An easy-to-use bass compressor that won’t put the squeeze on your wallet.


For many bassists, compression effects often fly below the radar. When it comes to carving out valuable pedalboard real estate, compressors don’t always make the cut. That’s a bit odd, given how compression is probably the most important processor of all when it’s time to track. But Seymour Duncan’s Studio Bass Compressor makes a strong case for clearing the necessary pedalboard space.

Squeeze Box
Basically, there are a four compressor types: optical, variable mu, VCA (voltage-controlled amplifier), and FET (field-effect transistor). Studio Bass is a VCA compressor, which puts it in the same universe as studio staples by the likes of Neve, SSL, and API.

Ratings

Pros:
Easy to use. Doubles as a clean boost. Effective EQ filters.

Cons:
Doesn’t provide access to all compression parameters.

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build/Design:

Value:

Street:
$169

Seymour Duncan Studio Bass Compressor
seymourduncan.com

Studio Bass boasts a sturdy build, compact footprint, and elegant design. Top-mounted I/O and power jacks leave elbow room for neighboring pedals, and the flared black knobs are easy to access and read. The pedal’s pots, switches, and jacks are all high-quality, and the package even comes with thin adhesive-foam strips for pedalboard mounting.

While some bass-compressor stompboxes provide maximum control via such parameters as ratio, slope, and threshold, Duncan opts for a simpler approach. Blend controls the wet/dry mix. Level sets the master output. Attack governs the compression speed, and compression controls the amount of squeeze. Additionally, a 3-position switch applies preset EQ curves to the bass’s dry signal: mid position adds a slight midrange boost, F is flat, and low provides an extra bump on the bottom.

Fun Factor
I auditioned the Studio Bass between a Fender Jazz and a CEntrance AxePort Pro interface, recording the results into my DAW, Audacity. It was easy to get a wide range of compression effects by manipulating the attack and compression controls, from smooth, slow, and subtle to quick and squishy. The pedal tamed dynamic spikes while slapping, brought greater articulation to fingerstyle plucking, and lent a pleasing midrange punch to pickstyle playing. Dialing in a clean signal and working the blend knob harnessed the compressor’s polishing power while maintaining the desired degree of punch. And if you dial compression all the way down, the Studio Bass works as a slick boost pedal, governed by the level knob and colored by the 3-way EQ toggle.

The Verdict
The Studio Bass Compressor performs its namesake process at a reasonable price while adding such useful functions as EQ presets and a potent clean boost. Players who might balk at more complicated compressor pedals will probably find the Studio Bass’s to be simple and fun. Whether you’re new to compression or have used it for ages, consider kicking it with Studio Bass.

Watch the Review Demo:

Switching between contrasting reverb voices doubles the fun.

Smart, versatile, interactive and rangeful controls. Intuitive. Capable of great contrasts between A/B presets. Sturdy enclosure. Effective damping controls tame twee high-octave overtones.

Can’t switch reverb voices as you switch presets. Enclosure is big relative to depth of functionality. No-fun styling.

$229

Fender Dual Marine Layer
fender.com

4
4
4.5
4

Fender and reverb go together like gumbo and rice. Historically, the spring tanks in the company’s amplifiers and tube-driven outboard units have defined the Fender reverb sound. But in 2018, when Fender released the Marine Layer digital reverb, it did not include a spring reverb emulation. The new Dual Marine Layer doesn’t have a spring emulation either. Instead, it’s brimming with sounds and functions well-suited for less retro-reverb expressions, including thick chorus textures and shimmer reverb, and has a soft-relay sustain switch that enables momentary creation of ambient beds. It’s also capable of some very classy, subdued reverb colors, plus a few that can effectively stand in for spring and plate sounds in a pinch.

Read More Show less

PRS Guitars and John Mayer officially announce the PRS SE Silver Sky, an affordable version of the original with PRS trademark bird inlays and three single-coil pickups.

Read More Show less
x