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 Post subject: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 29th, 2015, 2:35 pm 
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I am on the hunt for compressors lately and I was recently fortunate enough to get my hands on an Ovni FX Smoothie compressor ( http://www.ovnifx.com/ ).

I've tried a few pedal compressors in the past and was never impressed by any of them (Analogman Comprossor, Analogman and Phoenix Custom Electronics Orange Squeezers, Demeter Compulator are the ones that spring to mind). I do have a couple of rack units (DBX 160 and 160A, way old Demeter H series) which are in the P.A. rack and work well but they are reserved for vocals and other duties [dammit!].

All I can say is WOW, the Smoothie is one awesome pedal. I messed around with it for a day or two at home before using it on this weekend's gigs.

Friday's gig was an acoustic trio w/o drums. Signal chain was Rob Allen Mouse 30 -> tuner -> A-man Chorus -> El Cap delay -> Smoothie - > F-deck HPF 3 -> Puma 900 -> Fearless F210.
Attack and sustain were set at 10 o'clock, Tone varied between 10 and 2 o'clock depending on the tune, Comp Vol and Direct were set at noon for the night.

It did a marvelous job of bringing out the fretboard slap on my RA Mouse 30 during rockabilly type tunes with the Tone set at 2 o'clock. It also gave the Mouse a little more mwah factor, but not by a huge amount. It did make a noticeable difference on note bloom and sustain of the bloom, as one would hope for. It does a great job of tracking upwards and downwards slides regardless of the speed of the slide. On the down side it brought out the worst on my intonation skills :shock: . It took some getting used to figuring out when the comp would kick in and grab a note, and if I wasn't spot on it was really noticeable to me and my guitarist.

Saturday's gig was using slightly different gear. We were outdoors as opposed to the postage stamp we played on Friday. Brought the Sonus 519 and used my old trusty Berg HT/EX 112 cabs. Settings on the Smoothie were roughly the same, but for experimental purposes I dialed back the Sustain a hair and boosted the Direct and Comp Vol settings a hair. The pedal did a great job of taming snaps and pops and let tons of harmonic sustain shine through. I found myself not having to force out the few pops that I do. They just rang out. It kept the overall volume levels of the bass quite consistent throughout the evening which also made playing more enjoyable. The only downside to the evening was during one tune where I crank the amp and do some old-style 60's feedback stuff. The Smoothie was just doing it's job and taming levels as it should, but for me it got in the way. Oh well, lesson learned, I'll just turn it off next time.

So as you can tell I'm really digging this pedal and highly recommend it if you can get your hands on one. It's a great set and forget and leave it on all the time device.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 29th, 2015, 8:11 pm 
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Thanks for the review AZ - I've been thinking of using a compressor for awhile now, and will look in to this pedal...

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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 8:50 am 
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Interesting. I like that demo... I wish he would have used something besides just a P-Bass with a pick, though.

So, why didn't you like the Demeter OptoCompulator?

Just curious, as I have two of them... one on each of my pedal boards, and I've had good luck with them. I like the "two knob" idea... it's simple and easy to quickly get an even tone. They're also incredibly transparent... I don't feel like my overall tone is affected at all. I'm not sure if I'm comfortable having a tone knob on my compressor... seems like affecting your tone shouldn't be a compressor's job.

The blend control is neat, though.

Anyway, I was looking at the Keeley "Bassist" recently... some people are flipping out over it. I like the fact that there's no tone control as well.

Here's a demo... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnH-gPNE9hA

Strings sound like they're 10 years old... but it sounds pretty transparent.

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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 10:01 am 
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Joined: May 27th, 2008, 6:15 pm
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Location: S.F. Bay Area, CA
I had a smoothie comp. The second version. Great compressor. I sold it and purchased the Keeley Comp after waiting months for it to come out. Never looked back. GREAT Compressor for a pedal. Simple and quiet. Does the job. My fav is my DBX 160A Rack Comps for my rig but for a pedalboard and backbone gigs, the Keeley has a small footprint and works great. NOW, if you want more control of the Hi and Lo Mulriband, I suggest the FEA Dual Comp. It's friggin killer.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 10:59 am 
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Cool... good to hear about the Keeley.

