If any instrument benefits from compression, it's the bass guitar. With its typically clean tones and wide dynamic range, it's got much wider signal amplitudes than a guitar and is ripe for signal clipping. And many of today's compact bass amplifiers have no built-in compression (if you're lucky maybe some type of limiter). Furthermore, while the modern Class D power amps pack a lot of RMS wattage, they don't have the peak headroom of a traditional but much heaver AB design amplifier.
Enter the Keeley Bassist, which is both a limiting amplifier and a compressor...that also happens to make any bass amp sound better. Matched up with our compact 1x15 Class D combo amp, the high quality front end of the Bassist immediately gives our Traynor SB-115 more clarity and note definition (the old "blanket" metaphor). That's before adding any compression. The compression section is a simple two-knob affair that smooths out the peaks and valleys making your playing more fluid and more consistently heard in the mix. The Bassist is easily configured in three quick steps:
Threshold - This sets the point at which the compression effect starts. The green LED will change to red when the signal hits the threshold for compression. With this you can adjust the Threshold to come on only with heavy peaks, or apply compression to greater amounts of the overall signal.
Compression - The amount of compression is expressed as a ratio. All the way down at 1:1 there is no compression. But for example at 3:1, a 3 dB increase in signal over the threshold will result in just 1 db of additional output. Lower amounts of compression (2:1 - 4:1) provide a smoothing effect to the signal. If you are a slap player, higher levels of compression does wonders to even out the peaky nature of slap bass and make you sound like a pro.
Output - Use this to compensate for signal output that is reduced due to however you have the Threshold and Compression set.
The Bassist also uses a True-RMS detector circuit that results in attack and release parameters that adapt to your playing style and program content. Think of it as two fewer knobs to mess with, and you get perfect results with less fiddling around.
We were a Keeley Bassist user long before we became a Keeley dealer, and it's a valuable tool no matter the size of your bass rig. It improves the tone, prevents harmful clipping, and provides musical signal compression that provides a more consistent presence in the mix. That's a win-win-win in our book.