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effects loop/compressor question

Discussion in 'Maddrakkett's Caffe' started by uaudio, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. uaudio

    uaudio

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    so at my regular gig i generally use my swr redhead 2x10 combo as a stage monitor, with a balanced out to the board. the guy in the booth compresses my signal and everyone is happy.

    now i have an additional gig, and its small enough that i don't go through the board. i am thinking about a compressor. the redhead combo has an empty single rackspace. i was going to pick up either an alesis or dbx rackmount compressor/gate/limiter for simplicity's sake but here's my question:

    the way i understand it, you should run compression before the preamp/poweramp stages. so would i have to run my line from the bass directly into the BACK of the rackmounted compressor, then around to the FRONT of the amplifier? seems somewhat silly. or can i get away with running the compression as part of the sidechain, or loop - and turn the effects blend to 100%.

    i will also accept "you don't need a compressor" as a valid answer if you can explain why. i am kind of new to effects, if you can call compression an effect. i've never run anything except instrument -> pedal tuner -> amp.
     
  2. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    Hello Uaudio :)

    If you use a rackmounted compressor, almost 100 % sure it is designed to work with LINE level signal, not with instrument level... That means it will not work properly if you run the bass directly in...

    However, you should try all the possibilities, and hear which one sounds better for you.

    I use the compressor in the Fx loop of my tubepath, with blend dry/ wet about 50/50 %.

    I hope it helps :) Cheers, Flo
     
  3. Stroud

    Stroud

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    anything "rack mounted", as florin said, is designed to work at a perticular level. in live situations and home recording this opperating level tends to be somewhere near -10 bDu and in pro studios, the signal chain is usually kept at a level of roughly +4 dBu

    this doesn't mean you cant put the compressor before your amp, but if you do, you'll have to make sure that there is something bringing is up to a suitable level (this could be something like a pedel with an output volume).

    its easier to put it in in your effects loops although you'll still have to make sure they're working on similar opperating levels. on many compressors, on the back there is a switch that alters the rough opperating level. you'll need to flick this while looking at the input meter on the compressor and select whichever setting looks like it is bringing you loudest notes up to the 0db mark.

    as a rule, as long as the input meter on the compressor shows your signal going to 0bd on loud notes, you know you've got a good level

    if some of that made no sense feel free to ask more questions
     
  4. uaudio

    uaudio

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    thanks florin and stroud. i didn't realize that the rack units and the pedal units handled differently. like i said, just starting to get into effects, etc.

    the way i now understand it, now that I've taken what you guys said and done some more research is that the effects 'loop' is the direct signal path between the preamp and the power amp stages. i guess i just thought of it as a magic land where the magic happened.

    i'm leaning toward a used dbx 166a, any other ideas?
     
  5. Stroud

    Stroud

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    the dbx compressors are good so if you can get one for a good price...i'd say go for it
     
  6. EVOLVEBASS

    EVOLVEBASS

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    I'd question whether you need a compressor at all. If you're looking to get a little more punch from your 2x10, then so be it. But you've indicated this will be for a smaller (quieter) venue, and at low volumes you'll have far more control over your dynamics anyway. But it won't hurt either...
     
  7. saxonbass

    saxonbass

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    +1

    I've played with and without - I have to play without now since my compressor went to the "knacker's yard"! I prefer the control over dynamics now, but it will probably depend on the type of music you play
     
  8. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    A second hand Symetrix 501 is great for bass. It is pretty cheap too. Look for one with toggle power switch, not with push button ;-)
    Once again, try and see what is good for you. It will sound different if you link it pre or post preamp.
     
  9. Vinnie

    Vinnie

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    EBS makes a great compressor too. :)
     
  10. uaudio

    uaudio

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    thanks all. its a smallER venue, but still 'gym sized.' i run the 2x10 with the 1X15 and its all good - may wind up using the house system just for a little extra, but their system isn't that sophisticated. i play a lot of dynamic stuff and its good to have the compression to limit the ups and down. plus i kind of like having complete ownership over my sound. and yes, i now understand what you all mean by punch. it slaps you across the face. :D

    florin: i was actually looking for that same Symetrix 501 comp, but found the used dbx one in a local store here very cheap. i'm tried/trying it out at a rehearsal on wednesday and a gig this weekend, like it so far.

    FYI, i read this guy's compressor reviews and articles- he's a talkbass forum member - and it was also very helpful. he reviews at least 60 different units - stomp and rack units.

    http://www.ev-b.com/compfaq.html
     
  11. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    One more thing... the compressor can be pretty tricky if you don't know how to use it... So please remember to use gentle settings.

