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DHA VT-1 Bass Compressor

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[attachment=2414:DHA_VT_1...mpressor.jpg]

[b]Dave Hall Amps VT-1 Bass Compressor[/b]

[i]Features: 7 [/i]
This pedal features the following:
Controls: Compression threshold, Decay, Level control, plus impedance pad and boost level
Switches: soft/hard compression ratio, boost on off, effect on-off

The boost control wasn't necessary for my preferred settings because I got better results through not using it. But that doesn't necessarily mean another player might not find it useful. Hard/soft ratio is useful for helping to turn the pedal from a compressor to a limiter for use, say, after a synthbass pedal or similar source of potentially spiking audio signal.

[i]Sound Quality: 7[/i]
I tried my Smith BSR5-GN and Celinder Update 4 through a super clean sounding GK RB700 1x15 combo.

OK, lets be honest, this pedal isn’t going to put Avalon out of business, but this pedal isn’t at an Avalon price either. :huh: Through my GK, its possible to generate noticable levels of hiss with extreme settings, but when used in moderation the pedal is perfectly acceptable for live use. Using good quality cables makes a [u]significant[/u] difference as well. Do NOT use cheap Maplins-type cables, they will act like antennae and you’ll end up sorry! :) I am also aware that my GK generates a significantly glassier tone than many other of the bassbash rigs I've tried. So its worth bearing that in mind when I comment on noise or hiss, it might well be that most members wouldn't notice much.

The boost added an edge to the tone, in the same way as when the compressor was off. But it also increased hiss so generally I left it off. After mucking about a bit with extreme settings I settled on having the boost off, compression threshold at 9 oclock, decay at 1 oclock and level at 2 oclock.

I ended up with a subtle compression which didn’t colour the sound too much, the noise levels were very low and the blue LED showed me that the effect was still happening. The general effect that was full, smooth and free of spiky edges :huh:. I also have to confess that knowing what the controls do is one thing but knowing how they interact is another entirely. There are many permutations of loudness to be had by varying the IP pad knob against the boost control and level. For the purpose of this review, I aimed for a sound I felt I could use every rehearsal.

With the Smith, the VT-1 compressor evened things out a lot, and reduced some of the lower-midrange boom. On the Celinder, it fattened up the midrange very nicely and took away some of the brittleness of the Lindy single coils. I could transfer from slap to fingerstyle with very little loss in punch or volume yet the sound wasn’t coloured excessively either. There was plenty of snap coming through the amp when the compressor was engaged, and no distortion unless extreme settings were used.

The one thing worth bearing in mind is that because this pedal is true bypass, you will get a loud pop, the first time you step on the on/off switch after power up. I recommend turning on the compressor before the amp or at least while the amp has a mute switch active.

[i]Reliability: N/A[/i]
I haven’t tested this pedal in anger yet, but I’ll see what other members think of it in due course.

[i]Customer Support: 9[/i]
Dave’s on BC all the time, and the pedal comes with a 12 month parts and labour warranty so long as you don’t subject the pedal to silly extremes he'll be there for you.

[i]Overall Rating:[/i]
I’m going to rate it a 7.5. Obviously it’s not as quiet as a studio valve compressor, but its not as bad as the Ibanez CL10 I once owned and certainly in the top quarter of all the pedal compressors I've tried. The Trace compressor is quieter but I think the VT-1 pedal is more subtle and that valve works a bit more magic on your tone. The key to using the pedal effectively is a little goes a long way. The LED which lights up when the set compression threshold is reached lets you know with certainty how much compression is happening and when its in effect so you can see for yourself when the pedal is doing its job.

Try a little tenderness and it will reap dividends, I was very satisfied with the pedal and plan on making it a staple part of my live rig.

