Are you looking for a way to improve on your guitar skills?
You want to give your sound that extra punch and tweak the way it sounds?
Well then you are definitely on the right path searching for the best bass compressor pedals.
The truth is that as you become more experienced in playing the guitar, you start to look for simple ways to spice up your sound.
And that is where a good bass compressor comes in.
While the use of a compressor is a delicate topic among most guitarists, you cannot dispute the fact that using a bass compressor will definitely add some spice to your bass sounds.
This article is not about the pros and cons of a bass compressor. Instead it is all about helping make a good buying choice and making sure you get the best bang for your buck.
What does a compressor do?
Before we take a look at the top 5 bass compressor in the market, we need to understand what a compressor does and how it affects our sound.
This will greatly help you in making a good buying decision.
According to Wikipedia, a compressor also called a Dynamic Range Reduction is a process whereby the volume of loud sounds are reduced and also amplifies quiet sounds when playing.
In simple terms, let’s use a simple illustration
Imagine that you have an assistant with her hands on the volume knob as you play your guitar.
Her main job is to reduce the volume when your sounds get louder than a certain threshold and to increase it when it gets lower than that same set threshold.
What this does is that it makes your sound have an even balance and become smooth to the ears.
Advantages of using a bass compressor
As an effect it helps your playing sound more smoother and even.
It helps you become a better player
It makes your bass sound fuller
It gives you a better control of how your sound is heard by your audience
Things to consider before you buy a bass compressor pedal
1. How portable is it?
Simply put, a bass compressor needs to be portable
You need something that you can easily carry about and connect to your guitar rig.
So basically you are looking for something that is small and not too bulky and heavy.
All the compressors reviewed in this guide are very portable and can be easily carried about.
2. How many control knobs does it have?
A good bass compressor will have control knobs that you can use to easily make your setting and adjust them as you play.
Basically you want something with a high number of knobs.
This is because, the higher the knobs the more option you have to tweak your sound and make it sound smoother and more even.
So if you are in doubt about which one to buy, make sure you choose the one that gives you more options as regards the control knobs.
3. What is the sound quality?
Your bass compressor pedal will definitely affect the way you guitar sounds.
As such you want something that has a high sound quality and is sure to bring out the best in your guitar playing.
The sound quality largely depends on some the availability of some essential control knobs.
Basically you want to make sure that the compressor pedal you buy has the following knobs - Attack, Release, Input and Output.
4. Is it durable?
Finally you want to make sure you get something that is durable and will last for a long time.
There is no need getting something that will breakdown only after a few tries.
The best way to ensure you buy a durable product is to stick with trusted brand names and products that have been tested and reviewed.
Our Top 5 Best Bass Compressor Pedals
1. MXR M87 Bass Compressor
This is probably the most common and popular bass compressor in the market today.
It has four main control knobs - attack, release, ratio, input and output knobs which puts you in complete control of your compression settings and needs.
It has a built in Constant Headroom Technology (CHT) which helps to retain your sound’s character even in energized moments
Its transparency ensures that your sounds are never altered or become muddy and remain the same while playing.
It has a unique LED screen that makes it very easy for you to set your threshold and also determine when it has been reached.
It’s control knobs have a nice feel to it and very easy to grip making it very easy for you to make your settings and adjust on the go.
1. It has great control knobs
2. It has LEDs for easy metering
3. It is very light and portable
1. It is lacking a bit in the tonal character
2. Aguilar TLC Bass Compression Effect Pedal
This is a nice sounding bass compressor pedals that gives the M87 a good run for it’s money.
It’s threshold control variable is from -30 to -10 dBu which ensures that it balances and evens out all highs and lows when playing.
It comes in a unique and smaller case design that makes it very portable and easy to carry about.
Its flat surface located at the bottom of the pedal makes it very easy to mount on any pedal board and begin using.
Its unique proprietary Trans Linear Control makes it ideal for delivering awesome quality while also being small.
It comes with 4 knobs that helps you adjust your settings while playing.
With this compressor you can be sure of getting some quality sound when used making you sound better.
1. It has no tonal coloration
2. It has easy to use controls
1. It has no metering to show gain reduction
3. Markbass Compressore Tube Bass Compressor Pedal
The Markbass compressor is a tube compressor which gives it a unique tonal character not seen among others.
It has all the normal knob controls making it very easy for you to make adjustments as you go.
One unique thing about this pedal is that it is very versatile. It can be used for bass guitars as well as acoustic and electric guitars.
Its unique ECC 81 compressors helps to even out and balance your sound making it come out smoother and more pleasing to the ear.
It has a true bypass feature which ensures that you audio quality does not drop off when the pedal is switched off or trips off.
This is one compressor pedal that adds warmth and harmonics to your sound making giving you a richer experience when playing.
1. It gives your sound a smoother and even feel
2. It does not change the tone of your sound, just the dynamics
3. It has excellent tone and sustainability
1. It is a bit bulky and heavy
4. EBS Multi Comp Bass Compressor Pedal
This is a unique and high performance analog bass compressor pedal that is a choice between solid state, tube simulation and multi band compression.
It has a true bypass feature which ensures that your audio quality never drops while playing.
It is made from durable material that prevents it from breaking and damaging easily.
It has two control knobs - gain and limit which helps you easily adjust your settings while playing.
It is well built and has a unique design which makes it very cool and pleasing to see.
It has a unique “Tube” setting that makes it very easy to get that tube feeling when playing
1. It is well built and very durable
2. It is excellent for bass
3. It has a unique tube setting to get that warmth in your sound
1. It is a bit pricey for most people
5. Boss LMB-3 Bass Limiter Enhancer
This is a bass compressor pedal that gives you unique control over the dynamic range of your sounds while playing.
It has threshold levels and ratio knobs that uniquely puts the compression settings in your hands.
It is an enhancer meaning that it provides enhanced bass clarity and presence making your sounds to stand out.
It can be powered using an AC adaptor or a 9V battery making it very portable and useable in any location.
1. It has easy to control knobs and buttons
2. It provides enhanced bass clarity
3. It is very budget friendly
1. It is a bit fragile