Diamond’s Bass Comp was created due to demand. Their original compressor meant for guitar turned out to be great on bass as well, but with only a few matters that could be improved for bass players. The BCP1 was Diamond’s response. Let’s investigate…
Sometimes the best way for a company to conduct market research is simply to listen to the communities, and with tons of online niche forums, this is easier than ever. Diamond had followed the debate on e.g. TalkBass and learned that bass players loved their compressor, but also that there was some issues such as slight loss of low end and a problem with active instrument outputs. The solution? A dedicated bass compressor – we just love when the pedal makers tune in to the communities and actually listen, learn and respond accordingly. The premise for this pedal is perfect. Let’s find out if it also delivers.
The control layout is fairly simple – just 3 knobs and a 2-way toggle switch. The first knob is simply labelled COMP and is the only control for the dynamics side of things, as there are no separate threshold, ratio, attack or release controls. On the far right, there is a VOLUME control, though, that acts as a make up gain allowing you to dial in unity gain, or give the overall output signal a boost.The middle knob is named EQ, and the 2-way toggle switch relates to this knob. Quite a few compressor pedals come with a tone knob, mostly designed for adding a bit of treble as a compressed signal sometimes may lack a bit of clarity. But it should be noted that this particular EQ feature is not working that way. It is a ’tilt’ EQ that uses a center point that is largely untouched as you turn the knob, but as you turn it counterclockwise, frequencies below this point are increased and frequencies above are decreased gradually. If you turn it clockwise, the opposite happens – boosting above and cutting below the center point. The toggle switch simply allows you to choose between two different center points – 250 Hz, which was chosen with bass players in mind, and 900 Hz, which is also the tilt point on the original Diamond compressor pedal.
There are 4 rounds of sound clips in this review. The first 3 are methodical and the last one demonstrates various settings that could be used when slapping. The sample used for the first 3 rounds is developing from palm-muted playing to regular fingerstyle and finally slap. I like this kind of approach when testing a compressor as it is quite easily revealed how it handles significant dynamic variation.
- EQ 250 Hz Tilt Point
- EQ 900 Hz Tilt Point
NOTE! Please use headphones or ‘real’ speakers. You simply can’t judge low-end material on laptop, tablet or phone speakers…!
NOTE! If you are on a mobile device, please turn it to landscape mode to see the knob settings of the pedal for each audio clip.
With the limited amount of control on the compressor side, you might expect the BCP1 to be less versatile. I suppose it would sometimes be nice to have dedicated control over more compressor-related parameters, but to be honest, I never missed it when testing the pedal – not when creating the sound clips and not when I have tried it in a live band situation.
The EQ, on the other hand, is brilliantly designed and one of the best one-knob EQ controls I have come across on any compressor pedal. It works great on both the 250 Hz and 900 Hz settings. Overall, if you want to emphasize the low end, I prefer the 250 Hz setting, but ultimately it really depends on your particular bass, how old your stings are (especially when ’tilting upwards’) and what your reference tone is.
As with practically any compressor pedal, you could use this one as a clean booster, but then again, even when you turn the COMP knob all the way down, there is still a little compression going on. In general, this pedal is not neutral as it has a quite significant voice or ‘flavor’ to it. But it just happens to be one that I really like a lot.
The quality seems really good. Chunky and firm knobs along with solid connectors and switches, gives me confidence that this pedal was built for a life on the road.
In some respects, and as have been mentioned a number of times, the user interface design is pretty simple, but since the tonal side of things just plain works, I completely salute the design decisions made on this pedal. Simplicity and usability seems to co-exist just fine.
There are even a few design matters that haven’t been mentioned yet, but that also contributes to the overall impression of the BCP1. First, it has a high headroom design (to cope with active bass signals), which means it is recommended to run it on 18V. Diamond delivers the pedal with a dedicated 18V power supply, but they also know us well enough to realize that most bass players like to power their pedals from a dedicated multi-output power supply. Therefore, they also include a little red cable that you can use with a standard 9V power supply. The cable simply reverse the polarity – it doesn’t ramp up the voltage to 18. I had no issues whatsoever running the pedal on 9V with a passive bass, but if you use an active bass, you may consider powering the pedal using the dedicated Diamond power supply.
The LED should also be mentioned as it is a multi-color LED that is green when you turn on the pedal, but it will show you the gain reduction happening in realtime, turning towards orange/red the harder you push it. Please note that I have seen some demos of this pedal where the LED is just yellow at all times when punched in. There may be various versions out there, and if you actually get to choose, I’d go for the multicolor version, but to me it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker in any way if I couldn’t find that.
If there would be anything I missed on this pedal, it would be a blend option. I know I always make a big deal out of this, but it really is a great feature to have. That said, in this particular case, I must say I didn’t miss it a whole lot.
Today (2016), you can pick up a new Diamond BCP1 Bass Comp for $249. It puts it in the higher end of the market, but I find the price point justified given the high quality, great tone and simple interface that just works.
Summing up, this pedal is a great choice if you look for a compressor that tames your peaks elegantly. In that sense, it is very transparent, making muted playing style blend perfectly with fingerstyle and occasional slaps and pops, but on the other hand it is a quite colorful pedal in terms of fundamental tone-shaping. It will affect your tone, even at the most subtle setting, but to my ears in a great way, so I can only recommend you give this one a try if you – as so many of us – find yourself on the eternal compressor pedal quest…
Colorful tone-shaping (in a good way)
Flexible voltage input (expanded headroom if needed)
Great design and user interface
Good value for money
No blend option