Preferred compressor

Which compressor plug in do you prefer when tracking the bass and why? I’m currently running Artist 10.5. Thanks for any and all replies.

Are you asking about ‘Steinberg only’ compressor plug-ins? Or are you interested in third party also?

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Yes, I’m referring to the stock plug ins in Cubase. I recently got a bass guitar and I’m needing a little help in choosing one of the compressors. And if possible a basic or starting point on the settings. Thank you for your reply.

This is a very good overview of the Cubase stock compressors and their relative merits:

And this one looks at bass specifically:

You don’t say what type of material you’re doing or what type of bass sounds you’re after, but when using the stock plugins, I tend to reach for the Vintage Compressor for more busy, articulate or rock type parts and the Tube Compressor for more general smoothing out or slower, warmer parts. There are a quite a few presets to try as starting points. The Vintage Compressor is in the vein of a 1176 or FET style unit and the Tube Comp is more akin to an LA 2A Opto type so if you look/listen to a few demos of using those type units on bass they will give you some ideas. Having said all that I use the basic stock “Compressor” plugin quite a lot too - it’s got a good control set and doesn’t colour the sound much at all, just manipulates the dynamics. It’s worth remembering that all compressors are very input dependant so with any presets you’d usually need to start by tweaking the input / threshold controls a bit to suit your source material.

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My apologies for not stating what type of material I’m covering. It’s rock and blues based music. Thanks for the video leads and thanks for your reply.

In your OP you mention doing the compression during tracking. Many folks are split pro & con on the wisdom of applying effects & processing while recording. Without opening up that can of worms, you might want to make some recordings for testing purposes where you don’t apply any compression during recording. Doing so would allow you to try a variety of different compressors & settings to the same material and compare the results. Once you sort out what you like you can stick that on your input.


I assumed that compression was used while tracking the bass. But, I see your point, which makes absolute sense to me. My curiosity laid mainly in which of the compressors to use for the bass tracks. I’ll follow your advice and see what I can ruin! Thank you!

The VST Bass Amp also comes with a compressor that seems to be designed to be an inherent part of the bass tone, i.e. something you would print when recording.

Perhaps an additional option you want to play around with:

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I’ve tried the VST Bass amps and to tell you the truth they sound very good. For me, I’m trying to work more with compression on my bass tracks to gain more experience. Honestly, I have very little experience with compression. When I’m doing a project with my drummer I’ll track the bass and send him what I’ve recorded. From there, he does his eq which doesn’t end up sounding good some of the time. A lot of the time its really boomy. No clarity whatsoever. I’d like to be able to get the bass tracks as close as possible to being processed without him having to tweak the tracks and end up with boomy mud. And to be fair to him he has decades of experience with Cubase and processing than I do.

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If it sounds boomy and muddy, decades of experience don’t really matter. I say trust your ears!

Muddy sounding low end is often cause by unnecessary frequency build-up, so you’ll want to make sure to carve out some frequency bands for your bass to sit in, and EQ the rest of the instrumentation accordingly to not compete with the bass there.

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Build-up is exactly what it is. He’s explained to me that he has problems hearing the low end so he adds more to the bass track so that he can hear it in the mix a little better. The end result is a lot of flub.

That’s a classic problem. The opposite happens too where folks have a big old subwoofer they are listening to and then are surprised there’s no bottom in the mix.

If your friend needs to boost the bass to hear it while mixing they should add it in the Control Room using an Insert. Then the boost will be in their listening environment but not included in the Exported Audio. FWIW that’s where room correction plugs like Sonarworks also belong for the same reason.

Or maybe get them a sub for their birthday.

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I’ll mention the Control Room information to him. Hopefully it helps him out. Thanks.

These videos were very helpful! Thank you!