A compression pedal is a bassists best friend – that’s why you should make sure to choose only the best bass compressor pedal you can get and which you can use for many years!

For those who don’t know what a compression pedal does – dynamic range compression is a signal processing operation that reduces the volume of loud sounds or amplifies quiet sounds by narrowing or compressing an audio signal’s dynamic range.

Compression is commonly used in sound recording and reproduction, broadcasting, live sound reinforcement and in some instrument amplifiers.

Put simply, it makes your sound more stable and forces out all the high overtones to the surface, while also getting rid of nasty spikes in case that you don’t play a note perfectly.

BEST BASS COMPRESSOR PEDALS
QUICK RUNDOWN

BASS COMPRESSOR PEDAL
KEY FEATURES

#1 MXR M87 Bass Compressor



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  • CHT Constant Headroom Technology for clear, clean performance

  • True bypass

  • 10 gain-reduction status LEDs

  • Its CHT Constant Headroom Technology gives you plenty of headroom and clear performance



#2 Aguilar TLC Bass Compression



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  • Threshold control: variable from -30 to -10 dBu

  • Slope control: variable from 2:1 to infinity

  • Attack control: variable from 10ms to 100ms

  • Low Distortion: (<0.2 %)

  • Power: Nine-volt battery or optional universal power supply



#3 Electro-Harmonix Bass Preacher



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  • Compressor pedal built for bassists

  • Volume and Sustain knobs are intuitive

  • 3-way attack switch optimizes the pedal's sound

  • True-bypass switching won't affect your bass's tone

  • Pedalboard-friendly size


#4 Markbass Compressore Tube



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  • High-quality tube compressor pedal that features all the individual controls

  • Not only designed for bass, this Markbass pedal can also be used with guitars or any acoustic or electric instruments

  • It also adds warmth and harmonics to your sound



#5 TC Electronic SpectraComp (UNDER $100)



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  • Studio-quality Multiband Compressor - perfectly tuned for bass

  • Tone Print enabled - for a world of signature and customizable effects

  • Ultra-compact design

  • True Bypass


The compressor pedal is maybe the most important effect that you will ever use as a bassist because it’s used in every genre, in all songs, in recording and in life performances.

A good compressor can improve the quality of your tone and make up for a somewhat cheaper instrument. A bad compression pedal will make your bass sound like a plastic synthesizer.

There are many bass compressor pedal reviews out there, so it can be hard to actually see and hear what all of them can offer. That’s why we’ve decided to find and review the best of the best compression pedals a bassist can get!

TOP 7: BEST BASS COMPRESSOR PEDALS

Usually the best is kept for the end, but we think that you should see this monster of a machine first! Almost all reviewers agree that this is by far the best bass compression pedal on the market!

But why is this pedal so popular? Well, it offers the ideal mixture of high quality audio, a lot of different controls, affordability and durability. The pedal is very easy to use and the controls are very intuitive.

The pedal also utilizes the company’s Constant Headroom Technology, which is a circuit that provides extra headroom by producing 18-volts from a single 9-volt battery or external power source.

It is very hard to talk about disadvantages when everything works so well.

Finally, a five-knob compressor in a pedal. I’m a compression aficionado, and this box kills! All parameters are tweakable.

Billy Sheehan

The M87 lacks the warmth of some other pedals that you can get, but not in such an amount that it could be considered a problem. It simply offers everything a compressor should offer – nothing more, nothing less!

All in all, this pedal takes the cake and deserves the title of the most recommended bass compressor pedal out there.

 

For more about MXR M87, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sstKZ-Rilc
  • Sound 100%
  • Ease of Use 100%
  • Price 90%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • The perfect mixture of versatility and ease of use
  • Wonderful LED indicator
  • Flawless, long-lasting design!
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Absolutely nothing wrong with this one!

Another favorite among the bassists community is this boutique pedal which offers a very sophisticated sound. The TLC Compressor has 4 different controls which are also very easy to use and that can shape the overall signal very effectively.

It is a very good pedal for live performances as you can set it up very fast between the songs and get great results.

Unfortunately there’s no LED tracker to indicate the amount of gain reduction going on which can be pretty annoying on live performances where you need to track how everything sounds.

