Price paid: $ 99
Purchased from: Tonefactor
Sound — 9
Using it with a few guitars, a strat (humbucker in the bridge), tele, Fender jag through a Laney vc30. Its quiet, the quietest distortion I've ever used, shocking for the amount of gain it has. I notice a bit more hum with single coils, but its to be expected. It has enough gain to take you all the way to pantera tones. And back it off for some grungey sounds. It doesn't really do the low crunchy gain thing well, but it makes a good clean boost, lots of volume to boot. For a mid - high gain pedal, Barber nailed the market on tone, features and value. The sound is very smooth, very fat, loads of sustain, probably a bit too much low end for most people, but I love my bass. Pinch harmonics sing out of it. It can be bitey and gritty if you dial it in to be. I don't feel there's much upper midrange to this pedal with the mid boost on. The mid boost gets a very doomy dark sounding distortion with the gain all out and the bass cranked (there's alot of low end in this pedal). It's pretty loose sounding. Think of Down. It can get a bit "fluffy" sounding too if you don't EQ your amp right. Dial the gain back a bit, a bit more treble, less bass, Switch to the neck pickup, you get some nice soaring lead tones. Sounds abit Eric Johnsony for comparison. The flat mids is what I usually use for "regular" sounding rhythm tones. Its thick and crunchy, a great chuggy sound, its a lot tighter sounding on this setting, think of a Metallica style rhythm tone. Well balanced, open, uncompressed. Scooped is well, scooped, I Switch to this when I want to sound like Dime/Kerry King/Machine Head. Even though scooping your mids is the cause of AIDS. Its a good sound, loads of bite, its a pretty extreme mid cut so you will have to boost your volume to compensate. But its a very tight and well defined sound. Works great for leads too. And yeah, it cuts through. The internal sub trimpot is a bit OTT, but I've found a nice middle ground at about 2 o'clock.
Overall Impression — 9
I play lots of genres of music, and I figured I'd get this to satisfy my metaly playing. I've been playing over 6 years now, I've played a fair bit of gear, I know what I like and I don't like, and this pedal is a keeper. Overall its a pretty versatile br00talz pedal. Easily the best in the price range (Vs the metal muff, fullbore, Boss ub3r Death Metal pedals, DigiTech tl2), though, it doesn't have as much gain as these units, but you'll kick it on and realise you didn't need all that gain in a pedal anyway, you just needed this tone.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Hand made in the USA, true bypass, bomb shelter enclosure, great quality wiring and soldering by barber, I'd trust my life on this pedal. I've had it for about 8 months and its been perfect. I would definitely consider another Barber pedal. And would gig without backup.
Ease of Use — 9
Its pretty easy to use, your standard Volume, Bass, Treble and Gain controls. With a mids Switch to take the mids from Flat, Bumped or Scooped. Its a good range of settings, but of course an actual mids control would be nicer. Everything's pretty self explanatory, the manual is a lousy sheet of paper, its not necessary anyway, covers a few settings to get you started. There's also an internal sub control to take it from a bit of thump all the way to your walls are shaking brown noise type sub-bass.