Compressor, octave and looping pedals

Hi! I started out about 6 months ago and I enjoy playing the bass immensely. Thank you Bassbuzz! I’m not even done with the course yet, but I’m going at a pace I like and that works for me. I was looking into pedals because I like to explore different possibilities and further enhance my enjoyment.

I want to get some opinions on certain pedals and why I should consider one over another.

Boss OC-5 is pretty much decided. All around safe option that won’t disappoint. At least, that’s my conclusion after doing a little research. It beat out the Aguilar Octamizer, for example. Thoughts?

I’m trying to decide between a Origin Effects Cali 76 and Boss BC-1X. I mean, why not a Boss compressor to go with the Boss octave pedal? I know sticking to one brand may not be the best course of action, but the question is this: what makes the Cali 76 “that much better” to pick over the BC?

The Boss RC-5 comes up. A lot. I know, Boss again. But, you know… why not? If it’s good, it’s good. Though a guy in a store informed me that the TC Electronics Ditto+ may be on par with it. The latter however is more compact, lacks some features but that gives it the benefit of being less expensive. Is there one that has better sound quality?

Let me add a diclaimer to this post by saying:
I know that a bass and amp is basically all you need and I am not looking for pedals to be crutches. I have no illusions that pedals will make me sound better or that they are substitutions for practice. I am at the beginning of my bass journey and I can still learn so much on just a bass and amp. And I will.

But hey, I’m just looking to expand my horizon.


I have a Poly Blue octave and I really like it, no experience with a Boss octave so offer no opinion.

Have you a tuner pedal yet? Those are very useful.

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I have an old school OC-2 and a new Keeley compressor. Rarely use the former, always use the latter.

Edit. A Zoom B1Four has all of the above at a cheaper price. Good to start and see what you like. I found out that pedals are not for me.


I have a TC Electronics Sub’n’Up octave pedal and really like it.
The first pedal I bought was a Seymour Duncan Studio Bass Compressor and I’m still using it 4 years later.

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I’m going to offer some different perspectives but keep in mind, this is art. The right answer is about what you like. It’s almost impossible to tell someone what pedals they should choose because there are subtleties to building your sound that only you can choose.

No disclaimer needed. Plenty of us love playing around with pedals.

I have a Boss OC-5. The big difference between octave pedals is if you want a more modern sound or a more vintage synth sounding octave pedal. The OC-5 has a switch that lets you do either one. A lot of people really like the older synth sound but I prefer the modern sound which is closer to the actual sound of the bass.

Whatever you read that said it’s better than the Aguilar Octamizer isn’t really a fair assessment. The Octamizer does what it was designed to do, very well. If the Octamizer gives you the octave sound you prefer then it’s subjectively ‘better’ than the OC-5.

I had a hard time using my OC-5 when I got it. It’s fun to play around with but it doesn’t go with a lot of stuff. So, it doesn’t get a lot of use. It fits best when I turn it on and play to the sound of the pedal rather than applying it to anything else. I hope that makes sense.

Would I buy the OC-5 again if I had to start over from scratch? Absolutely. I think it’s pretty great.

This is a hard one. I think the Boss BC-1X sounds great and the Cali 76 is supposed to be one of the best Compressor Pedals ever made. But there are a lot of really good compressor pedals out there.

Different design goals. The Cali 76 is using all premium parts and is modeled after the Universal Audio 1176 rack mount studio compressor. I think @Paul has one and would be able to say more on it.

The BC-1X is forging its own path working with digitally separating out the signal, applying compression differently to different portions of the signal and then recombining it. At least, that seems to be what’s going on. Boss has been pretty secretive about how the pedal actually works. @Reasonably_Happy has one he got from @T_dub. Either of them would be able to give more information.

My recommendation would be to start with the simplest looper. Like an RC-1. It’s hard to stack bass tones more than one deep on a looper. On guitar you can stack loops crazy deep but with bass you get a build up of mud. Because of that, a lot of extra functionality doesn’t help like it does for guitar.

This is a common recommendation and a good one. Pedals, cabling, power requirements, it all gets really expensive really quick. A Zoom B1Four gives a ton of options for seeing what effects you do and don’t like before investing the big money in it.

Actually, even if you go with a high end multi-effects unit it’s still cheaper and more versatile than buying individual pedals.

I went with individual pedals largely because I just wanted the experience of building a pedal board.


Nice post Eric! Actually the BC-1X was my first compressor. If you are new to compressors I would certainly recommend the BC (it’s also half the price of a cali). It was so easy to dial in and the metering is good. I started my pedalboard with 3 Boss pedals (octaver, compressor and preamp) and found that they really worked well together. It might be a good idea to stick to Boss.

