Transparent/touch sensitive compressor

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by LPtone30, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. LPtone30

    LPtone30 Member

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    Let me start by saying that this thread title may not be the best way to describe what I'm looking for. But I wasn't sure how else to say it.

    So, I just got an AC30c2 and love it so far. It's a very touch sensitive amp in that it really responds well to your pick attack and I also love how I can control the clean/break up of the amp with my guitars volume knob which is something I do all the time when I'm playing.

    Now I'm looking for a new compressor that still retains the sensitivity of the amp and the control with the guitar volume knob (if there is such a thing). I was using a dyna comp with my last amp which was 2 channels (one clean one dirty) so the dyna comp worked but I can't stand it with the VOX.

    I've read alot of other threads about transparent compressors and found some really great information but haven't seen a thread that tackles this specific issue.
     
  2. vintagelove

    vintagelove Member

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    The wampler ego is quite versatile. You may want to try a comp in the fx loop if you have one to accomplish your goals (ability to retain the control of breakup).

    Best wishes,
     
  3. LPtone30

    LPtone30 Member

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    I've been looking at the ego compressor. It has the blend knob which I wonder if that would do the job. Trying a compressor in the fx loop is something I have not done yet.
     
  4. ERGExplorer

    ERGExplorer Member

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    That sensitivity to volume relies on the volume varying.

    A compressor squishes your dynamic range. If you put the compressor in front of the amp, you are killing the volume variance which drives the touch sensitivity and volume-driven break-up/clean control.

    So, your solution, stated clearly by vintagelive:
    Being as you've already noted the amp having input-volume-related characteristics which you like, removing the compressor from the front will restore those characteristics. Moving the compressor after the input stage will then smooth out the volume after the section where the touch/volume-sensitive characteristics are generated, so those characteristics will be intact.

    Let us know how it works for you!
     
  5. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    You could try a limiter too - not that I think the comp in the effects loop wouldn't work. I avoided compressors for a long time because I never liked the squashed sound and noise, but I got an old LM-2 a little while ago and it's now pretty much always on.

    With the threshold set right you retain the dynamics but still get some of the compressor feel when you dig in. It's also really quiet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
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  6. Metal Tiger

    Metal Tiger Supporting Member

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    Parallel compresion is key to me. Try the empress compressor maybe?
     
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  7. direct

    direct Member

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    ^^ Beware of oversimplifying compressors ^^

    Compressors squash your dynamic range, they don't get rid of it completely. You will still get dynamics with a compressor meaning you can still play with touch and feel but depending on the how you set it up and how the compressor itself is made, it will react differently. Dynacomps are a particularly harsh compressor where the ratio is set quite high. Excellent for country and styles like that but not so good for subtle compression. Any compressor that can be more subtle than a dynacomp will work better for your needs. A blend control helps with this even more
     
  8. misa

    misa Supporting Member

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    With a little bit of volume, the AC30 has a good bit of natural amp compression already. It sounds like you're hearing it and like it. Are you trying to compress even further? For a light and transparent compressor, the Diamond is very good.
     
  9. Michael_V

    Michael_V Supporting Member

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    Yep. I will add to this that a compressor will decrease your amp's touch sensitivity and even harden the tone a bit for lack of a better word. There's no way around it. That's what they do. So first think about why you want one. Then if you really want a compressor, get a subtle one as you requested. The most subtle compressor I've ever used is the BJFe PGC, which is the one I have on my board. Bearfoot version comes close. So does the Mad Professor.
     
  10. ERGExplorer

    ERGExplorer Member

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    There may be some simplification happening, but the OP already noted that the amp works as expected when there is no compressor at the front end.

    Is there anyone who is believes putting the compressor in the effects loop will act detrimentally upon the signal going into the previous stage?

    (Hopefully not, because that's not how the signal chain works on that amp, but it's worth making sure.)

    The OP can examine different compressors if desired, but trying to find one with just the right profile to work in front of the amp seems harder than just moving it to where it doesn't cause the problem in the first place.
     
  11. onwingsoflead

    onwingsoflead Member

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    Putting a comp in the loop of an AC30 will most likely make an already fairly noisey amp even noiser though. I would at least keep that in mind.
     
  12. heyrobscott

    heyrobscott Member

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    I'd recommend trying the Wampler Ego or a compressor with a blend knob as well. With the blend knob low (meaning less compressed signal and more original signal) it acts like a limiter, setting a volume floor and keeping the 'quieter' playing level consistent, but letting the louder, dynamic playing stay loud. It's a squishy pedal when set accordingly, but can be very dynamic sounding when dialed in correctly with blend counter-clockwise.
     