The TLC the Aguilar does an amazing job with lower frequencies, which is very important if you play mostly backing lines or use a 5 string bass. It works especially well with the Aguilar Tone Hammer (a preamp/direct pedal), but this is where certain problems with the pedal start to arise.

These two pedals offer an amazing tone together, but the Tone Hammer has a lot of functions, so it is in a way the Tone Hammer which offers you the great results, and not the TLC pedal.

Getting both of these pedals can be somewhat costly. In addition to that, you don’t always want to use the Tone Hammer, for example, if you have an active bass, so you need to rely only on the TLC, which usually does a great job, but somewhat lacks a unique character of other compressors on this list.

That being said, it is still one of the best compressors you can get for the money and if you’re playing many different genres and covering a wide array of bands, this pedal will get the job done!


For more about Aguilar TLC Compressor, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb2mpwzMPaU
  • Sound 90%
  • Ease of Use 100%
  • Price 90%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Great mixture of stability and tone
  • Easy to set up
  • Beautiful desing
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Lacks an LED indicator despite being in the same price range as the M87
  • Lacks character if not used with the Tone Hammer

The EHX Bass Preacher is somewhat like a big brother of Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher, a guitar compressor and sustainer that bassists liked very much on it’s own.

The Bass Preacher has a similar feel of the Soul Preacher – only two knobs, but it comes with a three-way switch which allows you to quickly and effectively change the tone on the go!

And like the Soul Preacher, it is a pedal that works for both bass and guitar – especially if you like the down-tuned, djenty tones of 7+ string guitars.

It’s an amazing pedal for pick users and for fast, loud, metalesque riffs, but it also offers great stability when playing slap-bass.

It may be the best compressor for aggressive styles and fast runs. It also offers a lot of sustain, which you may need if you utilize a lot of open strings, a Drop-D tuning or play genres like Doom Metal or Stoner Rock.

Another great thing about this pedal is that it’s very affordable, yet it doesn’t lack character or a solid build. It is very unique and does it’s job very good.
While it works great with low notes, it somewhat kills the high end – if you set it up to sound good with the E and the A string, the G string might sound a little bit tiny.

You will need to keep your tone control on the bass a bit dialed back, then set up your amp and pedal, so that you can turn up your treble control mid-playing if you need to do so.

It also lacks an LED indicator, but the price makes up for it. Apart from that, it’s an amazing pedal with a unique, yet easy to use set up!

For more about Electro-Harmonix Bass Preacher, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGqx_MCi5ew
  • Sound 90%
  • Ease of Use 100%
  • Price 100%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Unique sound
  • Can be used for guitars
  • Amazing price!
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Somewhat eats the high-end of the G string

Boss is the boss of effect pedals! And as always, they’ve delivered an amazing pedal that should suit all your needs – and this new pedal works especially well with playing live!

Like the M87 it offers an LED indicator for gain-reduction, but it only has 4 knobs, which means that you have a bit less versatility, but for live playing, this can be a big advantage as you are less likely to mess something up.

Another good thing is that it’s really hard to get a bad tone out of this amazing stompbox, so you will not have to worry about your sound being muddy or uneven.

With all the dials set at straight-up 12 o’clock, you get a little midrange bite without losing the sonic qualities of the instrument.

While the 4-knobs layout is good for live performances, it can also make things somewhat confusing when you start thinking about how the pedal actually works.

The website says “Hidden behind the pedal’s simple four-knob interface is a complex multiband processor with numerous interlocking parameters. As you turn the knobs, many parameters are adjusted at once”.

Maybe that doesn’t matter – what matters is that this pedal sounds good and that it’s easy to use.

It should be also noted that this pedal somewhat eats the low end, and as such it’s really good for slap-bass and similar types of playing, but if you’re using a down-tuned instrument you may find that other pedals have a somewhat fuller tone.


For more about Boss BC-1X, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de0p0BUEUDo
  • Sound 90%
  • Ease of Use 100%
  • Price 90%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • High-quality
  • Sturdy build
  • LED indicator
  • Effortless set up!
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Eats a bit of the low end
  • Not equally good for all styles

Philosopher’s Tone is an example of a pedal that doesn’t do the thing it was designed for very well, but does something else amazingly!

This pedal by Pigtronix was designed for guitarists, who have very mixed opinions about it. You either love it or you hate it.

