#1
Hi,

I'm a rock/metal guitarist. My signal chain is :

-Gibson LP Custom
-Dunlop Crybaby
-TC Polytune2
-Maxon ST9 Pro Plus
-MXR Phase 90
-Boss RC3
-Orange TH30
>And a TC Flashback x4 in the FX loop

I think I need a Compressor for playing mellow stuff a la Metallica's Sanitarium, now I understand they probably use a chorus, but I feel a comp on the clean channel would be better overall and more flexible for mellow stuff on general. Also, I hear comps help with clean sustain, which I want for soloing.
The bods CS3 is the obvious choice, but I would like a few pointers/suggestions to make sure. The MXR comps seem like a good alternative and have less knobs as well. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
#2
I have a few, and my favourite is the Boss LMB-3, a bass limiter/compressor. The reasons are:

It is quiet as compressors go

The controls are logical and do what compressors are supposed to do - "compression ratio" and "threshold", not "attack" and "sustain", which really have nothing to do with compression per se.

It is reasonably transparent

The "enhance" control could be used to add a little extra to dull-sounding pickups.
#3
the MXR is a standard for compressors but if you can afford it get the Whirlwind version of it as it is far better qualtity.
#4
Best compressor pedal?
Retrospec squeeze box, or a koji comp.
Quote by Tony Done
The controls are logical and do what compressors are supposed to do - "compression ratio" and "threshold", not "attack" and "sustain", which really have nothing to do with compression per se.
Please go reading how a compressor works.

Well, either that or shut up.

Or, to clarify, while the attack and release time of a compressor aren't about how much of what is being compressed, not to include them in what is "logical and what compressors are supposed to do" kinda gives away the fact that you need to get your hands on a compressor and hear how it works.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#5
Quote by Spambot_2
Best compressor pedal?
Retrospec squeeze box, or a koji comp.
Please go reading how a compressor works.

Well, either that or shut up.

Or, to clarify, while the attack and release time of a compressor aren't about how much of what is being compressed, not to include them in what is "logical and what compressors are supposed to do" kinda gives away the fact that you need to get your hands on a compressor and hear how it works.


is the Retrospec Squeezer based on the old Orange Squeezer pedal from the 70s?
#6
Quote by Spambot_2
Best compressor pedal?
Retrospec squeeze box, or a koji comp.
Please go reading how a compressor works.

Well, either that or shut up.

Or, to clarify, while the attack and release time of a compressor aren't about how much of what is being compressed, not to include them in what is "logical and what compressors are supposed to do" kinda gives away the fact that you need to get your hands on a compressor and hear how it works.


I know how a compressor works thanks. - It compresses the signal. The threshold is the input value at which the compressor starts to act. The output signal is a proportion of the input signal, that is the compression ratio. This can be zero, in which case the compressors acts as a limiter, the signal is maintained at the threshold value until it drops below it. - Think Ayers Rock, steep sides and a flat top. The compression results in a lower signal, which is then increased by the level control. The net result of a threshold value and a high compression ration is that low signal values, eg the note in decay are amplified in relation to higher values, and this is what results in increased sustain. That is, sustain is a consequence of how compression works.

Attack relates to the delay before the compressor kicks in once the threshold is reached, and according to my tech mate Terry some stomp box compressors also create a spike in this region.

This might help you figure it out, note that "sustain" isn't a header:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/what_the_hell_is_compression_and_what_does_it_do.html
Last edited by Tony Done at Feb 21, 2015,
#7
Quote by monwobobbo
is the Retrospec Squeezer based on the old Orange Squeezer pedal from the 70s?
Nope, it's an LA-2A copy adapted to work with a guitar.
Quote by Tony Done
The net result of a threshold value and a high compression ration is that low signal values, eg the note in decay are amplified in relation to higher values, and this is what results in increased sustain. That is, sustain is a consequence of how compression works.
That is indeed true, but the sustain control in a compressor doesn't refer to that.

It refers to the amount of time that takes to the compressor to bring the gain reduction back to 0dB after the signal has returned under the threshold.
It should be expressed in dB/ms, but it's usually only expressed in ms with the gain being 10dB.
Quote by Tony Done
Attack relates to the delay before the compressor kicks in once the threshold is reached
This on the other hand is false.

In a compressor, the attack time is the time it takes to the compressor to reach the right level of gain reduction after the signal has surpassed the threshold, and it once again is expressed in ms while in reality it's a fraction of dB/ms.
Quote by Tony Done
and according to my tech mate Terry some stomp box compressors also create a spike in this region.
He either doesn't know what he's talking about too or you didn't understand what he said.

Compressors start acting right away as the signal surpasses the threshold, and the gain reduction is applied progressively at a speed relative to the attack time you set.
As a result, if your attack is long, you'll hear very prominent spikes.
Funk guitars are a good example.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#9
I like the MXR Dyna Comp. Cheap and effective, and actually gives a good compressed sound. A lot of the boutique compressors try too hard to be transparent.
#10
Quote by Spambot_2

That is indeed true, but the sustain control in a compressor doesn't refer to that.

It refers to the amount of time that takes to the compressor to bring the gain reduction back to 0dB after the signal has returned under the threshold.
It should be expressed in dB/ms, but it's usually only expressed in ms with the gain being 10dB.
This on the other hand is false.

In a compressor, the attack time is the time it takes to the compressor to reach the right level of gain reduction after the signal has surpassed the threshold, and it once again is expressed in ms while in reality it's a fraction of dB/ms.
He either doesn't know what he's talking about too or you didn't understand what he said.

