Compressor / EQ

Should I add a compressor limiter and EQ to my PA?

It's mostly used for practice and the occasional small gig. It can push out a good volume with the mics in proximity of the speakers before it starts to squeal a bit, but I've been wondering if I could tighten up the sound with a compressor/limiter and eliminate feedback with a dual 15-band EQ.

PA is Mackie 16-ch board, Stewart amp, Lexicon effects, JBL MR Series (2 15" speakers on poles, 2 12" monitors on floor). Thank you.


Gold Supporting Member
i would get a feedback destroyer instead,

that would really help us bring up the volume of the pa with less feedback.

but it is only gonna do so much if you are trying to get a lot of volume in a small venue with all the reflections and such.

it can make a dramatic difference when playing outdoor gigs.


I personally disagree with the Feedback destroyer. In a simple sense, what it does is sense which frequency is a problem, then cuts that frequency. Eventually all the frequencies end up getting cut, forcing you to raise the volume so you've not really gained anything (and actually muddled things up). Another problem with FD is they can pickup other sounds - long synth tones or guitar feedback on notes and assume this is bad feedback too and cut it. Furthemore, it has to "hear" a problem frequency first.

If you (OP) are getting feedback, the solution is TURN IT DOWN. It's really that simple :)

Now obviously, positioning is a factor - mics can't be ahead of the mains - monitors have to be carefully positioned, etc.

EQ on the mains should really be used to flatten out the frequency response of the system (though few actually use it like that) not to "correct" problems you've caused by turning things up too loud, put mics right by cabinets, etc.

Now I know in the real world, you can't always have an ideal setup so you do have to end up "correcting for position" with your mains EQ (and monitor EQ).

Likewise you shouldn't need compression on channels if players could play properly, but in the real world, drummers are too loud and singers have bad microphone technique.

You say you can get it pretty loud - is that loud enough?

If so and you just want to "tighten it up", yes EQ and compression are the first options (I'd say EQ is more important but some may argue). In fact, every PA *should* have the options of EQ on the mains (if not the monitors as well) and compression on the mains.

Besides, having EQ is really important when you do gt to a club where the set up is funky and you can't get the mics far enough away from the mains, etc.



Compression is likely to hurt rather than help gain before feedback. An EQ can help. Proper speaker positioning is the best tool though, and the one most seldom used. What is your set-up like?
My PA is Mackie 16-ch board, Stewart amp, Lexicon effects, JBL MR Series (2 15" speakers on poles, 2 12" monitors on floor), as stated above. Thank you.


Platinum Supporting Member
big yes to EQ. you need one for the mains and another one for the monitors. besides getting rid of feedback, they're used to make the system sound good, something gimmicks like feedback finders won't do.

compression is good for vocals, but not for the whole thing.

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