Do I Really Need A Compressor?

Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by mtm105, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. mtm105

    mtm105 Well-Known Member

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    Back in the '80's there was one (or several) on every pro rack.

    today, not so sure.

    I have a low budget Rocktron. Seems to do it's job. I've got too much OD, hard to tell.

    Thinking of upgrading in the future for a boutique box.

    I never play single coils and I read that's where Compressor shines.
     
  2. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer 2017 Limited Edition 'Floaties' Promo VIP Member

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    Only if you play Country or Jazz. I woudn't use a compressor with distortion/overdrive.
     
  3. mtm105

    mtm105 Well-Known Member

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    Then what were the hairbands doing in the '80s??
     
  4. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

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    VOLUME!!!

    That's called natural amp compression.

    If you're hell-bent on experimenting with a comp.
    Get one with an 'Attack' or 'Blend' control.
     
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  5. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer 2017 Limited Edition 'Floaties' Promo VIP Member

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    Gain. JCM 800's and Laneys were everywhere. Gain naturally compresses the tone. When you play a guitar into a clean amp, especially if you have the guitar's volume control on 10, you'll usually get volume spikes as you pick some notes harder than others. That gets annoying. So a compressor "compresses" the spikes to give a more even sound. Compression should be used very subtly, otherwise you'll just squash your sound. You just want to even out the volume spikes. If you hear it get squishy you're using too much. A good compressor shouldn't be heard like an effect. If you use a compressor with much amp gain, you'll lose all your dynamics. Personally, I don't care for compressors at all, but I can see where they can be useful with a really clean amp.
     
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  6. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer 2017 Limited Edition 'Floaties' Promo VIP Member

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    Only on non-master volume amps, which the early JCM800's were. I think the 2205 and 2210 were the first Marshalls with master volumes. That's important. Back then you had to crank amps all the way up to get them to distort and compress. Most amps today have master volumes, and so you want a lower wattage amp that you can turn up loud enough to move some air and fill up the cab with sound pressure, but not at 120dB. Volume is always impressive, but volume just for the sake of being loud isn't necessary today, and I think too many people still have that old "crank it to 11" mentality. That'll get you kicked out of a lot of clubs these days.
     
  7. zachman

    zachman Well-Known Member

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    Varied on signal chain placement, rig architecture (Stereo, W/D/W), variety of amps/amp tones (Clean, crunch, lead, etc.

    I use it in 2 places in the rig; each for a different purpose.

    For that super squished 'Another Brick in the Wall' effect, I use a pedal compressor in front of the amp input. I normally only use the pedal compression on clean tones, however, I have used it w/ lead guitar tones w/ a Marshall 6100 EL34 head. The compressor kicks in on the solo

    http://www.tonefinder.com/files/69-HellIsForChildren.mp3


    The rack compressor is used to vary the attack and threshold of the wet side of the rig, making fx appear more or less pronounced while keeping the output level consistent.
     
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  8. SmokeyDopey

    SmokeyDopey Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Well-- sometimes those spikes can be accentuated. Depending on the compressor and what parameters it has available, one can bring out that attack if one wanted to. Or it can be used as a "leveler" as you describe. Sometimes you can use multiple compressors daisy chained to spread the workload too! Compressors are awesome. I don't use them as much on guitars (most of the stuff I record is distorted guitars) but sometimes it helps bring something out, or help tuck something in.

    As a mixing (or live) tool, yes, compressors are great. For a guitar pedal? I don't think it is absolutely essential, but it can sure help in some situations.
     
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  9. bigbadorange

    bigbadorange Active Member

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    I personally see them as something much more of use when in the studio and then only used on mixdown/mastering.
     
  10. El Gringo

    El Gringo Active Member

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    Never , I had one way back and got rid of it .You want compression ? Crank a Marshall
     
  11. jmp45

    jmp45 Well-Known Member

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    I have an analog man 3 knob comprossor. It works well but my main use is to tame the spikes going into the mellotron pedal, it's quite sensitve. Nice to have subtle strings swelling in the background doing finger style. The analog man comp has attack control, gotta have that. It can be used subtly easy enough and as a boost. It's based off the ross comp.

    http://www.analogman.com/rossmod.htm
     
  12. erer

    erer New Member

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    effectrode pc2a is indispensable for me. always on. i use it as a tube boost with a very slight amount of compression. sounds totally killer!
     
  13. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    Right on Vin. That was the reason for their existence (volume spikes ).
    I do use it to push the pedals that come after it too. I like what it does for my tone.
    BP
     
  14. Gianni

    Gianni Well-Known Member

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    Can’t live without it! ;)

    [​IMG]

     
  15. Toby Krewbs

    Toby Krewbs Member

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    I use it for Prince/ EW&F/ Rick James etc... stuff during a gig but almost never at home playing for my own amusement.
     
  16. dslman

    dslman Well-Known Member

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    Friend of mine hates OD pedals, but uses a Boss Compressor instead.
    Sounds amazing, but I tried every which way and couldnt get near his sound.
     
  17. telemarshall

    telemarshall Well-Known Member

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    I've GOT to have a compressor for my Rickenbacker on Byrds, Petty, REM stuff.. In fact, I use two compressors for those tunes - a compressor is essential for this sound..

    But otherwise, I don't use them at all with the other axes - for the harder rock stuff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  18. AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing

    AAHIHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoing Active Member

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    Hey. You guys that love them...WHAT are you using it to do to the sound (e.g enhance attack, enhance sustain, squish dynamic range, etc etc.)? Compressors for mix are complex and can be used numerous different ways so I assume the same applies to pedals at least to a degree (don't know if most pedals have all the controls...attack, release, ratio, threshold, etc.) I have a Line 6 something or other with 99 effects built in, compressor among them. Have not really messed with it.
     
  19. wakjob

    wakjob Well-Known Member

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    I use compressors mostly to make a low to medium gain sound feel like liquid high gain under the fingers, while not sounding all saturated, fizzy, and buzzy.

    I also have a Dyna-Comp that I 'Ross' modded for that early 80's super squish New Wave type stuff.
     
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  20. telemarshall

    telemarshall Well-Known Member

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    As I mentioned, I just use my comps with my Rickenbacker or Tele, for certain styles - Byrds, Beatles, Petty - for that compressed "jangle" tone.

    I don't use a compressor at all for the harder rock stuff. One of the guys I jam with uses his comp with a Tube Screamer and Strat when doing SRV-type blues rock stuff.
     
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