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  1. #1

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    On the other forum I haunt (the Tele forum), it seems lots of folks have a compressor pedal and leave it on all the time. Am I missing something? Anyone doing that for jazz? I've listened to a number of demos with clean guitar sounds and I don't hear much of a difference. Just wondering.

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  3. #2

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    Hell no, I like dynamics.

  4. #3

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    Only time I used to use a compressor pedal was when doing Country music, but they dull the sound and compressor pump gets old fast.
    Last edited by docbop; 01-26-2015 at 01:24 PM.

  5. #4

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    Oh no, no need a comp for jazz I like dynamic too.
    The only times I used a comp it was for overdriven gilmour style solo, and used as a boost and to get more sustain. But to me no comp in a clean signal !

  6. #5

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    the squeaky, Ross type compressor is also something that I don't like and too much compression doesn't do the the guitar tone any good (except one is after these smooth Gilmour'ish tones). However, a modest amount of compression provided by a quality compressor, to me, goes a long way in making the signal clean, articulate, a bit sparkly and well, just somehow nicer.

    Pedals like the Mad Professor forest green or the okko coca comp or the Vahlbruch Fusionizer are all compressors that I liked quite a bit in conjunction with arch tops. I do not feel that they kill dynamics - at least not unless one drives the compression up. They also can be used to add a bit of additional volume, which most tube amps like, especially if one has the guitar volume dialed a down a bit.

  7. #6

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    For those on any kinda fence here, there's also the Wampler Ego Compressor. It has a Blend knob whereby you can have both your straight signal and the compressed tone in whatever ratio you desire. There's also a Tone control.


    Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-wampler-ego-compressor-jpg

  8. #7

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    I've experimented with a compressor in a big band situation, but I normally don't use one. I suppose a compressor could be useful in a crowd environment if you want to play in a style that produces a lot of dynamic range at the instrument but you want the audience members who are actually listening to hear the "quiet" passages. A volume knob or pedal usually does that job well enough for me.

  9. #8

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    If you like the sound, use a compressor, let your ears decide.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by KIRKP
    I've experimented with a compressor in a big band situation, but I normally don't use one. I suppose a compressor could be useful in a crowd environment if you want to play in a style that produces a lot of dynamic range at the instrument but you want the audience members who are actually listening to hear the "quiet" passages. A volume knob or pedal usually does that job well enough for me.

    Yup a compressor is squeezing out the dynamic range. Think of a sideways funnel, a big dynamic range goes in and a small one comes out how small depends on the compression ratio. Just listen to TV, radio, Youtube, bad MP3's, and you'll hear what compressed sound is like, the life goes away. They do it because they predict the device you're probably listening on can't handle a big range. Like when mastering a song to be used in a movie will increase the bit-rate for more dynamic range because you know theaters have sound systems that can handle it.

    When I worked in the studio we tended to use limiters more than compressors. Limiter only push the signal back down if it goes above a certain level it doesn't do anything other wise. Compressors and limiter were generally used for spikey instruments or on players who's players who playing was all over the place.

  11. #10

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    I recently watched an old interview with Bill Frisell, who explained that he used a compressor and a volume pedal, but at last figured out that they both cancelled each other out, so he got rid of both.

  12. #11

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    I do own the ubiquitous red MXR Dyna Comp, and aside from an overdrive, it's generally the only pedal I'll use when I get called for a country gig. Excellent "always-on" pedal for chicken-pickin' stuff, and it also works great for Prince-type funk scratching. I couldn't see using it for any type of jazz gig other than maybe a big band chart that specifically specified "80s funk" or something to that effect on the guitar part. Having the dynamics squished out would make it impossible to blend and match the inflections of horns when reading lines in big band charts.


    Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-mxr-dyna-comp-jpg

  13. #12

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    Wampler Ego Compressor is the way to go! Endless possibilities to shape your sound. I use it quite often to get clean sustain or to get more attack, or just to cut through the mix in band situations.

  14. #13

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    I had a guitar that sounded fantastic with acoustic strings. The pickup had no pole pieces to balance the string to string volume so my first two plain strings were much louder than the brass third thru sixth strings. I adjusted the pickup height as much as possible to get the balance, then used a compressor to smooth it out the rest of the way. Sounded great and still had dynamics. Sounds kind of crazy but it worked very well.

