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Discussion in 'Pedals' started by Mark V Guitars, Aug 9, 2017.
Please explain the pros and cons of each. Why would I prefer one over the other...
Mark as far as I know they are two different subjects.
Buffering has to do with capacitance ( generated by the electrical current running thru you cables and True Bypass has to do with a pedals circuit being on or off ( colouring a tone or not )
IMO you use both a buffer , probably at the beginning of your pedal chain ( closest to the guitar) and pedals on your board that are Tru Bypass.
Where has my understanding betrayed me ?
And THAT's why you use a buffer.
You need both, especially with long cables.
Any BOSS pedal will be buffering, so all is good.
I go true bypass through my pedalboard to a Radial Headbone head switcher. It has a buffered input, and the tone is much better using the buffer. I don't believe in the TB hype, that using a buffer is somehow altering my tone-in a negative way. However, I do believe that my tone sounds better when it doesn't pass through a series of buffered pedals. That's one reason I love my loop-strip, so that only the pedals I want to use are in my signal path. Best thing I ever did for my pedalboard.
Somebody told me that if you use wireless, you're buffered. Is that true? And is it dependent on where the wireless transmitter is placed? For instance, most people have their transmitter right off the guitar, whilst I have mine at the end of my signal chain.
I've found this helpful:
A buffer is a 'unity gain' amplifier used for impedance matching (or changing).
The impedance correction can be a result of the types of pedals used and/or due to the extra capacitance created from using long and lots of patch cables on a pedal board.
A buffer SHOULD have high input impedance and low output impedance.
Each pedal in the chain should have high input 'Z' and low output 'Z' (when active).
The few pedals I can think of that are not constructed like this are the classic fuzz pedals and wah pedals (probably some more, but I don't have them). This is where buffers can be very beneficial.
Some pedals employ a buffer and the signal then bypasses the effect circuit (when 'off'). When the pedal is active the signal passes through the effect circuit...since a buffer is "unity" gain, there is no clipping (at least created by the buffer).
Of course if the pedal is true bypass there is no buffer when on or off.
FYI: a boost pedal...is a buffer.
I got nothing to add except experiment for yourself... I used to think the cable length thing was something you didn't have to worry about until you hit 100' or something... truth is, it's a lot shorter than that.. but every set up is different. if you plug into a 10' cord directly into your amp(1), and then plug into your pedalboard and add more cords(2) .. if the 2 sounds are pretty much identical, with all pedals in bypass... then you are good, no matter what or where the buffer (or no buffer) is... ideally, you should like your 100% bypass signal as much as plugging straight in, or more
if you have a compressor or boost (or drive) 'always on' you don't need to worry about a buffer, as soon as one of those guys are on, you are doing the same thing... but if you are running a lot of pedals, sometimes all in bypass, you may want a buffer somewhere, preferably early on... the boss tuner (or new polytune3) is a great way to add a buffer right up front.
but also look at your setup... I was trying to figure out a way to add a buffer in the front, only to read the damn manual to my amp, and find out I had a buffered effects loop... meaning I already had a nice buffer in the chain...
I have my buffered tuner at the front, and a JHS buffer at the end.
I'd love to get a Friedman Buffer Bay.
One pedal I knew that wasn't good in the chain was the Boss Sd1 overdrive. When bypassed and playing on the clean channel, I could still hear it putting a buzz in the speaker.
There are more than one way to design a buffer.
Most will do the same job and others may not work well with some pedals.
Only certain buffers will kinda work with old school germanium fuzzes and wahs; most won't.
So this is may be relevant to what I just experienced. I have a new MXR Reverb pedal, sounds great. But each time I turned it on I got the dreaded pop. I have a buffered pedal in front of my chain. My new OCD has a true bypass/enhanced bypass switch. I'm using the enhanced bypass mode, no more pop on the MXR. I have no idea why, but really glad it worked out that way.
This, not all buffers are created equal, & not all are transparent. Germanium treble boosters like the Rangemaster (& clones of) are another circuit that don't like buffers. The way I look at whether a buffer is needed or not is if cable length (&/or multiple patch leads/jacks) is causing degradation, ie; high end loss, then a buffer is needed, otherwise not. I have added switchable buffered loops (send & return buffered) to both my amps, but in front of the amp prefer to use loop switchers to get unused fx out of the signal chain. Cheers
I haven't been thorough about this, so i'll give a biased opinion. Always plug in straight, evaluate your tone. Then plug into your favorite pedal lineup, and evaluate it against the straight in benchmark, with all pedals off. Is it what you want? Is it better? Or is it being sucked.In the context of the op's question...pedals are not engaged in the circuit when testing.
I tend to think too many buffers may alter the original tone(and give a volume drop) too much for your tastes,but, it might sound good with your board/cable setup. Noise floor is an issue too,that needs to be evaluated.
I look for volume drops/ woolly tone pedal culprits. If you get infected with the woolly tone disease, you're going to have to plug/unplug till you find the culprit...or the lineup that is the culprit.I have found too many pedals in a row is a guideline,but, if the tone sparkles at the end, and the signal hasn't lost too much, you're good to go. I recently opted for a phase pedal..and went with the true bypass because i didn't want to roll the dice on how it would react with the other pedals in line when its off.It has no appreciable affect on the tone when its off.
Because of this insecurity(the absolute worst tone sucker i ever had was a Dunlop Vox wah, when it was not active), i use loops and keep the pedals in a row down to 3. I always know whats coming out. I use a Voodoo labs pedal switcher on a couple boards, it has an impressive buffer, even when i have a couple of loops engaged.There is no signal loss,to these ears...and some very nice sparkle.
But, sometimes i like the tone without the buffer output too...softens the sharp highs...so there you go. It can be all good. Its just no good when a particular arrangement kills tone and volume. Your ears will tell you as per my original test,then you decide.
Wahs like Vox's & Crybaby's are tone suckers because in the "off" position the wah's input is still connected to the signal chain, not switched out. Unless you can modify the switching its a good idea to use a loop switcher to switch the wah out. Cheers
Mmm.... The Sd-1.... A cool pedal but Boss has needed to fix that signal bleed issue like decades ago!
My ears tell me this^ is truth. When a pedal like that gets into the lineup...you tend to compensate with different settings on the amp...
Interesting. My Bad Monkey doesn't do that.
right...some do...and some don't. compensate. Its not always the sign of a subpar sounding pedal. As long as there is not too much signal loss, at which point it becomes a loss leader. Some pedals may be weaker...but if you have the ability to compensate, you can make them sound stronger, and allow their unique tone signature to come out...depends on your circuit, and how much hassle you're willing to put up with.
....and dynamic range can become an issue,vs compression, as well as noise floor...a matter of taste.