Jackson Audio Bloom V2 MIDI Compressor
As a compressor, the Bloom features an optical limiting circuit that takes its inspiration from compressors designed during the golden age of vacuum tube circuits. Optical compressors as they are called, are known for their transparency and subtlety. While the Bloom can provide a very aggressive response at more extreme compression settings, its real strength lies in its ability to add a gentle sweetening and roundness to the tone as the optical circuit works to polish off any rough edges in the sound.
Because of its natural and touch responsive bloom, the Bloom is ideal for players who typically don’t use compression but want the ‘mastered’ response that optical compression gives a guitarists tone.
The frequency response of the compressor section is flat as a board and does not boost or cut any of your highs or lows. In fact for the demo videos we recorded, Dow Tomlin (Bass Player for Wynonna Judd) used the Bloom on his bass the entire time and loved it! Just like a well-designed compressor should, the Bloom alters the dynamics of the guitar signal and not the tone. A good compressor should be felt and not heard.
During the design phase of the Bloom we consulted with slide master Joey Landreth, of The Brothers Landreth fame, on what an ideal compressor for guitarists as well as slide players would be. After going back and forth with him it soon became clear that to build the ultimate compressor for guitarists we would have to include the option to run two compressors in series with each other to provide the legendary Lowell George slide tone. Lowell George, the bandleader/singer/songwriter/guitarist for the band Little Feat was famous for using two Urei 1176 compressors in series with each other to give his guitar near-infinite sustain while still remaining crystal clean.
When set to compression preset 5 or “Slide Mode” the aux compressor circuit is activated and placed in series ahead of the primary compressor. The tonal result of using two compressors in series is that notes will sustain almost endlessly and oftentimes break out into harmonic feedback while still remaining clear and clean! It ‘feels’ like you have an overdrive pedal on but the tone is still clean with endless sustain!
Hidden inside the Bloom, is an auxiliary compressor circuit that is identical to the main compressor circuit however without externally mounted controls. This aux compressor, which is set with a fast attack of 7.5ms, has two trimmers mounted on the right side of the pedal and are accessible when the cover is removed. These trimmers allow you to adjust the COMP and VOLUME settings of the aux compressor when using compression presets 5 and 6. More on compression presets later.
When more subtlety is desired from the compression circuit, we have included a BLEND control that allows the player to blend in their clean, unaffected signal back in with the compressed signal. One of the best features of the Blend control is that it allows the player to dial in a really aggressive compression setting and then blend some of their clean signal back in with it. This produces the effect of giving the note a very natural attack while slowly fading in the sustain that comes from running a high compression setting.
If you’re not a studio engineer, many of the more fully-featured compressors on the market can be really intimidating and overwhelming with knobs for everything including attack, release, ratio, knee, etc. As a guitar player, I typically like to keep things as simple as possible and prefer to
think in terms of which settings would be the most appropriate for the style of music I’m about to play.
Not all players are the same and not all songs require the same compression settings, that’s why we have designed the Bloom to have six compression presets that give the player six distinct options for their attack and release settings. These settings run the gamut from subtle to extreme and allow the player to quickly dial in the perfect compression setting for the next song.
Note that each compression preset has its own color setting on the COMP led. This led color will change as you play and will change more dramatically the harder you play and especially when higher settings on the COMP control are used. If you see the color change, that means that the compressor is ducking the level of what you are playing.
Since the BLOOM first came out, we have received many requests from our players saying that adding MIDI to the BLOOM would make it the perfect compressor and we completely agree! Always we take player feedback as a primary driver of product development and we are very proud to announce that the most flexible compressor on the just got better with the addition of MIDI! NOTE: In order to accommodate this new feature, for space reasons, we were required to eliminate the SIDECHAIN that the original BLOOM featured.
CABLE INFORMATION: In order to use MIDI on the BLOOM v2, you will need a cable that converts a MIDI (DIN-5) connector to a TRS cable. This is the cable that we have used with great success and can't recommend it enough.
For those building their own cables, the BLOOM v2 receives MIDI information via the RING connection on a TRS (Tip, Ring, and Sleeve) connector.
By default, the BLOOM v2 – MIDI ships with MIDI Channel 1 being the selected channel. This can be changed by pressing and holding both the COMP and BLOOM footswitches while applying power to the BLOOM. While holding these footswitches down adjust the BLOOM knob. All the way down is MIDI Channel 1…all the way up is MIDI Channel 16 with channels 2-15 being located evenly between those two points as you rotate the BLOOM knob.
You’ll notice that as you rotate the BLOOM knob, the BLOOM LED will flash to indicate which MIDI channel you have selected. IE – 7 flashes = MIDI Channel 7. After the LED flashes, we inserted a 2-second pause so you could tell when the LED was finished flashing. The LED will continue flashing as long as you are holding down the two footswitches. Once you have selected the MIDI channel you want and have verified it by counting the flashes, simply release the two footswitches and the pedal will save this MIDI Channel to the internal EEPROM on the microprocessor and reboot.
