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Buffers - better buffer first have any effect on worse buffer later in chain?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Tele Vince, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    I have 11 pedals on my board. Pedal 1 is buffered (Ibanez TS9DX). Pedals 2-4 are true bypass. Pedal 5 is a Boss SD-1 (which is buffered). Pedals 6-10 are true bypass. Pedal 11 is a buffered delay (TC Flashback with buffer switched on).

    After experimenting with removing a few pedals at a time, I believe the SD-1 is causing the most tone suck while disengaged (becomes less bright and volume drops). This could certainly be due to all the pedals together, but it is more noticeable with the SD-1 in the chain.

    Would placing a higher quality standalone buffer first in the chain (maybe something like a TC Electronic Bonafide) diminish the signal loss and coloration from other buffered pedals like the SD-1 and TS9, or will it have little-to-no effect?

    Thanks!

    P.S. I'm not looking for different buffer or OD pedal recommendations. Just want to know if this theoretically makes sense, or if anyone has results/experience with placing a standalone buffer in front of other buffered pedals.
     
  2. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, change the order of your pedals. Why isn't the sd1 first or second?
     
  3. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    Adding another buffer won't fix your problem.

    It could just as easily be caused by the pedals before or after the SD1. Remove the SD1 from the board and plug into it by itself then compare to straight to amp with the same length cable as you used from guitar to SD1.

    Some SD1s have effect bleed through when in bypass. Make sure yours doesn't have that problem.
     
  4. Post-HK

    Post-HK Tele-Meister

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    I say yes, a better buffer up front makes a difference.

    As a side note, I also think Boss has improved the buffer in the SD-1 these days (post Waza?) - output impedance specs seem to have changed, and the last one I had seemed to affect the bypassed signal less, and sound a bit clearer when engaged. (Plus zero bleed-through.)
     
  5. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    SD-1 is used as a solo boost (volume, gain, and mid increase). It isn't an overdrive that I use for rhythm tones.
     
  6. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    I have the SD-1 with volume around 12 o'clock, gain around 10 o'clock. From what I've read, the bleed through issue while disengaged happens to people who have one of those knobs turned up higher, closer to fully clockwise.

    I did experiment with it, adding each pedal in the chain one-at-a-time until I noticed the signal loss. It was noticeable after adding the SD-1. Curious if this is a problem that is inherent with this pedal or if a better buffer than the TS9 first will help.
     
  7. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    Any idea on the specs of the new versions' and Waza's buffer?
     
  8. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    Any idea on the specs of the new versions' and Waza's buffer?
     
  9. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    Every pedal that is on acts as a buffer. You have 11 pedals... chances are that one will be on and buffering the chain.
     
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  10. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    The TS9, SD-1, and Flashback are the three in the chain with buffers. My understanding is that they are still buffering even when off.
     
  11. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

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    True - they have buffers that are always running. That said, whenever you turn on a pedal, it buffers the signal. With 11 pedals in the chain, I am guessing that you are probably using them. That means chasing down impedance issues will change with every variable - the buffer, what pedal is running in front of another pedal, which pedal is off in front of a pedal, etc etc etc. You have too many variables to worry about here. So there are options - you can cut back your board, you can use a true bypass switcher, you can not worry about it.
     
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  12. Post-HK

    Post-HK Tele-Meister

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    Impedance specs for the current SD-1 and Waza are listed as 1 M ohm for input, 1 k ohm for output. SD-1 used to list specs as 470 k ohms input and 10 k ohms output. So I'm assuming that also involves a change to the buffer (not an expert on this stuff!).
     
  13. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I agree with @luckett and @artdecade

    Put another way - correlation is not causation.

    This could be an impedance issue, not a buffer issue. That will change when different combinations are selected. Or a bad patch cable. With 11 pedals and what, 10 patch cables between them, you have a set of combinations of 1:21. That's a big number.

    @luckett's procedure will tell you if the SD1 buffer is (one of) the issues (to the extent your sense-memory can be trusted).

    @artdecade's solutions are more practical than adding another variable and hoping for the best.

    Another solution, with that many pedals, is something like the Line 6 HX Effects.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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  14. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    Well, to further complicate things, I actually had a similar change made to my SD-1 about three years ago:


    1. Remove C6. This will open the sound up a bit and it will sound less like a blanket is over it.
    2. Change R2 from 470k to 1Meg. This increases the input impedance.
    3. Create a switch to toggle the C3 capacitor between 0.047uf and 0.1uf. This increases the bass response when toggled to 0.1uf.
     
  15. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    Try SD1 by itself to see if the SD1 is actually the problem. Adding pedals one at a time is not the same thing.
     
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  16. sergiomajluf

    sergiomajluf Tele-Meister

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    Try this experiment:
    Swap settings and in-chain positions of SD-1 and TS.

    Does the problem persist?
     
  17. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Unless it's a somewhat unorthodox design, I think the impedance of at least the buffered pedals should be fine. I can't speak to what's going on with everything else in the chain, though.

    The slight volume drop that becomes cumulative with buffered pedals like those from Boss and Ibanez is due to the transistorized buffers that are used. To get a buffer with true unity gain, something like an op amp is typically used. That said, I don't want this to be misconstrued as meaning there are "different quality" buffers.

    Buffers don't really have "qualities," per se. It's really not part of their function. And oftentimes, the input impedance rarely exceeds 1M ohms, which is actually set with a resistor. It's rare for the input impedance to be set lower than ~500K ohms.

    You'd probably have to be using four or more Boss/Ibanez/etc. buffered pedals to get much of a noticeable volume drop below unity gain.
     
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