Is my Barbershop okay?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by moishelichtfuss, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. So I was wondering: After selling one two years ago I got another Barbershop and while it's generally fine, it just seems very different from what I remember. I know there are variations in parts, but it's strange.
    Is it normal that when dialling back the Sag knob, the pedals gets much quieter and also somehow less gainy? I also think I remember it making more crackling noises when changing the voltage (i.e. adjusting the Sag).
  2. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Washington DC
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    It sounds normal to me. I didn’t use the Sag knob at all so I can’t really tell you by memory but yeah dialing up the Sag should make the the pedal more clippy and gainy. That could be perceived as a gain in volume as well.

    As far as the lack of crackling, I think they’ve made some improvements over the years like the clicking footswitch etc.
  3. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    The sag knob is effectively a compression knob that's mimicking a dying battery. So yes...increasing it will add a bit of gain and any artifacts that the circuit is emulating. Dialing it out will reduce a bit of gain and thickness.
    This pedal is quite affected by pre-buffers before it. It behaves quite differently with active and passive basses and it's not just to do with the input gain seems the different impedance makes quite a variation in character.
    Al Kraft likes this.
  4. Thank a lot for the input. I‘m still using the same bass, but somehow it seems different. Maybe I‘m idealizing something from memory, but the gain structure also doesn‘t seem to change that very much when lowering the Sag.
    Zooberwerx likes this.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Mine does the same thing. I dont's see any significant drop in volume until I turn it CCW to 9:00 or lower. OTOH, I do hear a major change in the tonal character although I don't have a clue as to what it's emulating in what position.

  6. Well, by coincidence I found a way to make sure if my memories of the previous Barbershop are tainted by nostalgia. I found my old BS (owned for 2 years) in the local classifieds (serial number gave it away), bought it and will do a thorough comparison with the new one, once it arrives.
    munkeyfish likes this.
  7. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    PLEASE report your findings as to the differences between the old and the new once you have done that comparison!
    Thanks in advance!
  8. Will do. I’m eager to find out myself, since the folks at Fairfield already mentioned (via mail) that there’s always some variance in the parts (as usual). The two I’ll be comparing are both V2s. I also remember once having ordered a Modèle B, which I sent back immediately because it seemed very different to me. But of course there’s always the tricky difference between remembering and actually comparing.
  9. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    In what way was the B different to what you remember your original to have sounded like?
  10. It's kind of what I mentioned at the beginning: I have the impression that the Sag knob was a lot more interactive and had more influence on the sound and gain structure, i.e. I remember it sounding more "broken" and grainy when dialling back the Sag while my current BS mainly seems to get quieter and not break up as early while basically retaining a pretty similar overall "sound". In other words: It just doesn't have that much effect (or simply a rather diminished range). It's still a very nice pedal, but not what I remember it to be.
    The problem is that this could be chalked up to some kind of "nostalgia". That's why I like the idea of testing it against the actual unit I used to have. Maybe it's all BS. :)
    It also hardly breaks up at all with my rather low-output Hofner guitar.

    The Barbershop I currently have is the third one I bought over the years.
    The first one I can't remember much about. Back then I had no concept of how the Sag and Drive interacted, used it without much previous testing in a gig, it sounded horrible and I sold it again. Guess you could chalk that up to a classic user error.
    The second one is the one I owned for over two years, which will now be returning to me, and the third one is the one I'm wondering about.
  11. From what little I understand, the JFETs need to be biased individually to run optimally; but in this circuit a standard resistor value is used (indeed, adjusting the bias on a mass-production pedal would be time-consuming).

    "I remember it sounding more 'broken' and grainy when dialling back the Sag while my current BS mainly seems to get quieter and not break up as early while basically retaining a pretty similar overall 'sound'."

    Seems like parts' tolerances are indeed at play here; in the DIY community, a lot of people replace fixed resistors with trimpots to set the level of juice each transistor is getting.