I'm sure those FEA Dual Comps are tits, but I couldn't imagine trying to dial it in while playing or between songs, if I had to... it happens from time to time and would be impossible.

Or, if my toe dragged across it... or worse, some asshole parents let their little asshole 10-year-old climb up on stage and he starts turning all the knobs, which has also happened a few times... it'd take me an hour to get it back to where I had it.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but it's too many knobs for me... too much to think about for a pedal.

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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 11:47 am 
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Location: S.F. Bay Area, CA
There are rubber "O" rings you can put under the knobs that make them hard to turn. That way no worries of movement after you set.

I used to use painters tape across my knobs so they don't move. Now I use painters tape on the board with the settings written on it but if you change your settings art a gig, might not work.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 11:50 am 
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The Keeley comp is def on the G.A.S. list. I do like the idea of a limiter in a pedal format. But I also managed to snag an FEA Dual Engine last week - which I'll review once I spend some quality time with it. Like Addison, I have some concerns over the FEA products having too many knobs to manage in a live setting as well as their larger footprint taking up too much real estate on the pedal board.

On a side note both the the Smoothie and the FEA DE are built like tanks, I wouldn't worry about them taking a beating at gigs.

I'm also considering taking the spendy plunge and getting an Origin Effect Cali 76 with the Lundahl tranny, as I def like what an 1176 rack compressor does for my tone. But to do that I'll likely have to flip either the Smoothie or FEA.

As for the Compulator, I've had 3 over the last 5 or 6 years. I never could find a setting that didn't seem to squish the life out of my bass in a live setting using pretty much the same rigs as I have now. Just me I suppose ... kink of a bummer as I generally really like Demeter products.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 1:38 pm 
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Settings on my entire board will change depending on what bass I'm playing, what kind of gig I'm doing and whether or not I have to compensate for a shitty room with any onboard EQ, or whatever... 10% in bass boost from an active preamp can wreak havoc on compressor settings. So writing settings down or taping knobs is pointless for me since I tweak everything differently every gig I do... it's the first thing I do after setup and before sound-check.

I then adjust on the fly or between songs at the beginning of the night as is necessary... and hope it stays that way for the rest of the gig. One drunk bride's maid doing an ass plant on your pedal board can change settings pretty quickly, though. :lol:

AzWhoFan - Interesting... did you adjust the internal trim pot down to reduce the squashing? If you didn't like it, you didn't like it... just curious. I am, however, really interested in that Keeley now. Fucking GAS, man... GAH!!! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 4:40 pm 
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Addison wrote:
... it's the first thing I do after setup and before sound-check. :lol:

You mean before or after your 1st brewskie? lol
Seriously tho, we play a small circuit of about 5 or 6 venues in our area so I'm really familiar with just how bad most of those joints sound (two of them are really good tho!) so I pretty much know ahead of time what I'm walking into.

Addison wrote:
AzWhoFan - Interesting... did you adjust the internal trim pot down to reduce the squashing? If you didn't like it, you didn't like it... just curious. I am, however, really interested in that Keeley now. Fucking GAS, man... GAH!!! :lol:

oh yeah, tried micro adjusting the trim too. Didn't matter if they were passive or active basses. It either squashed the tone or felt like it was doing nothing. Totally different story when used on a 6 string guitar tho. Worked like a charm. Go figure ...


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 30th, 2015, 7:06 pm 
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I'm jonesing for a Cali76 with the built in overdrive right now. Hoping I can find a cheaper comp to stave my Cali76 craving and the FEA DE-CL is my first choice as a Cali alternate, but the Smoothie is on my list too.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 31st, 2015, 9:28 am 
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For those of you who may be interested, I just received an email saying the Keeley Bassist comp is in stock at Sweetwater.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: March 31st, 2015, 10:26 pm 
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I got mine directly from Rob Keeley. Might want to check his site.

https://robertkeeley.com/product/bassist-compressor/

No squashing on these effects.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: April 8th, 2015, 6:06 pm 
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I got a Keeley Bassist today and I have to be honest... I'm on the fence.

