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View Full Version : What to do about TU2 tone-suk?


Kingpin
08-17-2005, 08:56 PM
I need to do something about the tone-suck my TU2 is causing. I was thinking of either saving up for a Peterson Strobostomp or getting an Axess BS2 and splitting the TU2 out of my signal path. The pros for the Strobo: improved tuning and True bypass: pros for the Axess BS2: about $55 less and a high quality buffer may help my entire rig sound better.

Relevant info: I'm playing a Tele into a Vicky Bassman and my pedalboard consists of: Voodoo PP2,TU2, Homebrew CPR, Barber LTD, Keeley BD2, BYOC delay, and occasionally I'll add a Demeter Trem or a Keeley RAT2. As far as I know, all of these pedals are true bypass with the exception of the Boss TU2 and BD2.

So whaddaya think? I'm primarily using this setup for playing live and wonder if I'll have enough time to fully take advantage of the Petersons accuracy. Or would the benefit of a good buffer (and cheaper too) be a more effective use of my cash?

Thanks.

DavidE
08-17-2005, 09:22 PM
I don't notice any tone suck with my TU2. Have you tried taking it in and out of the effects chain to be sure that's the problem? Just because a pedal is billed as True Bypass doesn't mean it can't suck tone. And the problem could be a cable too.

ABKB
08-17-2005, 09:37 PM
I have noticed it (though a bad cable sure wouldnt help, so check that too) I think both of those options would be fine, the better one being the Strobostomp. I am currently saving for it (hey I'm broke right now). Better tuner than the TU with more options and no Tone suck.

Loop-Master
08-17-2005, 10:27 PM
If the cable is fine just put the tuner or any tuner for that matter off to the side with an A/B box.

I do this with the Peterson VS-1.

It may be just me but, I when I set intonation, I don't set it at the pedalboard so this is why I find it more practical to use an A/B box for the tuner so when I'm done, I can just put the tuner in my duffle bag and have it ready at home for setting intonation.

pepperco
08-17-2005, 10:54 PM
The Boss Tuner is a notorious signal sucker.
Still a lot of people use them and don't seem
to hear or mind the suckage. I say keep the
tuner but get a decent A/B box.

LSchefman
08-18-2005, 12:03 AM
I use an Axess BS-2. It's a great device, and not just because it has a separate tuner output.

When I plugged it into my system, it made a startling sonic difference. It is the one box on my pedalboard that hasn't changed since I bought it a few years back.

DavidE
08-18-2005, 06:21 AM
Maybe I should put my EB volume pedal on my board and use the tuner out....

But I'd have to go back to a larger board for it to fit.

rawkguitarist
08-18-2005, 07:31 AM
solve this problem and tuning problems by getting the Strobo... You don't realize how bad your tuning is until you get the Strobo. SERIOUSLY!

Telecaster
08-18-2005, 08:23 AM
I think the TU2 "filters" certain frequencies. With my rig there is no difference in tone with the TU2 in my chain or via a looper. On the rig of a friend of mine however, you can really notice a difference.

fr8_trane
08-18-2005, 08:30 AM
If the TU is really bothering you, get an a/b box with a tuner output from Loooper.com. Its cheap and effective. Do NOT use the Volume JR.'s tuner output as the "tone suck" police will tell you that these pedals are suckers too so you will only be compounding the issue. In fact its probably best if you never plug in again because there really is no way to keep your tone from degrading the moment it leaves your fingertips. You lose a little in the pickups, the tone and volume controls, the cable, and then the amp, the tubes, the output tranny and the speakers. And then the band kicks in and its like..."Dude where's my tone?" :eek: Hell, even solo acoustic guitars are subject to the tone suckage caused by thick smokey air and the giant dude with the fro up front. You just can't win. Seriously, How did all those great guitarists of the 60's, 70's, and 80's ever manage to get a decent tone with all those tone suckers in line? :rolleyes: OK... sarcastic rant over.