  15. #14

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    If you have a guitar that NEEDS it's sound tightened up then use one. Most good guitars lay back and then punch when you lay on them. That's "dynamics" and I would be disappointed if that was eliminated from my guitar by a compressor. That said, while playing in a band setting a compressor comes in handy when the drummer has no respect for dynamics and feels compelled to stay on top the whole time. Then you just unplug your compressor and throw it at him!!!

  16. #15

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    never used a compression pedal, but I use it with the amp modeling for recording on the computer with a direct line in.
    my line 6 guitar port sounds terrible without compression.

  17. #16

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    A comp pedal for a clean boost is mandatory for what I play.

    It works perfect for me, and it has for many years.

    HTH,

  18. #17

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    I bought an Empress compressor about a month ago; it's a decent piece of equipment, but I'm still not sure if it's an improvement or a detriment. I use it judiciously, and it does produce a bit of a different sound, but I doubt that it was really a worthwhile investment.


    Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-empress-compressor-jpg

  19. #18

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    I go back and forth. I have a built in compressor on my Lab Series L5 Amp. The signal sounds pretty good coming out of the compressor, although I don't like it _too_ squashed. Sometimes, however, I just leave the compressor off. Things still sound pretty good. There is a noticeable difference, however.

  20. #19

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    I use a rack compressor and with very little ratio on occasions. My reasoning is that I can tame shrill transients without resorting to achieving the same with heavy treble tone roll off. You can also run them with an eq pedal in the side-chain, so the compression is frequency dependent. This seems good with teles. Lastly, even in bypass, the signal still passes through the transformers which adds a bit of analogue warmth.

    The dbx rack units are cheaper than the better pedals

  21. #20

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    Tube amps compress the signal... just saying.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno1985
    I do own the ubiquitous red MXR Dyna Comp, and aside from an overdrive, it's generally the only pedal I'll use when I get called for a country gig. Excellent "always-on" pedal for chicken-pickin' stuff, and it also works great for Prince-type funk scratching. I couldn't see using it for any type of jazz gig other than maybe a big band chart that specifically specified "80s funk" or something to that effect on the guitar part. Having the dynamics squished out would make it impossible to blend and match the inflections of horns when reading lines in big band charts.
    +1 You are so right, Danno. For Country and Funk the red MXR pedal is outstanding. It has been around forever; it is dead simple; and it sure gets the job done.

    My Lab Series L5 amp with built in compressor and JBL D-130 speaker (baffle board has been replaced) gets a great country sound with my Telecaster, so I don't use a pedal anymore. Otherwise, it would be the MXR for country work.

  23. #22

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    It could work well, as said above, to bring the solo out front. Its what they do on TV when the adverts come on - they are not louder, just compressed. The same can happen to your guitar, it can be set up to sound louder when the compression gets switched on. Trouble is in a playing situation, compression brings with it some strange side effects that overtime you'll get to recognise (and hate?).

  24. #23

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    Try a Origin Cali 76 pedal. Its Wonderfull and is nothing like ordinary comp pedal . The key is parallell compression and the ability to blend the original signal with the compressed. People that thinks compression kills dynamics just do do it right ..

    Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-origin-cali-67-jpg

  25. #24

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    compressors,even the best are killing dynamics.
    However,Philip Catherine does always play with compression with his 175!

  26. #25

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    No , a compressor used right can actually increase your dynamic range. Also Bring out components in your guitar that you never heard. If you know how to set it and have control over your dry path signal then it can be awesome.

  27. #26

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    I built an orange squeezer for more knopflerish stuff. I get the cluck and a bit of dirt out of it as a boost. I usually turn it off for jazz but I do love it (cept that it is center positive which I hate). Agree that the ears get final say.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjalmiz
    No , a compressor used right can actually increase your dynamic range. Also Bring out components in your guitar that you never heard.
    There's no way a compressor can increase your dynamic range. It brings out things you weren't able to hear before precisely because it makes soft things louder.

  29. #28

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    The best application for a compressor is in a noisy environment. One reason pop music is so compressed is for listening in a car or a noisy gym. Recordings with a lot of dynamic range (e.g., classical) are nearly unlistenable in those environments unless you keep one hand on the volume knob to be your own compressor.

    When performing in a noisy venue the situation is much the same. To compensate, the options are avoiding use of dynamics in your playing (which can detract from expression), riding a volume control (a volume pedal or the guitar's knob) and/or a compressor. For a low-noise concert venue I always prefer to hear performers without compression.
    Last edited by KirkP; 12-10-2015 at 02:10 PM.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fidelcaster
    There's no way a compressor can increase your dynamic range.
    Exactly. It's part of the definition of a compressor that it will _decrease_ the dynamic range.