Luckily for bassists, this pedal does everything you want it to – it offers some sustain and distortion along with compression, so it’s kinda a 3 in 1 deal that probably suits a bassist on budget.

The compression feels somewhat artificial, but not like with other pedals – it’s very good for some alternative-rock genres and it has a lot of unique tonal characteristics!

It offers you a lot of bite without compromising the colors of your instrument. It doesn’t make up for the low quality of cheap instruments like some other pedals on this list, but it definitely offers a lot of possibilities with 5 control knobs and a lot of effects blended in a single pedal.

While it works well on medium settings, the pedal works the best with extreme compression. A lot of bassists don’t really enjoy that, but if you want that, then you should definitely get this pedal.

There are a few different editions of the box, but we find that the “default” one works the best – and you’ll maybe like it as a guitar pedal, too!

 

For more about Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFsVNuC_CmE
  • Sound 85%
  • Ease of Use 90%
  • Price 100%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Great for extreme compression
  • Excellent price–performance ratio
  • Can eventually be used as a guitar pedal!
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Not really an all-around pedal suited for all styles

Markbass is very good with Amps and cabinets so it’s no wonder that they decided to release a good compression pedal to go together with the your other Markbass gear! It’s a new pedal that offers a lot of controls, very unique and warm tone and a lot of versatility!

This tube-pedal is a sophisticated, studio-grade box which warms the sound just a bit without compromising the low-end of your bass.

It offers exceptionally good sound for the price, and if you’d like to have a pedal that goes along with your Markbass amp, this is the pedal to go!

Sadly, the design of this pedal is very unpractical. It has a very big body which can harm your pedalboard layout. In addition to that, the DC 12V power jack is somewhat unusual.

Together with the huge number of different controls, as well as a lack of an LED indicator despite the price and the size of the pedal, this pedal becomes very hard to use in a live-performance environment.

The pedal has apparently already been re-designed and comes with a much simpler looking, somewhat smaller case, but the rest should be the same.

But if you can deal with all of that, you can get completely insane, professional and almost studio-recording sound even when performing live!

For more about Markbass Compressore, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCIaGUmECwo
  • Sound 100%
  • Ease of Use 80%
  • Price 90%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Astonishing sound
  • Very versatile
  • All-around pedal
  • A high-quality tube-pedal!
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Completely impractical design for live performances despite the price and the amazing tonal possibilities

This tiny pedal by TC Electronics might be the most unique pedal on our list for a variety of reasons! It’s insane how much of unique tone you can get out of a pedal with a single knob!

The SpectraComp is a 3 band compressor that offers amazing compression right out of the box!

The pedal is very small and fits even on the smallest pedalboards, and the single knob on it makes it extremely easy to use!

Because of the size it lacks an LED display, but the amazing design and the low price of this pedal make up for it more than enough.

So, you’re thinking that the SpectraComp is just a cool compressor that does what it should well but offers nothing more than that, though that is what you would expect from the price and the design?

Oh boy! You couldn’t be more wrong!

The unique TC Electronics TonePrint feature offers you a nearly infinite amount of different sounds that you can download and save for later use! If you are a fan of modern technology and evolving music, there is no other pedal you should get!

For more about TC Electronic SpectraComp Mini Bass, check out customer reviews on Amazon.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcqOV0cK5hw
  • Sound 100%
  • Ease of Use 80%
  • Price 100%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Modern, unique sound and settings
  • Compact design
  • excellent price!
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • You need to use additional gear to experience all the the features of the pedal

Conclusion:

Every musician has different needs and a different style. Whatever style you play and whether you’re in the studio or onstage, compression can help you get the tone you want.

Keep in mind that you need to look out for a good mixture of versatility and ease of use when choosing your own pedal and try to decide whether you’re more of a studio musician or a gigging performer. That way you’re making sure that you get optimal results out of your pedal!

In addition to just compressing your sound, compressors should give you sustain on a clean sound, without adding too much overdrive. That’s why you should go only for the best pedals available!

We hope our review will help you to choose a pedal that suits you well! A good compressor is the first part of a high-quality recording and live performance, so learn how to use one and keep on rocking!

Best Bass Compressor Pedal – Buying Guide for 2018
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