Telecaster
08-18-2005, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by fr8_trane
If the TU is really bothering you, get an a/b box with a tuner output from Loooper.com. Its cheap and effective. Do NOT use the Volume JR.'s tuner output as the "tone suck" police will tell you that these pedals are suckers too so you will only be compounding the issue. In fact its probably best if you never plug in again because there really is no way to keep your tone from degrading the moment it leaves your fingertips. You lose a little in the pickups, the tone and volume controls, the cable, and then the amp, the tubes, the output tranny and the speakers. And then the band kicks in and its like..."Dude where's my tone?" :eek: Hell, even solo acoustic guitars are subject to the tone suckage caused by thick smokey air and the giant dude with the fro up front. You just can't win. Seriously, How did all those great guitarists of the 60's, 70's, and 80's ever manage to get a decent tone with all those tone suckers in line? :rolleyes: OK... sarcastic rant over.

:D

Paychek
08-18-2005, 08:51 AM
Originally posted by aarondavis
solve this problem and tuning problems by getting the Strobo... You don't realize how bad your tuning is until you get the Strobo. SERIOUSLY!

+1 for the strobostomp, I've had mine for a few weeks. The intonation was off on both my guitars(before I used a korg DT7). After calibrating the intonation on my Anderson and Suhr classic, with new sets of SOS strings, the guitars have never sounded better. My old method of tuning with the DT7 was way off. I could hear the difference.
So Coool
I look at it this way, peterson says that the strobostomp is 30 times more accurate than tuners with leds or needle pointers. When I tune with the strobo and play a few songs with leads, I know that I am still in better tune even though it has fallen out a little than with my old tuning method.
:dude

Kingpin
08-18-2005, 11:16 AM
Yes, I've tried checking my cables and they (George L's) seem to be fine, the tuner seems to be the culprit. I've also tried using my Ernie Ball VPjr but that wasn't much of an improvement either. I think that getting an A/B box for the time being, until a Strobostomp comes my way, is the most practical solution. I have to admit that I am intrigued by the Axess BS-2 and what effect it would have on my gear. GAS is never-ending...

Thanks all for your input (humorous rants too).

rawkguitarist
08-18-2005, 12:07 PM
As a gigging musician I do find it funny the obsession with "tone suck". It is defiantly a valid concern. Lets put all typical rhetoric aside and think logically…

I usually play through one of the finest PA systems I’ve ever seen/heard. It consists of probably 20 different SLS speaker enclosures and God only knows how many watts and a major pro guy running the board. Does my guitar sound anything like what is coming out of my TopHat? Not even close! Amplified low end, brittle high end, you name it. Therefore any, ANY appreciable “tone suck” is covered up with a major torqueing of my tone as it is. Also, I hear my guitar through in ears… wanna talk about a bummer tone wise. BUT, I can hear everything with out killing my hearing. Again lets think logically here…

I’m just saying get a handful of good quality pedals True Bypass and Buffered, who cares, they both have good and bad charactaristcs. Plug them into a good amp, and frikkin play!!! Practicing more will mean more to your tone than wasting valuable time obsessing of these little things.

Paychek
08-18-2005, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by aarondavis
As a gigging musician I do find it funny the obsession with "tone suck". . . .
I’m just saying get a handful of good quality pedals True Bypass and Buffered, who cares, they both have good and bad charactaristcs. Plug them into a good amp, and frikkin play!!! Practicing more will mean more to your tone than wasting valuable time obsessing of these little things.

Point Taken

GCDEF
08-18-2005, 02:06 PM
Originally posted by aarondavis
As a gigging musician I do find it funny the obsession with "tone suck". It is defiantly a valid concern. Lets put all typical rhetoric aside and think logically…



I agree. Firstly, I think a lot of tone-suck rumors are greatly exaggerated, and the TU-2 is no exception. I personally can't hear a difference with mine. My rig sounds great with the TU-2 in line, so I don't really care what it's doing.

Second and more importantly, in addition to the PA changing your tone that you mentioned, you've got a buch of drunks hooting and hollering, people talking, bartenders and wait staff crashing dishes around and whatever other background noise you find in a club. No patron is going to say "they were a great band, but did you hear that guitar player's tuner suck all his tone. We'll never go see them again". On the other hand, they may notice if you're badly out of tune.

