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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Compressors: Do you use one and if so what sort ?

Contributing Member


Aug 18th, 2017 04:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

Being new to the world of Bass amplification I was wondering if the use of a compressor to even out string reponse was common ?

Why do you use one ?

Do you use a pedal or another sort ?

(This message was last edited by windmill at 06:29 PM, Aug 18th, 2017)



Why do I keep fixing things that work?
Aug 18th, 2017 05:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

I use the onboard amp compressor and set it to help balance the low frequency not to be boomy, while keeping most volume even.
So, when I set it I use it sparingly with fast attack and just a hair over fast on the release, thus, evening out the overall sound.
If your amp has this feature, try it out and determine what works best for you and your playing style. I'm not a real bassist and between using a pick or finger style, I find that I get good even sound at all volume settings.

Danny Nader


You should have been there!
Aug 18th, 2017 05:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

Presonus Blue Max. It's discontinued, but is a nice piece. Lots of others out there for similar dollars. These can be found used. W/ a little digging, NOS should / could be found.


Discontinued . . . specs here.

Contributing Member


"toxic masculinity personified"
Aug 18th, 2017 07:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

MXR M87. I use it to help even things out, as I am relatively new to playing bass (still learning, refining technique) after years of guitar playing. I like the visual aid provided by the little lights.

It's a subtle thing, as effects go.


Contributing Member

Wichita, Kansas

Drums = pulse, Bass = heartbeat
Aug 18th, 2017 09:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

I don't use compression. I'm pretty even-handed as a result of some years of home recording without access to a compressor and having to keep an eye on the meters.

I play in a pop/rock band, an 18pc big band and at church. My playing style doesn't seem to lend itself to anything other than very light compression. I want a good attack and I do a lot of left hand muting, so a lot of notes attack and don't last very long. I WANT a lot of dynamic variation, which I start loosing with compression.

I mostly play p-basses with flatwound strings and sometimes a G&L L2500 with DR Low-rider strings, which aren't excessively bright. My basses are set up with an eye toward a good string to string balance.

All this said, I do not slap, except for an accent note here and there. If I were a big slapper, a compressor would be kicked in for that. I don't have a discrete compressor pedal. For the pop/rock band, I use a Boss ME-50b multi-effect board with about 5 different compressor emulations into a Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 (no onboard compressor. The compressor settings don't get much use. I also have a couple of Ampeg PF amps and a couple of Carvin amps that have onboard compressors. I generally don't use any compression when using those amps.

(This message was last edited by themaestro at 11:15 PM, Aug 18th, 2017)



Do'in the 5 string thing!
Aug 21st, 2017 11:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

+ 1 on the MXR M-87. It's a really nice unit in a small footprint. I have this one on my "small" pedalboard, and it gets about 90% of my use, including at home for practice. as mentioned above, the LED meter that provides visual feedback is a nice plus.

I also have a Markbass Compressore pedal. This is a tube compressor and is really nice as well. Drawback is the large footprint and 18 volt power requirement. This one is on my "large" pedalboard.

I use a compressor for a practical reason - I have peripheral neuropathy in both hands. My lack of touch sensitivity in my right hand makes having an even attack a real challenge. The compressor helps to even things out for me. Both of these units do a good job with this. I can recommend them both.

martin p.

Westbury NY

I am never unintentionally rude
Aug 24th, 2017 09:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

I use a MXR Dyna-Comp, I also have a Boss CS-3, that works very well.


New York City

Aug 30th, 2017 11:12 AM   Edit   Profile  

I don't use one. Some back line amps I play through at gigs have built in compressors and I always turn them off. I play mostly country, blues, and R&B and I often like to use the dynamics of the bass as part of an arrangement.

For other styles, especially for modern sounds like slap, I think the compressor is a useful tool.

Contributing Member


Sep 2nd, 2017 05:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the responses


Neil Bell

The first 100 songs

are the hardest to write
Sep 3rd, 2017 04:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

I quite like optical compressors for live bass: the Aphex Punch Factory is reasonable but nothing 'polishes like a great channel strip' like my Diamond Compressor. Compares favorably to a $3k LA2A I rented for a studio session. As others have said - just a little goes a long way. Hope this helps (I'm going to try the Dyna-Comp for a special squishy effect.)

(This message was last edited by Neil Bell at 11:38 AM, Sep 7th, 2017)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Sep 12th, 2017 06:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

I used a Dyna Comp in the late 70's and throughout the 80's, so much so, I built one into the headless Explorer bass I built from 1980 on.

When I got into 5 string, it oversquashed the low B so it was time to find another. I used a DOD bass compressor on and off for years.

When I switched from a GK1001RB to my current amp, an Ampeg PF-500, I no longer needed it. I LOVE the compressor on the amp.

For other amps I have a Nano Ammoon compressor that has become my current favorite pedal.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Oct 19th, 2017 09:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've never used one. I read these kinds of threats of bassist talking about them to figure out what they are supposed to acomplish.

I set up my basses to have a very even relief and volume across the strings, the strings I use have a very even dynamic across the set. The rest is controled by my attack, hand muting and pots. I've had people ask me what compressor I use, some time in the late 80s I started wondering if it was a common device for bass players.

I like the ability to have a lot of dynamics at the instrument with various attacks and finger styles, anything that would get in the way of that, I wouldn't be happy with. I'm still not exactly sure what they do.

My old SWR Studio 220 had a frequency shapping circuit that was occasionally usefull in clubs with bad acoustics. Mostly the controls are all set at 0. It's used as a rehersal amp now but I recal making slight adjustments to it to even out the dynamics of the bass. From time to time.

Contributing Member


Oct 21st, 2017 09:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

A tip that works pretty slick: If your bass compressor seems to be taking away some definition from your notes, slow down the attack time while using a moderate release time.

This gives the leading edge of your notes a little more punch and snap.

L. Nedmundo


Nov 28th, 2017 03:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've used compression for some high-volume gigs, so I could push my amp harder while keeping the transients in check. The more even response is nice too. I almost never slap, but would use it then as well.

I haven't used compression on stage in a long time, but I was very happy with the Aphex Punch Factory.

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Compressors: Do you use one and if so what sort ?

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