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How about we pool knowledge and understand the Compressor block options better...

Mark Scrivener

Inspired
Awesome thread! I've only had my III a short time but starting to play with the compressor models at the end of the signal chain - since I often compress on mix down in the studio. I am fortunate to have the actual hardware for many of the classic compressors.....will have to do more experimenting with the models in the III to see how they compare but here are some of my go to setups for mixdown with the real hardware -

For clean guitars (electric or acoustic) I like to use an LA3A and just shave a few DB off the top then boost the gain stage - just sounds nice. The LA3A is an opto, but not as colored as the LA2A (I have one of those too). 3:1 is the ratio I like best with this box...no attack or release controls on these. Makes it quick to dial in a great sound.

Guitars with lots of drive tend to already be highly compressed so I seldom compress them unless I really need the color of a compressor.

My go to for both upright and electric bass is the EL-8 Distressor. Just shave a few db off the top at 3:1 or so...around mid way on both attack and release. Very little tweaking required and always seems to just make the bass sound better.

My 1176's mainly get used for vocals, same with the LA2A, but occasionally I use them on guitars - though I almost always prefer the LA3A.

The API2500 lives on my drum buss. It is great on just about everything, but I only have one and nothing else comes close to what it does on drums. The Drawmer 1968 MKII is pretty cool on drums as well, and come to think of it does great with guitars too.

SSL (really a TK Audio BC-1, but same circuit) sits on the stereo bus - beautifully transparent. So I guess the guitars are always going through it as well.​

And while all of that is hardware, I often use tape emulation software - as kind of a mild eq and compression. So that is another type of "compression" to consider when molding your tone.

BTW - I find mic choice just as important as compressor settings to get the sound I want when recording. Mics don't just shape tone, but they can react to dynamics in non linear ways too - and therefore "compress" the signal. The cab models with the Fractal products are joy to use in this regard as the mic is usually specified in the cab model - which makes getting the sound I want supper easy. And while I mic up acoustic instruments and vocalists, I haven't mic'd up a guitar amp in quite some time now thanks to the Fractals! (Come to think of it - I mic'd up an acoustic today with an R44 to create a IR off the DI with the Axe Fx III for live use! Sounded awesome - esp compared to the piezo).

 

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
Another use in the studio for compressors, place them after a reverb in ducking mode to get that late 60's or early 70's exploding reverb sound.

This effect works best if the reverb block is 100% wet and level of the reverb + compressor chain is run parallel to the rest of the guitar/bass/drum signal chain for easy balancing of levels.
 

austinbuddy

Fractal Fanatic
I've been having great 1176-style success with the newer Analog Compressor model in the Compressor block. Threshold around -20db, ratios of 4:1 to "Infinite" for squash, add about 3-4 db make-up gain - it is really nailing some classic tones I have been chasing.

A trick: for those "direct into console yet distorted" sounds, you can take a cab block and use the NULL cab and then use the mic preamps, selected FET I or II, and add some 1176 style gain (over 4 but less than 7) placed before the compressor block!

Just wanted to share!
 
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Great thread. Honestly, I use 1176's almost on everything! I would love to know of an 1176 emulation on Fractal, and I'd use it at the end of the chain. As far as pedals go, I love The Warden by Eartquaker Devices, SP Compressor by Xotic, and Pulp N Peel by JHS. On the units I usually use the Studio compressor with the mix 30%-50% depending on the desired part.
 
I have been a fan of Cyrus Heiduska at Ovni Labs for a while. I've used his online resource to setup my compressor blocks in my presets and find it very enlightening. He has also probably reviewed and documented more compressors than most and while his position is mostly from a bass guitar its a very helpful resource to unlock the mystery of compressors for most mortals.
 

David Houck

Inspired
Thanks to the OP and everyone contributing to this thread. I had already started in on revisiting all of my presets (AX8) to change or add compression, and was anticipating revisiting them all again when the FM3 arrives. Now I'll have this thread as an additional resource.
 

mikeyg

Inspired
Sorta related content... when I first got my hx stomp, I was puzzled why the same amps sounded and felt different between fractal and line6. Then I saw a jsadites video where he says he puts a compressor in front on every patch.

I did that and voila! Now the stomp was much closer.

But why? Why does the Axe not need it? My hunch is line6 is leaving out key aspects of the model re: natural compression.

Anyway, compression has always been a bit of a mystery to me, and this thread helps clear that up, thanks AB!
 

Eliju

Experienced
Anyone have any settings that approximate the Orange Squeeze? I used to use the Analogman one set right about noon and it was great for cleans. I can't really dial it in, try as I might.
 

austinbuddy

Fractal Fanatic
Anyone have any settings that approximate the Orange Squeeze? I used to use the Analogman one set right about noon and it was great for cleans. I can't really dial it in, try as I might.
can you send a link to a clip (Youube?) of what you are looking for, soundwise?
 