John Phillips
08-18-2005, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by aarondavis
As a gigging musician I do find it funny the obsession with "tone suck". It is defiantly a valid concern. Lets put all typical rhetoric aside and think logically…

I’m just saying get a handful of good quality pedals True Bypass and Buffered, who cares, they both have good and bad charactaristcs. Plug them into a good amp, and frikkin play!!! Practicing more will mean more to your tone than wasting valuable time obsessing of these little things.
+1

Learning how to dial in your sound accurately using the knobs on your amp (they do actually turn) and even the TONE control on your guitar, rather than just blindly leaving them at the same settings you like at home will make at least as much difference to your quality and consistency of tone - especially from venue to venue, where the change in tone can be huge just due to different stage acoustics, even before the PA comes into it - as worrying about whether your pedals 'suck tone'.

Of course there's good tone and less good tone (and bad tone). But it doesn't seem to have much to do with the type of bypass in the pedals.

I'm not even going to comment on the tuner accuracy issue since it's been done to death and you all know what I think.

Just my opinion :).

memphisrain
08-18-2005, 02:58 PM
Kingpin,

Not to highjack your thread, but how do you like that BYOC delay? I've been thinking about getting some sort of delay and I was heavily considering that one.


Thanks,
mR

Kingpin
08-18-2005, 07:36 PM
Originally posted by memphisrain
Kingpin,

Not to highjack your thread, but how do you like that BYOC delay? I've been thinking about getting some sort of delay and I was heavily considering that one.


Thanks,
mR
I do like it quite well. I don't use heavy delay, just a touch for ambience or slapback. The BYOC ended up booting my Digitech Digidelay off the board. Even the Digidelay's tape mode doesn't sound as warm as the BYOC. I don't think there is a delay in that price range ($75) that can touch it.

Oh, and the build wasn't that difficult. Mine worked the first time I plugged it in, and I'm no soldering whiz!

Baba
08-18-2005, 09:27 PM
I'm also with Aaron, I'm a gigger, and use in-ears, doesn't mean anyone wants bad tone, but I just don't have time to microscope those things, and my ears aren't that good anyway.

Think about what some of your favorite guitarists (from 60's -70's) used when they recorded the songs with your favorite tones on them.

Laroosco!
08-18-2005, 09:39 PM
Me and the famous Joe Gagan tested my TU-2 through his 50 watt Marshall clone last year.

We noticed tthat the TU-2 acted like a boost wwhen in the signal path. The amp sounded aa little wimpy without it.

We liked the tuner in line.

rawkguitarist
08-18-2005, 10:54 PM
"primo post!"

Thanks man... Not trying to sound like a know it all, just think we need to chill sometimes...

Laroosco!
08-19-2005, 12:10 AM
Originally posted by aarondavis
"primo post!"

Thanks man... Not trying to sound like a know it all, just think we need to chill sometimes...


I agree completely.

Tim Bowen
08-19-2005, 02:14 AM
I can relate to much of what has been said on this thread. I work with four different projects, and have gear set up at different locations. I can easily hear "tone suck", but I always know how to work around it, unless it's major... and when eliminating a bit of tone suck precludes my convenience, I'll choose to work around it, as opposed to further complicating my signal chain by adding additional gear to eliminate said tone suckage.

That said... I do use the Peterson Strobo in true bypass mode with my main project, which is a loud rock 'n' roll band. Yes, it kicks the TU-2's ass sideways in every possible way. When I can afford to do so, I'll buy two more of them, one for the small board that I use with my other two bands, and one for my acoustic-electric board. Both of those boards currently contain TU-2's, and I never leave the house without an Intellitouch clip-on tuner as a backup.

Regarding the TU-2, the main thing I've noticed with it "in line" is that it seems to add a very subtle clipping to the base tone; this is easier to hear if you're playing hot pickups. While a tuner likes to see a signal early in the chain for best results, I've found better tones by placing it after any dirtboxes. It's a very subtle difference, but to my ear, my gainers have a slightly harsher character with the TU-2 placed before them, with a smoother disposition as having the TU-2 placed after them.

