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On the other hand, compressor pedals can legitimately improve the sound of your bass guitar by giving it an extra dose of punch and a more concise attack. And that’s where we’re at—if you know how to use your gear, there’s no such thing as a bad piece of equipment. We’ve got four top picks for you so check out the 4 best bass compressor pedals below:
The M87 is a very popular model on today’s market and one of the most frequently used devices in this niche. This is a rightfully deserved position, if we might add, as this device offers a top mixture of high quality audio, versatility, affordability, and durability.
This MXR bass compressor (see full specs) boasts a wide specter of controls—Attack, Release, Ratio, Input, and Output—allowing you to fine-tune your sound and fit your needs to a tee. It’s fully analog and fully capable of giving your instrument a significant boost in every sonic aspect.
Whether you’re looking to get some extra mid-range punch, a deeper low end, or a more striking treble attack, the M87 has your back. This thing can easily compensate for numerous drawbacks of certain types of basses and amps, and it will never give away that awful cheap and plastic sound. Whether you’re a recording studio musician or a live performer, this is one of the best bass compressor pedals out there.
DigiTech Bass Squeeze
In our humble opinion, the DigiTech Bass Squeeze is the best budget-friendly bass compressor on today’s market. To be perfectly honest, cheap compressors can have one devastating drawback: they can produce so much noise that they will drive you nuts and make you incapable of playing many types of licks and bass parts, some of which might be your favorites.
Well, the Bass Squeeze doesn’t do that at all, which is very cool. Sure, this is not a high-end pedal and you can’t expect it to deliver an exquisite performance to blow your mind. But you can expect the best quality within the given price range (under $100).
With four control knobs—Level, Crossover, Low Band, High Band—the device does a great job in trimming the unnecessary sonic frequencies from your sound while still giving the user enough room to customize the audio output depending on personal needs and preference.
Thus, in a nutshell: this is the pedal that gets the job done. And is one of the best bass compressor pedals if you’re on a budget.
Aguilar TLC Bass Compression Effect Pedal
Commonly hailed as the best bass compressor pedal you can buy, the Aguilar TLC is indeed a top-notch device. Buying it is never a bad decision because the audio quality it offers is very good and the price is fair.
However, as much as you can’t go wrong with it, don’t let all the hype get to you either. We wholeheartedly recommend taking this one up against the M87 and checking out which one suits you better. This is music, after all, and there are no winners. It is all a matter of taste.
With that out of the way, the Aguilar does an amazing job with lower frequencies, so if you’re a type of player who prefers sticking to the low end and holding down the groove with extra sturdiness, this blue boy is the one you want.
EBS Multi Comp
Finally we bring you the high-end option and the immensely powerful EBS Multi Comp. A solution for the pros, this analog pedal offers you a choice of solid state, tube simulation and multi-band compression. In addition to a three-way switch, there are only two knobs here—Compression and Gain—and to be frank, you won’t be needing much more.
With this EBS (see full specs), the input signal, or your playing, is broken down into two paths: the low frequencies go down one path, and the higher registry goes down the other one. This is of utmost importance for versatile players who cover the entire fretboard while playing, because we all know what a difference it is between chugging along the groove on low E or B string and playing lead melodies high up on the G string.
The Multi Comp is an amazing pedal that you can get for as low as $150 from some retailers (like from Amazon, which is what we recommend), making it a top deal for the pros. They go as high as $500, though, so always consider your options.
But Compression is Bad!
But no, it is not! This is a common misconception brought by those who utilize the compressing feature to compensate for their musical weaknesses, but if you know how to deliver the groove, a compression pedal will only take you to the next level.
The first thing any producer will do when you lay down your bass track right is to compress it, because a proper amount of compression does a killer job in bringing out all the nuances in your performance while trimming down all the unwanted sonic spikes. So once again, if you know how to play, compression will bring out the best in you, but a similar extreme applies if your skills are subpar.
So what exactly is compression then? Well, imagine a typical digital recording track first. When you play, you sometimes create these sonic spikes that make your sound uneven at certain points, resulting in overloads of certain frequencies at some places. A compressor trims down all that jive and leaves you with a cleaner sound. It gives you freedom to focus on your creativity and let loose while jamming without suffering the consequences of loose performance.
Therefore, go to your local music store and just test one out. There’s a very good chance you’ll like it, and then we’d kindly like to ask you to consider one of our choices for the best compressor pedal. And as always, let your creativity go wild first!