Eliju

Experienced
I guess it’s more about how it felt. I don’t t have a clip at the moment but I guess what I’m trying to figure out is what its compression ratio and attack time are. The analogman website only says it has 8db of gain at factory bias, which I’m guessing would be the knob at noon. I’ll see if I can find a clip.
 

mistermikev

Inspired
newbie without much to add here but following a bit as comp is def a more complex animal and plenty to learn here.

tonight I've been going thru the first 200+ presets and putting a 2nd comp block in and comparing default values to what I find on the factory presets.
then saving some blocks with names that describe the differences I see. Then using the named blocks to load and compare the block settings between presets some more.

thought some might appreciate the insight into trends I saw (fully aware that comp is a situation specific fx):
all of them i see are setting the auto att/rel switch on (suggests to me more of a priority to performance over any vintage emulation nod as I'm not sure that's a feature one finds on many analog compressors no?)
generally very small/no changes to ratio (lets face it the defaults ARE the perfect settings in most things fractal!)...
lots of movement on threshold (IS def a more/most vital control),
all w auto makeup on (again, why wouldn't you keep your vol constant?),
all soft knee...
some RMS vs some Peak detection.
98%
of the presets were using the studio comp.

what does any of this mean? I dunno, nothing earth shattering but a few nuggets I'll gnaw on from time to time.
 

Rex

Legend!
newbie without much to add here but following a bit as comp is def a more complex animal and plenty to learn here.

tonight I've been going thru the first 200+ presets and putting a 2nd comp block in and comparing default values to what I find on the factory presets.
then saving some blocks with names that describe the differences I see. Then using the named blocks to load and compare the block settings between presets some more.

thought some might appreciate the insight into trends I saw (fully aware that comp is a situation specific fx):
all of them i see are setting the auto att/rel switch on (suggests to me more of a priority to performance over any vintage emulation nod as I'm not sure that's a feature one finds on many analog compressors no?)
generally very small/no changes to ratio (lets face it the defaults ARE the perfect settings in most things fractal!)...
lots of movement on threshold (IS def a more/most vital control),
all w auto makeup on (again, why wouldn't you keep your vol constant?),
all soft knee...
some RMS vs some Peak detection.
98%
of the presets were using the studio comp.

what does any of this mean? I dunno, nothing earth shattering but a few nuggets I'll gnaw on from time to time.
Nice methodical approach! You'll learn quickly
 

Mark Scrivener

Inspired
newbie without much to add here but following a bit as comp is def a more complex animal and plenty to learn here.

tonight I've been going thru the first 200+ presets and putting a 2nd comp block in and comparing default values to what I find on the factory presets.
then saving some blocks with names that describe the differences I see. Then using the named blocks to load and compare the block settings between presets some more.

thought some might appreciate the insight into trends I saw (fully aware that comp is a situation specific fx):
all of them i see are setting the auto att/rel switch on (suggests to me more of a priority to performance over any vintage emulation nod as I'm not sure that's a feature one finds on many analog compressors no?)
generally very small/no changes to ratio (lets face it the defaults ARE the perfect settings in most things fractal!)...
lots of movement on threshold (IS def a more/most vital control),
all w auto makeup on (again, why wouldn't you keep your vol constant?),
all soft knee...
some RMS vs some Peak detection.
98%
of the presets were using the studio comp.

what does any of this mean? I dunno, nothing earth shattering but a few nuggets I'll gnaw on from time to time.
Makes total sense....

Threshold is THE number one most important knob on a compressor (some designs use an input gain instead of threshold, but you can think about it the same way). Obviously this controls when the comp kicks in....and it is very program dependent, so you should tweak this for your guitar and how you play. I'd suggest placing it on the "Perform" screens for quick access.

Auto attack /release just makes life easy and often does automatically what most people would have done tweaking. Plenty of vintage comps either had no attack/release controls (LA2A, LA3A) or an auto release (SSL G buss comp, Drawmer 1968, etc)

Soft Knee just makes the compression more transparent, usually a good thing

Ratios around 2-3 yield smooth compression....higher ratios quickly turn the comp into a limiter, which can be a good thing, but not usually desirable on guitar.

I haven't done any tests, but I'd guess the studio comp is the most transparent, and the designers of the presets you looked at were just trying to control dynamics and thicken things up, so studio comp would be the logical thing to grab.
 
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mistermikev

Inspired
Makes total sense....

Threshold is THE number one most important knob on a compressor (some designs use an input gain instead of threshold, but you can think about it the same way). Obviously this controls when the comp kicks in....and it is very program dependent, so you should tweak this for your guitar and how you play. I'd suggest placing it on the "Perform" screens for quick access.

Auto attack /release just makes life easy and often does automatically what most people would have done tweaking. Plenty of vintage comps either had no attack/release controls (LA2A, LA3A) or an auto release (SSL G buss comp, Drawmer 1968, etc)

Soft Knee just makes the compression more transparent, usually a good thing

Ratios around 2-3 yield smooth compression....higher ratios quickly turn the comp into a limiter, which can be a good thing, but not usually desirable on guitar.

I haven't done any tests, but I'd guess the studio comp is the most transparent, and the designers of the presets you looked at were just trying to control dynamics and thicken things up, so studio comp would be the logical thing to grab.
thank you for the response and info. all the devices I have typically used for compression up to this point have required much less of a surgical approach/understanding. "With great functionality comes great responsibility" hehe.
 
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