Six reasons to use a compressor.
The name of the compress guitar effect (also called compressor) says it all; This effect compresses the sound signal. The dynamics are reduced and the guitar sound is more consistent, more compact and flatter.
In a compress-effect, the upper limit and lower limit can be set. Soft volumes are amplified to a set minimum volume and strong volumes weakened to a set maximum volume.
1. Sustain your guitar sound
‘Sustain’ means the length of your guitar sound (how long you hear a sound or tone). Some guitars have a very good sustain and survive the strike on sounding. Other guitars don’t have a good sustain. It is not for nothing that many compressors carry the name ‘Compress Sustain. The compressor compresses the sound clear (hard is soft and soft is hard) and as a result you get more sustain your guitar sound. And that is clearly visible in the graphs below. Especially during solos where you want to hear nice long notes (as in the blues) is sustain a very welcome effect.
A compressor which is set unilaterally, we call a “limiter”. A limiter compresses the sound when it exceeds a certain volume. The effect will bring the volume down at the time that there is a limit is exceeded (hence the name “limiter”). The peakes are removed in the sound. A limiter is often by studio technicians or PA sound people applied to a mix or during recording. But a limiter effect can also be used for your guitar (and even also available separately as a guitar effect) and you can make your own ears happy with it!
3. Balancing your guitar sound
Sometimes your guitars doesn’t sound completely flat. By this I mean that some notes or chords on the guitar sound harder than others. A compressor can be used to bring more balance to the guitar sound with regard to the volume differences. The compressor will reinforce the softer notes and chords and soften the harder notes and strings.
4. Guitar sound in the studio
A compressor can also help in the studio during recording. Your guitar sound can be placed more in the foreground by a compressor in the sound mix. In addition, the compressor can prevent that the guitarsound doesn’t distort. The use of many other guitar effects can often result in that volume differences between the different guitar sounds. A compressor on the output signal solves that problem by making each guitar sound flatter and bring them to a comparable level.
5. Hide faults in your playing technique
If your guitar technique is not optimal then you quite variable strike your guitar. The one time it’s harder and sometimes it’s softer. By means of a compressor can compensate for a lack of technique. Your touch and your voice will be smoother and more consistent. But of course it is much wiser to take good lesson and especially to practice a lot, so you don’t have this problem.
6. Compensating for signal loss
If you use a lot of effects or have a lot of cables between your guitar and amp, you get signal loss. A compressor can help to compensate for signal loss. You use the effect as a kind of pre-amplifier before the signal goes into your amp.
Concluding a movie where you can hear some examples: