So lately I have been using BIAS FX and I love it! I noticed if I put a compressor on the clean signal before it goes through BIAS (or even the compressor in BIAS put before anything else) I get much more clarity and fullness on the guitar. It really helps to up the quality of everything.

So now the question comes to mind, mainly because I do not have a on board compressor. Would I get better results from an on board compressor put before my interface or would the results be the same by using a compression VST before any other VSTs essientailly compressing the recorded signal? Is this roughly doing the same thing or would an on board compressor respond differently (sense we all know signal chains make a HUGE difference) and yield a fuller clearer tone?
Yeah hahahaha. That's what I meant. No I haven't. I have no physical compression unit. I was wondering if the purchase would be worth it or necessary or if the results are roughly the same either way.

I did hear one big pro of an outboard compressor is that you can hear the performance ahead of time and fix any actual performance errors (aka hone your skills) but if I am monitoring playback through my monitors with the compression on it, would that even be a factor?

I guess my question narrows down to does an outboard compressor compress better since its taking the direct sound of the guitar instead of a pre recorded one that a VST would do? In my head that makes sense, but so could anything if you don't know all of the particulars.
I have an expensive 2 channel preamp that has eq and compression plus some mild gain overdrive that I can achieve. I use it for specific sounds when recording vocals.
On guitars I can achieve similar effect in my direct channel which I can then change so I don't print with it. How about putting a compressor in your DAW before BIAS? You can certainly do that and take it out if you don't need it.

Outboard compressor reacts differently but mainly just because it is a different unit. Going either way is right. I usually track guitars direct for the most part and reamp them later with an all analog chain. That's for my finished recordings.
Last edited by diabolical at Oct 27, 2015,
If you're recording anything that's on a direct input like guitar or bass for example I'd recommend investing in a DI box with a splitter and a mid range compression pedal, whenever I record bass I have one input of just the dry signal from the DI box to interface and another signal with the compressor switched on (I bought an EHX soul preacher for about £40!) - blending the signals gets some pretty good results.

The only thing to be mindful of when compressing before it gets to your interface or mixer etc. is that if you decide you want to change the ratio of the compressor or find it doesn't fit later on in the mix, then you won't be able to change it later on

I've yielded some nice vocals sounds from compressing before the signal gets to the interface, but I always double the signal and take a dry recording at the same time as insurance for those instances where I find my ears were lying to me in the recording process!

this doesn't have to be with DI recording either by the way either, my DI box has an XLR input so it gets used a lot with mic'd recordings too, usually the room mic on my drum kit will have some compression before coming in and blending with the dry signal