeit not having the control over it that I would have if I was using a dedicated compressor pedal

Sounds like you have it under control!

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1 hour ago, jrixn1 said:

This is an interesting thread to read with some good contributions.  I've never knowingly used compression; am not anti-compression but more that I'm already generally satisfied with my sound so not actively on the lookout to change anything.  For years with my P bass with flats I was pedal-less (bass straight to amp); then at some point I added low-gain overdrive, initially just for the Motown tunes but then realized everything sounded and felt better when I left it on.  As I understand it, overdrive adds compression; if so, am I inadvertently a fan of compression, albeit not having the control over it that I would have if I was using a dedicated compressor pedal?

It always going to be horses for courses, and agreed it sounds like it’s great for you.

I don’t think that even the PB compression users say it’s mandated nor are we against those that don’t use it, rather that if used correctly it will make a difference however subtle and slight - I don’t think that can be disputed.

Granted if using pedals some of it will be how it is set up, inserting it into an existing chain may require tinkering all along the chain. I often happen to use more than one lot of compression - once it’s there it’s done and we happily chug along.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jrixn1 said:

.  As I understand it, overdrive adds compression; if so, am I inadvertently a fan of compression, albeit not having the control over it that I would have if I was using a dedicated compressor pedal?

that's right, record bass with no effects then with a bit of overdrive and see the difference in the waveform.

Compressor and overdrive is a complete waste of time IMO YMMV

Edited by PaulWarning
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1 hour ago, jrixn1 said:

am I inadvertently a fan of compression, albeit not having the control over it that I would have if I was using a dedicated compressor pedal?

Yes! And no... 😄

There's a bit of semantic juggling to be done- both reduce dynamic range, which can be called compression, but an overdrive does this by clipping the signal, whereas a compressor does it by adjusting the volume level of the whole signal. Neither graphs nor waveforms can demonstrate this very well, but while both processes do something ostensibly similar, they are achieving it by almost opposite means.

-Popped up while I was typing! I'm not disagreeing with PaulWarning. With overdrive you will see the dynamic reduction on the wave form. It will look very similar to that of a compressed signal, except perhaps for transient peaks with a slower attack. The waveform shows the similarities, but not the difference by which the dynamic reduction is achieved.

The most apparent difference is, of course, that an overdrive will sound dirty to some degree, whereas a compressor tends to result in a clean signal. In fact one common use of compression is to get the highest signal level into a component without clipping.

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12 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

that's right, record bass with no effects then with a bit of overdrive and see the difference in the waveform.

Compressor and overdrive is a complete waste of time IMO YMMV

Check back to the little video I linked with Nolly demonstrating how he uses a compressor.  Very useful indeed with overdrive/distortion, depending on what result you’re looking for.

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We all look to Ovnilab for the reviews - but his explanation pages are gold dust and the geek in me would say that each page is worth reading once in your musical life, more often if it grips you

http://www.ovnilab.com/faq.shtml

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54 minutes ago, Kev said:

Check back to the little video I linked with Nolly demonstrating how he uses a compressor.  Very useful indeed with overdrive/distortion, depending on what result you’re looking for.

just had a listen and I couldn't tell any difference, and in a band situation no chance, but hey, each to there own

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19 minutes ago, PaulWarning said:

just had a listen and I couldn't tell any difference, and in a band situation no chance, but hey, each to there own

Huge difference for me, totally changes the attack of the note, but clearly this thread demonstrates we all hear this stuff very differently! 

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7 minutes ago, Kev said:

... but clearly this thread demonstrates we all hear this stuff very differently! 

A lot of truth in that Kev! And maybe why the topic remains so controversial?

For example, I was having a listen to this generally decent gear review of the Boss BC1-X and he recommends a setting for live use (for all the reasons that others have given during the course of this thread) at 6.29+ onwards. He plays both without (7.17) and with the comp (7.29). It's really easy to hear the difference, but personally I so much prefer the uncompressed tone which let's the playing dynamics breathe. Maybe others prefer the compressed tone and maybe it's better in the mix, but the starting point is a singularly unattractive one tonally for me. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

A lot of truth in that Kev! And maybe why the topic remains so controversial?

For example, I was having a listen to this generally decent gear review of the Boss BC1-X and he recommends a setting for live use (for all the reasons that others have given during the course of this thread) at 6.29+ onwards. He plays both without (7.17) and with the comp (7.29). It's really easy to hear the difference, but personally I so much prefer the uncompressed tone which let's the playing dynamics breathe. Maybe others prefer the compressed tone and maybe it's better in the mix, but the starting point is a singularly unattractive one tonally for me. 

 

To be fair that’s exactly the point - i often play compressor on and then off when trying to get something - it’s really useful at the start of getting something tricky where there could be a lot of string jumping to get it nailed - do it again compressor off, check evenness of attack and playing so you aren’t fooling yourself, and then gently back on again for how I like something to sound

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