    Same reason some Muffs sound great, while others from the same run just don't sound as good — parts tolerances and human bias...

    Looking forward to your findings.
  12. JFLbass


    Mar 3, 2010
    Long time user here of the Barbershop. I have an original big box and the V2 for both of my pedalboards. If you talk about the V2, make sure to put the tone switch in the middle position to start, that's the flat position. If you put the SAG at maximum ( flat), that's the position where you should have more gain. But for sure, the Barbershop is not a hi-gain overdrive... is subtle, with a low-mid presence...
  13. Now, I was kind of afraid of the possibility that this comparison would open up a can of worms and I would end up liking individual characteristics of both pedals (in fact I spent some hours agonizing over which one I liked better), but here's what I found out.
    Although they're of course essential the same pedal, there are definitely parts' tolerances involved, which give each of both pedals individual strenghts, especially since the Gain and Sag knobs are so interactive:

    I was surprised to find out that the newer Barbershop (#2183) actually has more overall gain than the older one (#1351, which I rebought), i.e. when turning up Drive and Sag fully, the newer is more distorted and fuzzy than the older. Also throughout (and I guess as a result), the Volume knob can stay much lower to achieve the same volume. So that's where my memory tricked me.

    What I definitely remembered right is that the range of the Sag on #1351 is definitely wider, which acts almost like a subtle burpy gating effect in the lowest position (very subtle) and gives the pedal a charming warm and broken quality, which can't really be achieved in the same way with #2183.

    Overall, while not as gainy, #1351 has a somehow warmer character and I don't really need MORE gain that much, since the BS is definitely not made for singy/sustainy stuff and a clean boost in front of it can still give the pedal more gain if needed (Curiously, I found that a 3Leaf PWNZOR used simply as a boost, i.e. with the compression off, did that job quite well of the few I've tried. Fore example I didn't really like what an Xotic EP Booster did to it.)

    I also found it interesting, which is maybe due to the different parts and the knob interactivity, that I wasn't really able to exactly replicate some sounds from the #1351 by simply dialling back the gain and fiddling with the Sag on the #2183, but I guess it's nothing you'd be able to spot in a full mix/band.

    Still, since the #1351 is the odder of the two and I've already had it for some time before, I'm keeping this and will be letting the #2183 go soon.

    This was probably not all encompassing, so if any of you have anything particular you want to know, just ask way. Thanks for reading.
    JFLbass likes this.
  14. I hear you. What I'm interested in: Are there any significant differences between the OG and the V2?
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  15. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Had the same exact thing happen with my second ME. It was like a completely different pedal in the way the SAG would interact with the DRIVE, except in this case the DRIVE was overly sensitive, distorting at ludicrous levels before being just past midpoint (yes, same bass). I sent it in to FFC for repair and it came back with all new components, but now the SAG was basically useless except for in the abolsute furthest end of its CCW rotation...meaning zero to fuzz like an on/off switch (not how any have worked in past experience. Yes, I know very well how they work. I’ve owned several of each version). My third ME was how I remembered my V.1 and first ME, and now my always on version is also closer in response to my first two. I have played others with seemingly varying degrees of tolerances. Some of them just seem to respond differently than others, but I would think that’s not so common.
  16. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    @moishelichtfuss ; What you describe does sound familiar somewhat.
    Thank you for sharing your findings!
  17. JFLbass


    Mar 3, 2010
    Mine sound exactly the same and, I use the exactly same setting on both pedals... I'm curious about asking Guillaume (Fairfield maker) about this, perhaps something change in the V2. My V2 comes directly from the shop and is an early one...
  18. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I dis ask and was told that nothing has changed from early V2s to current ones.( that is the question you are proposing, right?). I was told something about tolerances in parts.
    Maybe someone should ask once more.
  19. JFLbass


    Mar 3, 2010
    I just send an email to Guillaume... Waiting some news from him. ;)
  20. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Excellent, thanks!
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