So far, I can say that if you like to hear the sound of your bass being compressed... where you can actually hear the compressor in action (sudden attack, followed by compression, followed by audible release) then this is for you.

I can see the value of that... there is an audible punch and and obvious tightening of the overall signal that is very thick and meaty. I can see the value in this if dynamics was less of a concern.

My Demeter, on the other hand, is completely transparent... with two knobs. I can not hear it kick in AT ALL and I can only hear an audible release if the conpression is dialed in way too high. It totally tightens up the bottom end and lets the highs blossom naturally. Very subtle, but very effective, when dynamics are more important to your tone.

But I dunno... Maybe people like that obvious compressed tone and that's the appeal. I could hear it clearly in the Smoothie YouTube demos, which is what turned me off from that pedal... didn't seem as bad in the Keeley video, but I can definitely hear it at home. I can get really close to dialing it out, but so far it's been tough.

I'm going to keep playing with it... my house was a zoo tonight, so I'll blame that. But, as of right now, I'm undecided.

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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: April 8th, 2015, 10:00 pm 
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I almost always prefer transparent over squashed when it comes to compressing, but I find that the squashy type of compression (I n my case, a Monte Allums modified Boss CS-03) can work well with fretless. Just a touch blended in with my clean signal evens out the tone/attack and brings out the "mwah" nicely.


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: April 9th, 2015, 8:17 am 
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finding the right compressor for one's needs is such a personal journey IMO. It really depends on what you're looking for the damn device to do for you.

For example, just plugging into a good 1176 rack unit (UA or Warm Audio for example) changes your tambre without any compression dialed in, and usually for the better! LOL.

The Keeley is a limiter. So if I understand it's architecture correctly, I would think that it's main purpose would be to control dynamic spikes, and again IIRC I read somewhere that its' emphasis is more geared toward taming higher freq spikes. Pls correct me if I'm way off base. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Ovni FX Smoothie
PostPosted: April 9th, 2015, 11:58 am 
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From the way I understand it, it's supposed to be a full-range compressor/limiter.

You can read the specifics here: https://robertkeeley.com/product/bassist-compressor/

Anyway, I spent more time with it last night and this morning.

I was able to dial it in much better by basically turning everything way down... I think I have the threshold at about 9:30 and the ratio at 2½:1 or so... I'd need to double check.

I think its tone is usable, so I'm going to keep it... and since it's so much more dramatic in its coloring than my Demeter pedals, it will be nice to have a compressor that does something completely different.

The best way I can describe the Demeter is that it really tightens up the bottom end so it's not unwieldy, dials down any drastic high and high mid spikes, but then its transparency allows a lot of the nuance to come through... it really brings out the sparkle. I can see how some might think you're losing low end when you hear this... but it has allowed me to run my amp a lot louder, without being obnoxious. I'd even be willing to say that it gives me a lot of the same benefits I'd receive if I was running a low pass filter.

The Keeley seems to tighten up and limit ALL of the frequencies, without allowing anything blossom... it squashes it all into a nice and tight, even package. So, everything is a little thicker, more smooth and creamy, without as much of the sparkle... it likes to squash the high end along with the low end frequencies. One immediate thing I noticed... unless I had it dialed in just right, playing slower 1/8th note disco-style octaves on Low C on the B string to middle C on the A string was giving me an envelope effect on the higher octave. Similar to the "pulsing" effect people always get on recordings when they over-compress everything. I am unable to duplicate that same effect on the Demeter.

Anyway, like you said... everyone has different needs and it's NOT a bad pedal, by any means. It's just a much differently tuned compressor than the Demeter... and so far, I feel like the Demeter is a bit more musical.

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