Any complaints with the Black Finger besides noise?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Ryan Mohr, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    It seems like some of these units are noisy, but others are not. I am not concerned with this too much because I don't use a tweeter and I use a P bass w/ flats primarily, so I don't have much high end. After reading lots of review, I think this may be the one for me because it is versatile, can fatten and warm up your tone, and can also be very transparent without the "dip and swell" effect found in many compressors. Does anyone have any complaints besides the noise?
  2. rhcp32291


    Aug 19, 2007
    Long Island
    I have been using mine for months now and I like it more and more ever time I turn it on. There is really a big difference in sound when this pedal is turned on, but by different I mean the warmest fatest deepest version of your original tone. I don't use a tweeter either and I don't get any noise from it so you shouldn't worry. Great pedal.
  3. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    The other one I am considering is the Barber Tone Press, anyone ever compare these?
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I had a Black Finger and loved it. It will fatten up your tone big time. I turned it over to my guitar playing partner, and went with a TRex Squeezer instead, also a great comp. I would assume the Barber to kick ass as well, got my eyes on a Linden eq.
  5. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    I am also considering the Demeter and EBS, but for some reason the Barber and EHX seem like they would fit me the best.
  6. BuckoSama


    Jun 30, 2008
    Plattsburgh, NY
    I have a tweeter and a Rickenbacker, so I've got plenty of high end, and I still love it. I have one of those Black Fingers with no noise at all though, so your mileage may vary. But, I NEVER EVER EVER turn it off.

    Try it out with different tubes, too. I've got an AT7 in the pre slot and an AX7 in the post slot. It makes the effect nice and creamy.
  7. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    I had the EHX BF and still have the EBS.
    I agree with all the above - like "the warmest fatest deepest version of your original tone" :)
    I got rid of mine because of our setlist variability - I do some slap too and for slap it was too slow whichever setting I tried.
    If I was playing a flats with no-tweeter cab predominantly (like you), I would just lovingly use it with big smile and never look back.
    For your purpose it is much better than EBS, imho.
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I know you've already read my rants ;) but FWIW the BF was designed more for tonal coloration and the TP was designed for transparency.
  9. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Thanks, I keep telling myself that but there's something about the Barber.
  10. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Can the Tube setting on the MultiComp compare to the tone of the Black Finger?
  11. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    No way! The Tubesim on MultiComp adds just little bit of sheen, the sound is a bit more lively than on Normal setting.
    On the other hand, the Black Finger is a genuine fat juicy living creature :D
  12. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Idk about the multicomp, but as nemo said, the Black Finger is the real deal.
  13. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
  14. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Any relation to The Black Hand?

  15. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    One last bump before I buy it...
  16. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
    Bought it...
  17. tbone409


    Feb 17, 2007
    kenosha, wi
  18. Snikpout


    Mar 22, 2005
    I have read a lot of opinions regarding the Black Finger and I think there is a big misunderstanding about this compressor :confused:
    I have just ordered and received an unit, so I have made measurement and checked some values.

    1) Test configuration : inserting the BF into a Presonus FireBox Sound Card :

    Input and ouput level (unity gain) are set to 0,775VRMS FS, test signal is [email protected]

    2) Noise
    With Pre and Post gain set to max; the BF gain is 50dB and the noise reaches -40dB, a very bad value indeed, but don't forget that 50dB is a very hi gain.


    With Pre and Post gain set to normal conditions, the BF gain is 0dB (unity gain) : Noise reaches now -91dB, a very good value which cannot be eared in normal situation.


    3) Distortion :

    A good value for a tube device, please note that I have fitted a RTC 12AX7S (Mullard anode box) and a Amperex Bugle Boy 12AX7 instead of the original 12AX7EH.
    "Compress" potentiometer doesn't affect the distortion value.


    4) Input impedance :

    I checked twice the measurement, but it's true : 50kΩ ! :eek:
    A very very bad value, a passive bass cannot be directly plugged into the BF, it's a too low impedance. 1MΩ is a correct value but not 50kΩ.
    This impedance is compatible with an active bass or with the output of another stomp box without any problem.
    BF is a line level device but not a passive bass preamplifier.

    5) Conclusions
    The Black Finger doesn't generate any noise if it is correctly used : it's a compressor, not a preamplifier :
    - No passive bass directly plugged into the BF because of its low impedance and the consecutive noise generated by the high gain (passive basses have generally a low level output and needs some gain in order to reach a good level). ​

    - Using an active bass with a high output level or after a boost/preamp pedal is OK​

    - Pre and Post gain should be only used to finely adjust the input level and to compensate the loss of level due to the compression process (makeup gain).​

    - The best solution is to insert the BF into the FxLoop of a preamplifier (Demeter VTPB 201 for my gig) with line level value (0,5 ~ 2VRMS); in this configuration the BF rules, noise cannot be eared ​

    Shame on Electro Harmonix : they don't tell anything in their "documentation" sheet about levels and impedance. Why ? :confused:
    The Black Finger is a killer : a fantastic compressor when it's correctly fitted in the amplification chain and finely adjusted : no noise, a very nice sound, punchy and beefy, sweet or sharped; this Sound Maker stays definitively in my pedalboard now :bassist:
  19. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Thank you very much for that research and information! I will take it strongly into consideration the next time I have an opportunity to test one of these units out.

    I do disagree with two elements of your position however:
    The BF is a pedal, clearly marketed for use at instrument level. I'm not at all denying or doubting your observation that it works best at line level- but there is no sense in them marketing it in pedal format if it actually operates optimally as a line-level device. It is not a "misunderstanding" by the users of this pedal if they use it at instrument level -often enough with passive instruments- and it performs badly that way. If it's staying on your pedalboard, are you feeding it a line-level signal; do you never use passive instruments?
    This is just wrong. First, nearly all compressors (including the BF) contain a gain stage and are thus capable of creating noise or amplifying existing noise, when correctly used. Secondly, all preamplifiers are capable of the exact same issues- there is no distinction in practice between the noise potential of a compressor versus a preamplifier.

    Again though please understand I am not criticizing you, I really am appreciative of the graphs and explanations you provided.
  20. okTem


    Jul 15, 2008
    Istanbul, Turkey

    I use a CM Comp Limiter and if i ever crank the gain on my valvedrive it simply doubles its noise. though i can't say the noise is produced by the comp pedal itself bu it is certainly increased. Since that's my live rig, it is not a big issue.

    BTW this is one of the very good compression threads. thanx to every one commented here :)