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Empress or Diamond with Barbershop

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by AndreasK, Apr 10, 2015.


  1. Barbershop+Empress

    2 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. Barbershop+Diamond

    6 vote(s)
    60.0%
  3. Carrots

    2 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. AndreasK

    AndreasK

    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    I´m getting a Barbershop! The shop has both compressors and hopefully I´ll get to try em both before perhaps buying, but I would love some input on the subject. I´m looking for that touch sensitive tube-like drive, and maybe I wont need a comp with the Barbershop. But if I´m getting one, which would you go for and why? Or something different? Why?
     
  2. Dark Barn

    Dark Barn

    Aug 3, 2010
    Seattle
    No experience with the Empress, but I have owned 5 compressors (3 FEA, Symetrix 501, Diamond) and the Diamond is my hands down favorite for ease of use and tone.

    As has been said elsewhere the Diamond has a soft ratio so if you think you need more control, more options it might not be for you though.

    My bass is rather high output so I keep the threshold very low on the Diamond, but it's the only knob I really ever have to fuss with. It has a punchy 'fat' tone right out of the box. Some other compressors I have tried could also get that sound but it took work to get there. I think with the Diamond you'll know in about 1 minute whether you like it or not.
     
    AndreasK likes this.
  3. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    I happily use my Empress Compressor with almost every of my dist, overdrive, fuzz and even with choruses and delay. Nice clean sound with my Jazz Bass (Marcus Miller Sig) and i can stack it with anything. Even my MXR Bass Auto Wah feels perfect now (this one is before!).
     
    AndreasK likes this.
  4. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    I use a Keeley Bassist/Limiting Amplifier in front of my v.1 Barbershop with pretty good results. They seem to compliment each other nicely and I treat both as sort of a singular cohesive unit. The Keeley is fairly transparent with a very usable range of comp ratio. I basically use the Keeley as a limiter/boost, shaving the spikes off my signal while pushing the Barbershop with the boosted/compressed signal. The highest highs are slightly attenuated at that point by the Barbershop to my ear, or are perhaps a little gritty depending on my threshold settings and finger attack. I haven't used the Diamond or Empress with the Barbershop.
     
    AndreasK likes this.
  5. AndreasK

    AndreasK

    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    The Keeley was in the running for a while, but the Diamond´s described "tone magic" and simpleness is so alluring. The Empress cost just a fraction more and I think is more versatile if I´m going for transparent. The Diamond sounds perfect, but I´m afraid the relatively fixed settings wont let me have the dynamics I want for the Barbershop. I´m also very aware I might be worrying and twisting my brains for no reason. I suppose running the Barbershop before comp will solve any dynamics issues anyhow. Or even run them in different loops on my LS-2. But so far, my (crappy) comps have worked best, for me, before OD. (VT bass and American especially).

    Like I said earlier, I´ll probably get to try before buying, but I´m looking for input to what to watch out for wile trying. Shop testing is far from ideal, I think.
     
  6. Dark Barn

    Dark Barn

    Aug 3, 2010
    Seattle
    I think a light break up OD like the Barbershop is best before compression but trying it both ways is a good plan.
     
  7. Coughdrops

    Coughdrops Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2008
    South Florida
    I loved the sound of my Diamond by itself but I wasn't crazy about stacking it with dirt (barbershop, beta and others), either before or after in the chain. Should I go down the comp route again, I'm going to go for the Empress for the sake of transparency and its tweak-ability. To your point above, I felt it took away some of the subtleness of the Barbershop, that touch response area between warm clean and slight breakup.
     
  8. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    NEW YORK
    The Diamond is a great compressor. But so is the empress. The empress gives you more options yet the Diamond one trick pony does it for me.
     
    Driven Crane likes this.
  9. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    I use a barbershop into an diamond on every gig. they're always on.
    I haven't tried the empress yet but I really don't feel that I need to since I love the tones that i'm getting with them.
     
    Moosehead1966 likes this.
  10. Mosfed

    Mosfed

    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I used the reverse of John for a good while:

    Diamond -> Barbershop and I thought it sounded great.

    Unfortunately that was an older Barbershop that popped on me so I traded it away and by the time I got my new one, I had bought a FEA Opti-Fet. And nothing is getting that off my board at the present. I still have the Diamond, but it really doesn't see too much time in the spotlight.

    So I voted for the Diamond in your poll. But I have never used the Empress.
     
  11. Driven Crane

    Driven Crane

    May 30, 2014
    I vote for Empress.
     
    Moosehead1966 likes this.
  12. AndreasK

    AndreasK

    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    Tanks for lots of good input! Although there are very good arguments in bot directions.

    That´s my worry. And I´m thinking the Empresses tweekabillity would be better.

    That´s what I want. A set and forget comp, always on with the Barbershop. I´m also thinking the Barbershop may give me all the compression I want. But the descriptions and sound-clips of what the Diamond does on its own sounds so appealing. This is kind of my last attempt of getting close enough to the all tube feel, before actually buying an all tube head. Which, in my own head, would be taking my hobby-musician tone goals a bit to far.
     