Accessing the new MIDI features of the BLOOM is done by a combination of Program Changes as well as Control Changes. Below is a list of the features of the BLOOM that can be accessed via MIDI and how to access them.
PROGRAM CHANGE #1 – LIMITER MODE
PROGRAM CHANGE #2 – COUNTRY MODE
PROGRAM CHANGE #3 – R&B MODE
PROGRAM CHANGE #4 – BALLAD MODE
PROGRAM CHANGE #5 – JOEY (SLIDE) MODE
PROGRAM CHANGE #6 – AUX MODE
CC #1 – COMP ON/OFF (value of 127 = ON /value of 0 = OFF)
CC #2 – EQ ON/OFF (value of 127 = ON /value of 0 = OFF)
CC #3 – BOOST ON/OFF (value of 127 = ON /value of 0 = OFF)
CC #4 – midiBoost ON/OFF (value of 127 = ON /value of 0 = OFF)
– midiBoost determines what has control over the boost level; midi or the bloom knob on the pedal.
CC #5 – midiBoost expression (value of 0-127)
– midiBoost expression determines the boost level. This can be either a set value or can be expressed via a MIDI expression pedal.
The EQ circuit features a studio-grade EQ that gives tremendous tonal flexibility to the BLOOM. Based on the legendary Baxandall EQ that is featured in countless studio EQ’s, the Bloom EQ takes this circuit and tailors it for guitarists! We spent tons of time on this EQ dialing it in so it would hit all the frequencies that guitarists need to adjust and then sweetened it by removing the ear fatiguing highs and lows that can appear at extreme settings.
The Bloom circuit is one of the most exciting parts of the Bloom! Designed as both a level booster and sustainer, the Bloom can work as a set boost by quickly pressing and releasing the Bloom footswitch, or by pressing and holding the Bloom footswitch, the Bloom circuit will slowly ramp up the level to the level set by the boost. This ramp-up time, which is programmable, can be used to increase sustain on held notes or to match the dynamics in a song. Once the ramp-up is complete, pressing and holding the Bloom footswitch again will fade the level back down to unity.
Acts as a master volume for the primary compressor section. Changes to the COMP and BLEND knob will typically necessitate a change to the Volume control to keep the overall level the same.
Allows you to blend in your clean uncompressed signal with the compressed signal. Full counter clockwise is full compression. Fully clockwise is full clean signal. TIP! Try running your COMP knob full up and use the BLEND control to adjust the intensity of the compression. Doing this will allow the attack of your note to feel normal while adding sustain to the back end of the note.
Turn clockwise for more compression. Balance this with the BLEND and VOLUME control.
The 12:00 position is totally flat with +/-12dB boost/cut on either side of center.
The 12:00 position is totally flat with +/-12dB boost/cut on either side of center. The mid frequency is centered around 660hz.
The 12:00 position is totally flat with +/-12dB boost/cut on either side of center.
Sets the amount of boost when the BLOOM footswitch is engaged. Also is used to set the Bloom fade time when in Program Fade mode. When the Bloom is activated, turning the BLOOM control will change the BLOOM led to indicate the amount of boost present.
To activate/deactivate the compressor circuit simply press the COMP footswitch. To select a compression preset, press and hold the COMP footswitch for more than 1 second and compression program mode will become active. When in this mode, the COMP led will flash to indicate that you are in program mode. A quick tap on the COMP footswitch will cycle the compression presets and you’ll be able to hear these preset changes as you cycle through them assuming that the compression circuit was active when compression program mode was entered. Once you arrive at a compression preset that you want to use, press and hold the COMP footswitch for more than 1 second and compression program mode will exit.
Note. When compression mode is exited, the selected compression preset is written to the internal EEPROM on the microprocessor and that will become your default compression setting when the compressor is engaged.
To activate the Boost feature of the Bloom simply press the BLOOM footswitch. To activate the Bloom feature (slow fade up to boost level) press and hold the BLOOM footswitch for more than 1 second. The inverse is also true. To fade down from a boost setting, press and hold the BLOOM footswitch for more than 1 second.
To set the period of time that it takes the Bloom feature to reach the set level of boost, press and hold both the COMP and BLOOM footswitches simultaneously for more than 1 second and ramp program mode will become active. When in this mode, the BLOOM led will slowly fade from off to full brightness at a regular interval with the BLOOM knob setting the duration of that interval. The fade time is as quick as 1 second at the full counter clockwise position of the BLOOM knob to as much as 5 seconds at the full clockwise position of the BLOOM knob. To save this setting, press and hold both the COMP and BLOOM footswitches simultaneously for more than 1 second and ramp program mode will exit.
To activate the EQ, press and release the COMP and BLOOM footswitches simultaneously.