That said I do prefer the Cali76 over any of the other compressors I owned. Sold all of them except that one. It just fits really well with my taste. If I recall correctly the Boss was a bit warmer and gave more color to my tone, but I prefer a bit more subtle/bright compressor.

Pretty sure there is thread about these compressors if you search for it. Hope this info helps!

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I have it and love it, the bomb.

I have done a tremendous amount of research on compressor pedals, and have landed on the Cali 76 Bass Compressor, have not bought it yet though. One thing to consider…you really only need a compressor pedal to play live. For recording you are much, much, much better off with a plugin or two for way less money. The Waves '76 clone is perfection. The reason I want it other than it is the ‘gold standard’ of compressors out there is that it works the same way as the plugins I have, which I understand very well. I currently have the Darkglass Hyper Luminal and I dislike it wholly. I have done a lot of experimenting with it and just don’t get what the heck it is doing. I like what you get with the Origin Effects. I would actually prefer a vintage one but the costs are nuts.

I would put this money into something you will use more like a preamp pedal with distortion and EQ first… If you practice with a compressor on all the time it will smooth out your playing via the amp and could end up a crutch and keep you from playing as well as you can (dynamics, even plucking/picking, etc).

One thing I do not like about Boss products, is when you power them up they are engaged, meaning you have to depress it to shut off the effect. It is annoying as hell. My pedalboard is controlled by Alexa, so I do a little dance every time I turn it on to shut off my Boss products. That said, the OC-5 is too insanely good not to have, so, I dance.

I have the Ditto+ and it does everything I could every think of doing. If I need something more, I would just do it in a DAW. You will begin to appreciate small pedals as you build your first board.

My $0.03…


Preamp > compressor for sure. But your amp also has a built in preamp. Also not all Boss pedals power on when you turn the power on. For me it’s not really a problem. Even some premium pedals have this behavior.

Anyway good advice from John. For home practice I stopped using my compressor and just play with preamps.


The bypass switch is not a power switch, yeah. For any pedal, really. The power switch is the input jack. Cable plugged in, power is on, bypassed or not. This is pretty common.


My suggestion would be to get a Zoom B1 Four Multi effects pedal, which includes a looper, for a fraction of the price of some individual pedals. That way you can play around with all sorts of options and decide later if you want to get a dedicated pedal(s). There is a lot on this forum about the Zoom B1 Four. Do a search if you want to check it out.

Just be careful the pedal rabbit hole can be a deep and expensive one. :rofl:


Have you seen the new Atlas Compressor by Source Audio?
It is defo worth considering.

Here is the topic on Talkbass forum:

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he LI in Cali is th 11 in 1176. this kind of the trick they put in th name because ys, it is modeled af th studio 1176. I he nve3r us3s on personally, but I out b about n3xtt on my li if I were looking for noter ommprssor, but I hv3e 4 still.

I likes the Bc-1x just fine Xc-1x god enough, but I is really mor3e of drive type comp / a boost if you willboost type3 oppressor, which is great for cutting thru the mix, uz you an b ooxty your sound, nd till limit it pretty effectively.
at this point Jesse @Reasonably_Happy and @Paul havehs used it mrore thenme, and both of tgem play in bands, with othersso, that pedal probably suits a gig enviornment more tgen me schleping around in my apartment.

I want to start playing with others, I hust am not sure how to find them to do soI eery did, he plays its, I jut fart round at him looking for suns I like. My markbass has a gain drive, so I can cyt thru, and limit back my outrageous geexee stule playing, so its all foid.
I got conpressors coming out the waxoo.
U am selling a few. Ine of my favorite, but things gotta go
or. gigging compressor that is not a dedicated always on limiting domprezor, I h\think it is pretty good hope, bu again, jee an tell you how he uses I when he plays gigs, I zzzum i geez him. oo without put-on over the top, but I will let him speak to the res on the one.

My favorite compressor I have ever reds is the Markbass oppressor. it is ass big as a tonic truck, ut it is pure gold. it also has a gain , so you an not it pretty good, but it doe an element job o limiting and boosting the atoner Norwalks o wn wccyhing out. it sow not color h ton, I is trnsprntt, which is good o many in. compressor, ads it is worth its enormous spot on th pedal boar4d. it is all a tube compressor nd the tube does o the compressing.
Noher peal ht I love for the pure simplicity is the Kelley he Bassist limiting compressor.
it took me literally 3 zeonxz to dil it in. it I ombre most closely to the MR Bass compressor which is good, but I th3re used to bee a lot o 2uality issue3s, an deI hav herd thy can b a bit difficult to dial in, so if you are thinking g about the, gt th Keeley, I is pur3e joy.
I could pull dup to a group I was paying with, pull I out o my pocket, plug it in, ne bee dial in eight her3 I wanted to b4 in seconds, not intrf3ring with sound check or the other members.

aCali 76 is a bucket list pedal for me, if I isn’t he o may compressors already, I probably rule hbb4 gotta on3 by now,


I think Idakglass and Source Audio are also compressors that I would love to try / have some day too.

