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Another buffer question

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by LesTele, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. LesTele

    LesTele TDPRI Member

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    Hi guys,

    I know the topic of true bypass and buffers have been addressed here countless times but I have had one lingering question for the longest time I cannot find an answer to. I’ve searched this question on this forum as well as google and nothing is clarifying it for me...

    My question is whether or not a pedal with a buffer (say, for example, a typical boss pedal) pushes the signal strength/buffer capacity through a true bypass pedal? In other words, people seem to always recommend a buffer being last in the pedal chain to push through to the amp but, if say, the buffer was the second to last pedal, would it still have the same buffer effect through the last pedal and to the amp?

    I always thought the answer was yes but I heard Mick say from The Pedal Show that a buffer only has an effect until the next pedal, and that the next pedal in line would ultimately determine the signal strength. Is this why a buffer should always be placed last?

    let me know if this doesn’t make sense, and I’ll try and reword it. Thanks for your help...
     
  2. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Buffers affect impedance. Signal strength in my understanding is amplitude. A buffer at the beginning of the pedal chain helps retain high end that may otherwise be lost due to long cable runs. I never heard of a true bypass pedal negating that effect.
     
  3. '64 Tele

    '64 Tele Tele-Holic

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    I put a buffered tuner at the first of my board.
    I've heard some folks put one at the end too, if they have a LOT of pedals.
    I'm running 5 included buffered tuner. The buffered tuner made a HUGE difference in sound
    even only running 4 other pedals (all true bypass).
     
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  4. LesTele

    LesTele TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the input Collin. I didn’t think a TB pedal would negate it either which is why I was confused by that comment I heard on YouTube
     
  5. LesTele

    LesTele TDPRI Member

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    Thanks 64 Tele! I use to have a bunch more but these days I only have 6 pedals on my board with one Boss DD3 at the end. The reason I’m asking this question is I prefer my TB looper to be at the very end of my chain but don’t want that to make the DD3 buffered delay right before to have any less effect on my tone
     
  6. Pick_n_Strum

    Pick_n_Strum Tele-Meister

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  7. LesTele

    LesTele TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! I’m checking the article out now
     
  8. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Meister

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    I guess what’s more important than what’s happening technically is what your ears are telling you. I’ve always preferred either a buffer or an ‘always on’ clean boost, usually at the beginning of the chain. Just sounds more lively and dynamic to me.

    Then you have guys like Brian Setzer who like old strings and long cables. Works for him, I’d say.
     
  9. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, that's a good point. It really depends on the sound you are going for.
     
  10. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    I also was interested in whether an onboard buffer would make a huge difference, but I didn't want to commit. So I got one for cheap and housed it in an old enclosure I had laying around. I ran a six inch cable to it, then my regular six foot cable to my pedalboard. No discernable difference.
     
  11. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Unless the last pedal in line has a high output impedance (e.g. something like a Fuzz Face), and it's on a lot, I wouldn't really worry about having a buffer as the last thing in line.

    And really the only other reason to have a buffer last in line is if you're using a long cable from the pedalboard to the amp. That's a pretty easy thing to check - just A/B using a short cable vs. the long one. If you have to struggle to hear a difference, IMO it's not an issue.
     
  12. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Reverbs and delays use buffers to let the effect decay naturally when turned off (trails). So lots of folks already have buffers at the end of the chain. I never liked the jolt that comes from turning off the trails.
     
  13. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    It's a complicated issue and I'm no expert.

    But my understanding is you would want a buffer as early as possible (close to your guitar) to minimize the loading down on your pickups. That low impedance input is like a nozzle on a hose that tightens, thus conserving water yet increasing the range.

    I have one early and that's all I need. Adding another later doesn't change the tone to my ear. I run around 8 to 10 tb pedals.

    And if any of your pedals are on, you're good anyways.

    Too much many buffers, especially newer made in Taiwan boss pedals (ime), can thin out the tone. For that reason I would only consider waza boss pedals - those have a really nice buffer.
     
  14. Edgar Allan Presley

    Edgar Allan Presley Friend of Leo's

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    I've definitely seen a difference from having a buffer-bypass pedal early in my chain of pedals. If your guitar sounds much better plugged straight into your amp than it does going through your pedalboard into the amp with all pedals turned off, you need to improve something. Maybe better cables, maybe replacing a pedal with a bad bypass scheme (I found this with a Danelectro echo pedal I used to have), maybe a buffer. But having true bypass pedals after a buffer doesn't make the signal unbuffered again.

    I'd recommend you forget internet forum theories about what makes a good rig. Plug in your pedals in the order that sounds best to you. Worry about buffers if you hear a problem. Otherwise, forget it and practice.
     
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