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Compressor for a guitarist that doesn't like compression?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by BertV, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. BertV

    BertV TDPRI Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    Austin TX
    Ok, I've tried to bond with compressors in the past, but always feel like I'm losing too many dynamics. I love the sound of artists that use compression such as county pickers. I find myself playing more and more country stuff lately and want that snap. I'm also in a Police tribute band and Andy used compression. I've been using an Xotic SP, I like the fact that you can mix the wet/dry signal, but I'm not sure if I'm getting what I want out of it. Any comp pedal suggestions? Or maybe I just need more time to tweak the SP.......

  2. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    get an optical compressor with a 'clean blend' function like the Philosopher's Tone

  3. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 31, 2014
    whatever the cheap chinese clone of the diamond is ...
    bacongrease likes this.

  4. felis

    felis Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2011
    80's Maxon CP101 (aka Ibanez CP835), a lush sound coloring "Police" pedal.
    blille likes this.

  5. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2009
    St. George, UT need to give the Xotic SP more time. Spend some time tweaking the knobs and turning it on/off and really listening to the sound. The Xotic SP Compressor is one of the most highly regarded compressor on the planet right now. If you're a guitarist who doesn't like THAT compressor, you truly, really do not like compression. I have mine set like this: toggle on "low," blend at 2, volume at 2. It's my only "always on" pedal.

    And if you're looking for more dynamics (soft to low to loud), then turn the compressor off. Because I've got some bad news for you: there ain't no compressor on the planet that will add more dynamics to your playing. That's the nature of compression: to take the soft/quiet stuff and make it louder and take the loud stuff and make it quieter. That's not to say you can't have dynamics with a compressor. It's just that on certain songs I do have to kick my compressor off. For blues songs for example. Or Violent Femmes "Blister in the Sun" for example: I have to kick off my compressor to get that really hushed sound in the bridge of "Blister."
    BottyGuy, songtalk, Modman68 and 2 others like this.

  6. stephen78

    stephen78 Tele-Meister

    Mar 13, 2016
    Wampler Ego Compressor. I use subtle settings just to give the tone a little extra snap (not too much sustain, but I raise the attack a bit). The blend control is great at keeping your original tone. I also keep that low-ish to preserve my tone.
    brown2bob likes this.

  7. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 6, 2010
    Turn your amp up.
    songtalk, Paul G., 4pickupguy and 4 others like this.

  8. BertV

    BertV TDPRI Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    Austin TX

    I hear ya, I might be squashing things too much.

  9. BertV

    BertV TDPRI Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    Austin TX
    artdecade likes this.

  10. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

    Nov 3, 2003
    North Louisiana around Many
    I would say try tweaking what you got. If you don't like the squashed sound, turn it down to just a little give/sustain where it's just a little more than turned off.

    Personally I use two compressors; a CS3 modified to optical for very mild compression and a Dyna Comp for the
    Squashed sound. Platefire
    daddyplaysbass likes this.

  11. BertV

    BertV TDPRI Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    Austin TX
    Huh, when you go to their site there's a quote from Andy Summers, didn't know he was using one.

  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I like compressors with an Attack function to retain dynamics, more so than clean blend circuits. Adjust the attack to keep the front of the note, and squish the rest. Good chicken pickin sound. The Boss CS-3 is good for that.

    If you want a more all-round compressor that can do country snap, as well as an invisible tonic that makes everything sound better, get an Empress. I got one a few months ago, and I'm done with other comps. I never turn it off.

  13. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jan 24, 2011
    There are a lot of good compressors out there, but you have to spend time with them to dial it in for your rig. But it's cool, too, to skip compression if it's not your sound. My first reaction to your thread title was, the best compressor for a guitarist who doesn't like compression is no compressor. Trust your ears.

  14. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Pale Green Compressor has some subtler settings. I like mine.

  15. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2010
    Decatur, GA
    The only compressor I've ever liked is the old DOD Milkbox. The 'Hi Exp' knob does it for me... it sounds great with my electric 12. I'm sure there are nicer ones out there, but not for the pittance I'm willing to spend on a pedal I only use sparingly.
    RetroTeleRod likes this.

  16. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    When I see people making this sort of comment, I always think "compressor set badly, or set too high" never mind what some may say, you can use a compressor, and still have dynamics. It's harder with some compressor styles than others. A dyna comp will be a whole lot trickier than a super or custom comp, or even the bass comp. The Boss CS-2 and 3 are easier to dial in. Same with just about any comp that gives control over attack and/or release.

    I can set my CS-2 with the sustain at 10 and the release at 5, by the clock face, and I have all my dynamics. It's true!
    tele_pathic and Wyzsard like this.

  17. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 11, 2016
    I'll agree with those that say tweak the SP some more. I have one on my gig board currently. Always on. Settings: Compression switch- Lo, Volume- 11 o'clock, Blend- 1 o'clock. Something else to try if you can, see if you like how it sounds running on 18v.

    If you can't find a sound you like or you just want to try another compressor I second the Philosopher's Tone. I wanted to try another compressor after I had had the SP for a little while. Like you I wasn't sure if the SP was giving me what I wanted so I bought the Philosopher's Tone used. I like it too. The Philosopher's Tone sounds great on 18v. The sustain, blend and treble knobs are awesome for dialing in a tone. It even has gain if you want some dirt (I keep the gain turned down).

    I bounce back and forth between the 2 all the time. The Philosopher's Tone is more tweakable. The SP is wonderfully small and I have a small board so the SP wins for now.:)

  18. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Seems like you are after two entirely different ways to compress your sound without knowing what is what. I would suggest a used Empress Compressor which basically has every component of compression well laid out. Learn it and teach your ears, then if you want something simpler, you'll know where to look and be able to flip the Empress with little financial loss. It takes a long time to train the ears for the various compression attributes, so consider it a valuable education.

    And you just might want to keep the Empress.;):D

    Good luck. Compression is very fascinating.

  19. MA6200

    MA6200 Tele-Meister

    May 12, 2017
    It's hard to wrap my head around it. I still feel like it's powered by magic and pixie dust, or stripper glitter or something.

    Is compression it's own course in sound engineering programs? I feel like it could definitely be enough for it.

    I like the ego because it has a blend, so even if I am heavy handed/blindly flailing about I can easily get some subtle something going on.
    Frontier9 likes this.

  20. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2010
    Fullerton CA
    Everything You Wanted To Know About The Mystery Of Compression:

    Be sure to experiment with the internal DIP switches on the Xotic SP. It can be confusing. A "long" release means more sustain, so that's easy. But I'm never quite sure what "high" or "low" attack means. The attack should be "fast" or "slow".

    I like a slow attack, where the compressor takes a bit of time before it clamps down. This lets more of the initial pluck of the plectrum through and, to me, sounds more natural. YMMV.

    To get more dynamics, I am a fan of turning down the guitar volume, then turning up the compressor output to compensate. Picking dynamics (hard or soft) now returns. However, lots of folks prefer running the guitar up all the way all the time, so YMMV.

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