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Buffers - How Many Is Too Many?

Discussion in 'Pedal/Effects Owners Clubs' started by scottser, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    so for hoots i set up all my boss pedals today; tu3, ge7, bd2, dd3, rv5 and rc20xl looper into the special 6 and v30 cab.
    even on low power, no boost, low input setting with volume at 3 the amp and not even halfway up on the guitar it sounds like the amp is really being pushed by the pedals' buffers to the extent it sounds like there's a big,juicy drive pedal on at all times. i plugged straight into the amp and sure enough it's nice and tame again.
    i usually only use one or two pedals at a time, or if i use the marshall then reverb etc go into the effects loop where lots of buffer isn't that noticeable. but 6 buffered pedals into the preamp is waaay too much. don't get me wrong, it sounds brilliant but it's waaay too much.
    what do you guys do, and how many buffers is too many?
     
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    This guy has 6 buffered pedals in line and sounds fine to me



    But what does he know?
    He is only one of the best guitarists the world has ever seen.... :)

    Personally I have never had problems with running multiple buffered pedals in line, presently I have one at the start,one in the middle and one at the end of my main pb (the upper one in the photo)
    20200730_120006.jpg
     
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  3. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    It depends on what you're comfortable with and what amp its running Into.


    A more quantifiable situation would be how many true bypass pedals can you have on a board before a buffer is needed. (>6, is my answer with my Fender 75, jury's out on my other amps, as I rarely put off-board pedals in the line with the board).

    12 is probably too many. But 12 pedals on a board is too many for me anyway, so what do I know?

    I also think Boss buffers are less coloring than some others, but maybe that's a consistency thing. EHX pedals have some buffers that are more obvious than others, and they play different with other pedals as a result. Just my observations.
     
  4. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

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    I just tried one of my boards that has eight pedals. Six have a buffer and two don't. I tried to switch one pedal that doesn't have a buffer for one that does. It didn't work out. It had a buzzing sound no matter what. I don't know if had anything to do with buffers though.
     
  5. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Of course it depends on the number of pedals and the length of your guitar and amp cables, but for me the accrual of buffered pedals crept up on me as my first pedalboard grew. I don't gig now, so my nine pedal board has none and is silent. However, I do notice a need for a buffer when a certain combination of pedals are on.
     
  6. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you mean the low impedance input (in which case try the high imp) or just low gain ?
    IME a buffer shouldn't alter signal level :confused:
     
  7. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Boss buffers are engaged whether a pedal is on or off, I believe.

    From what I've read before, the Boss buffer does noticeably color the tone as you start to put a lot of them in line. In my own experience I try to limit to no more than about 4 Boss pedals. However, having at least a couple on the board is a good thing in my opinion, because that solves the issue of cable capacitance killing highs.

    One point of possible confusion is that if you have all true bypass pedals and then you add a single Boss or Truetone pedal, the buffer in that pedal is going to restore highs that were lost. Some people perceive this as a degradation of their tone when actually it is a restoration of highs. But if they don't like the result they blame it on the Boss pedal, when its buffer is actually just doing its job. But what we are talking about here is after the first buffered pedal, as you add more buffered pedals, what happens to the tone then, even with all pedals turned off? Again, in my experience once you get past about 4 or 5 Boss pedals you start to hear a loss of clarity to the tone.

    I've also read that the Truetone buffer is of higher quality, less coloring.
     
  8. Telewielder

    Telewielder TDPRI Member

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    I put together an all-Boss BCB-6 today. I did a quick test (plug into PMS-5, then directly into amp) and honestly didn't hear a significant difference. I intend to check again with more time tomorrow, though. I've never had this many buffers on a board before (my "limit" in the past has been 3).
     
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  9. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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  10. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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  11. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Afflicted

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    Before the internet:
    As many as you wanted.

    After the internet:
    One, maybe two.
     
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  12. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Friend of Leo's

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    IMO more than a couple is more than enough. But even with half a dozen, they shouldn't boost your volume that noticeably. Tone anomalies, maybe - but not a big level boost.

    OP, is it possible that one or more of your pedals has been modded, or had internal switches/trimpots adjusted for more output?

    I'd try removing them one at a time and see if one particular pedal is the main offender.
     
  13. Telewielder

    Telewielder TDPRI Member

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    There's a video by Wampler on YouTube in which he demonstrates what happens when you stack 14 (!) Boss pedals.

    As you might have imagined, yes, there's a significant loss of volume and clarity, which can be "fixed" with an eq (or clean boost) pedal, according to Brian.

    I think many of us would agree that 14 buffered pedals is a bit much, but 7 or 8 (if you really want that many pedals on a board) should be fine if you find a way to work around the "problem" of losing volume or high end.
     
  14. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    First off, NO buffer has gain. There is something else going on in your chain if that is what you hear with buffered bypass.

    Add a separate, discrete buffer? Likely not necessary if used with Boss pedals. If it fixes something, why not. If it doesn't, your call. If it sounds bad, investigate because a GOOD buffer may help with an impedance problem but should otherwise have no sound of its own.
     
  15. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    The “sound” of a buffer is actually restoration of highs formerly lost by cable capacitance.
     
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  16. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's the effect of the buffer - a buffer itself should add nothing to the sound.
     
  17. Telewielder

    Telewielder TDPRI Member

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    Quick update: I put my CP-1X on the BCB-6 and now it sounds even better than it did before. Not exactly surprising, though, as the CP-1X makes any rig sound good lol.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
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