Why do we need Compressors?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Leb, Jul 3, 2006.


  1. Leb

    Leb Member

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    Hi guys,
    anyone care to share the benefits of having a compressor on your board?
    How does it improve tone thanks. :D

    Leb
     
  2. JohnK24

    JohnK24 Supporting Member

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    My impression from owning a Dyna Comp, CS2 & 3 and Tone Press...it evens out the attack volume of the string, adding a punch to the bass strings and taking a little off the treble. By evening out the attack it can also add some sustain to notes. Reduce the amount of compression and you can use a comp as a boost (colored, but still a boost). I liked the Tone Press best.

    J
     
  3. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    I've found that at lower volumes, it helps to add some "snap" and compression to the attack much like what power tubes do when their overdriven.
     
  4. Matt F

    Matt F Member

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    I love the sound of my Keeley Comp clean.. Agree on the "added snap". I use it mainly with the "squish" all the way down so it acts like a clean boost and evens out the tone.. I am still very impressed with the little grey pedal that "does nothing" lol :)
     
  5. Leb

    Leb Member

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    If i already aown a RC booster, do u thk i still need a compressor?
    Currently loooking at the Tesse FK-1 Com.
    So the compressor is mainly used to even out attacks and to give alittle more punch rite?
     
  6. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    I use a Diamond comp. It's my second secret weapon ;)

    With a very low compression setting, it evens out my attack, making me sound about 50% more talented than I really am.

    One of my favorite things about it is that I can play those high up chords on the neck, do a little fill or riff, and go back to chords. The little fill I do is just as loud as the chords I'm strumming. Try doing that without a compressor!

    From what I've learned, compressors are useless at best, noisy as hell at worst, when used with high gain distortion.
     
  7. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    I've found that my cheap-arsed DOD FX80-B compressor before my cheap-arsed Big Muff Pi before my beautifull PANaramic (ie:Magnatone) is a truly beautiful thing. (The compressor needs to have a proper 9.6volt/10volt power supply to sound decent) But the combination is a creamy smooth sound, the distortion/Fuzz is flowy and warm rather than the usual harshness from the BMPi alone . .

    . . of course the incredibly fantastic sounding amp helps too :)
     
  8. 58lespaulman

    58lespaulman Member

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    Teese FK-1 comps are on sale at musictoys.com for $79.00, you'll never find this compressor for that cheep.. I bought one and I've been wanting one for a while.. I currently have the Diamond and I love it, but I sometimes want a little more squish, and thats what the FK-1 will do. Gainster says that it sounds just like the new Keeley Comp but without cutting the highs.
     
  9. Leb

    Leb Member

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    Moe tt was great info, something i never realize.
    SO u r saying compressors are bad with high gain distortion? only to be used with clean sounds?
     
  10. jbird327

    jbird327 Member

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    I use an AYA R Comp set fairly low, it is pretty transparent at that setting. It helps even out the notes in a chord. I find at higher settings, the dynamics of my playing get lost.
     
  11. Skreddy

    Skreddy Member

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    A compressor lets you get extra sustain and evens out your volume, but without (necessarily) overdriving your amp and without adding extra distortion or grit or fizz to your tone. If you want to play very clean but don't want to sound weak and plinky but smooth and sweet, you'll probably want a compressor. Many of David Gilmour's tasty solos were made with a compressor, for example; also, the country "chicken pickin" style is most effective when compressed.

    Compressors bring out the detail of the attack and add an overall musical sheen, an ear-pleasing "loudness," while preserving the clean quality of the signal by keeping all peaks limited and raising the quiet parts to an even level--resulting a very finished, professional, slick, polished effect.

    If you play dirty, then an overdrive or a booster is all you really need to get that extra sustain and smoothness. But there is an interesting coloration that compressors do, a signature "sound" they create that many people like even when they're playing with dirt. So a compressor isn't limited to just clean sounds.

    But if you like to have your dirt varied depending on how hard you attack your strings, a compressor will work against you rather than for you (unless you place it after your overdrive, that is).
     
  12. cbpickin

    cbpickin Tweed Supporting Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I have one of the original two knob Keeley's and I recently found out how crucial it was to my live playing. I have been trying out a lot of different od's on my board lately, so something had to come off and it ended up being the Keeley.
    I can get by fine without it playing all of my regular tuned guitars with a pick, but this weekend I really was missing the Keeley when it came time for my slide and fingerpicked tunes. I use it with the sensitivity no higher than 9 o'clock, but man it really evens out the attack of my fingers on the strings and fattens up the slide tones immensely. I never thought I NEEDED it, but I was proven wrong Friday and Saturday night.
    The sustain I am able to get on the slide notes witht the compressor is incomparable to playing the same thing without it. I know, I tried it extensively yesterday because I didn't want to pull my #3 od off of my board.
    The Keeley is back on for good. I also like what it does on a lighter setting to regular picked single note lines. I just hated to admit that a compressor was a necessary part of my tone. But hey, if it is on there for the slide stuff, it will surely get some use in other places too.
     
