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#1
I was having a debate inside my head for awhile today. Should you really depend on a compression pedal to help even out your sound? I mean, it sounds like a godsend, because you'll have one less thing to worry about, but wouldn't it cause you to be dependent on it, thus making your technique go down the drain?

I was actually considering buying a rackmount limiter but im afraid i'll get too used to it. Isn't it better practicing something until you can't control your volumes and peak without the use of a effect? Of course, im not ragging on the people who use it, but it seems kind of cheating to me. I used to play wind instruments, which obviously have no compression pedal that you can work with. I had to control my dynamics and tone myself.

What are your thoughts on this, bass forum? Do you use one? Do you think they're helpful or not necessary?
pinga
#2
Too much is a bad thing, but I dont think real players use it as a crutch, I know i certainly dont, it just adds so much when you solo, really makes you stand out in the mix, controls peaks and evens your sound in ways that can't be done with technique (since variables like distortion, your amps EQ and pre-amp, ect.) can throw that out the window sometimes no matter how good your technique is. I think you'll find if your get a rack mount you wont be dependent on it, thats all up to you how much you depend on something, but its really just there to aid you and make you stand out a bit in the mix
#3
uhh. i have built in low and high compression on my head? i use it to unmuddle my lows at higher volumes. that's something i cant do on my own haha i didnt realize it could do a lot more for you in an actual pedal. well, im gonna have to say its useful to some extent (like smoothing out your lows at higher volumes) but yeh i think if you just o.d. on it it's easy to be dependent.

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#4
If it acheives a desired sound, use it. I like the sound of compression. Bass may be a little different (my experience is with guitar) but use it if you like it.
#5
not to limit your sound. practice with it off, play with it on. if you get too sloppy the greatest limiter won't keep you from sounding like you started yesterday.
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#6
I use a compressor for my jazz stuff since my levels out my highs.
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#7
Music sounds better when it's volume can go up and down anyways. Compression pedals suck.
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#8
Quote by Rawshik
Music sounds better when it's volume can go up and down anyways. Compression pedals suck.


You don't have to squash it completely, there is a middle ground you know.
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#9
I don't have a lot of love for my compression pedal really. I need to do more fiddling with it but I haven't really found a practical use for it yet.
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#10
Quote by gilly_90
You don't have to squash it completely, there is a middle ground you know.


Effects like that bother me majorly. It's just like auto-tune. There's no talent.
For how can I give the King his place of worth above all else
when I spend my time striving to place the crown upon myself?
#11
Quote by Rawshik
Effects like that bother me majorly. It's just like auto-tune. There's no talent.

You know that probably 9/10 of the artists in your music library uses auto-tune?
pinga
#12
How so?
For how can I give the King his place of worth above all else
when I spend my time striving to place the crown upon myself?
#13
Artists use auto-tune all the time in the studio to make the recording sound perfect. Every artist does it, and it's been around for years. I'm not talking about the robot voice sounding effect either.
pinga
#14
You can also use compression to make your slap bass and finger style the same volume. or does that mean you have no talent too?
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Okay guys, I have a confession to make. Not really a confession since it's something that's been bugging me for awhile but I've always been in denial about it.

**** you gilly, it's not what you think
#15
Quote by Rawshik
Effects like that bother me majorly. It's just like auto-tune. There's no talent.

Every live gig you've ever been to of a decent size and sound quality will use a compressor at the desk.

Every decent sounding recording uses compression on most of the instruments and the master track.

I'm so sorry no one measures up to your standards on talent.
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#16
I would think it really depends on your mindset as a player.

Sure, it can be seen as a crutch. Why bother learning finger (or pick) dynamics when a machine could even it out anyway? Everyone is so over-processed these days, what's another device to aid our playing? You know, they say that Paul McCartney never used a compressor in his recording sessions. /devilsadvocate

Then again, it is a very useful device, especially in certain situations and applications. Let's say the slap solo is coming up, and you want it to sound juuust right? A compressor will even out those harsh pops and slaps and keep the groove on a general level. Maybe you're halfway into a set and you're really raking hard into those strings. The compressor's got your back, and you're not dominating over the rhythm guitar.

In my experience, it never hurts to have another tool in the toolbox just in case something comes up. A compressor is not an excuse to get sloppy with technique or dynamics; there's not really any excuse for lacking in either department except lack of practice. Rather, you should look at a compressor to help keep certain aspects of your playing (slapping, tapping) in check aurally with your basic fingerstyle (or picking).
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#17
At the end of the day, if it sounds good, do it. While it's nice to know how things are done, the end justifies the means with music. In essence, it's no different to the use of CGI in films.

Specifically, compression is a godsend live. Sometimes you just get a bit excited and in the moment. Compression helps that out.
#18
I dont think you should depend on anythingto make you a better player. But to improve your sound(especially live as has already been pointed out) it is a useful tool. Tools though have to be used right and so thats were is too much comrpession or is a compressor really what you need, or are you using to much. etc etc. I like em and intend to buy(damn money) one and use it.
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#19
This is why I like the bass forum. I see the compressor in a new light now thanks guys. Though it's odd, my Peavey comes with built in compression but I don't really feel it evens out my sound

I'm just gonna add the compressor to the list of things I want in my rack.
pinga
#20
Alot of built in comrpessors arent great. The one on the ashdown amps aint great either. The one on the TC rh450 though is great i thought.

I also plan to get one for my rack, even though i might get a pedal one aswell to add more in to get a really processed synth sound.
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#21
Well i play wind instruments and when i swicthed to bass i just did dynmaics by how hard i pluk i didnt even no thats what it did.Althought for slappingit sounds usefull
#22
As much of an advocate I am for dynamics... When you start to incorporate harmonics, tap, slap and other techniques it can be incredibly difficult to control the volume peaks or just plain impossible.