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[quote name='Crazykiwi' post='63325' date='Sep 20 2007, 09:13 PM'][attachment=2414:DHA_VT_1...mpressor.jpg]

[b]Dave Hall Amps VT-1 Bass Compressor[/b]

[i]Features: 7 [/i]
This pedal features the following:
Controls: Compression threshold, Decay, Level control, plus impedance pad and boost level
Switches: soft/hard compression ratio, boost on off, effect on-off

The boost control wasn't necessary for my preferred settings because I got better results through not using it. But that doesn't necessarily mean another player might not find it useful. Hard/soft ratio is useful for helping to turn the pedal from a compressor to a limiter for use, say, after a synthbass pedal or similar source of potentially spiking audio signal.

[i]Sound Quality: 7[/i]
I tried my Smith BSR5-GN and Celinder Update 4 through a super clean sounding GK RB700 1x15 combo.

OK, lets be honest, this pedal isn’t going to put Avalon out of business, but this pedal isn’t at an Avalon price either. :huh: Through my GK, its possible to generate noticable levels of hiss with extreme settings, but when used in moderation the pedal is perfectly acceptable for live use. Using good quality cables makes a [u]significant[/u] difference as well. Do NOT use cheap Maplins-type cables, they will act like antennae and you’ll end up sorry! :) I am also aware that my GK generates a significantly glassier tone than many other of the bassbash rigs I've tried. So its worth bearing that in mind when I comment on noise or hiss, it might well be that most members wouldn't notice much.

The boost added an edge to the tone, in the same way as when the compressor was off. But it also increased hiss so generally I left it off. After mucking about a bit with extreme settings I settled on having the boost off, compression threshold at 9 oclock, decay at 1 oclock and level at 2 oclock.

I ended up with a subtle compression which didn’t colour the sound too much, the noise levels were very low and the blue LED showed me that the effect was still happening. The general effect that was full, smooth and free of spiky edges :huh:. I also have to confess that knowing what the controls do is one thing but knowing how they interact is another entirely. There are many permutations of loudness to be had by varying the IP pad knob against the boost control and level. For the purpose of this review, I aimed for a sound I felt I could use every rehearsal.

With the Smith, the VT-1 compressor evened things out a lot, and reduced some of the lower-midrange boom. On the Celinder, it fattened up the midrange very nicely and took away some of the brittleness of the Lindy single coils. I could transfer from slap to fingerstyle with very little loss in punch or volume yet the sound wasn’t coloured excessively either. There was plenty of snap coming through the amp when the compressor was engaged, and no distortion unless extreme settings were used.

The one thing worth bearing in mind is that because this pedal is true bypass, you will get a loud pop, the first time you step on the on/off switch after power up. I recommend turning on the compressor before the amp or at least while the amp has a mute switch active.

[i]Reliability: N/A[/i]
I haven’t tested this pedal in anger yet, but I’ll see what other members think of it in due course.

[i]Customer Support: 9[/i]
Dave’s on BC all the time, and the pedal comes with a 12 month parts and labour warranty so long as you don’t subject the pedal to silly extremes he'll be there for you.

[i]Overall Rating:[/i]
I’m going to rate it a 7.5. Obviously it’s not as quiet as a studio valve compressor, but its not as bad as the Ibanez CL10 I once owned and certainly in the top quarter of all the pedal compressors I've tried. The Trace compressor is quieter but I think the VT-1 pedal is more subtle and that valve works a bit more magic on your tone. The key to using the pedal effectively is a little goes a long way. The LED which lights up when the set compression threshold is reached lets you know with certainty how much compression is happening and when its in effect so you can see for yourself when the pedal is doing its job.

Try a little tenderness and it will reap dividends, I was very satisfied with the pedal and plan on making it a staple part of my live rig.[/quote]

Many thanks Steve,

dave at DHA

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[quote name='OldGit' post='63341' date='Sep 20 2007, 10:04 PM']Sounds good
Just waiting for mine to arrive ..
I hope mine will be wearing the pretty coloured box though :huh:
OG[/quote]

Yes,

Yours is nice and bright :)

Dave

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[quote name='DHA' post='63343' date='Sep 20 2007, 10:06 PM']Yes,

Yours is nice and bright :)

Dave[/quote]


Oh yummie ..
Like this then

:huh:

Dave .. What does the "optical" bit in the name refer to?

