What is Compression? - Jemsite
Pickups & wiring Discussion about pickup types, replacements, recomendations, switching, wiring diagrams and sustainer systems for ANY guitar, JEMs included.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2008, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 679
Reviews: 1
What is Compression?

When you say a Pickup is compressed, what does that mean. I commonly hear the Evo and X2N are compressed and some others. Does this mean more open, less open? More gain, tighter, brighter, sustain longer, cover up bad playing?
Thrash is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2008, 08:20 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 848
Re: What is Compression?

Originally Posted by Thrash View Post
When you say a Pickup is compressed, what does that mean. I commonly hear the Evo and X2N are compressed and some others. Does this mean more open, less open? More gain, tighter, brighter, sustain longer, cover up bad playing?

ok so, were going to cover signal compression, not audio compression
signal. compression occurs either in a processed range or a natural range in the topic of pickup compression.

im going to draw up a diagram real quick and repost with a explaination

so hang tight
losgatosrg350dx is offline  
post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2008, 09:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 848
Re: What is Compression?

so heres a diagram, it represents the signal coming in from a standard guitar.
non compressed....so some of the signal that is represented, would be bass on left to treble on right, when we use procesed range, what ends up happening is you thinken up up the signal, each of those lines represents a frequencey range, and when uncompressed it remains natural where some parts are low and someparts are high and some parts are closer together...like some pups for instance only put out a dynamic range from some hertz to another...even if its rated from like 100hz to 20khz you will still be missing some sections like i left those parts open so you can see, this is just a subjective example...so ill continue... as some of these frequencies aremore prominent than others.....the scale of db gain per frequencey is reflected in teh image i made wich is crude...some parts of the lows have more db and some parts of the mids are lower or higher, and some parts of the highs are high and low in db inscrease.....processed compression takes the signal thickens up the general voltage making the frequencies closer together, removing the gaps or the "non atenuative" sections wich do not respond when u put a signal through compression(this is why using a eq gives u more dynamic range when you compress a signal)
another thing it does, is allows you to LIMIT where all the frequencies max out, so you can bring you db gain per frequencies all up at the same point, so all of those lines relatively become at the same level, warming and thicking up the sound, alsowhen process compression occurs it reduced th available bandwith.....

for instance if you had in number terms this is

if u had a pickup that the signal output of 1 megahertz....and its a regular pickup, but not all of the signal is useable, so when you go to compress it, it aligns the frequencies and basicaly removes the ones that the compression cannot attenuate....so if you had a 1 megahertz signal and drop out the frequencies that the compression does not use it brings the signal to a average 600-800 khz...

im not engineer but im trying to explain this

so when you have a pickup that has only soo much that a compressor can use, you end up with a thinner less dense signal

now natural compression, means that when the signal coming out of the pickup has more of these frequencies and mor db gain per frequencey and also more area that arent "empty" that means the compressor you use on top of that highly compressed signal, gathers the signal source, doesnt drop as many of the frequencies, also boosts what you do have, and has a wider natural bandwoth....less compressed pups require more compression and you get less effect
higher compressed pups require litle to no compression and you get a far greater effect

also what this does is makes all your dynamic notes the same db in response...so if u shred and palmmmute, the output volume is equal to a full strum, or a pinch harmonics, also makes the same output as a palm mute...well relatively

this in turn makes it so when you use high gain, and go through notes, with hard definition, they all sound the same, they all go through the compresor the same and leave the same....rather a low gain pup with litle to no compression, ends up spiking he signal between different dynamic notes as you play, like pinches can drive over a compresor wich is normaly set at perfect for palm muting, does this make any sense..???? a high gain pup with tons of compression makes it also so between ur compression and ur noise gate and sitortion, all the signal altering between all the forms(noisegate, eq, compression, distortion) is not as much afected and more organic tone comes in and comes out, rather compressing a low gain pup, noise gating, and then distortion, completely HOLLOWS out the sound

this is a myth when emg stated they have the highest bandwith signal, but they do not, because less then 50 percent of that signal is usable in most cases with emg, compared to passive pups where you can get minumum of 70 percent of usable bandwith on a passive i mighthave some terms messed up but im trying to explain this the right way

basicaly, more compression out of a pup, the thicker and more usable signal you get....but its relative to frequencey db gain per freq section..and those are all relative.......so if u have sections of frequencies where some parts are higher db and some are lower, it will inevidably drop the lower ones compressing the higher ones, leveling them out and thinnign the signal.


does this help??

losgatosrg350dx is offline  
post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: dallas
Posts: 754
Re: What is Compression?

very thorough explanation. like losgatos said, compression basically just squashes the tone so it becomes thicker and you also get more sustain. however, compression also diminishes dynamics, so subtle nuances can be lost as most of the signal is going to have the same volume level (if you use too much). you can really tell if there's a lot of compression when you try to play quietly and your pick attack is just as loud as if you hit the strings really hard.
rastachild is offline  
post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 07:00 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 115
Re: What is Compression?

compression is like an auto-volume leveler
GP13 is offline  
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 848
Re: What is Compression?

i dont know about that gp...theres a bunch more to it, its also dynamics, thershold/freq barrier/limiters, freq gain structures, tonal matrix and time slift between bass and treble freq....

compression is the most important thing with audio, it can make or break your sound
losgatosrg350dx is offline  
post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-24-2008, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 848
Re: What is Compression?

in fact my tech told me once that a overly compressed signal can damage a poweramp or the powerstage of an amp(tube that is)

so compression is an important factor, i used to have a peavey ultragain 60
and i used a ganiac2 modded with a behringer mdx2600 ch1 preamp and i also used channel 2 for the poweramp section.....compression can be used in tons of different ways

you know the rob zombie sound or the dimmu borgir...theres alot to compression and you can definetely hear it
losgatosrg350dx is offline  

palm mute , peavey ultra , pinch harmonics

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Jemsite forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address

IMPORTANT: You will be required to activate your account so please ensure that your email address is correct.

If you do not receive your activation check your spam folder before using the CONTACT US form (at the bottom right of each page).

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Too much compression kpinks Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 1 02-26-2008 08:14 AM
Compression On Evos Thrash Ibanez JEM, UV, JS & Other Signature Models 13 03-10-2006 04:33 AM
What is Compression? nott^^ Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 6 09-10-2004 06:43 AM
applying compression after recording. GreasyKid Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 5 06-15-2003 01:58 PM
Compression - what the??? Dave Goodland Gear, Equipment, Recording & Off Topic 7 01-08-2003 03:21 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome