Boss equivalency test

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by RetroTeleRod, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Sorry to throw salt onto this interesting thread @RetroTeleRod. I depended on Boss pedals at one time, but as I honed my tones, I slowly eliminated them one by one from my board. Their buffer is excellent, so I had a difficult time eliminating my last Boss pedal. Great pedals in the 90s, but stuck in the past and they have been passed up by the golden era of pedaldom during the last decade. Gotta love that tanklike paddle though. Good luck to everyone with this challenge, but I don't know if I could name one Boss pedal to replace any of my nine now. Not even the TU or GE-7.

    I guess that means I failed the challenge.:oops:
     
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  2. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My experience has been that 100% buffered would be way way better than 100% True Bypass.

    I have a mix of both though.

    Pretty sure I could change out to all Boss.

    Dunlop Cry Baby -> PW-3
    EHX Op Amp BMP -> DS-1X?
    Maxxon OD808 -> OD-3, SD-1?
    EHX Hum Debugger -> NS-2 (Not quite the same functionality)
    Polytune 3 -> TU-3
    EHX DMM 1100TT -> DM-2W (Definitely not the same but analog, one of the digital delays would be closer to feature parity)
    Digitech Polara -> RV-6
    Boss TR-2 -> TR-2
    Beat Budy Mini -> ???
    TC Ditto -> RC-1

    Maybe not everything the same but I could definitely go through and get very close.

    As for the Beat Buddy it doesn't look like Boss has anything like it, but I could probably take one of their fancy loopers in place of the Beat Buddy + Ditto and I bet at least one of the fancy loopers has an aux input, then I could use a computer or something. That would not be my choice though, I used a setup like that before and I prefer the simplicity of the Beat Buddy and Ditto.
     
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  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I am aware that the Boss buffer is considered less than perfect. However, I have experimented with them. First,
    you should plug straight into an amp with a short cord and then plug in with a long cord, possibly through several true bypass
    pedals, just to get a couple of data points on how your signal chain sounds, and how much might be lost to capacitance.

    Then, try plugging in a single buffered pedal, ideally where you are running through maybe 20 ft of cord and a few true bypass pedals.
    Listen to the difference. Then try it with a fancy, boutique buffered pedal, a "good buffer" such as Truetone, and an "ok" buffer
    such as Boss. I've done these experiments and concluded that a Boss buffer is perfectly fine-- no signal degradation, in
    my opinion. I also have found that if I use
    more than 3 or 4 Boss pedals than I can hear a slight reduction in tone quality, but it is very slight....and the difference is very
    tiny compared to differences that are audible based on variations in cable capacitance in a true bypass situation. To put it another way,
    I would rather have 4 Boss pedals than 0 Boss pedals.
     
  4. TelePunkJCM

    TelePunkJCM Tele-Meister

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    I find that usually (not always) folks views on Boss are heavily influenced by whether their rig is geared to stage or home. I was fine with boutique TBP pedals until I started playing in bands. Then I found those frustrating to dial in (often muddy, boomy bass) and found Boss just sounded outstanding - plug and play - live.
     
  5. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Use Boss pedals and sound like a King! (or at least a Prince.);)
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    I get the sense that not all of their pedals have the same buffer. You hear some say they are great, and some will never put a boss on their board due to the buffer. I've heard, for example, people "upgrading" from the TU2 to the 3, then subsequently reverting back, even though the tu3 is the superior tuner - they changed the buffer.

    In my case, the difference was noticeable. Loss of low end, warmth, singing sustain with my muff. (Yes I realize fuzz pedals don't love buffers, but the muff's impedance isn't supposed to be an issue with buffers).

    I much, much preferred the non buffered true bypass tone, even with the high end roll off, to what that boss tu3 (and the mxr analog chorus) was doing.

    In the end, I use the buffers in my higher end pedals and get the best of both worlds (to me). I can live with some capacitance related roll off, as it still sounds warm to me at least. I can't live with what I was getting from boss - yes, it was TINNY! lol. Too bad, because I do like their pedals a lot. But it's hard to pull the trigger when there is the risk of that problem. I was just given a BD2 (not my cup of tea, sounds harsh to my ear) and a CS3 (which I like, ironically). I also regret selling my DS1. (part of my boss purge upon discovery of this buffer problem).

    I suspect the waza stuff has a better buffer, but I find most of those pedals overpriced, unless you need that sound and want MIJ. There is a reason guys like Pete Cornish are so successful - they pay attention to the finer details of tone.

    Here is a link to the wampler video which provides some good insight...



    Sorry, kind of hijacked the thread with this buffer thing. Peace.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  7. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Apart from my wah, I ONLY use Boss pedals. And they have been there for at least 20 years.
     
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  8. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Are you talking about pedals on a board or one by one?

    If you take 2 long cables (even 10') and stick a True Bypass pedal in there it sounds absolutely terrible on my amp. It's like rolling the tone 50% off or more, and I didn't go out of my way to buy high-capacitance cables. I am with Axegrinder, I don't see how people get it in their head that Boss buffers are bad in that situation.

    If you are talking about a complex pedal board that is a totally different thing, but then again if you build the entire board True Bypass it will again sound terrible unless there is an "always on" pedal on there, which is basically an admission that a buffer is better. :)

    You gotta compare these with all the pedals off. Having a buffered pedal screw with your Big Muff is a totally different scenario and issue. I have a Big Muff and I keep it first in the chain for that reason. Despite Big Muffs doing better behind a buffer than most Fuzz circuits they still benefit a lot IMO from being first in the chain.. they just control better with your guitar volume knob that way.