    However, I do like Hjalmiz's idea of mixing a compressed signal to the "dry" one in parallel (although--nitpick, nitpick--it's probably not a matter of "dry" versus "wet" but of "unprocessed" versus "processed"). That requires a bit of rethinking because compressors aren't normally used this way (just like you wouldn't use EQ this way--another interesting thought). I imagine that this could indeed solve a number of problems.

  31. #30

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    Question to those in the know: the tube amp/speaker simulation in DI pedals like SansAmp, is it just a built in compressor really? Sometimes I wonder.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fidelcaster
    There's no way a compressor can increase your dynamic range. It brings out things you weren't able to hear before precisely because it makes soft things louder.

    "Exactly. It's part of the definition of a compressor that it will _decrease_ the dynamic range.

    However, I do like Hjalmiz's idea of mixing a compressed signal to the "dry" one in parallel (although--nitpick, nitpick--it's probably not a matter of "dry" versus "wet" but of "unprocessed" versus "processed"). That requires a bit of rethinking because compressors aren't normally used this way (just like you wouldn't use EQ this way--another interesting thought). I imagine that this could indeed solve a number of problems."


    So Fidelcaster, you are ofcourse familiar with high end compression units Like for example the Origin transformer compression amp box ? If not , then go try one before making asumptions about functionality and how guitar comp pedals normaly is used.

    Palindrome, this way of using compression is not that unusual in the studio world. Ive used this for recording drums and acoustic guitar .

    Anyways, good luck with the pedal hunt.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    Question to those in the know: the tube amp/speaker simulation in DI pedals like SansAmp, is it just a built in compressor really? Sometimes I wonder.
    I think the tube amp part is just an ss circuit that has some grit / compression in it's design but it's not a compressor per se. The speaker simulator is probably just a low pass filter.

  34. #33

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    Some compressors that have the parallel blend feature are the Barber and the Wampler. I still dislike them for jazz although some people (like Kurt Rosenwinkel) can make them sound incredible.

  35. #34

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    I use it very sparingly. No question it effects your personal dynamics. It effects they way you play. I'll use them more in recordings after the fact to even out the transients. But live if you're using it to even those spikes out - MY technique just gets all messed up. I'm not actually playing what I'm hearing. The compressor is doing that work.

    That said you can get some great sounds. A limiter might also be great. It puts a brick wall on the highest spikes and leaves those below it alone.

  36. #35

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    In my (limited) experience, I always seem to get some unwanted abrupt reactions from compressors while playing, simply because they cannot look into the future (I'm aware that compression gets applied to tracks and, of course, entire mixes, but, as Henry has said, that's after the fact, so you can use various ploys to eliminate these unwanted reactions).

    Actually, I like to think of the "sag" involved in tube rectification as a more musical kind of compression (while playing) because the sag kicks in _before_ the signal reaches the speaker, which is something that a compressor cannot do (if that makes any sense).

  37. #36

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    I don't think the degredation of sound on youtube videos should be defined as compression. It's a completely different sonic phenomenon. I believe the term is dithering. People say that an MP3 compresses a song into a 5mb file but that using the term in a different context. that's not audio compression - more like digital dithering, and totally different from what happens in the audio compression.

  38. #37

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    The only reason I bought my compressor pedal is after the forum friends (and the company itself) recommended it for optimizing the sound of the Electro-Harmonix B9 and K9 pedals. I like only the inherent compression obtained from tube overdrive and the slight compression that my Polytone generates in the jazz or blues context. Otherwise, it limits the range of musical expression as agreed by many here.

  39. #38

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    There is so much compression out there, we are used to it - and it can also be why live music sounds so different. Vitually all media we are experiencing in our daily lives is compressed to some extent (and reverb added to some extent). You'll never hear a news reader or DJ talking without them having comoression and reverb applied. And for adverts the compression goes way up to make them sound loud. So if you want to sound loud in a noisy club, then compression might be part of the answer - but used like that, it will also kill any dynamics bringing everything to the same sound level (including clicks and string scratch). Its another tool you might want to use, although live I wouldn't spend a lot. Maybe one of those TC Electronics micro boxes with download patches - one nice sound that fits you and an on off button. Personally I can see its use for rhythm guitar because it gives you a very tight level sound which keeps it in the background, but not really for lead lines
    Last edited by ChrisDowning; 12-11-2015 at 05:04 AM.