Urkoman
08-19-2005, 03:21 AM
I plug it into the line out...works perfect and is not on your signal ;)

Kingpin
08-19-2005, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by Tim Bowen
Regarding the TU-2, the main thing I've noticed with it "in line" is that it seems to add a very subtle clipping to the base tone; this is easier to hear if you're playing hot pickups. While a tuner likes to see a signal early in the chain for best results, I've found better tones by placing it after any dirtboxes. It's a very subtle difference, but to my ear, my gainers have a slightly harsher character with the TU-2 placed before them, with a smoother disposition as having the TU-2 placed after them.
Thanks Tim, you seem to have the best handle on where I'm coming from. The TU-2 seems to add a harshness to the pedals following it, I'll try moving it in the chain. Some posters seem to interpret my question as "Should I be concerned about the effect the TU-2 has on my rig?", and then you get the typical Internet Guitar Forum responses "Just frikkin play" or the condescending comment that the knobs on my guitar and amp "do actually turn". Sure, there is a danger of micro-managing your rig, but I don't buy the argument that I shouldn't be concerned about putting about my best possible sound because the sound man is going to trash it anyway. If we follow that arguement to its conclusion we might as well be playing through crappy pedals, noisy cables and SS amps. I just want to control the aspects of my sound that I can, whatever happens to the sound after it leaves my amp is out of my hands.

It sounds like using an A/B splitter is the way to go until I can plunk down the coin on a Strobostomp. Thanks.

John Phillips
08-19-2005, 12:44 PM
Originally posted by Kingpin
The TU-2 seems to add a harshness to the pedals following it, I'll try moving it in the chain.
I agree that it can do that, like all buffered pedals. You should definitely not run it before any Germanium fuzzes, most wahs, and possibly quite a lot of overdrives. The reason is not due to 'tone suck' from the TU-2, it's due to the fact that those other types of pedals do not respond well to being driven from a low-impedance source, and tend to sound harsh or scratchy. The problem is with them, not the buffer in the TU-2.

or the condescending comment that the knobs on my guitar and amp "do actually turn".
Since that was my comment, I'll explain rather than relying on the obviously missed humor in it... sorry, I forgot the ;) or :).

It seems to me that many people complain about 'tone suck' because they plug their guitar into their amp, and dial in a sound they like. Then, they put a pedal in line and - without adjusting the controls - complain that the tone is somehow 'sucked' because it isn't precisely the same. In fact, there is no form of pedal or other unit you can plug in between the guitar and the amp that is totally tonally neutral. Even the much-vaunted 'true' bypass pedals - connect several of them in series and you'll see that (and they also suffer from adding the cable loadings together, which buffered pedals don't and which makes a huge difference). Yes, some set-ups are more tonally neutral than others, but there is none which is wholly so, it's just a matter of whether it's noticeable or not, or - just as important IMO - whether it matters.

By adjusting the controls on the amp - something that a lot of people seem never to do, once they have their favorite settings - it is possible to compensate to a large extent for these changes. Maybe not totally, that is true. But before complaining about 'tone sucking' pedals, try simply setting up a good tone with the pedals in line, without reference to the supposedly superior 'pure' tone. You may be surprised, as Laroosco! found with the Marshall and the TU-2.

In the studio, where you do want to get the best possible tone and don't have switching constraints, it may be best to physically remove any effects you aren't using. Since that isn't possible on stage, make the best of the reality of what you've got - learn to dial tone by ear not by the numbers on your amp knobs.

FWIW, I'm not joking when I say that I get what I think is a great tone with all my pedals in line and that if I plug straight into the amp with the same settings, it sounds worse. Of course I can get a good tone straight in too, but the amp needs to be set slightly differently. I can hear the differences various types of pedal make, and I am picky about my tone - I just think that some people are on quest for an unachievable goal if they think that retaining the 'pure straight-in' tone is always best, and they'd get a lot further a lot quicker by understanding why things make a difference and learning how to deal with it, not by holding out for some philosophical ideal.

As always, just my opinion.

Jon Silberman
08-19-2005, 12:44 PM
Kingpin, for what it's worth, your last response is total class..

And John P's last response, too, is on target and substantively extremely useful (as usual).

Terry Hayes
08-19-2005, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by fr8_trane
How did all those great guitarists of the 60's, 70's, and 80's ever manage to get a decent tone with all those tone suckers in line? :rolleyes: OK... sarcastic rant over.

Point taken. Of course, we all need to be reminded of what is important now and then so we maintain perspective.

