Do you use a compressor?

seanmarshall9

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Since I started using my DynaComp 4 years ago, it has become part of my sound. I have had a tough time using single coils without a compressor. I like how it thickens the signal and give it the midrange fatness I like from Fender style amps. When I switch to Humbucker, it tends to muddy the clarity of my tone, so I turn it off. That's just my sound though. Do you.
 

schenkadere

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Since I started using my DynaComp 4 years ago, it has become part of my sound. I have had a tough time using single coils without a compressor. I like how it thickens the signal and give it the midrange fatness I like from Fender style amps. When I switch to Humbucker, it tends to muddy the clarity of my tone, so I turn it off. That's just my sound though. Do you.
They don't all work equally well with humbuckers for sure.
 

twangjeff

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Over generalization... If you want to play loud and clean, you will probably want/need a compressor.

As to the, "Oh compression is for people with bad technique," folks. That is an asinine statement. Brent Mason, Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, I have seen Eric Johnson use a Dyna Comp on the Fender amp side of his rig, Sonny Landreth, David Gilmour... the list goes on and on.
 

memorex

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I like the assortment of compressors I have on my GT-100. Sometimes I use two in a single patch, one before the amp sim, and another one after. It achieves the sound of playing loud and clean without an amp.
 

joebloggs13

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A compressor works best when you want that sound of an amp dimed, but at lower volumes. Some have more controls than others and work differently(ie optical) An amp will always compress naturally as you crank it. Playing live IMO negates the need of a compressor as you are cranking it.
 

Les H

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what do you use for vocals?

We have an old Behringer Autocomp MDX 1000. It's rack mount in between the mixer and the power amp among other things like an Eq and a Sonic Maximizer.

Our lead singer got it when his local school was auctioning off their old stage PA gear after they got a new system. I think he paid $5 for it. It's a very transparent comp, outside of leveling things out you really wouldn't know it's on but it does smooth things out.

He had it lying around for a while and I had no intentions of ever using it initially but one day I threw it in the rack at a practice and liked it so much I wouldn't take it out now.
 

JD0x0

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Not really. Used to be an 'Always on' person and now I rarely use them at all. I like having the dynamics. A good amp can already coax the sustain, and a good player can control their volume/attack/dynamics to where a comp is rarely needed. The only time I'd consider using one is for like funk rhythms and a 'clean' solo here and there.

My rack rig has a de-esser which is a bandpass comp, but it's set really subtle and is just meant to tame peakier highs.

I have several good comps and pretty much use none of them.
-Dyna comp
-Philosopher's tone
-EHX tube blackfinger
-Lexicon MX200

Vocals should be comp'd. Guitars, the compression adds up quickly, IME.
I've found many modern recorded guitar sounds are SUPER compressed.
Like compressed tube rectified, cathode biased, AC30, into a Warden comp, into an OD, with compressed sounding PAF's, then compression plug-in on the mix down.

They dial in the tones well, but the guitars just sound flat because there's no dynamics. Everything is sitting in the same place. I've heard multitracked distorted guitars completely 'choke out' in a mix because there was so much compression, it sounded smaller and weaker than the cleans because the tracks were so clamped down with compression.
 

MrGibbly

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To all you guys with pedalboards do you believe a compressor is a must? I see a lot of people performing with a straight delay and ts808 w/o a compressor and it sounds great.

When would/wouldn’t you want to use one?
I think it depends a lot on what you play and your intent with using compression. There are instances where it is more of an effect, no different than a flanger/chorus/etc., to achieve a particular sound. In that instance, it's "necessary" to achieve the sound you're targeting. That may be for style, cover, or other reasons. If all you're looking for is a little more sustain and a subtle compression then that can be a positive side effect of more natural overdrive (e.g., from a tube amp) or gain from another pedal (e.g., your TS808) and a dedicated effects pedal may not be warranted.