    I mentioned boss replacements for my whole board but i didn't clarify I have an FX loop. I think FX Loops may take some of this stuff and change it as the signal is already buffered in some loops, or switchable between buffered and non-buffered.

    But for my input chain I make sure to put the Muff before the Tube Screamer for example to not have a buffer in front of the Muff. Muff (TB) -> OD808 (Buffered) -> Hum Debugger (Buffered) -> Polytune (Buffered). My FX Loop is DMM (TB) -> Polara (Think I have the buffer on, it's switchable) -> TR-2 (Buffered) -> Beat Buddy (TB I think) -> Ditto (TB).

    I think a lot of the boutique guys espouse TB so much because it is WAY simpler to build a TB circuit than a good buffer. There are all kinds of Boutique Tube Screamers that remove the buffer because it saves them so much work. I don't think anyone ever really said the TS buffer is bad either. It's just if you gotta build everything by hand it saves a ton of money and work to make it TB, and then they go sell a $200 Tube Screamer with fewer parts in it. Go figure. I love some of the Boutique guys like Wampler but they are not always straightforward when it comes to telling you something is better when it really means "better for our business."
     
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  9. TelePunkJCM

    TelePunkJCM Tele-Meister

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    Hilarious. Let me put 14 (!) buffered pedals in my chain and then draw conclusions about “Boss” buffers based on a comparison between that 14 pedal chain vs. no pedals at all. Comedy. Oh, and I’ll claim they are all Boss pedals but there’s actually an Ibanez and another Ibanez or maybe Maxon in the chain. Are they buffered as well? Seems legit.
     
  10. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    I used a Boss pedal once. My band said my buffer was terrible and replaced me with a didgeridoo player. I bought a Wampler and now that didgeridoo player is out of a job. We are touring the world and making mad bank all thanks to a buffer made with 2x the mojo. Thank you, super buffer!
     
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  11. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can't decide? This baby will cover all your buffer needs!
     
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  12. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    Interesting about the muff.. Although, I did much more testing unrelated to the muff before determining my TU3 to be problematic. But I may just take your advice and move my Muff (tone wicker) before the first buffer in my chain, at least to try.

    If you use true bypass looping, that is a game changer. Then it matters not how good the buffer is, when the pedal is removed from the chain anyways. A lot of high profile players use Boss pedals. I think this is because A) boss makes some great sounding stuff B) they are probably sponsored C) they are using fancy bypass looping, so they do not experience any issues from mediocre buffering. D) they are often modded.

    While I agree that it's easier and cheaper for the manufacturer to go true bypass than it is to buffer, there is more to it than that. If you have 12 pedals in series, you really don't want them all buffered. Boss includes buffers as a cost effective way to ensure their product sounds good enough for the masses. They get value from this and so do most of their customers. But if you're a tone snob, which I proudly am, then it may not be the optimal approach.
     
  13. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've said this before: the only people who are concerned with stuff down to this kind of detail are the guitar players who will never leave their basements, but routinely opine in guitar forums. Actual serious, gigging musicians (the formerly not deceased artist known as Prince, Steve Vai, and countless other Boss users) know that once you are in a venue with hundreds of people, and a sound guy between you and the PA system, none of those things like buffers matter at all.

    Regarding true bypass, if you're using a delay or reverb pedal and want the repeats or the reverb trails to continue after you switch the pedal off, that won't happen with true bypass. True bypass is not always better than buffered.
     
  14. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    It's a fair point.

    But then neither does most of your other gear that you may have spent thousands on.

    When I'm rocking the roof off my basement, I don't want one little pedal degrading my tone!

    The signal chain is as good as it's weakest link.
     
  15. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

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    Boss PW-3. Not as big as a Cry Baby but bigger than a Mini Cry Baby. Two tone options. Pretty cool and easy foot switch.
     
  16. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

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    Kinda like a fake Marshall stack...the first DS-1 is the only functioning pedal, but that's all you need!
     
  17. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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  18. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have no quarrels with Wampler's analysis. He also mentions that the use of 4 Boss pedals would not mess up highs as much as would 40' of cable without any buffer. His bottom line is similar to the conclusions I reached based on my own field testing. You want good quality low capacitance cables. You want at least one buffered pedal. Up to somewhere around 4 Boss buffered pedals is perfectly fine (see the 4 Boss pedal graphs from Orman that he shows in the video-- the effect is visible on an oscilloscope, but barely audible to the human ear since most of the roll-off is below or above human hearing range. Yes, there is a slight reduction in .db but that is easy enough to fix-- just turn up the volume! Changes to EQ within human audible range should be the primary concern.)

    Now, I can also see how someone with 8 or 12 Boss pedals in a single series array might be perfectly fine with the sound. Just as someone with 80' of high capacitance cable would be fine with that sound. In other words, while there may be an audible impact, depending on the user and the application it might not be a significant impact. Two more advantages of buffered pedals are that you don't get that popping sound when you turn on and off, and as mentioned for echo boxes you don't kill the trails when you switch it off. Third advantage is the on-off switches can last for decades.
     
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  19. Greg_L

    Greg_L Tele-Holic

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    No one actually needs a DS-1.
     
  20. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    how else are you suppose to drive all those metal zones then?
     
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