    The XTREME's onboard compressor works pretty nice and transparent. to my ears.

    Cheers, Flo
     
  12. Lorner

    Lorner

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    In my experience compressors can be a dangerous friend and it's always wise to monitor what sounds good to your ear. I run both a Rane DC24 compressor/expander/gate as well as a BBE 462 exciter through my fx loop on my SWR SM900 (not that the SM900 needs any help but it's fun and it sounds good). I sometimes run an Interstellar Overdrive as well to dirty up the fretless but it normally just sits idle in the rack. The DBX units are very popular and sound good with bass especially the 166, don't know if that unit has a mute but if it does, use it and always let your ears and your sound techs ears be the guide. (well maybe not all techs, a lot of those guys are deff or well on their way). If I recall corectly the 166 is actually quite simple to use (unlike my DC24) and with the Redhead you should be able to come up with some very sweet sounds. (Love the Redhead). My advise, experiment till your happy and never go overboard with compression, it can be your friend or foe with a simple twist of a knob.
    Cheers
    8)
     
  13. andy311

    andy311

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    another question to add on here? if you use a compressor through the effects loop, and have effects as well would you run the compressor before or after the effects? or does it make no difference
     
  14. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    It does make a difference. Again, your ears should decide that...

    For example, if you use a envelope controlled filter, like an auto wah, this unit is doing it's job following your playing dynamics... so if you use a compressor before it it will alter the dynamics, and the envelope filter will not work that good...
     
  15. Lorner

    Lorner

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    It definitely makes a difference and if you run a bunch of effects you really have to experiment with the signal chain; what works for you may not work for the next guy and the effects he is using. Usually on rack effects once you get it figured out it's set it and forget it but on a peddal board there is no right way. I use about 6 or seven different effects on my board and it's a constant experiment to figure out which sounds best and where. As a matter-a-fact I was just struggleing with that all tonight just before I sat down at the computer. :roll: Probably my best advise, if your on this forum, chances are, you play a Warwick bass, effects are great but most Warwicks sound great just by themselves. Good Bass + Good amp = great sound.
    Cheers
    8)
     
  16. Stroud

    Stroud

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    lol gyms...the single worst place for loud music. i'll never be playing in a gym again :wink:
     
  17. Callum

    Callum

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    Gyms and tents and school halls :D i hate them all.

    I've never really used a compressor, ever my bass teacher gave me a 101 on them and how they even out the sound ect, and how using it lets him get a bit more sustain.

    In my limited experience with them and what people have said etc they appear to be used by pretty much anyone doing anything serious with music do compressors really enhance the sound that much, i've kinda felt that over processing a sound retracts from the tone of your bass, may as well just get a cheap bass that plays nice and compress it to hell or something, kinda what guitarists do :p

    i use envelope filters and some overdrive here and there when songs need it or for fun however i've never really considered adding compression to my fx pack should i be considering it for more serious gigs in the future?

    Edit: i'm reading that article to expand my knowledge of them as well...sorry if its kinda de-railing the tread
     
  18. Stroud

    Stroud

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    i agree with the school halls but tents? i engineered a gig in a marquee (big tent) last weekend and i really enjoyed the acoustics...





    compressors are used absolutly everywhere in live engineering but it isnt really used as an effect "to enhance sound". compressors (for live stuff) is primerily used to make signals more suitable to serious amplification. if signals arnt compressed then banged out of a big PA things start sounding very uncontrolled and unbalanced

    often with serious musicians at big gigs, it isnt the musician that is compressing the signal. they might use a little in their amp to help get a sound they like but all the signals are usually comped by the engineer


    i dont know if i got across what i wanted to say. all im trying to say is that usually, you shouldnt think of a compressor as something that is designed to enhance sounds, only to make them more constant and more suitable for live and studio purposes
     
  19. Callum

    Callum

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    Thanks stroud, Pretty much explained what i wanted to know i now understand why every man and his dog has a compressor :D i'm learning loads off this forum.

    I guess the tents i played in were at a school....probably something to do with school then. Other than that its festivals where acoustics don't matter just needs to be loud :D

    I think we're planning on playing a tent some time in august so i'll reserve my judgment until after that gig.
     
  20. Stroud

    Stroud

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    outdoor festivals have great acoustics as they pretty much have no acoustics. there is no echoy crap flying around. what comes out the FOH cabs is what your pretty much hearing. this is why i enjoy engineering outddoor preformances more than indoor stuff
     
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