The 4 Best Bass Compressor Pedals – Reviews 2023

best bass compressor pedal

Photo by Terekhova / CC BY

A proper bass compressor pedal–any people say that there is a very thin line to walk when finding one. On the one hand, musicians tend to severely bash compression technology as too plastic, lifeless, and fake, typically bringing up the infamous matter of Loudness Wars.

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.

So check out our recommendations for the 4 best bass compressor pedals on the market:

M87 MXR Bass Compressor Pedal

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 for the money.

MXR - M87 Bass Compressor (HD SAMPLE)

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.

Aguilar TLC Compressor (Demo) - Leslie Johnson

EBS Sweden Multi Comp Bass Compressor Pedal

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 a song from some retailers, making it a top deal for the pros.

EBS MultiComp Studio Edition - demo by Pascal Mulot

TC Electronic SpectraComp Bass Compressor Pedal

If you’re looking for a professional-level effect but don’t have a lot of money, the Spectra Comp from TC Electronic has the power and sound you need.

The compression engine in the SpectraComp uses the same technology you would find in costlier processor systems from the company. The sound is consistent across frequencies and dynamics and maintains a natural tone and full sound even at relatively high levels of compression. Most importantly, it doesn’t skimp on the low end, so you can even out your tone without sacrificing any bass power.

Along with sound quality and value, the SpectraComp is equally impressive for its size. It’s part of the Tone Print line of mini pedals, weighing a mere 8 ounces and measuring no more than 4 inches in any direction.

The SpectraComp is designed for transparency. The controls are simple, with a single effect knob and a footswitch for the bypass. It’s not the best option if you want a heavy, squeezed compression sound, but if you’re looking for an affordable compression pedal that’s easy to use and sounds great, the SpectraComp is an excellent way to go.

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.

SpectraComp - official product video

Bass Compressor Pedals — Ain’t Compression 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!

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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One response

  1. Well! Thank you very much for useful info. I’m considering a compressor for bass, no experince of the things except on the Yamaha THR10 patch – which is good, and a 70s MXR used for about ten minutes in 1974 or something like that. Which was good.

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