The Bass Compressor, sometimes called a "ring modulator", is a tool that can add transparency and depth to almost any signal that's compressed. The goal is to produce a "clean" sound that has a tight attack and release, while having low levels of over-the-top warmth and attack. There are many different types of compressors out there, so picking the right one for the job, the target customer, and the desired sound needs a little experimentation.
Dynamic means "quicker" in comparison to static. A static bass compressor will maintain the same bass tone throughout a song. A dynamic bass compressor will change its level of compression as the volume is increased or decreased. A static bass compressor will tend to sound unnatural at high volumes. On the other hand, a dynamic bass compressor will respond much better to the note you're playing. If you don't know the difference at first, testing a number of different settings will reveal it.
Bass Boost - This is probably the most popular knob control layout in a bass compressor. You've likely heard this utilized on vintage modeling guitars, but the concept has been emulated in digital units as well. The attack and release time and the ratio of boost can set the level of attack (the amount of sound the device generates per each boost cycle) and the overall depth and strength of the sound.
Modeler's say they want to hear the real instrument in their tracks because they don't have the opportunity to play the sound through a monitor. This is where the VCA compression type analog bass compressor tech vca compression pedal comes in handy. The modeler can control the level of compression as he desires. If you're a novice to electronic music and have limited funds, this is a great choice.
The majority of compressors have various modes of operation and there are some that allow you to switch between different modes. Check Amazon price for the model that best suits your needs. Also make sure to check amazon price for the power supply and battery as these can greatly affect the final price.
One of the most popular types of compressors for bass players is the "fast attack" models. Some of these units allow a fast attack which means that the signal is processed quickly and the signal enters the amplifier at full output sooner than with other models. Some models such as the RSonic Bassman Fast Attack series by Keedex are popular among hard rock bass players.
A good compressor should have a good dynamic range. A dynamic range is the difference between "wet" and "dry". Some compressors have very little wet and dry response. Others have a very large dynamic range, but respond immediately when a signal increases. To improve overall sound quality a better dynamic range can be achieved by upgrading the unit.
The tone controls are where most people will spend the most time. The tone controls or knobs are what controls the overall tone of the compressed signal. Some people like to change the overall tone of the sound by altering the actual knob. Other people like to use multiple combinations of the knobs to achieve different effects. There are many variations in the actual tone knobs such as the "tone knob" which functions similarly to an "amp" knob that lets you alter the overall tone of the compressed signal.
Another feature is the ratio of the compression ratio at the low and high sides. The higher the Ratio, the lower the output level will be. This means that the compressor will compress the signal as much as possible, but also reduces the overall output of the signal. Typically, a high ratio will give a more aggressive sound. A low ratio on the other hand will produce a softer sound.
One way to combat these undesirable side effects is to turn on the "Auto Threshold" option. This will prevent the Bass Compressor from performing if the dry signal exceeds the Auto Threshold. This option is often found in expensive units. A better alternative would be to turn on the "Allow Parallel Compression" option. This allows the unit to run without parallel compression although this may increase the overall cost.
Some Basses will also have what is called "Transient Response". This is a high quality, clear and precise reproduction of the basses signal. Many vintage styled guitars have this desirable trait and will show it off on their cleans and fills. The Auto Threshold, Peak Limiting and Transient Response options of some units make life easier for guitarists who play clean and want the most dynamic sound possible.