  13. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    It seems like this comparison specifically comes up a lot, and it also seems like it's one of the more "apples and oranges" comparisons. I am a proud Empress owner/user and I've never used the Diamond. The Empress is super-tweakable and transparent. The Diamond is sort of the opposite, but everyone says it's in a good way. It seems like if you're tempted by the "tone magic" of the Diamond, you should just try it out. But if you already have "your sound" in the Barbershop and need more flexibility, then get the Empress.
     
    Driven Crane likes this.
  14. AndreasK

    AndreasK

    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    That was my initial thought, and I´m after transparancy, hence the Barbershop. But then I started looking into the Diamond, and several, including the compression boss at Ovnilabs, states it maintains, but at the same time improves your existing tone. So I´m thinking I´ll still have my Fender P with flats into Ampeg tone. Just a bit fatter, clearer and more focused...?
     
  15. AndreasK

    AndreasK

    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    Ok, finally got my pedals, and all of one evening with my band so far. Ended up getting an EBS MultiComp. Really wanted something simple to dial in. And the EBS has its choices between normal comp, multi band and tube sim. As I didn´t really know what I wanted from the Comp, it seemed the wise choice. Also got a killer deal on one :) Turns out I wanted the fattening tube sim mode, which I assume has some of the qualities of the Diamond. Probably not as good, but I really like what it does, especially to my mids. At least for now, haven´t gotten around to trying out multi band adjustments yet.

    Anyhow, to the Barbershop. I´m amazed how smoothly it transcends from clean to the sweetest overdrive and beyond. Just by digging in. It even gets pretty nasty (in a good way) if i really got to work on the strings. And that´s when the comp comes in. Comp in front of BS and I don´t really see how it could work better for me the other way around, but I´ll have to try it some day. When playing hard and fast I just don´t have the skills to avoid spikes and the comp really helps, while still providing its fatness. And it doesn´t kill my dynamics at all.

    Had so much fun at rehearsals yesterday I think I could almost let go of all my other pedals and just stick with these two! ...and some kind of cleanish boost into the BS. Used my American, for that, yesterday and it brought out just that little bit of extra from the BS. After our standard warm up song (QUOTSA, Make it wit chu), my guitarist for the first time ever commented on my tone and how easily he could hear me. We hate it when guitarists tel us what to do, but we sure love it when they compliment us :D My VT Bass, has been a pretty much always on pedal. Yesterday when I turned it on I seemed to fall out of the mix. Not sure why, will have to experiment some on that... But for now, EBS MC > BS is my new pride and joy :)

    @odin70 I saw you asking about Comp>Barbershop. Thought I´d share this with you:thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
    Dark Barn likes this.
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Can't comment on the Barbershop, however I have owned both the Empress and Diamond compressors. Loved them both, HOWEVER the Diamond got too squishy with my hottest active basses even with the Comp control minimized (other users with hot actives have reported the same). So I returned the Diamond, and kept the Empress which handles my hottest basses beautifully.

    I don't really need the tilt EQ feature on the Diamond, so I would probably go with the Empress even if the issue noted above didn't exist. The LED ladder on the Empress is amazingly useful, and so are its additional controls for Attack, Release, Output, Mix, and Ratio. That said, I can definitely understand how the simplicity of the Diamond would be a big plus to some.
     
    Adamixoye likes this.
  17. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The same for me. The Barbershop set to only clip when I dig in pushing into the BCP-1 on a modest setting with the tilt EQ a little left of center... Magic.

    The one thing to keep in mind with the Diamond is that the headroom at 9V is a little low. 18V operation is really your best bet, and it requires center-positive power instead of center-negative like most of the rest of the pedal world. If you can deal with the odd power requirements, it's a magical combination. Both of those pedals with an fDeck HPF-3 in front has ended my tube amp GAS. Seriously. It's not the same thing, but it creates so many of the characteristics that I want from a tube amp that I no longer care.
     
  18. AndreasK

    AndreasK

    Jun 11, 2014
    Northern Norway
    The Diamonds fixed ratio and power requirements turned me of and sendt me to the MultiComp. Empress has to many knobs

    But I see that I have to swap it around and try the BS up front. Do you guys put your compression at the very end of your chain or somewhere in between?
     
  19. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    To clarify, I was running the Diamond with its 18v adapter when I had the headroom problems with my hot actives.
     
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I've been running compressor first. That said, I've decided that I'd like to try running OD before compression -- the idea being that my playing dynamics will have a greater effect on the amount of overdrive generated (dig in for more dirt, so to speak), and then the result will be smoothed.

    Running compressor first gives a more consistent level of overdrive from the OD pedal. As usual there's no right or wrong, just whatever works best (sounds best) to you.
     
    AndreasK likes this.

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