View Full Version : Can I use a regular boost pedal instead of a buffer in the chain?
I am driving like 8 or 9 pedals before the amp. I have a fuzz first. The pedal board needs a buffer, as the tone when everything is bypassed is pretty bad. Currently I'm using a Hot Cake somewhere in the chain, and I'm pretty sure it has a buffer, because when it is bypassed the signal sounds better than when the pedal is not in the chain, but still not the same as the guitar straight to the amp.
If I use a booster pedal, like a ZVex Super Hard-On, or an RC booster or anything like that after the fuzz, and leave it on all the time, will that work well? Or should I invest in a good quality buffer?
Thanks, any help would be appreciated.
07-19-2009, 04:33 PM
I've heard that the Hot Cake's buffer is good quality. Why not just continue using that? IME any buffer or clean boost will sound somewhat different than the guitar straight into the amp.
I guess that's one option, but I just got a Tim pedal, and wanted to replace the Hot Cake for a while, but right now have both on the board, and am never really using the Hot Cake. Was just looking for other options I guess.
07-20-2009, 12:05 AM
Yes, it will work fine.
All you are doing is restoring your lost signal, any booster will do this with added benefits/drawbacks e.g. more gain, more low end/ high end. depends on what you want.
07-20-2009, 07:33 AM
A booster is not a buffer. Some boosters are capable of doubling as one, but not all.
07-20-2009, 07:44 AM
You have to check the specs on INPUT/OUTPUT IMPEDANCE.
When the Hard on came out, I thought it was advertised as a buffer and booster.
MI Audio also has a "buff-n-boost" pedal implying that they are 2 different operations.
Mtheory, thanks for the article.
So guys, that means that I want Hi Z input, but Low Z output for it to be a good buffer, right?
Now two questions:
1) According to the article, if I run a distortion pedal with the volume in the middle (say 12 o'clock), I am actually adding more capacitance, right? Does that mean that if I had the volume dimed it would work better?
2) Also, if I go Low Z into, say, an Analog Man Chorus, does the pedal bring the output back to High Z, and should the signal be rebuffered again after that?
07-20-2009, 11:32 AM
I have a Fuchs Pure Gain Plus. It has two boost settings and effectively can do both things... One setting is at unity gain, which is effectively a buffer, and if I need a boost, I switch over to the other side. It also operates very quietly, which makes it very usable.
07-20-2009, 12:28 PM
So guys, that means that I want Hi Z input, but Low Z output for it to be a good buffer, right?Yes, that's what you want to see in a buffer. The input impedance doesn't have to be silly high (like the 5+ megohm of the SHO) - 1 megohm is just fine. The output impedance can be as low as a few hundred ohms, and as high as 5Kohms.
Now two questions:
1) According to the article, if I run a distortion pedal with the volume in the middle (say 12 o'clock), I am actually adding more capacitance, right? Does that mean that if I had the volume dimed it would work better?The article refers to boosters with volume pots hooked on right before the output (LPB-1, MXR Micro Amp etc). The theory is still valid for a distortion pedal, if the output volume pot is the very last thing in the circuit. However, many distortion pedals (even ones with true bypass) has an output buffer section after the volume pot, which provides a constant output impedance from the circuit. In those cases, cranking the volume control doesn't change the output impedance. So it depends on the pedal in question, and how it's designed.
2) Also, if I go Low Z into, say, an Analog Man Chorus, does the pedal bring the output back to High Z, and should the signal be rebuffered again after that?No - the output impedance of a circuit will almost always be lower than the input impedance, so with the AM chorus running, the output signal will be low Z (or whatever output impedance the circuit happens to be). With it turned off, as it is true bypass, the signal will be whatever output impedance the unit before it has. So there should be no need to buffer the signal again. Unless, of course, you notice an impedance mismatch with the next pedal (for instance, the chorus getting really dark and muffled when the next pedal is also on). In that case, a buffer in between them might help. But as a rule, that shouldn't be necessary, as pedals are generally designed to work together (i.e. high input Z, low output Z).
07-20-2009, 08:33 PM
In that scenario, will the low output impedance of a pedal be a mismatch for a subsequent pedal that has a high input Z?
07-21-2009, 03:40 AM
No, that's what you want to see. The output Z of item A (be it the guitar or an effects pedal) has to be lower than the input Z of item B (the thing item A is driving), in order for the signal to get through. At a minimum, the input Z should be at least twice as high as the output Z driving it.
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