  40. #39

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    I have heard guitarists use compressors and get really good tone out of them.

    I borrowed a friend's and had a hard time getting a tone that didn't sound squashed.

    Do you use one? Which one do you like?

  41. #40

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    Very happy with Mooer Yellow Comp, pretty transparent to me...


    Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-mooer-yellow-comp-jpg

  42. #41

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    I think we discussed this before

    My usual recommendation is to go to Ovnilab.com and read about the different types first.

    For jazz I find that a subtle always on optical compressor works best for me. My choice is the Maxon CP101. The comp ratio is 4:1.

  43. #42

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    The wampler ego is good. To be transparent, you either need to actually know how to operate a compressor, or get one with a blend knob.
    Attached Images Attached Images Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-wampler-ego-compressor-jpg 

  44. #43

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    my favorite is the one that is off

    but yeah, an optical, i guess. as gently as possible. i like the ones with the lights and meters so i can see what it is doing. then i move the level knob until the lights don't come on. i'm not against compressors, per se. i just usually save that for recording and stuff. don't play with it, but if it is a free add in with a pedal (i have a few that do) then sure, a little bit. i think the fishman i use has a 2:1 ratio, or something crazy low like that. maybe 4:1 or so is as high as i'll go. i don't like the clicky, poppy, spanky, pedal steel or squished sounds for the most part.

  45. #44

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    Empress (lots of features) and Xotic SP (very small footprint) also have blenders and get great reviews.

  46. #45

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    The Keeley Compressor Pro comes close to a rack mount compressor including make up gain. It is always on when playing my Tele, not so much much with humbuckers.


    Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-keeley-compressor-pro-jpg

  47. #46

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    I really dislike them for almost everything except a couple of effects, and some recording utility. I use a 4-knob keeley for these that's pretty transparent if thats your thing, and very functional with the 4 controls as well.

    The two school of thoughts in compressor pedals seem to be, either transparent or boxes that color your sound a bit. I prefer the first one..

  48. #47

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    I bought the TC Electronics HyperGravity a while back, it has blend knob + editing software and a shared user preset library via "tone print". Typically I do not leave it on for clean jazz sounds, though if I get time to experiment more I may expand how it gets applied.

    The only other comp pedal I've kept is the first one I bought, the MXR DyanComp, purchased back when they were originally introduced.
    In those days of my youth, the squashed and pumping comp signal pushing my Strat thru an early UniVibe seemed pretty cool.. Now I still have both of those devices, but just for nostalgia, as they're too noisy and outdated. They're on the shelf next to my Korg guitar synth

    I'm currently building a new pedal board, and had to decide whether to include the TC HyperGravity Comp. It did make the cut, I figure it has a place (now after the dirt pedal) and I think there is enough flexibility there to leave the dynamics less molested (my main complaint for any compression on live rig.)


    Anyone using a compressor pedal for jazz?-tc-electronic-hyper-gravity-jpg

  49. #48

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    I dislike compression on an otherwise dry signal with little additional sound (i.e. playing solo or with minimal accompaniment).

    I like compression on a wet (reverb, delay, &c.) signal or when playing with dense accompaniment.

    For me compression is a tool to be audible without having to crank your volume. But for jazz, I don't need it mostly. If I'm playing an archtop, the whole reason is usually because of the attack dynamics of an archtop (strong attack, quick delay).


    I have the Empress Comp. I had considered selling it to the the Cali67 Compact Deluxe based on reviews, but I don't use compression enough to bother.

  50. #49

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    Amplitube 4 Custom Shop (aka the free version) comes with two compressor emulations, one probably based on the Digitech Red pedal compressor and the other based on the MXR Dyna Comp pedal.

    I use both, the Red for arpeggio- and chord-work and the D-Comp for single note, clean, soaring leads.

    They both work flawlessly. Some tweaking required. YMMV.

  51. #50

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    I probably own a dozen compressors or more. I hate squishy (Ross or Boss) compressors but I like the ones that are subtle and add a bit of sparkle and sustain. The single best compressor, that IMHO hardly has any competition on the pedal market, is the Origin Effects Cali76. That is a seriously nice piece of equipment that is definitely pro level. David Gilmour probably likes compression more than most guitarists and his choice on the last tour was the Cali76. (I have no affiliation with the company or any other whatsoever, I am just convinced of that product)