Barber Tone Press

April 19, 2005

Barber Tone PressThe Tone Press ($149 retail) smokes most compression pedals by deploying a parallel compression scheme that eliminates the annoying “pop” that’s often audible when initially attacking notes, as well as ensuring meaty tones by maintaining phase coherence.The Tone Press also includes an ingenious Blend knob that mimics the big-studio trick of routing compressed tracks to separate faders for the purpose of adjusting the levels of the unprocessed and compressed signals for maximum punch. This all adds up to a pedal that goes from silky sustain to serious squash without degrading your tone or introducing appreciable noise. And if you simply must have the squishier sounds reminiscent of classic compression pedals, you can choose a softer response with the Color pot located inside the unit.

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Despite its sophisticated electronics, the Tone Press makes it easy to dial in an impressive range of great sounds without excessive knob twiddling. The Sustain control simultaneously adjusts attack, release, and ratio, and, with the Blend control fully counterclockwise, the pedal doubles as a super-clean booster. The Tone Press offers class-A circuitry, military-grade wiring, and true-bypass switching—all for a fraction of the cost of most boutique pedals—which makes it not only an outstanding bargain, but one of the finest compression pedals I’ve ever used. Get one.

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