Diamond BASS Compressor on Guitar

The original Diamond Compressor is already considered a modern classic.  Both Hi-Fi and full of Character, it can add a bit of that studio sound to your live rig.  It offers this amazing balance in a sturdy build and the bass version follows this tradition.  It is this balance that seems to add a sort of ol’ school vibe when used with Guitar. Warm and clear, like David Gilmour’s use of a modified BASS Preamp into a HiWatt…This gets the coveted “5S” Award.

The Fender Bassman, introduced in 1952, made quite the impact for players of the day.  Though today it is a revered classic that excels in a seductive sensitivity and response cherished by Blues and Roots genres, the Bassman amplifier really set the standard for Rock and Roll low end thump back in the day It finally completed the full band sound that couldn’t be ignored.  Years later of course, this seems almost laughable, as the classic 4X10 set-up and (as of today though that again seems to be changing) its low output lend themselves far better to use on the Guitar.  Fender obviously didn’t design it for this:  who would have thought players would WANT a distorted signal?  And certainly no Leo didn’t think country would need all that low-end thump.  Who knew?  But put a few  behind Buddy Guy and let me know you don’t come to the conclusion that a good design is a good design.  It simply works, and works well.

Fast forward a bit…The original Diamond Compressor almost became in instant classic as soon as it hit the shelves.  It is simple to operate, solidly built and sounds great.  Bass players soon got in on this, and some studio hounds as well. It became such a favoured pedal with bass players though, that they demanded, as instrumentalists do, to have their own iteration.  And their demand was met.  Much like the Guitar version, the simply named Bass Compressor provides an amazing balance of clarity and character (read:  TONE.)  Clean and clear and adding a certain something that isn’t quite compression but certainly not an obvious EQ adjustment.

More of the same…

It retains much of the same design with the added benefits of a revoiced the Tilt EQ control.  A mini toggle offers the choice of either the original tilt point (900Hz) or the new 250Hz setting.This design also has an extended low frequency response (down to 20Hz) and increased headroom making it more accommodating for 4, 5 and 6 string basses.  This increased headroom also makes it much more useable with passive and  active pickups.

But wait…could this be used for active Guitar pickups as well, ala David Gilmour’s EMG set?  (Though he doesn’t seem to get much use  out of it these days, it is still a classic…and SAFE.)  And high output hum buckers…would they benefit?  Yes they would.

Mr. Clean

Used with Guitar the bass version can become  a bit heavy in the low-end, but the amazingly simple Tilt Equalization offers the “tilt point” of the original.  It you like your clean tone warm and cozy, this makes for an excellent compressor.  Heck, if you just like to drive the SNOT out of compressors this would be a great choice for your rig.  Loud hum buckers?  step right up…Headroom for days.  Your clean tone will make your distorted tone jealous…until you add some dirt.

Clear A** Mud

Long searing Lead lines come effortlessly from a rig with this compressor in it.  Like the original it is smooth and smart, with no big artifacts added to your signal, unless that is your intended effect.  And if it is, you are in for a real trick and treat, since you can set it up for heavy compression and simply back of your volume knob for a more mild squash, without any odd pumping or breathing.

Setting it by eye (not particularly recommend, but helpful to get you in the ballpark) is quite easy with the use of a Bi-color LED. Just get the colour to change at your hardest strum and you are set.  Set volume for Unity! (or louder, if used as a boost, but c’mon, are you ever going to hit that footswitch?)  Setting it by ear (highly recommended) is even easier since it is so hard to make this compressor sound anything less than amazing.  If you can’t get it right, don’t try harder… try less.  Set the controls straight to noon and dig in!  

Again, this compressor is somehow transparent and full of “vintage” vibe, great for putting parts up front but still being “glued” to the mix.  Lead parts become full and throaty with single coils, and humbuckers get wrapped in a velvet glove.  Live or in the studio it is hard to keep this pedal off…no joke, it even makes other compressor sound good (more on these slide rigs later.)

The bass version comes with an 18V  positive tip adapter. It also includes coupler for the adapter to be used with the usual 9V adapters that most effects use.  Do NOT use this with the 18V adapter.)  18V is where the Bass Compressor likes to be and every provision has been made to keep it there.  Well thought out, Diamond.

As it was in the Beginning…

So no real issues with the reappropriation of this pedal.  If not used for a while, Diamond warns that it can have some start up noise…like a classic musclecar that hasn’t been wound up for a bit. It shouldn’t be tucked way and seldom used…It is meant to be driven.  And like that classic car, the Bass Compressor excels at things  it wasn’t original designed to do.  The original GTO was simply a monster engine in a fairly pedestrian model, but it surely outperformed what the original intentions of each piece of engineering was designed for.  And so did the Fender Bassman.  And I would like to think that the Diamond Bass Compressor does as well.

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