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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was looking to get into compressors for a while but I didn't want anything to overtly noticeable and definitely something with a blend knob. I tried the Keeley 4 knob, the SP compressor and a bunch of others. TheCali76compact deluxe seemed to be the only one that would work but I definitely couldn't afford one.

Yesterday I tried out Fender's The Bends Compressor and bought it after nearly an hour of properly testing it out in a store. It did the whole "don't notice that it's on" thing super well for me! It has a blend knob and it's Recovery knob is pretty sensitive too. It works great with single coils which is mostly why I bought it. The jewel light changes colour when the signal is compressed just like the Cali76. I'm fact, I hear that this pedal is inspired by that pedal. But it's one I could buy!

The build quality also feels substantial and sturdy and honestly the pedal looks and feels premium. It's a bit heavy (just under a pound) but it's not really a problem. Oh and the battery compartment with the magnetic cover is so convenient and should be on every pedal!

Here's a link - https://shop.fender.com/en/intl/acc...products/the-bends-compressor/0234531000.html
 

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The Bends is probably the only stompbox compressor that calls the control "Recovery" (which is what it is), rather than "Attack". Most compressors will instantly reduce the gain in response to peaks in the input signal. What often gives them their character is how they bring the gain back up afterwards; that is, how the gain "recovers". When gain-recovery time is slow, and you're playing quickly, you tend to miss the peaks on the attack of subsequent notes. That, and the fact that "Recovery" is a longer word for legending purposes and not nearly as sexy-sounding as "Attack" (compressors ARE a hard sell, after all), probably led to so many manufacturers calling it Attack. When I went to NAMM, I had to convey my respect for that to design-team head Stan Cotey. He was very appreciative that someone noticed.

The recent Fender pedal line may not have the exact sounds that everyone wants, but their overall design is smart, smart, smart, like the battery compartment and illuminated controls.
 

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Glad you found one. I use the SP which works for me given the price, quality, and features. Wish there was more transparency in sound though. Might have to check a fender out at some point.

Thanks for the rundown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A few weeks later and I'm really beginning to understand this pedal better and live it even more. It's staying as my always on pedal along with the KTR and my cleans are so much better. I also really like the layout of the controls and the choice of the parameters available.

Such a great find!! :D
 

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The Bends is probably the only stompbox compressor that calls the control "Recovery" (which is what it is), rather than "Attack". Most compressors will instantly reduce the gain in response to peaks in the input signal. What often gives them their character is how they bring the gain back up afterwards; that is, how the gain "recovers". When gain-recovery time is slow, and you're playing quickly, you tend to miss the peaks on the attack of subsequent notes. That, and the fact that "Recovery" is a longer word for legending purposes and not nearly as sexy-sounding as "Attack" (compressors ARE a hard sell, after all), probably led to so many manufacturers calling it Attack. When I went to NAMM, I had to convey my respect for that to design-team head Stan Cotey. He was very appreciative that someone noticed.

The recent Fender pedal line may not have the exact sounds that everyone wants, but their overall design is smart, smart, smart, like the battery compartment and illuminated controls.
Release not recovery (even though that is what Fender calls it; not incorrect, but also not the accepted technical term; see any fully featured compressor whether in pedal form or studio rack). Other pedals have also made this correction to their variation on the classic 2-3 knob comp pedal. I was looking at one just the other day, forget what it was actually (something new and white is all I remember), and remarked to myself that they actually called it 'release' - and I point that out not to dispute that the vast magority call it Attack (very confusing!) so much as to point out that there may actually be a trend of that changing (which I welcome - I have ranted about this misinformative labeling before).

edit: AHA! it was the Ampeg:



Personally, I find that an input level vs output level is MUCH more useful on a compressor pedal (assuming the usual 2-3 knob control set that lacks Ratio, Threshold and actual Attack controls) because it allows you at least some control over the aggressiveness of the compression (surrogate Threshold control). Some Studio comps worked on the same principle - ratio was technically fixed, but they gave you an input gain stage (or at least attenuator) instead. This allows more versatility as it can now be used to seriously squish your signal, or just lightly smack down the peaks to smooth out your overall balance, vs being more of a sustain device. I find even that not enough tweakability for me; which is why I sold the Ross style one I built for myself (with the internal input trimmer burst out to a full size pot on the outside). The new MXR bass comp (would be fine for guitar too - it's a marketting choice) looks interesting to me in that regard. I don't think I have seen this feature set in a pedal this size before. Too bad about the side jacks though:

 

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Thanks for the heads-up about the Ampeg pedal. The change in control-naming reflects not only a change in attitude by more manufacturers, but an increased confidence by manufacturers in consumers' knowledge and understanding of compressors....which is a good thing.

