If I have a compressor that I love, do I need a clean boost?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Telecaster88, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, just because, you know, GAS, I'm looking at a bunch of clean boost pedals online. Like the EP Booster, Epoch Boost, Secret Preamp, TC Spark, etc.

    I love the way these guys sound in the demos -- but they already kind of sound like what I get from my beloved Dyna Comp Deluxe -- a thickening and general sweetening, and a touch of sparkly magic when used with clean single coils. This is listening online, not trying them in person.

    I play 100% clean all the time, at home (no gigs going forward at this point in my life) and at low volume. Just songwriting and home-recording... Is there anything a clean boost will give me that I'm not already getting with my DCD, which is always on with my single coil guitars (and even on with a few of my bucker guitars)?

    I love what the DCD does to my sound. Will a clean boost give me anything else, above and beyond, given my playing situation (quiet, at home)?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. dlew919

    dlew919 Doctor of Teleocity

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    A compressor is not a boost. It does a different job. It compresses the sound. A boost boosts the sound. Compressors work best at unity. Boosts a little higher. An LPB -1 costs very little. Most boosts do. You could nearly build one I’d you had the skills.
     
  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    There is a way to use a compressor pedal as a "signal boost", but you then eliminate what the compressor pedal does as a compressor. So, to answer your question, if you want to use compression with a clean boost pedal you would need both.
     
  4. JustPlayItLoud

    JustPlayItLoud Tele-Meister

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    For me, yes. There are some clean boosts that aren’t really transparent and add a little something to your base sound that I find hard to replicate with just EQ changes. In most cases I prefer turning the amp down a little bit so I can have the same overall volume level but have some boost going on.

    The TC Spark is great. I also usually have a Belle Epoch Deluxe on for the preamp even if I have the echo level turned off.
     
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  5. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    Check this out, starting at 31:30. The Xotic SP compressor they're using is derived from the Ross circuit, so it should be comparable to your Dyna Comp.

     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
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  6. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    I use a Wampler Ego, and a TC Spark Mini.
    It's a fantastic combination.
    Also, a Wampler Paisley Drive, into an old 1966 Princeton Reverb.
    I do gig, and this combination has proven to be perfect for me. Country band.
    Also a 6 band MXR graphic, set as a mid boost.
    With the PR volume at 3 and a half to 4, I can get clean amp breakup, just clean, downright dirty, and everywhere in between.
     
  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some compressors have a level control that allows them to also boost your signal. For example, the Wampler Ego Compressor has this feature.

    However, having two separate pedals may work better for actual live performance. Rather than having to reach down and turn the level knob when you want a quick boost to your signal level, you just hit the on/off button on your boost pedal with your foot. And, as others have mentioned, a boost pedal even at unity gain may color your sound in a way you like.

    And just to head off the inevitable comment....using the volume knob on your guitar is another possible option. I typically install some kind of treble bleed or 50s wiring mod so that I can use my volume knob without losing treble when I reduce the volume.

    Finally, where you place your boost pedal in your signal chain will determine its effect. If you put it before a dirt pedal or into an amp that is breaking up it will mostly just increase gain, but not volume. If you put it at the end of your signal chain into a clean amp with more headroom available, then it will mostly increase your volume level. Or sometimes people put it into the effects loop after the pre-amp and before the power amp so they get a volume boost more than just goosing the front of the amp.
     
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  8. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    My playing situation is exactly like yours, and I think the answer is yes. As others have noted, a compressor and a boost pedal do different things, even though they both serve to make your sound sweeter, richer, etc.

    I have tried a ridiculous number of boost and low gain overdrives for this purpose, and the best one I have found is the Wampler euphoria.

    My theory is why waste board space with something that is only a clean boost when there are innumerable low to medium gain overdrives that also serve this function beautifully with the gain knob turned down.

    And then you also have an overdrive if you need it.
     
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  9. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    The short answer is... Yes!
     