The ditto j only like 5 minutes recording space.
The boss hs way moe sir .
The nu>X loop station is comparable to the boss fetus wise, drum machine with over 4 beats, but I think it has like 8 hours of recording space.

dou le check, I look into the ditto, an dI do like TC Electronics., but the price for 5 minu5t3s record time is kind of a deal breaker for me.

I had th4 Nu>X, they make good stuff in mo opinion and experience, an the loop station or th 4pife an how much record tim4 you gt with unlimit4 dubs and all the dum b4at, I hard yo b4at. h4 bosss mYBE JUST AS GOOD, MAYBE A TOUFH BETTER, ,BUT WHEN YOU START GETTING ALL HT STUFF IN A PEDAL, SIDE BY SIDE, IF H NU>X CAN DO IT FOR LESS THN TH BO, THE ONLY THING. YOU AR GTTING GOING BOSS MIGHT B4 TH NAME.


[Fyi, this is the 6 hour standard](Nux Loop Core Guitar Effect Pedal Looper 6 Hours Recording Time, 99 User Memories, Drum Patterns with Tap Tempo
Privacy Policy
The delux edition has a foot switch, 8 hours, unlimited dubbing

Both have usb to upload your music and for firmware upgrades

Granted rge boss has 13 hours, and thats a lot, if you are going to use it, and if not still nice to have, but its $100 more tgen [this](NUX Loop Core Deluxe Guitar Looper 8 hours Loop Time,24-bit Audio,Automatic Tempo Detection with Footswitch

I have to admit, I am also a fan of Flamma pedals, and I see they have some loopers.
The mini only has like 13 min, so forget it, but tge bigger may be worth a look.

I chose tgeir reverb pedal over every other one out there I could ger my hands on

[Flamma](FLAMMA FS21 Drum Machine Looper Pedal Stereo Guitar Pedal with Screen 160 Minutes Recording Capacity 100 Drum Grooves Support Software Editing External Footswitch Control

The more I look at the flamma, the more I like it. Over 100 drum loops, offline foot switching, lots of cool features.

I may order one and play with it for a bit snd send it back just cuz it looks fun

Boss[BOSS RC-1 Loop Station](BOSS RC-1 Loop Station

I am in no way bad mouthing Boss, or trying to discourage you.
But Boss and Roland live on their name, and tgey make great styff, but $128 for a looper with 13 min record time, compared to 6 and 8 hours time.

Boss can do -3 min and sell product all day long, they built the rep, and deserve to do so.
But up and comers, Flamma (which has exploded since I got my reverb a year ago, and Nux are building their respective brands. They cant afford to have quality issues, and they need to offer 40-50 times tge recording space plus cextra capabilities to get you and me to dpend that $128 on them and not bossz

I did spend $129 on nux, and was more tgen happy, especially when I realized Boss has 13.5 min recording, and Tc Ditto has 5 min.

I was going to buy a ditto off offer up from a guy for $50, but then found out it had 5 min loop, and backed out of tge deal.

Tc [Electronics WireTap](TC Electronic WireTap Riff Recorder Pedal is another to look at.
$54 bucks, 8 hours, blurooth from the unit to your laptop.

Only thin is no drum beats, but I beleive you can add drum beats from your conputer, and you can download tgem from Tc Electronic artists.

Nifty device for tge price.

It is specifically for when you are jamming, and you play a catchy bassline you may want ti use some day, you record it, it names it, tgen you offload it into your daw, and whi knows, make a hit song from it

Again Boss is great, made a lot of revolutaniory changes to tge abindustry and tgey deserve to be paid for it. If thats your pleasure, dont ever feel bad about it.

I just like bang for my buck, so I do a lot of shopping, I treat amazon prime like a library card.
I can have whatever I want in 2 days, and if I dont like it walk it across the street to the ups store, drip it off, as soon as they scan it, tge money is in my credit, and I can get something else to try.

If you have prime, and are on the fence about a few things, I suggest considering them a library. Its neither immoral oe inethical, its what the world has come to with online comerce.

I remember in tge 80’s, go to a guitar center say, hey, you have one of those new Ernie Ball EVH in stock, they check stock, and say no, but there are a few in hillywood, they are sending a truck down, should be a few here in an hour.