Compressors start acting right away as the signal surpasses the threshold, and the gain reduction is applied progressively at a speed relative to the attack time you set.
As a result, if your attack is long, you'll hear very prominent spikes.
Funk guitars are a good example.


This is the graph I recall Terry drawing for me:



Ie, the spike in output before the compressor fully kicks in, creating the attack. FWIW, he is a fully qualified electronics tech, he used to be the senior tech and the local Uni, but now works on guitar and amp repair, due to health problems.

Aren't we saying the same thing about sustain? If not, where is the difference? To quote Wikipedia:

A compressor is often used to stabilize volume and smooth a note's "attack" by dampening its onset and amplifying its sustain.


I used the word "delay", which is wrong, it is better to say the amount of time it takes before the compression reaches full effect.
#11

Nothing more tense and exciting than compressor gossip.


I use a Biyang CO-8. Its cheap, quiet and it makes notes shiny.
Fender Mustang/Derfenstein DST> Boss Power Wah> Pedal Monsters Klone> Bogner Uberschall> Walrus Audio Janus> Randall RM20> Line 6 M9> Randall RM20
#14
It's the BYOC optical compressor kit, so the abbreviation sort of came naturally. It works fine at moderate settings, but acts very strangely when cranked. - The output just disappears completely -sag with a vengeance.

The LMD-3 has an enhancer as I mentioned above. It basically adds brightness, but wandering into the realms of psycho-acoustics. I thought it made my dark-sounding 335 knockoff sound a bit like a tele. It's the only time I've ever liked the sound of that particular guitar.
#15
Quote by Tony Done
Ie, the spike in output before the compressor fully kicks in, creating the attack.
Yes that is what I described.
It doesn't "create" the attack though.

You're confusing the sound's envelope with the compressor's envelope.

The attack of the sound is the portion of time before the sound reaches its full level, and its sustain is, to simplify, the portion of time going from the end of the attack to the end of the sound (when the sound reaches a level that's not hear-able anymore).

The compressor's attack is the time it takes from the compressor to reduce the gain by a certain amount when the signal has surpassed the threshold, and the release is the time it takes it to do the opposite - return to unity after the signal has fallen below the threshold.

If the compressor's attack is fast enough you don't hear a transient, but if it's slow you do hear a transient standing out a lot more than the rest of the sound.

Then, the sustain of the sound may be hella long while the sustain of the compressor is zero - you keep the threshold low, the output gain high, and there you have it.

What you're thinking about is the sound's sustain, which can be simplified in being the length of the sound, while what you're trying to talk about is the compressor's sustain.
Quote by Tony Done
FWIW, he is a fully qualified electronics tech
There may simply have been a miscommunication - he said something and you understood something else.
Quote by Tony Done
Aren't we saying the same thing about sustain? If not, where is the difference? To quote Wikipedia:
That quote from wikipedia still refers to the sound's sustain.

Since we're quoting wikipedia,
Quote by wikipedia article on dynamic range compression
The 'release phase' is the period when the compressor is increasing gain to the level determined by the ratio, or, to zero dB, once the level has fallen below the threshold.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#16
Actually a few months back I was looking for a compressor and posted a similar post. I tried both the CS-3 and Dynacomp. Unless you are looking at boutique pedals, both of the pedals are great. I personally prefer the Dynacomp but the CS-3 is a great pedal too, Actually I decided to get both pedals!

As you play a Gibson LP, a guitar with humbuckers, I would suggest a chorus pedal over the comp and get the compressor later on. The chorus if set correctly, it can also be used on lead guitar parts. I believe I've seen an interview of Zakk Wylde Saying that it is basically ON all night! Great chorus pedals are the MXR chorus pedals and I also like TC Corona chorus.
#17
if you are in the boutique market, fairfield circuitry the accountant. about 150.
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#18
Quote by Spambot_2
Yes that is what I described.
It doesn't "create" the attack though.



I think we've mostly been at cross-purposes. It seems to me that when a layman (eg me) see knobs labelled "attack" and "sustain" he/she is going to assume it refers to what they hear, not what is going on in the electronics. I'm got a bit sensitized to this by the large numbers of luridly painted pedals with daft names and equally daft control names. Such things didn't happen in my professional background, and they look like a lot of silly and not very helpful hype to me.

I'm still going to favour compressors that have "ratio" and "threshhold" though. FWIW, the LMB-3 doesn't have a pronounced attack effect, and the attack control on BYOC 5-knob I built does next to nothing with the pickups I've tried through it. IIRC, the attack control on the Boss compressor I had years ago did have a noticeable effect.
#19
Thanks for the replies, in a straight shootout :

1. Do both below pedals offer great, clean sustain?
2.Boss Cs3 or MXR DynaComp?
3. Do either hum in the signal chain?

Thanks
#20
Both are nice compressors but neither is that clean. The Boss you can hear the compressor activating quite harshly. The Dynacomp has a particular colour to it a sort of mid boost.

For myself I would pick the Dynacomp but I think this is very personal preference so you may prefer the other one. As previously mentioned I suggest a chorus before compressor for metal.

Yes, they both hum. All compressors hum.
#22
I've been using the MXR dyna comp for quite some time now. It's a little noisy with single coils, but with the settings I use it at (output @ 6 and sustain @ 3) I get no noise from my single coils, and no noise ever with humbuckers.
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