Edited by OldGit

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[quote name='OldGit' post='63355' date='Sep 20 2007, 10:23 PM']Oh yummie ..
Like this then

:)

Dave .. What does the "optical" bit in the name refer to?[/quote]

Hi,

The optical bit refers to the control circuit. I use an LED and an LDR (light dependant resistor) - the LED lights more or less depending on the amount of compression and decay you set, this changes the resistance of the LDR which in turn acts as a volume control for the valve. I use 2 LED/LDR circuits which gives the hard/soft settings the only difference is the colour of the LED as ones blue and the other green. The LED's are driven by an op-amp control peak detection circuit, it's a complex design using 5 two stage op-amps (that's 10 op-amps in all!) and 2 valve stages for the signal path. As many of you know it's taken me over a year to get this the way I want it.

The blue LED on the outside of the box is really showing you what the LDR's are seeing.

Using an optical interface reduces the noise that voltage controlled op-amp designs have problems with. All the top studio compressors are optical.

Yes, yours is like the picture but there is an extra switch (boost) on the top plus a boost pot on the back.

I am testing the second batch today and I will post what I can later, so most if not all will see their compressors tomorrow or Monday.

Dave

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[quote name='DHA' post='63459' date='Sep 21 2007, 09:29 AM']Hi,

The optical bit refers to the control circuit. I use an LED and an LDR (light dependant resistor) - the LED lights more or less depending on the amount of compression and decay you set, this changes the resistance of the LDR which in turn acts as a volume control for the valve. I use 2 LED/LDR circuits which gives the hard/soft settings the only difference is the colour of the LED as ones blue and the other green. The LED's are driven by an op-amp control peak detection circuit, it's a complex design using 5 two stage op-amps (that's 10 op-amps in all!) and 2 valve stages for the signal path. As many of you know it's taken me over a year to get this the way I want it.

The blue LED on the outside of the box is really showing you what the LDR's are seeing.

Using an optical interface reduces the noise that voltage controlled op-amp designs have problems with. All the top studio compressors are optical.

Yes, yours is like the picture but there is an extra switch (boost) on the top plus a boost pot on the back.

I am testing the second batch today and I will post what I can later, so most if not all will see their compressors tomorrow or Monday.

Dave[/quote]

Cheers Dave, that all makes a lot of sence.

Next bass gig is on Saturday 29th so it would be spiffing if it could get here before then :)
Thanks Matey

Edited by OldGit

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[quote name='DHA' post='63459' date='Sep 21 2007, 08:29 AM']Yes, yours is like the picture but there is an extra switch (boost) on the top plus a boost pot on the back.[/quote]
Are the boost switch & pot 'standard issue', or optional extras?
Cheers.

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[quote name='Hit&Run' post='99624' date='Dec 5 2007, 02:53 PM']Are the boost switch & pot 'standard issue', or optional extras?
Cheers.[/quote]

There are two versions now.

The VT1-Bass-Compressor is the painted one with hard/soft compression switch, boost, boost pot and the controls you see about.

The "new" VT1-Std-Bass-Compressor is unpainted, soft compression only no boost or boost pot. Low cost version.

Dave

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[quote name='Hit&Run' post='99624' date='Dec 5 2007, 02:53 PM']Are the boost switch & pot 'standard issue', or optional extras?
Cheers.[/quote]

They came as standard on mine.

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[quote name='Alpha-Dave' post='99710' date='Dec 5 2007, 04:54 PM']They came as standard on mine.[/quote]
Oooh, get you! :)
I was asking because the only difference I could see on the ebay photos was the switch for hard & soft compression. Other than that, the units look the same to me.

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