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something i notice of the Boss CS-3 compression sustainer

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  • something i notice of the Boss CS-3 compression sustainer

    It's weird... it sounds different when I put it before the distortion or after. It sounds much better after the distortion. very nice compressor tone. before it loses output. unity gain is at 3 o clock. and the attack is different. the compressor effect quality is not as good. sounds like a cheap compressor. what is the meaning of this ?

  • #2
    Normally compressors are used for CLEAN playing, or perhaps with light distortion. There is little point in using a compressor IF you are also running medium to high gain distortion, because all distortion/clipping effects (distortion, overdrive, fuzz) compress the signal bigly. After going through a distortion pedal, there's not much the compressor can do besides add some white noise and hum/buzz. It all really hinges on how much gain (distortion) you're using on the distortion pedal.


    and the attack is different.
    Yes, sir. This is what compressors do.

    I use a cheap pedal compressor (Aria CP-10) on one song in our band's setlist. I have the compression set fairly high (2 o'clock I think) and yes, I do run it through my tube distortion pedal, but it's a fairly low-gain "light crunch" tone. I play a weird rhythm riff where I slide up to an E note and sustain it for 3 beats and then a little E chord "chop" on the fourth beat. The compressor helps the single E note not get buried and keeps the 'chop' from being too loud. Evens out the volume difference between the single-note part and the chord part.

    You can also use a compressor with light OD to get a sustaining, but not too distorted, "sweet" lead tone that's nice for solos.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by mbengs1 View Post
      It's weird... it sounds different when I put it before the distortion or after. It sounds much better after the distortion. very nice compressor tone. before it loses output. unity gain is at 3 o clock. and the attack is different. the compressor effect quality is not as good. sounds like a cheap compressor. what is the meaning of this ?
      There's not a lot of point to running a compressor after a distortion pedal.

      Compressors DO alter the attack - it takes them a finite amount of time to kick in (with adjustable attack time being a variable on many studio compressors), and when they do, they start messing with the input vs output level by a specific ratio. They reduce waveform peaks that exceed a threshold point, and give you a more limited (sorry for the unintended pun) dynamic range. Distortion essentially does the same type of thing - a distorted signal has the waveform peaks clipped / flattened. There's nothing for the compressor to really do at that point - although it can still be used as a level booster when you use one after a distortion pedal, it's also going to be adding noise - you'd be better off using an actual boost pedal post-distortion instead.

      I suspect you're falling for the old "louder is better" prejudice, and that's messing with your perceptions. Set everything for unity gain, then try it again and see if you're still preferring the sound of the compressor post-distortion, and pay particular attention to the note attacks, sustain and decay, as well as the noise levels. If you still prefer the sound with the compressor post-distortion, then go ahead and keep it there - you won't hurt anything by doing so, other than maybe your signal to noise ratio... but be aware that most people don't run them that way.



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