What does a compressor do?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jimmyohio75, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    I play hard rock, ala Clutch. Listen here:

    www.myspace.com/hawkinshill

    I have $150 in my pocket and I am thinking about expanding my pedalboard.
    Will a compressor do anything to fatten up or tighten up my sound?

    By the way I play a Les Paul Vintage Mahogany and a Twister F3 head through an Avatar 1x12 with V30.

    I use a Hardwire Valve distortion pedal to add a little gain and filth.

    :dude
     
  2. NetStar

    NetStar Member

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    Make quiet bits louder and louder bits quieter - thus increasing sustain.

    Imagine you are taking a rolling pin to your sound ("dough") and rolling it out to one even thickness.
    What do you get?
    Wider dough.
     
  3. Blurillaz

    Blurillaz Member

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    I bleieve a good compressor will usually add some sustain, and keep you at the same volume, though your dynamics will still be heard.
     
  4. schenkadere

    schenkadere Senior Member

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    It will take that $150 out of your pocket.
     
  5. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    it will keep the popping sounds from the scratchy pot in your wah from being heard. at least that's why i keep it around.
     
  6. goodhonk

    goodhonk Member

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    most will say it robs them of their playing dyanmics and they just learned to be better players so they don't need a compressor.

    i say get one, your audience doesn't want those kind of dynamics.
     
  7. schenkadere

    schenkadere Senior Member

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    doesn't hurt my dynamics at all...just gotta know how to use it and what works for you.
     
  8. sodapopinski

    sodapopinski Member

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    i had a Tone Press once, it didnt work for me at the time. i didnt know what to do with it and i did feel that it robbed me of my dynamics. I just purchased an Ego Compressor and i plan on using it for melody riffs... we'll see how it goes, this time around i have a better understanding of what i would like to achieve with it.
     
  9. Johnny Vox

    Johnny Vox Member

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    Love my Keeley comp. The only boutique pedal I have, but I splurged on it and it definitely fattens up the tone. Only turn it off for a few short quiet parts in 2 songs...
     
  10. nightraven

    nightraven Senior Member

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    subtle compression is nice on chords since it balances out the dynamics on your strings
    also useful if you're doing br00tal tapping licks or eric johnson-esque harmonics
     
  11. schenkadere

    schenkadere Senior Member

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    I think that's really the trick with compressors...you have to know what you want out of it and not just buy one because you feel you should have one on your board. They're not for everyone.
     
  12. rsm

    rsm Member

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    :agree

    This.

    I have mine set for a wide dynamic range until I really strum chords hard. What I get from this is dynamic clean picking and even-level clean chords should I get carried away on strumming. :) It also adds more jangle and chime to my jangle and chime, so I use mine for tone enhancements (e.g. think Byrds-era Roger McGuinn).

    To me, compression is just another tool. After my OD and Dist pedal, my compressor is my must have box.

    YMMV
     
  13. cubistguitar

    cubistguitar Member

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    Different strokes for different folks. Compression is not essential to most playing styles, but some really sound fun with some compression. The really tight, one dynamic level, kinda thing that the really fast hands in Nashville do is awesome. The early Bill Frisell uses a lot of compression to hold the notes out a little bit longer. He doesn't use it anymore, he says he can do it with his hands.

    I used to use it to fatten some, but my amp was a little nasty in tone and any help was appreciated. New amp, no compression. Recording engineer once said to me, "the loudspeaker provides all the compression you need". I assume he means the lightweight speakers you use in a vintage type amp, they are essentially compressing when hit hard.

    Hope this helps, I don't rely on one, but i wouldn't want to be without one forever as it can modify your tone unlike other effects.

    Of course if you record any at all, the the best comp tones are studio comps.
     
  14. RockDC

    RockDC Member

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    For rock it will barely be noticeable... I'd take a compressed distortion like a 'rat' over a compressor and distortion. Just my opinion though.
     
  15. taco-man

    taco-man Supporting Member

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    It's like the square root of a million; no one will ever know.
     
  16. jimmyohio75

    jimmyohio75 Member

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    The square root of a million is 1,000. I still don't know what a compressor does.:huh
     
  17. Champ

    Champ Senior Member

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    Voo Doo!! I've been thru an AM Juicer, 2 AM Bi-comps, a Carl Martin, an MXR Reissue, A VS Comp 66,and a Maxon CP-9 Pro plus and still don't know why anyone other than a chicken picker would need one. I think it's just hype created by AM and a host of others to sell pedals.
     
  18. Wheeler004

    Wheeler004 Member

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    A compressor sets a dB threshold, and it attenuates any signal above that limit. Gain reduction increases with respect to the difference between the threshold level and the unaffected signal level. Pedal compressors further limit the signal, amplifying any signal below a certain level. Thus, the dynamic range of the incoming signal is reduced, hence the term "compression". It's similar to a limiter, however a limiter differs by setting a "brick wall" threshold (a limit above which no signal will be passed).

    I personally love compression, both in the studio and in my live rig. If you are worried about losing too much in the way of dynamics, you can look at something like the Mad Professor Forest Green Compressor. It has a toggle to switch between "Compression" and "Sustain". The "Compression" setting works like a standard compressor, but the "Sustain" setting keeps your attack and dynamics intact. I imagine it does this by removing the limiting threshold while continuing to amplify quieter signals, though I cannot be certain.
     
  19. Chonny

    Chonny Senior Member

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    An easy way to describe it is that it organizes your sound. I usually use them on cleans only.

    **** man, you need a fuzz pedal...
     
  20. dirk nixon

    dirk nixon Member

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    I think any dude that is a fan of Clutch and plays the way you do would be interested in a nice fuzz pedal. I have the Barber Trifecta Fuzz. You'd probably really dig a phaser or univibe like a BBE Soulvibe, or MXR Phase 90. Search those names on YouTube for demos.
     

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