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Compression


Buc McMaster
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I think I might have mentioned this before, but the value and effectiveness of compression on an amplified acoustic guitar cannot be overstated.........the two just go together so perfectly. A good compressor smoothes everything so nicely, knocking hard transients down yet not stifling dynamics. Really good stuff. Soundboard transducer pickups like the K&K can get quite "breathy" sounding, even thumpy with some techniques (like mine!)..........a compressor eliminates a lot of the stray body noises, thumps and boom-i-ness of this style pickup. I use and recommend the Wampler Ego pedal compressor.

 

Anyone else like a compressor as part of their live signal chain?

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I guess I'm weird.

 

I hate compression.

 

To my ears it's like throwing a dirty sock over your tone.

 

Yes, it you way over compress. I have the comperssion dialed at a 1/4 on the aura sectrum DI, feel about right, too much doesnt let the tone breathe.

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I always run a smidgen of comp to take the edge off attack transients as you mentioned, Buc. I’ve used a Mooer Yellow Comp (lovely thing) a Diamond Yellow Comp (very nice but large and complicated) and now the built in comp in my Boss AD10 which is wonderfully musical and transparent for acoustic pickups.

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To my ears it's like throwing a dirty sock over your tone.

As Mark said, too much compression can be stifling. The effect of a compressor is not like a reverb pedal, or delay or overdrive, all of which create dramatic changes in sound. A well adjusted compressor is quite subtle but very effective as an enhancer to what's already there. There are two adjustments on the Wampler Ego that other pedal compressors don't have: Tone and Blend. The tone control is like the presence knob on an old 1960's Marshall, dialing up sparkle and brilliance (correcting for that "dirty sock over your tone" you hear, Murph). The blend is what you might imagine: sets the mix of dry, unaltered signal to compressed signal......very handy.....like balancing a dual source acoustic guitar pickup for best tone. It takes more fiddling with the controls to get a compressor setup right, but once it's dialed it's magic. Like anything else, too much compression is not a good thing.

 

And billroy, compression is very good for vocals as well but for live applications is done with rack mounted gear at the soundboard as part of the signal processing package. It is also very popular in studio work, added to specific tracks at varying levels during post production.

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As Jinder put it, smidgen is the key here. I find that is the way to do any effect whether I'm acoustic or electric guitar playing. Compress to smooth, a dash for sound seasoning. For me, too much of anything is called an excess and that applies to effects. I try to apply moderation everywhere in my old age.[smile] edit: I can't imagine a vocal from the studio without a touch of compression.

Edited by Hall
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