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  10. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you don't need 9v battery power, many boosts are so simple that they easily fit in the mini-pedal configuration, taking up even less board space.
     
  11. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Afflicted

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    When I am recording I rarely add a clean boost pedal as well as a compressor. Most compressors have a gain makeup control that allows you to set the unit at unity. I like to push a tube amplifier into what is called "cooking" the preamp by pushing the input signal to just below the point where audible fuzzy distortion occurs. You are pushing to the point there is a bloom of overtones but no fuzz. Most of the compressors I use have enough gain to do that with the left over gain makeup. Particularly the Barber Tone Press parallel compressor that I own does this very well and quite cleanly.

    Bob
     
  12. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a boost after my comp and dirt pedals so can just goose everything when needed without also adding more dirt.
     
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  13. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    The EP Booster makes your tone dark. I didn't like it. Some others have tone controls. Others still are transparent.

    I use the Xotic Super Sweet with the treble cut engaged (it has three or four tone options) along with the Wampler Ego Mini. Sounds great.

    I also use the Keeley Katana Mini at the end of the chain. It's completely transparent and sounds great, as well.

    Think about what kind of tone you want before you buy your booster.
     
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  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Good lord a youtube video of a clean boost is a demo of the player, guitar and amp.
     
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  15. douellette

    douellette TDPRI Member

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    My 4-Knob Keeley Compressor and Bob Burt Clean Boost sure get along nicely. I use both for a little boost, and stack with overdrive for staggered gain levels.
     
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  16. Beebe

    Beebe Tele-Meister

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    In general I'd say a compressor shines for clean and a boost for dirty(driving an amp or pedal into overdrive). If you're playing always clean then I think you would want a boost that adds some character like the TC Spark, or an EQ pedal. If you reduce the bass before the compressor and then turn it back up after (at the amp or post processing) you might get a sound you like. Often the lows have the most amplitude and therefore drive the compressor into action before the most important part of the guitar signal (mids) even reaches the threshold. Once the bass crosses the threshold on a single band compressor your mids and treble are getting knocked down too. It's often why the best sounding compressors add some harmonic sizzle (excitement) back to the signal (making up for what was lost). So if you get a boost I'd recommend one with bass control to use in front of your compressor. You might get even more out of the comp you already love.
     
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  17. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Afflicted

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    What I hear happening tonally in the clean boost demos is similar to what I hear when I step on my Dyna Comp in person... The clean tone smooths and thickens up a bit, it sparkles, gains a bit of clarity and becomes more vivid. In other words a tone fairy sprinkles some pixie dust on the amp.

    If, as you say, a clean boost provides just the sound of a guitar, a player, and an amp, would the "always on" threads be full of people listing their favorite clean boosts?

    I dunno. That's why I'm asking!
     
  18. rdjones

    rdjones Tele-Meister

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    If I have a carburetor that I like do I need a high rise intake manifold ?
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My point is that to find out if you need a clean boost and which one, you need to try some with your hands guitar and amp.

    They certainly vary in EQ and some are even dirty but called clean, the way transparent changes tone while not changing tone.

    So many pedals do clean boost, plus have a tone control, AND add dirt if you turn up the gain, which makes boost pedals that are incapable of EQ adjustment and adding subtracting dirt, kind of a very narrow specialty tool you know you need or you don't.

    OD250, OCD, Klon and Klones, all do clean boost, have a tone knob, and double as OD/ dirt pedals.
    So few players need those other functions omitted from a pedal to add some fattening boost.

    Part of why you need to try with your gear, is the fact that some amps fatten up with flat EQ boost, while some clean boost pedals have a tweaked EQ to fatten tone.

    Also some clean boost circuits are only clean up to half way then get a little dirty.
    Youtube once again shows the player, the amp, the settings, the recording techniques, and the youtube compression.

    Comparing compressor to non compressor pedals via compressed recordings of varied players and amps is not the sound of the pedal.
     
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  20. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks, I see what you're saying! That helps.
     
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