The input/output thing is likely a function of the particulars of the design. In many simpler older-generation compressor pedals, the "compression" control might well be more properly labelled "how much of that are you gonna use?", insomuch as the input signal is rectified, as is, and the compression control limits the voltage or current derived from that rectified input. Complementary input/output knobs would be more appropriately labelled as such if the rectified sidechain fed its control signal to whatever the control element was (optoisolator, FET, OTA, other), and the "input" knob basically adjusted how hard one was going to "push" the sidechain.

I guess it's tough to come up with legending that balances out implicitly explaining how the device/circuit works, letting you know how to achieve what you want as user, and adding marketing pizzazz to the product to attract buyers..
 

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I'd argue with you for the fun of it, but Vince Gill's clean tone with a CS3 speaks for itself.

I knew, f-ing knew, you were gonna bring this clip up as argument for the CS#3, , guess what it aint the pedal making him sound like that
 

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Actually, it is. One of the things that compressors do, when used properly, is even out the levels in guitars and picking styles that have a more percussive sound (which Tele bridge pickups do) and where the player may not be in a position to strike the strings equally in a manner that yields identical volume. As well, compressors provide a means to disconnect loudness from pick attack. That permits the player to get different tones out of the strings by the way they pick, without creating audible/perceptible differences in loudness.

Obviously Gill doesn't need a compressor of any type to sound as skilled as he does. And certainly his clean tone, on a single note basis, is the product of a Tele and Fender amp. But if I listen to how he sounds overall, there's no way he could sound like that without a compressor. Take a listen to the delicately picked overlapping notes around the 3:45-4:00 mark and tell me those would all sound about the same loudness without a compressor. If he was picking slowly, with plenty of space between notes that allowed him to adjust his picking strength, maybe. But what he does there - especially if you watch his picking hand - requires something to assist him in producing an even volume across all those overlapping notes.
 

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I’m gonna be skeptical about that too. Ive had a cs3 and tried to use it for taming the peaks. Thats not what it does ( well). But that could also be a function of how it reacts to humbuckers vs single coils. Maybe also guitar vs bass.

Although simple comp pedals can be tweaked for other tasks they are not very good at them (unless you get a lucky pedal pickup combo that happens to work maybe), what they are best at , and in fact designed for, is creating sustain ( the name says it all: Compressor Sustainer - 3)
 

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I have no idea exactly what compressor he's using, and will openly admit that Youtube videos and their sound quality, not to mention broadcast audio, hides a multitude of sins, but it's pretty clear to me he IS using one. Not for "sustain", but to level the volume. Indeed, Telecasters and compressors are a natural fit; every bit as natural as a Les Paul and a Marshall.

And just what exactly does "throwing people off the trail" mean?

Addendum: I know why I'm sticking to the notion that he's using compression of some sort, and I know what sonic characteristics lead me to that conclusion. That said, I'm open to persuasion by evidence to the contrary. So what sorts of things do you hear that lead you to conclude that no compression is being used?
 

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I hear one of Amy Grants powerful queefs, you have to listen at 2:45 and again at 7:92, that Vince recorded and overproduced with studio plugins then sold to the masses, no surprise it was a huge hit.

supplemental log: of course he uses a compressor, ,., but he only does it to compensate for his own insecurities, he doesn't really need it on, just needs to be on the pedalboard
 

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I have no idea exactly what compressor he's using, and will openly admit that Youtube videos and their sound quality, not to mention broadcast audio, hides a multitude of sins, but it's pretty clear to me he IS using one. Not for "sustain", but to level the volume. Indeed, Telecasters and compressors are a natural fit; every bit as natural as a Les Paul and a Marshall.

And just what exactly does "throwing people off the trail" mean?

Addendum: I know why I'm sticking to the notion that he's using compression of some sort, and I know what sonic characteristics lead me to that conclusion. That said, I'm open to persuasion by evidence to the contrary. So what sorts of things do you hear that lead you to conclude that no compression is being used?
Vince used a MIJ Boss CS3 for most of his career. Later ones were Keeley modded IIRC. Also Line6 or Boss DD3 delays. Occasional use of a Blues Driver. Mostly into a pair of BF Deluxe Reverbs.
 

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I love Vince's playing - since back when he was Chet's sideman - but I sure wish, in that clip, he woulda given a little piece of that to the pedal steel player. I love a well-played pedal steel in a hot, up-tempo country tune.

Other than that, I"m just gonna stay tuned ........
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