What are the features that make compressors and EQs such amazing, ubiquitous audio tools?
The main function of a compressor is to control dynamics. Think of it as an automatic volume knob, helping you to avoid overdriving your preamps and converters when recording. Compressors can also create sustain without adding distortion or clipping the sound. How? They detect the signal's volume and control how loud or soft it gets. Once a signal becomes loud enough to pass the compressor’s threshold, compression will kick in to reduce or limit the signal. Some compressors can also add a bit volume back to the signal to make up for the lowered volume during compression. This is usually called make-up gain.
What do common compressor controls (volume, tone, attack and sustain) influence? Volume controls the loudness of your pedal output. Tone adjusts the overall brightness of your sound. Attack controls how your compressor will react on its initial attack of the signal. The more you turn this control clockwise, the more your notes’ initial sound will be compressed. Sustain controls how long each note lasts — essentially, it increases the amount of compression.
Are you searching for a compressor that is able to smooth out your dynamic range? Almost any compressor pedal will do the job. However, if you're wanting more flexibility, consider a more advanced compressor, allowing you more precise control over your sound.
EQ pedals sculpt your tone and help you fit your sound into the overall mix. Playing by yourself, they will help you dial in a balanced sound that is pleasing to the ear.
When you're hunting for an EQ pedal, the number of bands is extremely important. EQs are separated into the number of bands you are able to tweak. The more bands, the greater the EQ's tweakability.
Your EQ pedal’s size is another key feature to consider. Will you stick with one setting during your entire playing session? If so, look for smaller pedals to save some space on your pedalboard.
Take into account the noise, or hiss, of your EQ pedals. Why? You'll leave some pedals on all the time and others not — if the pedal that you leave on is the EQ, you don't want it to feed extra noise into the signal chain while you're playing.
Our Sales Engineers have one goal in mind: to help you easily choose the perfect compressors and EQs for your needs. If you have any questions, give us a call and we'll get you set up. Learn More
Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.