#1
I'm really confused as to what exactly a compression pedal does.

I've read quite a few definitions but none of them mean anything to me. I know a lot of guitarists use them too, I heard that to get a Cannibal Corpse style death sound you need a compressor (I'm not looking for that tone btw).

So, the way I'm thinking of it right now, mind, very abstractly, is that the signal goes through a funnel, and without a compressor both sides of the funnel are the same size. So, all the signals that go in, come out. But when you use a compressor, the other side becomes thinner so all the signal gets squashed and lasts longer as a result, and has a beefier soudn.

Help me out guys, I think I'm completely off
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#2
A compressor basically limits high and low frequency spikes that can leap outside of a signal's bandwidth. Keeps everything leveled and can often increas sustain as a result.

Someone here who is more techy could probably expand on this further (or correct me! )
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#3
In a nutshell (or as small a shell as I can make)...

Every amplifier stage has a limit for the signals it can pass. If you go beyond that limit, the amplifier stage will clip. The result is fuzz. Not good, if that's not what you're looking for.

A compressor keeps the peaks from going beyond the limits you set. It does this by altering the signal when it begins to get too close to the limits, effectively bending the peaks back down. It leaves the rest of the signal alone. This allows you to drive an amp stage harder than you would normally be able to drive it without harsh clipping.

The characteristic sound of a compressor depends on the type of "knee" it creates when the signal approaches the limit. A "hard knee" abruptly changes the angle of the signal. A "soft knee" changes the angle in an arc.

Compression in a pedal is usually combined with a gain stage. This allows you to significantly increase the gain without overdriving the next stage (amp or pedal), which gives you longer sustain.
#4
that clipping thing with ss amps or tubes aswell?
Music is the holy grail, sod wine water and the blood of jesus
#5
Quote by CrushedCan
I'm really confused as to what exactly a compression pedal does.

I've read quite a few definitions but none of them mean anything to me. I know a lot of guitarists use them too, I heard that to get a Cannibal Corpse style death sound you need a compressor (I'm not looking for that tone btw).

So, the way I'm thinking of it right now, mind, very abstractly, is that the signal goes through a funnel, and without a compressor both sides of the funnel are the same size. So, all the signals that go in, come out. But when you use a compressor, the other side becomes thinner so all the signal gets squashed and lasts longer as a result, and has a beefier soudn.

Help me out guys, I think I'm completely off



A compressor boosts lows and limits or cuts highs. In the high hands you should not even know its in the chain.
In the wrong hands a compressor can kill your dynamics and overall sound...
#6
A compressor shouldn't have any effect on the frequency response, unless that pedal designer decided to impliment bandwidth changes. A compressor compresses the dynamic range, not the bandwidth. This is done so that everything will essentially sound like it's the same volume. Pick hard, pick easy, it comes out the same volume. This helps add a thickness and sustain, because as the sustain fades, it's still coming out of the compressor at the same volume that the initial attack did.
#7
^+1

The science behind this is easily explained like this:

Visualise a sound wave in your head (sine wave etc.). Now imagine two horizontal lines coming from above and below that sound wave to squash it in the gap in between (like the star wars movie where Luke is in a rubbish compactor).

That's what a compressor does. And it creates the effects that Jim85IROC said.
...
#8
"Picture the scene. Sicily, 1947. A monkey. With a volume pedal. He has tinnitus, so he doesn't like loud noises, but needs things to be a certain volume level in order to hear them, poor little mite. He is wearing headphones. When you play, if it's too loud, he turns the volume down a little. If it's too quiet, he turns it up. He can do this quite quickly if he wants, but there's a big dial in front of him, telling him how fast he's allowed to turn the volume control. There's another control that determines how loud his headphones are compared to your guitar.

Pop the little chap in a box and paint it (traditionally) blue and off you go. Oh, it might be a good idea to replace him with some sort of electronics gubbins, to save his poor hearing.

Some compressors allow you to have a little effect loop in between your guitar and his headphones, so that you could (for instance) have him only listen to the bass part of your guitar sound, but work the volume control according to that. "
#9
What are some notable bands/songs that clearly use a compressor in their sound? Is it something like the short intro riffs on Master of Puppets?
#10
Quote by Eddie NYC
What are some notable bands/songs that clearly use a compressor in their sound? Is it something like the short intro riffs on Master of Puppets?
Every piece of music you've ever listened to has been compressed to some extent.
#11
Listen to the intro to Under the Bridge. That's what heavy compression sounds like- the squish and sustain of the notes.
#12
Quote by Roc8995
Listen to the intro to Under the Bridge. That's what heavy compression sounds like- the squish and sustain of the notes.


Thanks. Will do.