Compression is a very popular effect used in recording music. Most people’s remarks regarding compression is it outs a musical performance dynamics, making the loud and soft parts softer. The truth is compression isn’t for everybody but is is key for some popular styles. For example, classical music do not requires compression, but when using an electric guitar, you need the great compression effect. This brings us to the question, “what does a compressor pedal do?”, and this is one question we have been getting hit with lately. It is obvious so many people do not know the benefits that come with using a compressor pedal, or what adding compression will do to the tones and sounds you play. However, this review we have brought you will break down every piece of information you need to know about the compressor pedal and its benefits. First, let us start be defining what a compressor pedal is.
What Is A Compressor Pedal?
Compressor pedals are stompbox pedals found in the signal chain, used in leveling your guitar performance dynamics. Having a compressor pedal will boost the output of whatever you play if its initial sound level is very low, making all of your sounds audible. Furthermore, if you forcefully strike a string, the compressor pedal will dull the sound in order to achieve a smooth overall. The compressor pedal is all about providing balance to sounds, and ensuring that one part is higher than the other. Now that you have the perfect definition of what a compressor pedal is, the next question you will have in mind is knowing what a compressor pedal does and how it functions. We understand your anxiety and right now, we are moving on to what a compressor pedal does.
What Does A Compressor Pedal Do
Compressor pedals come in handy for every guitarist and they are capable of so many things. They are a must-have for every guitarist and through harnessing several audio signal dynamic range, here is a brief breakdown of what a compressor pedal does for every guitarist.
- Clean tones boost
As a guitarist, you will always want your sounds to be clean but you have not be able to achieve that, leading to all of your sounds getting buried in a band’s mix. Making your guitar sounds more audible and amplifying original signals is what a compressor pedal does, but we are aware that an amplifier can be used in adjusting volume. However, many guitarist are in love with the subtle effects compressor pedals add to guitar tones and sounds.
- Adding Chicken-Pickin Tones And Funk
Guitars are treble focused instruments, so boosting the a guitar’s audio signal will result to the enhancement of high-end sounds. Compressor pedals are also great for adding funk lines or country western leads.
- Providing Lead Guitar With Sustain
Apart from compressing input signal, compressor pedals also adds sustain to output signals. On some compressor pedals, you will find dedicated knobs used in adjusting sustain or release as it is popularly called.
The Right Place For A Compressor In A Signal Chain
Some guitarist will place a compressor pedal where they place other guitar pedals, but the idea behind using a compressor pedal is for compressing clean guitar tones and send the tones to a delay, phaser or overdrive pedal. Placing the compressor pedal after any of these effects will lead to the compressing the sounds these effects produce. Placing a compressor pedal after the effects we mentioned earlier might cause the character of these effect pedals to change, and this is common with delays and overdrives which could lead to unprecedented effects on your general output levels.
How To Use Compressor Pedals – With Few Terminologies
On a compressor pedal, you will find one to four knobs used in controlling a compressor pedal’s functions. We have decided to bring you some of the common dials you will come across when working with a compressor effect pedal.
The effect a compressor pedal has on your input signal is controlled by the attack dial on a compressor pedal. Turn up the attack knob if you are keen on hearing pick strokes hard pluck sounds.
- Release Or Sustain
Most people call it release while others call it sustain. The sustain knob is responsible for controlling your notes release times. However, all compressors do not control sustain, and this is because their original function is to suppress extremely loud notes so you can hear the quiet note sounds loud and clear.
- Depth Or Compression
The total amount of compression a pedal provides can be dialed in using the compression or depth knob. Transparent sounds are obtained when you dial in a low parameter, and these transparent sounds provide subtle alterations when a compressor pedal gets turned on. If you have a compressor pedal where there are no sustain or attack knobs, the depth or compression knob will be described as attack, so it will be best if you carefully check the compressor effect pedal you intend working with.
The level is used in controlling overall volume on a compressor pedal. The trick behind using a compressor pedal lies in having a perfect understanding about how a compressor pedal works, so if you want your compressor to serve as a boost, turn the level knob up and turn down the compression knob.
- True Bypass
Your compressor pedal doesn’t contain a buffer used in boosting a guitar’s overall sound if it has a true bypass label written on it. Having a true bypass designed means allowing the passage of audio signals at all times, and it doesn’t matter if it is connected to a power supply or not.
In your setup, having a compressor effect pedal is very crucial, and every audio engineer and musician are aware of the versatility of a compressor effect pedal. In addition, compressor effect pedals can boost response in a solid state amplifier, causing it to sound like a tube amp. The next question you might be dealing with now is if you truly need a compressor effect pedal. Well, if you haven’ tried out a compressor effect pedal yet, then you should because it can be the catalyst you need to take your guitar sounds to the next level. Providing clean boost, and generating transparent and subtle sounds are significant benefits of using the compressor effect pedal. Try out a compressor effect pedal today and experience all the benefits we have mentioned in this detailed guide.
My name is Johnson Lewis and I am a music coach, producer and Blogger. I enjoy writing about music, instruments, music equipments and I love helping people become better singers.