  13. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    Leb, I never said it's only good for clean tones. Placed tastefully before overdrives, like a tubescreamer (or even your amps natural overdrive, like turning up the gain knob on the clean channel of your AVT), it can take it to the next level sonically
     
  14. Leb

    Leb Member

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    Wow u guys have great experience with the compressor.
    It seems like its only good for finger picking, sliding and clean stuff...
    But not useful for heavy stuff?

    Is the compressor always on when its on your pedal board?
     
  15. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    Hey Leb,

    Yes it's always on, unless I kick on the Hot British for a whole song :dude
     
  16. 58lespaulman

    58lespaulman Member

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    It brings out the little upper register notes that other wise would not sound as good. The Diamond is lovely, but I am excited about the FK-1. I owned two Keeley compressors and loved the sound but hated that it killed my high end, but the tone was awesome. Now people are telling me that the Teese sounds like the Keeley but leaves the High end in tact.
     
  17. evan_pollan

    evan_pollan Member

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    I actually like to use a compressor post-OD so that I can keep a more even overall level when I roll back on the guitar volume to clean up the overdrive a bit. Otherwise, I lose too much signal strength when I roll back on the guitar volume enough to really clean up the signal coming out of the OD. FWIW, I use pretty low gain ODs (Barber LTD and a Sparkle Drive).

    I use the Ross side of an Analogman BiComp, with the attack a little higher than stock and the sustain at about 40%. Not hugely squashed Ross-ish compression, but enough to really fatten up the signal when I roll off the guitar volume with the OD engaged. Also, when you open the guitar volume up, I like the way a compressor after the overdrive smooths out the tone. Glassy on sustain, but you still get the bite of the initial attack due to the lag in the compressor kicking in.
     
  18. Brett Valentine

    Brett Valentine Member

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    I like 'em to get that sound of a hard pressed amp for singing leads but with little or no distortion. I also like them for that "lawng" sustain at real low volume. Also, I like them when I'm doing real quiet "feel" type stuff but want it at a higher level, then having to switch to some heavier stuff with a pick but want the same volume level. I use two, a PedalworX McSqueeze for that Orange Squeezer/Steely Dan-Mark Knopfler type stuff, and a Tone Press or a Boss CS-3 for that heavy sustain. Brett
     
  19. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    I use 3:

    Analogman CompROSSor- smooth sustaining compression (still vintage-y, mind you, probably not like the Diamond or stuff, more like the Keeley I bet)
    ToneFactor Squeeze Factor- punchy germanium orange squeezer clone, gets that Dire Straits vibe with a clean sound.
    Walco Chord & Note Sustainer- a ridiculous compressor, but gets me closer to Hammond-land and lets held notes/chords ring out to feedback, which is as close as it gets for a non-MIDI guitar pretending to play keyboards and sustain a note for a long time (except with eBow, which can't do chords).

    Think of it like this:

    Compression is something that tube amps create when they are turned up loud enough to be working hard. You can add some of that sound with a compression pedal, kind of like how one uses a light OD or dirt pedal to get a "turned up" sound without cranking it. People don't say it out loud much (or type it, anyway), but compression occurs within (probably) all overdrives. Not that it sounds "compressed," but an overdrive with some gain is definitely compressed compared to a non-OD tone. With a compressor pedal, you can get that without the gain (or at least independently from it).
     
  20. pepperco

    pepperco Member

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    They make quiet parts louder, and loud parts quieter.
    :puh

    Not trying to be a party pooper, but to offer a different
    opinion, I don't like a pedal compressor on an electric
    guitar. I hate the way they squash the attack. It takes
    all of the fun out of "digging in" for more grit. I really
    rely on touch sensitivity, and attack. A compressor is
    a nice idea in theory, but have never found one to work,
    for me.

    I can see where a compressor would be useful if not
    integral to country pickin, funk too. But for
    most other styles of music, not so much. I think a
    lot of people would be well served to find a better
    fitting amp, and really work on their right hand
    technique. I think you can get a lot of the same
    benefits of a compressor, by adjusting your touch,
    and dialing in your amp and gain structure. Get those
    power tubes on the edge.

    So I say we don't need compressors, unless we are
    purposely going for a squashed sound, as an effect.
    :crazy
     

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