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Re: stupid compression pedal question..

At 4:26 PM -0400 6/19/06, Todd Pafford wrote:
>At 11:41 AM -0700 6/19/06, Legion wrote:
>>Assuming I'll at very least always have a distortion-> envelope
>>filter->Delay/looper where is the best place for me to place the
>>compression pedal?
>I'm of the opinion that using a little compression to provide a nice
>strong signal to the rest of the system is a good thing.  However, if
>you're running through tubes at any point and are relying on your
>expressive guitar playing to drive those tubes, then the compressor
>will just flatten all that expresivity right out and produce a flat
>response from those tubes.

I'd tend to agree with Todd, but with a possible further 
qualification or two.  What kind of distortion pedal are you using in 
the chain?  If you're looking at one of the more radical distortion 
boxes (I'm primarily thinking of some of the boutique stuff like the 
Metasonix Agonizer, Zvex's Machine, or Effector 13's Torn's Peaker) 
then you should really think about using a compressor or basic 
OD-type pedal directly afterward to amooth out some of the wild peaks 
those can produce.  Otherwise, it'll sound great to most noise fans, 
but you might not be able to produce a passable tone.

Also, to add yet another variable, you might try experimenting with 
the type of compressor you're using.  VCA designs are quite fast and 
are good for controlling transients on percussive instruments. 
Optical and FET designs won't react quite so quickly, so they're 
better for allowing the initial attack characteristics of on 
instrument come through while still producing a more even and 
sustained signal.  You *might* be able to get away with using an 
optical before the envelope follower if you absolutely have to have 
the compressor before it.  And multi-band compressors can allow you 
to process only a particular frequency band(s) while allowing the 
rest of the spectrum to pass unchanged.  The latter can work pretty 
well as a "clean up" unit to keep the whole signal chain reined in.

>Ultimately, you'll have to experiment to see where in your signal 
>chain the compressor
>works best for you, how much compression to apply, etc.  There are 
>no rules for this stuff, it's all personal taste.

Todd is also spot-on here.  This is one place where the "art" of 
studio technique really comes into play.  If you give us some more 
information on exactly what you're looking to achieve, we might be 
able to give you some more concrete recommendations.  However, a lot 
of this is like cooking.  You're going to have to throw it together 
into a pot and season as you like.

"Wind in my heart. Dust in my head..."