In addition, some of the compressors on the market today can be very subtle, allow you to blend more dry signal in, and so on to great "just sound better" effect. For a long time, I just had a Keeley 4-knob that I used as an effect in instances where it was required. This past summer, I switched to a Cali76 and I am finding increasingly more times that I am stepping on that box to get a little "more" of something I want whether that is a nice boost, a little more sustain, evening out some peaks, etc. without being an audible, identifiable effect.
 

jrblue

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Sometimes. I have an intense dislike for exaggerated attack (many guitars) and quick decay (smaller number, but still plenty) so I manage that in several ways (pickup height, avoiding too-hot PUs, smart amp settings, etc.). I used to rely on really light compression, on all the time, for this (not that awful squish, or the flat dull sustain thing) but with modern pedals and amps find less and less need for it. My optical compressor is still on my board, but I hardly ever use it anymore except when I'm imitating a familiar part that has heavy compression!
 

joebloggs13

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It’s not a must but it’s nice once you kind of bond with one. It’s good for slide playing, finger picking with clean tone, funky stuff, country stuff, just clean tone in general. If you are running your amp hot you are already getting some tube compression however, if you are trying to make your amp feel and respond like it does when it’s loud at lower volumes it can help. If you have one with a blend control you can use it as a solo boost or overdrive because you can goose the amp with the volume and blend in alittle compression. Good overdrive is normally volume and compression anyway so the pedal is almost like overdrive without the extra harmonics and sludge. You can use it as a sweetener or more like an “effect” like the police with max compression. I wouldn’t feel the need to use one with a small amp but if I had an amp with endless clean headroom I would probably want a compressor pedal.
Agreed. I play through a Reeves Custom 50 with a 2x12, and use an EQD Warden. The combination really tightens up the tone when playing at more manageable volume levels. If I were to play a large venue, I wouldn't blend it in as much, if at all. I have not yet had the opportunity to really open this thing up though. The Reeves being modeled on the classic Hiwatt DR503 has mountains of headroom, so getting it to breakup naturally would blow out the windows. Sure would be fun tho!:)
 

57fenderstrat

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Agreed. I play through a Reeves Custom 50 with a 2x12, and use an EQD Warden. The combination really tightens up the tone when playing at more manageable volume levels. If I were to play a large venue, I wouldn't blend it in as much, if at all. I have not yet had the opportunity to really open this thing up though. The Reeves being modeled on the classic Hiwatt DR503 has mountains of headroom, so getting it to breakup naturally would blow out the windows. Sure would be fun tho!:)

That would be loud !! :twisted:
I like compressors for those purposes. They kind of get a bad reputation for being dynamics killers and stuff but the intro of Shine on You Crazy Diamond sounds good to me ! Compressors are like the thing I don’t always use but I sure like to have one around for when I do need it because they can solve a lot of problems, especially if I was gigging or something and was forced to use an amp I didn’t really know. If I could only bring one pedal I would probably pick the compressor because it can be used to tame an amp, liven an amp, or boost an amp.
 

moosie

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I always used compression very rarely, and ... noticeably. Then I got the Empress, set it to the 'transparent' setting documented in their literature, and have hardly touched it, and definitely have not turned it off, in four years.
 

Wyzsard

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I use one, always on. Bass or guitar.

The Keeley GC-2 is awesome. (I use the Bassist version as well)

 

codamedia

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Compressors are the most misunderstood tool in the grab bag.
  • There are many tones you cannot do without a compressor.
  • There are many tones you can destroy with an improperly set compressor.
  • Compressor can be an effect... eg: funk, snappy country, etc... Used like this you hear the effect doing it's job.
  • Compressor can be a tool... Used like this it often isn't even noticed, but it provides a huge impact on the refinement of the tone.
Then there is what most people don't realize....
  • If you play with overdrive, you are already compressing
  • If you play with distortion, you are compressing even more
  • If you play a tube amp that is turned up, you are likely compressing
  • If you hit the front end of your tube amp with a heavy boost, you are compressing
  • etc...
So...... many people do not need compressors simply because they are already compressing their signal in one way or another. What is interesting to me is when those same people insist they don't use compression.
 
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MilwMark

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I always come back to a compressor. Currently using the Mooer Yellow Comp set all at noon. I really like comps with SS amps to add some warmth, liveliness and bounce...set not as subtle.

I hope this does not come across as an attack. That's not my intent. I'm genuinely curious and want to learn/bridge a gap.

If you are using a comp pedal set not subtly, it is subtracting liveliness.

It might be mimicking a cranked tube amp (sort of) but it is mimicking the compression (dynamic reduction) in that case.

Yet I consistently see people say this and want to understand what they mean.
 




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