Is a compressor pedal necessary?

Messages
8
I have heard so much about compressor pedals but have never actually noticed any difference when they are used ? Would they be recommended? And would it be an essential "always on" type pedal in live and practice situations? Also is an eq pedal better than a compressor?
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
26,605
No, definitely not necessary, and I'd never use one for "always on". It can be great for that country sound, giving smooth sustain to soft leads, or you can even use one as a boost.
But essential? Not at all.

You can't compare eq and comprersorors, apples and caterpillars.
 

TheGuildedAge

Senior Member
Messages
13,063
I like a pedal like the FX Engineering Mirage as an always on pedal. I use it for a slight boost, sweetener, enhancer: it makes everything pop. I can turn up the sustain if I want to do slide work or something. Other than that it just sits on the board and makes everything sound better.
 

geek-mo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,791
For me, the compressor gives the guitar sound some of the elements that a drive pedal would give: girth, sustain, a slight boost. I use it when I want some oomf, but I still want the guitar to remain clean due to the use of harmonically complex chords.

I don't particularly like stacking pedals, but I will stack the compressor with drive pedals as well.
 

Multicellular

Member
Messages
7,878
Not necessary. I use one always on for a couple reasons that dont apply to every rig.

1 I have a lot of pedals and it acts as a buffer. 2. I finger pick usually and have a little higher dynamic range and it keeps levels closer to where some of the pedals down the chain 'want' them. 3. The one I use has a bass roll off that is good as a supplementary eq for too bassy rooms. 4. It makes everything sound sweeter..in objective terms, it brings up quieter harmonics. That consideration is totally subjec tive though.
 

JRC4558Dude

Member
Messages
5,898
Before you decided whether or not a compressor pedal would be an "always on" pedal for you, it helps to understand what a compressor does, and how it will work with your rig and playing style.

It's not unusual that you don't "hear" a compressor being used, but there's a good chance that if someone is using one onstage, they're using it because they can feel the way it affects their playing dynamics.

This video is a good explanation:

 

Average Joe

Member
Messages
11,891
No, i have played for 25 years without an always-on comp. Never needed that.

I do like my Analogman Juicer as a lead boost though
 

ClassicLP

Senior Member
Messages
1,199
Compressor is an odd one. The role of the pedal is not so obvious, especially if you use a tube screamer or one like it, because your dirty sound is being compressed already. (Hence why bother?) However, if you are hired to record clean parts, you will begin to see the value. Honestly, I bought and sold compressors, being a bit cluesless. It had the biggest learning curve for me. I hate being in the dark, so I talked to engineers, and I gained insight. When I played funk and pop stuff, I tuned into how it can even out chord strikes. It has an interesting sound for leads, especially helping to smooth out peaks and to add sustain. Very helpful for acoustic guitar and very important for bass!
 

MilwMark

Member
Messages
2,766
No pedal is "necessary" as an always-on. Not a comp, not an EQ, not an OD. Nothing. Some people make particular pedals part of their style and keep them always on.
 

hamerman55

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,001
No pedal is "necessary" as an always-on. Not a comp, not an EQ, not an OD. Nothing. Some people make particular pedals part of their style and keep them always on.
Exactly. Part of the allure of tube amps is that they compress as you turn them up. A compressor is a tool, and they are not all alike. The most common pedal compressors are based on the old Ross/MXR Dynacomp, which has a particular sound. Their sound is fairly noticeable if you know what to listen for. The Orange Squeezer is a different beast (the Analogman Juicer) which is sort of a boost and compressor. Then you have more "transparent" compressors like the Diamond or Mooer Yellow comp. They can be really unobtrusive. A little compression can be a good thing. But compression is not essential, and simply may not fit your style.
 

guitar29

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
694
To me, it is a necessity. It's like a mechanic and his tools. You may not always need it, but sometimes it's the only tool for the job. I would never be without one.
 
Messages
6,893
If you play clean at least half of the time, and you're in the studio at least half of the time, then you need a compressor NOW.

If not, then, you can get by without one. I was fine without one for decades.

BTW, I think twangier pickups benefit more from compression pedals.
 