I like compression, not completely squashed but a nice boost when changing to harmonics and tapping and a cut when slapping.
#24
Just a little bit to help you sit in the mix is a wonderful thing, it's unreasonable to expect a bass player to have machine like accuracy in his plucking stregnth
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#25
Quote by graybass_20x6
I would think it really depends on your mindset as a player.

Sure, it can be seen as a crutch. Why bother learning finger (or pick) dynamics when a machine could even it out anyway? Everyone is so over-processed these days, what's another device to aid our playing? You know, they say that Paul McCartney never used a compressor in his recording sessions. /devilsadvocate


Paul played thumping 60s basslines on a violin bass and that he never used one doesn't say that Martin didin't.

Compression can be very useful to return balance to a topheavy bass-sound (be it high or low) and if your bass has meh sustain you need it...
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#26
Could someone please explain what a compresser and limiter do to your sound? I have them built into my cheap multi effect pedal but I don't really know what it's doing to my sound.

Thought I should bring this thread up instead of starting a new one.
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#27
If it sounds good, it is good
-duke ellington

^A limiter keeps your volume from going above a certain point, an exciter keeps your volume from dropping below a certain point. A compressor is a limiter and an exciter in one essentially
#28
A compressor is very useful for mixing slap and fingerstyle, since you have to hit with a decent amount of velocity to produce the slapping tone at all.
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#29
Im gonna argue that rack and pedal compressors are mostly useless. By the time your playing a gig big enough where the compression makes a difference, youre DI'd and the sound guy is adding all the compression you need right to your channel. And he has a much better idea of what sounds good in the house than you do
#30
Quote by thebassiestbass
Im gonna argue that rack and pedal compressors are mostly useless. By the time your playing a gig big enough where the compression makes a difference, youre DI'd and the sound guy is adding all the compression you need right to your channel. And he has a much better idea of what sounds good in the house than you do

But don't the sound guys use rack compression units most of the time? You just contradicted yourself A better way of saying it is "Personal rack or pedal compressors".
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#31
Quote by Shinozoku
But don't the sound guys use rack compression units most of the time? You just contradicted yourself A better way of saying it is "Personal rack or pedal compressors".


#32
Meh, it doesn't stop me from wanting my own personal compression unit. Im gonna possibly buy one in a couple of months. I use a 2x15 cab so sometimes the bass gets a tad overwhelming.
pinga
#33
I just finished an article in Bass Player on compression:

http://www.bassplayer.com/article/compression-basics/June-2011/132217

I'm like dark Mass, I use mine in Jazz to even out the tone a bit, esp in the high range. Its like any other effect--used right it can be another tool in the box.
#34
After reading your article, i'm not sure about the compressor anymore. It sounds a bit complicated, but what im worried about most is my sound. I'm afraid it wont sound right anymore.

Man, im so indecisive.
pinga
#35
reasonable ways to use compression:

1. Getting very even recording levels
2.Letting you switch from one style of play to another (pick to fingers to slap, etc) without fiddling with the volume on your amp or bass
3. Getting a consistent "trigger" volume for effects like some synths and envelope filters

All three of those things are reasonable applications that don't really let you go lazy on your technique (you're going to have to pay special attention to attack anyway for #3).

I don't use a compressor live because I love my own dynamics and want as true a sound as possible, but then again, I just play finger style the whole time and actually enjoy the quirks of less consistent triggering on some of my pedals.


Quote by Rawshik
Effects like that bother me majorly. It's just like auto-tune. There's no talent.



I'll take a nice transparent compressor on live vox any day. It doesn't matter how talented you are at working the mic, you're going to have a few hiccups in volume over the course of a night of singing, and if one thing needs to be up front at consistent levels through every song, it's vox.

edit*

Reason #4 you can't get even volume across all strings no matter how much you adjust your pups and eq. I think a lot of us have fought with a bass like that and careful compression can take care of it.
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Jun 16, 2011,
#36
I've got one on my Bass POD and my Fender amp. I set it at 0, on a scale of 0-10. I play with my fingers and consistently hit my strings pretty hard. I've been playing for 25 years. I think hitting the strings is pretty much instinctive now. I don't even have to think about it. It just kind of happens. I feel like compression robs me of "my tone". I don't care for compression at all. If I want softer notes, I hit my strings softer. If I'm beating the hell out of my bass, I want it to sound like that. My P Elite is my main axe. It's super bassy. When I use compression, I lose that sub bass aspect to my sound. I really don't like compression. Just my opinion.
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Last edited by deeptubes at Jun 16, 2011,
#37
^ That's exactly what I was afraid of. Before playing bass, I was playing wind instruments. Im used to having complete control over my dynamics, when I first heard/read about compression, I felt like that would really limit me.
pinga
#38
Ive also been playing trumpet for 8 years both in orchestra's and in more relaxed blues like situations and thats fine. But sometimes when your playing a gig, you can have the tendency to hit strings a bit harder, get a bit more excited, get mroe pumped. This can lead to vast change in dynamics which can drastically change your sound(well not drasticaly but im making a point here). Then i really like comrpession it just keeps things even and just can make your live playing a bit mroe enjoyable instead having to have 100% concentration. I like it anyway.
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#39
The thing is, i'm not too worried on having to have 100% concentration. Maybe compression just isn't for me . Plus, as someone on here said before, if I ever do play a big show, i'll be DI'd and compressed before I know it.

That being said, I think im more interested in getting a nice bass preamp
pinga
#40
I slap and tap a lot, so to me compression is the most important effect to have. I just set it to where I can have dynamics, but my tone is still fattened and slapping won't blow the audience's ears out.
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