  13. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    I'd say VFE White Horse. Start with blend high, roll in MOSFET preamp comp/drive, roll out some bass so still sounds tight then start rolling in optical sustain. Finish off using level and clean blend to get balance of dry/comp.

    And yes I would try it in the loop also. Comp after preamp/od pedals is my pref usually. But depends, I've got certain pedals I like in either positions. Usuall med-low gain fall after comp.

    Comp after distortion does not cause noise, improper use of a comp after hard breakup does that, but will say that some comps do seem to work better in certain positions. A Boss CS-3, yea it will probably be noisy there, my Keeley GC-2 or White Horse, not a problem unless I create it myself by over doing it. You have to be a little more restrained on the comp when running it 2nd.
     
  14. teleclem

    teleclem Member

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    The two light compressors that I've used and liked are the Empress and Diamond (which I have right now). They're pretty subtle (the Empress can do not so subtle too though).
     
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  15. NielsM

    NielsM Member

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    If you like the sensitivity of the amp for every song you're playing, you don't really need a compressor.
    But I do understand what you mean and I strongly recommend a compressor with a blend knob.
    I have a Xotic SP which isn't totally transparant but the blend is awesome. Also the Barber Tone Press sounds really good.

    And in your case I'd probably put it after dirt but not in the FX loop.
     
  16. Kylote

    Kylote Member

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    When someone wants a transparent compressor that usually means an optical one to me... Diamond and the EQD Warden come to mind
     
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  17. Sociophile

    Sociophile "Ignore" Button Aficionado Silver Supporting Member

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    Whichever compressor you get, it sounds like you want optical compression.

    I recommend the Diamond Comp (the SE is heaven, if you can find one) or the Bearfoot Pale Green Compressor (only the version 1, which can be bought new, or which were the first 100 serial numbers of the original run). Both will accomplish what you're looking for.
     
  18. LPtone30

    LPtone30 Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the replies. As for why I still want a compressor; it just makes everything sound better to me, from demos I've heard on YouTube (just too bad no one touches their volume knob in those videos :) and live playing. Even my dyna comp made everything sound better through my last amp. More full sounding and adds more body to the playing. I also like the added sustain.

    I'll be trying the ego compressor next week as a friend of mine has one. He likes it but his set up is different then mine so wouldn't be wanting it to work how I do.

    I was thinking about the diamond also. Everyone does say it's very transparent. Also, from all the articles I've read online suggest that VCA compressors are the most transparent. Unfortunate there's only one music store around where I live and they don't carry most of the compressors mentioned or that I've been looking into. So I won't be able to try many of them out myself until I have time to drive an hour to get to a better store.
     
  19. jamester

    jamester Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't know how important a blend knob is honestly, it all depends...

    I also have the SP Comp and while I like it, as someone said above it's def not transparent. It changes your tone and is always pretty noticeable to me, even on Lo mode with plenty of clean blended in. I am very curious to try the Diamond, which seems to have the consensus of being pretty transparent and better as an always-on despite the lack of clean blend. Seems like Ross comps often have a clean blend feature, whereas opticals usually don't?
     
  20. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't think you can say "VCA compressors" or "Optical compressors" are the best choice, because how they're implemented makes a huge difference. Let's just briefly touch on how compressors work, I think it'll help clarify what you want.

    As everyone knows, a compressor works by reducing the volume (gain) of the input signal. It consists of an input buffer, a detector that senses how loud the input signal is, some kind of variable resistor that reduces the output signal and some kind of makeup gain to bring the level back to where it was before it was compressed.

    The controls usually include attack, ratio, release, input gain, output gain and perhaps mix and level.. Short attack times smooth off the onset of a note, long allows the beginning of the note to sound then compresses. A limiter is a compressor with a very high ratio that usually has a fairly high level-doesn't kick in right away, but allows some dynamics before.

    So, what you're describing is a compressor with a lowish ratio, long attack, fairly long release, level set so that it kicks in pretty early, and perhaps a dry mix control. Can this be done with a VCA? Of course. It's probably more characteristic of an optical compressor, though, where the nature of the beast makes the attack a bit slow and the ratio a bit variable, so that it adapts better to your playing style. It's worth pointing out that dynamics and sustain are the opposite ends of the compressor spectrum: the more of one you have, the less of the other, because sustain is squashing the signal so that even very quiet notes engage the compressor and the makeup gain makes them louder.

    The AC30 is a particularly hard amp to work with compressors, unless you're playing razor clean. Like Fender Tweeds, part of the magic is the whole amp acting as a unit: preamp tubes, PI, power tubes, transformer and speakers all gradually beginning to distort (and compress) at the same time. So your best solution would be to use an attenuator and turn the amp up until natural compression does what you want it to do!
     

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