Messages
8
Compressor is an odd one. The role of the pedal is not so obvious, especially if you use a tube screamer or one like it, because your dirty sound is being compressed already. (Hence why bother?) However, if you are hired to record clean parts, you will begin to see the value. Honestly, I bought and sold compressors, being a bit cluesless. It had the biggest learning curve for me. I hate being in the dark, so I talked to engineers, and I gained insight. When I played funk and pop stuff, I tuned into how it can even out chord strikes. It has an interesting sound for leads, especially helping to smooth out peaks and to add sustain. Very helpful for acoustic guitar and very important for bass!
Thank you , would you say it is a more rythm suited pedal ?
 
Messages
8
If you play clean at least half of the time, and you're in the studio at least half of the time, then you need a compressor NOW.

If not, then, you can get by without one. I was fine without one for decades.

BTW, I think twangier pickups benefit more from compression pedals.
Thank you this is something I'm taking into consideration
 

tamader74

Member
Messages
3,675
No, definitely not necessary, and I'd never use one for "always on". It can be great for that country sound, giving smooth sustain to soft leads, or you can even use one as a boost.
But essential? Not at all.

You can't compare eq and comprersorors, apples and caterpillars.
Exactly this !!!. I only use mine when playing Country gig's, and when we play a slower softer tune and I only brought a Tele. or two this is the time I kick it on,...as for the rest of the songs on the playlist, I definitely do NOT want my Tele. to have much sustain, and then I kick on my delay pedal. Tom
 

Benny

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,308
In addition to the situations described already, I think some compressors can be very good problem solvers in a couple of situations that I've seen / run into:

1) Helping to simulate/restore the slight compression and response of a turned-up amp when you find yourself in a very-low volume scenario. It's not going to turn a backline twin on 2 into a fire-breathing beast, but it can help warm up an amp.

1a) Similar to the above, I think a compressor can be an interesting alternative to a clean boost, especially if you're not particularly interested in a very linear boost effect.

2) Evening out changes in overall volume when using different/multiple overdrives/distortions/fuzzes. I've seen some guys use a compressor at the end of their chain to act as a sort of limiter to avoid wild jumps in overall volume when switching between or stacking a number of pedals. I don't like doing this, but it seems to work for some guys who need to cover a lot of different dirt sounds at a gig.

Personally, I think of an EQ pedal as either (a) a convenient "fix" for an unfamiliar amp that's fighting you, or (b) a fast way to introduce a significant tonal shift. But hey - if either of these tools get you the sound and feel you want, go for it, it's not like there are any compression/EQ police.
 

ClassicLP

Senior Member
Messages
1,199
Thank you , would you say it is a more rythm suited pedal ?
Truthfully, it is a lead and rhythm tool, depending on how you set it. A compressor can squeeze notes into an even attack, which is great for rhythm. Or add sustain, which is nice, especially for cleanish leads. I know heavy metal guitarist Rob Cavallo of anthrax uses it for distorted leads. He uses a noise gate with it, because in dirty tones, there will be more noise.
 

analogmike

Member
Messages
7,043
For me, the compressor gives the guitar sound some of the elements that a drive pedal would give: girth, sustain, a slight boost. I use it when I want some oomf, but I still want the guitar to remain clean due to the use of harmonically complex chords.
If you play clean at least half of the time, and you're in the studio at least half of the time, then you need a compressor NOW.
Agreed. We can't turn our amps up loud enough at most gigs/practices, to get nice warm tube compression when playing clean. A Fender amp at 2 just does not sound very good with no pedals. Adding a compressor, or some dirt pedal set clean (I use KOT yellow side often) makes a Deluxe Reverb on "2" sound great. I always use a comp or OD set clean when playing clean.
 

MilwMark

Member
Messages
2,766
If you play clean at least half of the time, and you're in the studio at least half of the time, then you need a compressor NOW.
I haven't been in a ton of studios but whenever I have they had little interest in my compressor pedal. They had rack comps to condition the signal from the guitar that were more adjustable/better (and that they were used to) if they wanted to compress the incoming signal, and they had compression that they could add to each instrument and/or the mix later.
 




Trending Topics

Top