A Note to Guitarists: I regularly get emails from guitarists, and I see posts on the various forums, saying it would be nice if I would write more of my reviews with a focus on guitar, instead of just bass. There are three reasons for my choices and bias:
1) Between the player and the instrument, bass typically has a much wider dynamic range than a guitar signal, as well as the extended low frequency range. So with bass it is much harder to get good/useful results from any compressor. In fact with guitar, it is positively easy--the cheapest MXR pedal will perform like a champ in most guitar roles. Sure, a golden-ears tone hound may reasonably want the best Ross clone money can buy, but that's good enough for most, they will stop hunting at that point. A bass player still has to contend with whether the threshold is appropriate for their instrument, whether they are getting adequate peak limiting without squashing their signal too much, whether the low end is getting rolled off, whether they can smoothly transition from fingerstyle to slap, and so on. Also, guitarists are accustomed to hearing the noise floor get boosted every time they step on a high-gain distortion, flanger, spring reverb, etc., so the noise from a compressor may be no big deal; while the average bassist just expects one consistent low noise level from their rig. So again a guitarist may decide they're happy with a compressor long before a bassist has found something even adequate to their purpose.
2) The original reason I started my reviewing was because there were already a lot of internet resources talking about guitar compressors, but hardly anything out there for bass. I can see why it would be nice for my site to be a comprehensive one-stop-shop, but with a little bit of Google and forum searching, any guitarist can find all the compressor opinions they'd ever want.
3) I always make sure to spend a good amount of time playing the high notes on the bass, strumming chords, using a pick, and listening very carefully to the upper-harmonic content and noise. I also use a Bass VI tuned E-E. So in a way, I am playing guitar and including that perspective in my reviews. Sure, a guitar has higher notes, but I can both hear and measure (RTA) any high-frequency rolloff or emphasis.
So, I mean no offense to my higher-pitched brethren, but honestly my focus and bias will stay pretty much the same. I may soon include spectrum analysis graphs on my review pages, to clear up any questions about frequency response. Eventually (maybe in a few years) I do plan to expand my site to include software compressors, studio-oriented units such as API 500 series modules, and commentary about mixdown, vocalists, and other recording/PA compression topics--and that may include material of special interest to guitarists.
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