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Indianrock2020

Compressor or no?

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I run my 500x direct to PA and the PA channel usually has a compressor effect turned on.   Since virtually all of my patches start with Noise Gate> Compressor, I'm wondering if I should remove the compressor.    I've talked to the sound techs about turning off the mixer compression but these guys are volunteers and I don't expect it to happen with any consistency.

 

Even in my old analog pedalboard days I always had a compressor but now wondering if having essentially two affecting the sound is a bad idea.  Plus, I could use the DSP since I always run dual amp/dual cab patches.                          Of course, the mixer compression is happening after the HD500x.

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I would depend a lot on what the threshold, attack, ratio etc... setting on the board compressor is actually at. If you compressed already, the board might not do anything as your sound would never rise above it's threshold anyway.  If not you would get compressed again. Generally I don't stack compressors on channel anyway. But on my LR out of FOH mixer there is almost always some minor compression. Overall I unless they really crank the channel compression I don't think you notice too much of a difference.

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I know the community is probably evenly decided between the virtues and evils of using compressors.   I did notice that disabling it on the pod brought the volume up even though the red comp's volume was probably set at 60% or more.   Not sure if dropping the compressor affected tone, but dropping the noise gate did seem to improve it slightly.

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Do you use a monitor where you can hear what your POD is really sending (Without post-effects of the FOH Mixer like comp/gate/reverb/etc) or you are hearing the final MIX of your signal?

 

I play in a church, and even when I know there is a compressor or many other post effects controlled by the sound guy, it doesn't matter, I ask every time for a monitor reference where I can hear my POD just like I set it up, (With compressor). What is happening after that is not my concern. If there is over-compression, that should be a problem of the sound guy, not mine. 

 

 br

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I know the community is probably evenly decided between the virtues and evils of using compressors.   I did notice that disabling it on the pod brought the volume up even though the red comp's volume was probably set at 60% or more.   Not sure if dropping the compressor affected tone, but dropping the noise gate did seem to improve it slightly.

 

A compressor is going to squash or even out your signal, thus more volume on quieter parts equal more sustain. If turning it off increase volume then you need more make up gain which is likely level on the pedal model. Of course using a comp for lead boost etc... or compressing the day lights out of signal to create pump can be useful effects in the right situation. On a mixing desk compression is either used to even out a performer or instrument. For example I almost always use a slight compression on Kick Drums because they have huge transient but die off quickly, adding some compression makes them sound bigger without getting louder. Or on say a bassist that just doesn't have good dynamic control to make sure he doesn't go crazy and overdrive the input. Also some master compression can glue the individual instruments together a bit by making sure they are around the same overall levels. For that the compressor is used on the overall mix. 

 

If turning it off didn't change it but eliminating it did. Then either a couple of things. If you input impedance is set to "Auto" then first pedal or amp in the chain determines the impedance on the pickups. This can have larger effect on your tone than most people realize. Secondly some pedals are just odd, the real ones and modeled ones. The analog chorus in the POD seems to increase level. I don't own a original Boss CE-1 so not sure if it does it. Lastly of course is just something up on the POD software. I know my tones a bit different when plugged into my PC and using edit vs setting them on the screen manually. Not much but just a bit to my ears.

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Do you use a monitor where you can hear what your POD is really sending (Without post-effects of the FOH Mixer like comp/gate/reverb/etc) or you are hearing the final MIX of your signal?

 

I play in a church, and even when I know there is a compressor or many other post effects controlled by the sound guy, it doesn't matter, I ask every time for a monitor reference where I can hear my POD just like I set it up, (With compressor). What is happening after that is not my concern. If there is over-compression, that should be a problem of the sound guy, not mine. 

 

 br

We're on in-ears at our church but I'd have to check to see if our monitor send is pre or post board EQ etc.   With volunteer sound techs ( great guys but busy with their day jobs and families )  I do have to concern myself with what the congregation is hearing.   It's a carefully worded effort in conjunction with the worship leader so we don't ruffle feathers.   

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A compressor is going to squash or even out your signal, thus more volume on quieter parts equal more sustain. If turning it off increase volume then you need more make up gain which is likely level on the pedal model. Of course using a comp for lead boost etc... or compressing the day lights out of signal to create pump can be useful effects in the right situation. On a mixing desk compression is either used to even out a performer or instrument. For example I almost always use a slight compression on Kick Drums because they have huge transient but die off quickly, adding some compression makes them sound bigger without getting louder. Or on say a bassist that just doesn't have good dynamic control to make sure he doesn't go crazy and overdrive the input. Also some master compression can glue the individual instruments together a bit by making sure they are around the same overall levels. For that the compressor is used on the overall mix. 

 

If turning it off didn't change it but eliminating it did. Then either a couple of things. If you input impedance is set to "Auto" then first pedal or amp in the chain determines the impedance on the pickups. This can have larger effect on your tone than most people realize. Secondly some pedals are just odd, the real ones and modeled ones. The analog chorus in the POD seems to increase level. I don't own a original Boss CE-1 so not sure if it does it. Lastly of course is just something up on the POD software. I know my tones a bit different when plugged into my PC and using edit vs setting them on the screen manually. Not much but just a bit to my ears.

Turning off or removing the compressor did increase volume so I do need to make that up elsewhere.  Right now I'm trying to keep the compressor but with lower sustain settings and higher level.  Meambobo suggests not running your amp channel volume controls wide open ( which has been my standard practice ).    So I've got some work to do.    I run a separate patch for each song so leveling volumes for the sound persons's sake is a big deal.       I'm experimenting with the Orban Loudness Meter and flipping Audacity's monitoring to RMS instead of decibel in an attempt to get a better handle on patch levels.

 

https://www.orban.com/meter/

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To give some context, there's actually a style of parallel compression known as New York Compression and even serialized compression on individual tracks and then aux stems and then even a 3rd on the mix bus, and a 4th in mastering.  So no, it's not unheard of at all. Sometimes you need that to tame gain, especially in a live situation where you could end up destroying a lot of expensive gear without a high ratio compressor or limiter with a high threshold.  

 

But as always, use your ears.  If it sounds good, then you're good.  Without more info about the settings being used in each compressor step, nobody can say much more.

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