However, many of the "great guitarists" you referenced were not using long or complex signal paths to achieve those classic tones. Most likely, the delay and reverb (if any) was applied at the board or during mixdown. At best there may have been a couple of pedals in the signal path so the tone in the studio was probably very good.

The sound of a guitar right into an amp is just a great sound I think. Those "great guitarists" definitely knew it. I wish I could do that all night! But, you know the story, if you are playing out, you probably have to cover a broad range of sounds. Therefore, you have a longer-than-ideal signal path - certainly longer than many of the "great guitarists" utilized ('80s players excluded of course).

Moderation is good!!! As long as someone isn't alienating their spouse, ignoring their kids, or not paying bills because they are totally immersed in trying to perfect their signal path, I say let 'em enjoy themselves :)

Practice is essential, and producing a tone that is pleasing to the ear is part of that. That necessitates paying attention to the tools one uses. Ignoring the details of tone production based on the rationale that the audience can't hear the subtleties in which you are so engrossed, would not be a good approach for your typical orchestral musician. While there are differences, I think the analogy can apply to the typical pop musician to a degree.

I fussed over my sound a bit so that I didn't have to pay the price tonally to enjoy all of my favorite stompboxes and I think it paid off. However, I am fortunate enough to play gigs where the volume is moderate so I can hear the fruits of my labors and indeed, the sound is good and the purity thereof is a worthwhile pursuit. So endeth the lesson:)

Terry

Terry Hayes
08-19-2005, 01:38 PM
Originally posted by aarondavis
I’m just saying get a handful of good quality pedals True Bypass and Buffered, who cares, they both have good and bad charactaristcs. Plug them into a good amp, and frikkin play!!! Practicing more will mean more to your tone than wasting valuable time obsessing of these little things.

Very true. Practicing is essential!

However, spending time with the instrument (amp & FX included) itself will pay off as well. Trumpet players obsess over mouthpiece bore, cup size/shape, double-reed players obsess over the craft of making their own reeds, and if many folks knew how much the average symphony violinist spent on their bow alone, we would be shocked.

Guitar players are not alone in their, at times, obsessive quest for tonal purity. Its all part of the experience for all players, regardless of the instrument (well, piano players and church organists may be fussy but they obviously don't have much say, unless they are famous and can demand a particular instrument
:)).

Who knows, maybe the original poster DOES practice all the time!! Just maybe, for him, the pursuit of tonal purity hasn't reached an obsessive level! We are all different and saying what does and does not constitute "wasting valuable time" is not for us to say.

Terry

fullerplast
08-19-2005, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by Terry Hayes
Very true. Practicing is essential!

However, spending time with the instrument (amp & FX included) itself will pay off as well. Trumpet players obsess over mouthpiece bore, cup size/shape, double-reed players obsess over the craft of making their own reeds, and if many folks knew how much the average symphony violinist spent on their bow alone, we would be shocked.

Guitar players are not alone in their, at times, obsessive quest for tonal purity. Its all part of the experience for all players, regardless of the instrument (well, piano players and church organists may be fussy but they obviously don't have much say, unless they are famous and can demand a particular instrument
:)).

Who knows, maybe the original poster DOES practice all the time!! Just maybe, for him, the pursuit of tonal purity hasn't reached an obsessive level! We are all different and saying what does and does not constitute "wasting valuable time" is not for us to say.

Terry

+1

I play and practice often, but I still am interested in the tonal effect of everything in the path-from pick to string, to effects, to preamp tubes, to coupling caps, to phase inverter, to power tubes, to rectifier, to output tranny, to speakers.

The Big Thing we call Tone is the sum of many little components, any one of which taken out of context can be made to seem inconsequential. Naturally the players fingers and touch are the most important part of it but the path from your fingers to the speaker is your musical voice. You may as well spend some time making it something you are happy with.

(and BTW, what are you guys expounding practice doing over here posting on the effects page?:D Shouldn't you be practicing, or at least stay on the Playing and Technique page????:p )

Terry Hayes
08-19-2005, 02:11 PM
:D

Ed Reed
08-19-2005, 06:05 PM
About the tone suck of a tuner, I put mine on a looper, also mutes the signal while turning those knobs.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v626/jakeddy/julypedalpower.jpg

rawkguitarist
08-19-2005, 08:04 PM
“Who knows, maybe the original poster DOES practice all the time!!”

