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#527145 - 10/16/06 05:35 PM Barber Tone Press & Keeley compressor
gonzo Offline
purveyor of noise
Loquacious Planeteer

Registered: 08/16/99
Posts: 31274
Loc: SL.UT
got to a-b a Keeley compressor against a Barber tone press

both of these, are guitar player magazine editor's choice award winners.

my luthier, bought a keeley comp.

i bought a Barber tone press.

we got together last night and a/b'd the two-- same rig, same guitar, same settings, etc.

gotta say, they're both amazingly good sounding compressers.

both are pretty transparent.

both are dirt simple to operate.

both have true bypass. you don't hear them in line at all, when the effect is off.
all other compressors, i've ever tried, sucked tone when off.

both have led's to show when the effect is engaged.

both are made very well.

the barber is bigger, and a bit heftier, than the keeley. i like heavy, myself, but if it was an issue of fitting a smaller pedal on a pedalboard, the keeley has the upper hand.


the keeley, is based somewhat on the mxr dynacomp.
i had a dyncomp, til about a month ago, so i'm well versed in the feel of that classic comp.
the keeley, is more transparent, and not quite as noisy, as the original mxr dynacomp.
the keeley has more aggressive settings on the sensitivity, and gets pretty noisy when dimed (completely understandable with high settings of ANY compressor).

-but the middle settings sounds really nice, and even at really low settings, you can get very transparent compressor settings. Still, you can hear a certain amount of 'pop' at the harder pick attacks, and this is very much in line with the classic dynacomp sound....and it still sounds 'squished' to my ears...... it's more obvious that this effect is on, even on mild settings, than what is achievable with the tone press.

it has an 'attack' control, inside the box, that can be tweaked to a degree, but is somewhat a nuisance to get to and mess with...
we left this set on the factory setting for this test.

the barber Tone Press, can do this same sound, but has a completely other side as well....

it can do "Parallel compression".
and it works.

website defines it best:
Barber developed a one-of-a-kind and quite proprietary continuous “blend control” circuit and combined it with a discrete “Class A” FET mixer circuit to allow you to continuously blend the natural signal of your carefully selected guitar with a “phase-corrected” classic compression circuit.

basically, i can dial in the amount of compression (sustain) i want, then take the blend knob and dial in the straight, dry unaffected guitar signal along with the compressed signal.
this allows me to set the compressor so i get exactly the amount of 'attack' i want, and it comes through without being squished.

when i first plugged it in, it almost seemed like the compressor was not doing anything...
because you hear all of your original attack, and with typical compressors, you hear the compressor working on the signal right away. i had to leave that session, come back later with a different mindset, before i really became aware of how this thing really works.

--with the tone press, it's very subtle how it's working, and doesn't mess with the basic tone and dynamics as much, based on how you set the blend control. but you still get all the compression you want, it's just way more dynamic.

it seems to enhance the tone as well, meaning, it doesn't 'take away' any of the treble or bass response. you can turn the blend all the way to the right, and get the 'dynacomp' sound if you want it.

but i'm finding, the unique sound of this compressor has allowed me to dial in a much more natural sounding effect.

it sounds perfect for strats.

i back it down a bit for humbuckers....... which is as easy as just dialing the 'blend' knob back a notch or two.....

a side benefit of this pedal...
you can use it as a class A 'clean boost'.......... with 8 db of boost, and the blend all the way to the left.

there is a 'color' trim pot inside the box. you can tweak this to give a more round vintage sound. i like it in the factory 'full on' setting.


for the price, i think it's a no brainer.


#527146 - 10/17/06 11:48 AM Re: Barber Tone Press & Keeley compressor
Jools Offline

Registered: 05/17/03
Posts: 171
Loc: Gilbert, Arizona 85296
I have many barber pedals including 2 tone press pedals -- yeah, they are an innovation, in a really good way.

Nice review!


#527147 - 10/26/06 08:50 PM Re: Barber Tone Press & Keeley compressor
gonzo Offline
purveyor of noise
Loquacious Planeteer

Registered: 08/16/99
Posts: 31274
Loc: SL.UT
thanks win

so far, direct drive ss, and the tone press.

i could very easily convince myself that i need a launch pad, and a silver LTD.

#1063073 - 08/29/11 07:37 PM Re: Barber Tone Press & Keeley compressor [Re: gonzo]
MadGuitrst Offline

Registered: 06/10/99
Posts: 19711
Loc: 3rd Stone From The Sun
I bought a Tone Press a while ago and absolutely love it.
Not much more that I can add to Gonzo's review other than to +1 it and say it's simply become indespensible to me as both a compressor and a boost that adds another dimension for gain staging (don't use that way much, but when desired, it's just what the doctor ordered).

Best compressor pedal I've ever used.
MadGuitrst has left the building....but not before committing acts designed to offend the senses....

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
- Dr. Stephen R. Covey

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