Now you go to GC and say, I wand one of those Ray34 black Ash, you have any. No, any in the area? Yes 2 in mission viejo, one at tge city block and 2 in moreno valley.

Ok can tou get me one here to try.
Sure, you just have to fill out a purchase order and it will be here in 5 days.

5 what, you just said there are 5 within a 30 mile radius, you cant get one brought here.
Yes if you purchase we can have a driver bring it down.

How do I know I want it, I never played it.

Well, you can go to mission viejo, tge block or moreno valley and try it out.
Teally, this is what brick and norters, online killed tgem before tgey took their last breath.

Amazon will have it to my door in 48 hours.
If I dont want it, I drip it at ups stoore, and my $900 is in my amazon account the second the ups employee scans tge shupper.

I have bo hard feelings using the system they built on greed and laziness, and amazon and other online retailers like sweetwater, are tge inly ones left that put the customer first, so fuck GC.

Buting from them will not return them to glory.
Getting off their asses and making customers feel valued will, nothing else

Thats my rant.

Hipe some of tgis helps.

Please check out tgat San june its a steal for $70

And [tge Keeley Bassisteasiest](Keeley Bassist Compressor and Limiting Amplifier Pedal comp i have ever used

Its $200 but every bit worth it.
Pairs well with the san june.

Hell i am about to buy you a san june just to get tou on board

Mcr bass compressor[MXR M87 Bass Compressor](MXR M87 Bass Compressor


This is a really high regarded conpressor. Problemover the years is quality control, you can get a git or miss, but with amazon return, you can just return it for a new one.

I have read rgat can be hard ti dial into a sweet spot.

I never had one. I may get one just to see.
The keeley bassist is tge closest thing to it, but like I said tge keely is a dream to dial in. It all has to do with the parameteic attack and release and many things contrilled bu sinple settings that make a big inpacr internally.

I have one I am selling.

I am not selling it because I dint love it, but its bo secret around here I have to start getting rid of all my stuff due to the fact I am going to be a ward of the federal Government sometime after november.
Idk what my sentance will be, but i just need to start rginning my heard.

I would make you a kuller feal, like half off. I would let you test it out before you comit to buying, just pay for shipping tgats all.

I would probably send you a while box of pedals to play with too, like my favorite San june and Markbass, and a few tgat will knock your socks off.

Like I said, pay for shipping, treat tgem with care, and return anything you dont luke.

If you like some things, i am happy to work with you for more tgen fair prices.

Send me a pm and we can talk more.

I hope tge info I provided helps and doesnt confuse.
Please ask me as many questions as you wasn, I am more then happy to help

Btw, if nobody turned you onto this side, It is a great reference for compressors for bass.
He stipped doing it in 2018, it was too time consuming, and he also makes and markets his own compressors.

But you can liok up any compressor old and newer, up to 2018, and he does in depth reviews from a/B testing them to other compressors
and to ones rgar are class spe
Tgis is a great resource, you can get real unbuases, tested reviews on many conpressors new and ild.

He did bot care for all of my favorites, but my two favorites ge did have great results with. He called my favorite liquid gold.
Unfortunately he stipped before the san june, and I really would have luked to get his take.


You can spends hours liikung tgru his reviews, but you have a lit to gain by doing so.
There arw a myriad if bass specific cimpressors in tge market today. Many are great, nany fall sgort, some are close wuth priper guidence could becime the next bug thing, be it a studuo compressor, a DAW plug un, ir a pedal fir live perfirmance. With great unnovaruin comes trual and eeeir. R$d. Xillavoration, often with competutors

What Mvilabs was swsucare hus lufes devotuin to fung flaws and work arounds.
Sime people fot angre, but looking deep unti them selves, theyhave cine ri terms with hard truths, whuch have bettered rgeir products, and create a srringer marked for tge very necessary ground breaking bass cinpressors as we know them today

just recently got the empress bass compressor and it is really impressive. not only does it sound amazing, the led display gives you immediate feedback as to what the pedal is actually doing, which for me is really helpful. i would also highly recommend the new ditto + looper, i believe there isn’t anything else close to it in it’s price range. octave pedals have a wide range of styles, a boss pedal sounds nothing like a pog. get what you like. IMO, my 2 cents, blah blah, blah.


Yeah the empress is really something :ok_hand:

You got the blue or silver one?


blue. it’s prettier in person than in pix.


Talk about coincidence:

Imo this is one of the best compressors on the market. It’s worth it just for the controls and really good metering. Would recommend it over the Cali if you are new and in the market for a good comp.


Sorry, this one I could not translate wholly…hehe…just kidding @T_dub

Dang, that does look awesome.
That said I’ve got my Hyperluminal replacement on it’s way and not looking back, or, sideways. :upside_down_face:

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