Compressor in FX loop of an amp?

habrys

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I just bought my first tube amp, Marshall DSL-5C. Before I used solid state modelling amps like Micro Cube and THR-10.

The Marshall does not have built in reverb, so I figured out I need some pedals. Reverb of course, delay would be nice too, right? I ended up purchasing Zoom G3, basically just for delay, reverb and some chorus occasionally. Marshall has enough of it's natural "tube overdrive", so no pedals needed for OD.

I connected Zoom into FX loop of the amp, set up delay & reverb and couldn't be happier since. This baby truly sings! Never played to a better sounding amp before.
My Gibson SG goes straight to the amp, of course.

Anyway here my question. I'd like to try some compressors of the G3 as well. But as I understand compressor needs to be connected between guitar and preamp, unlike delay/reverb/chorus - which should sit after overdrive, so in the FX loop in my case.

So the perfect singnal chain would be:
guitar -> compressor -> overdrive (handled perfectly by the amp itself) -> delay -> reverb, right?

With my setup I cannot achieve that, since I can connect the G3 only before the amp or into its FX loop. What should I do then?

1. Use G3 with compressor -> delay -> reverb in the FX loop? This would mean, signal is compressed after dirt from amp.
2. Connect G3 between guitar and amp rather (also with compressor -> delay -> reverb)?
3. Or should I get separate compressor pedal?
4. I could also set the Marshall to clean and use some OD from G3. Then I could just set up all effects in the "right" order there. But I don't really want to do that. Marshall just sounds too damn good to give up on its dirty gain channel...

Of course I'm going to test things myself today, but I'd also like to hear what you, guys think. I'm pretty new to all this tube amp / pedals business, so forgive me if I ask obvious questions.
 

Rocco Crocco

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If you are just looking to get more sustain, you can put the compressor in the FX loop. If you're looking for the "clicky" sound you get with a comp and a clean guitar, put it in front of the preamp.
 

habrys

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Works perfectly in FX loop, thanks for your advice.

Frankly I don't hear much advantage compared to the tone without compressor engaged. Just a little bit louder and perhaps... smoother. Sustain did not get longer, really. Perhaps the amp just produces enough sustain on it's own when overdriven? It is a tube amp after all and it does sustain pretty long without any compressors engaged...

I tried out various settings of the G3 compressors (there are 3 models to chose from). I'd say the solos sound a bit better with compressor, but power chords not really, a bit more muddy even. But the difference is very subtle.

Anyway, thanks for help!
 

cybermgk

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Compression is a subtle effect.

First fully understand it's uses, and what it does:

The Truth About Compressors and Limiters

How to use a compressor for guitar | guitar TONE OVERLOAD

One application (and this is JUST one of many), would be in front of an amp that is close to break up, and mostly, a fat, clean, unless you dig in with the pick. Dig in, you get growl and breaklup. But, you also get louder as well. Pick softer, and you get more clean, but you also get softer. Compressor would help keep the volume level for both those extremes, and just get the clean tone and dirt/growl tone changes.

Unfortunately, the G3 can't do a 4 cable hookup (simply, having it run both in front and in the loop).
 

drew365

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Compression goes a long way. I use it for singing type leads, like Gary Moore's Still Got The Blues, Journey's Separate Ways, that sort of thing. I don't use it with heavy crunch tones. I have a G3X, and have used the modeled compressors, but never thought too much of them. I have a Keeley modified Boss CS3 that I put into the front of the amp. It works great, but I don't use it as much as I used to. Only when I want to even out the delivery and get real good note articulation.
 

grayd8

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Works perfectly in FX loop, thanks for your advice.

Perhaps the amp just produces enough sustain on it's own when overdriven?

In my experience, if you aren't getting good sustain out of a Marshall; you are probably fretting out somewhere. You should be able to do a full bend up hold and return without it dying out on every fret & every string.
 

habrys

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@cybermgk
Thanks for excellent links. I did research about compression before, but these articles put it all nicely together. Good reading!

@grayd8
I don't really have problem with short sustain. This little Marshall really does enough sustain on his Ultra Gain channel. And then some more :)
Like some Epiphone guy said in one of their promo videos: "sustains for weeks" :D

I just wanted to understand and try out the effect - which I did.

At the end I don't think I'll be using it much - at least not from G3. The amp seems to handle sustain perfectly.
 

moreles

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What? You say it "works perfectly" in the loop, and then go on to complain about how little influence it has on tone and sustain? What are you actually trying to accomplish with your compressor? I use one virtually all the time, and would never use it in the effects loop, nor do I rely on preamp distortion for my drive tones (which I get from pedals and/or power amp). I use my comp to shape my guitar signal and to manage the way my signal (playing) interacts with other pedals. I control my attack, get a nice lingering sustain, and feed the rest of my effects a signal that they really like -- particularly my ODs, which respond beautifully. Having it in the effects loop would accomplish nothing.
 

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