When I was 15-20, about 4-5 hrs per day. Now that I’m an adult and an accountant I spend an average of 1 ½ to 2 hours per day, some days more than others.

“Just maybe, for him, the pursuit of tonal purity hasn't reached an obsessive level!”


Well I’m obsessed enough to post here… but not as obsessed as many here. I do make it a point to buy high quality gear, TopHat, Lovepedal, Menatone, PRS, Zvex, tune with a strobe tuner, Buzz Feiten temperaments, etc. I would hope that it’s obvious I’m concerned about getting a great sound, but some things like buffered or truebypass pedals are not what I obsess about.

“(and BTW, what are you guys expounding practice doing over here posting on the effects page? Shouldn't you be practicing, or at least stay on the Playing and Technique page???? )”

I usually post while I’m at work, with no guitar in sight… Or when my pregnant wife is taking a nap (now), my Single ended EL84 TopHat, Lovepedal Eternity and Maxon Analog Delay are all humming in the background ready to go. ;) ;) ;)

Just talking a little perspective, not espousing extremes...

Tim Bowen
08-20-2005, 12:43 AM
You're welcome, Kingpin, and I agree completely with the points you made in your last post. Best of luck with your rig. John Phillips is of course correct in distinguishing between "tone suck" and the interaction of buffers with other pedals.

DavidE
08-20-2005, 07:59 AM
Talk about tone suck.... I worked with my pedalboard last night and took out two Vox wahs to replace my Boss V-wah. One vox wah was just the standard out of the box one and while it sounded good, it killed my signal. The other is a Vox with a true bypass mod, fulltone inductor and fulltone pot. It too sucked tone and I swear it distorted the low end when bypassed AND it sounded like crap!!!

So, the Boss stays. For now. I'm thinking about getting a Morley Bad Horsie as I've heard good things about the sound and I'd like a switchless wah.

Any comments on that???

rawkguitarist
08-20-2005, 08:19 AM
Hey guy's, in reading the responses to my posts I think that some got a condescending tone. Maybe even a “preached to” vibe… sorry, that’s the problem with written communication. Especially if some are not as gifted in this department (me), if only you knew me and my intentions you wouldn’t see the post that way.

As an accountant I think a lot about efficiency and eliminating what we call “non-value added activities”. It is important to consider how buffers and non truebypass pedal effect your tone. Just saying other variables effect tone more, that’s all… For what it’s worth, I do try to place buffered pedals after my ODs. The buffers do interact negatively to transistor based OD. MAYBE I SHOULD PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH???

By the way, I promise I’m about to practice…
:AOK :AOK :AOK

Jon Silberman
08-20-2005, 08:52 AM
After reading this thread, I just redid/simplified my pedal board significantly, removing the Axxes buffer, relying on the buffer in the Drivetrain II to jump-start the signal (with the Boss T-Wah first as the T-Wah doesn't like buffers), putting the TU-2 back in the loop directly (which is practical because of how it turns off the output when you tune), and eliminating 2 other pedals I wasn't actually using much anyway.

You know what? It sounded OK before and it sounds fine now except there's less clutter and the buttons are easier to step on.

We really do sweat this stuff far more than we need to.

To the folks here who reacted in a "preachy" manner, well, sometimes it is preferable to phrase comments more neutrally but FWIW you got through to this guitar player this time.

Kingpin
08-20-2005, 12:34 PM
Thanks everyone.

At first I was wondering what I was getting into here, but I can see this is a good group of people at TGP. I'm looking forward to reading, learning, and participating in the future.

I agree completely that practice is the most important variable in a guitarist's tone. Although I have been playing for 30 years, I've renewed my dedication to improving over the past few years and have finally found an instructor that I really "connect" with. Since I work out of my home, I seem to have the opposite problem re: practice - too much guitar time and not enough work time, but that's a good problem to have!

I've only recently gotten involved with live playing again, so working out the bugs in my gear is a priority. I have a fine collection of guitars and a great amp in the Vicky Bassman, so the next step is working on my pedal setup. I'd like to upgrade things one piece at a time and spend my cash as effectively as possible, hence my question. Thanks to all for your posts.