Buffer question:

Messages
11,604
Boss buffer is totally fine. Currently using a GE-7 in that spot, and then stomping it for a colored boost. If you don't want the EQ, you could try using an LS-2 as a clean boost.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,879
A buffer has two basic functions.

The first is related to the way pickups work. Think about a wah-it emphasizes the frequency it's set at. It's a low pass filter with resonance that increases volume at that frequency. When you follow the low pass filter with a capacitor then the frequency of the low pass filter is lowered and the resonance is lower just like rocking back a wah pedal. Putting a high impedance input buffer after a short cable prevents this from happening.

The second is related to what happens after. The output of a buffer is very low impedance, which prevents any of similar low pass filter effects after it. So you can have multiple pedals, cables, switches, jacks without losing treble. Whether you need another buffer later in the system depends a lot on how much stuff there is. Any pedal that's turned on is going to have some buffering effect, so always on pedals also help here.

However, if you notice changes in timbre when you turn a pedal later in the sequence on/off then you might need another buffer around that point...
 

MoonshineMan

Senior Member
Messages
7,511
I often wonder why people want a buffer at both ends, if one buffer can drive 50’ of cable or more. Which leads me to ask...
How far CAN a buffer drive a signal? I imagine they vary, but if the lowest number is like 100’, then why would anyone need two buffers?
I’m asking because I’m planning on gettting a second buffer for what is going to be a pretty big board with 14 boxes on it, counting the tuner and the Ditto, both of which are actually directly after the only buffer on my board (Topanga). I definitely hear a difference plugging straight in (which i do as often as not), which means me think an earlier buffer is needed, but i can’t insert a buffer until I’m at least 4 pedals deep before i get past the “no buffer zone”, because i have the wah and MDV-2 on the floor, followed by Ge London Fuzz and Beano on the board. I’m not even totally sure about the Ego comp, which will sit 5th. So a standalone buffer will only be buffering 7 TB pedals before it hits the Topanga. Am I gonna hear enough of a difference? I’m running a 15’ cord into the board and 25’ to the amp. I’m tempted to put the whole chain in a single bypass loop, but then suddenly it becomes 40’ straight to the amp, plus the loop cabling.
My only solution right now is to wire up everything, play through it, then plug directly into the Topanga to see if it improves. If i recall the rule of thumb, its about 18’ where it starts to make a difference, but i don’t know how they get that number, if pf/ft can widely vary. I’m using Spetraflex to the board and PW American Stage to the amp, and i have no idea if they’re “high or low” pf/ft cords.

Normally, i don’t sweat the minutia, but this is stuff that i can clearly hear in a band setting, and my friends hear it too. If it’s easy to fix, with a little research, it seems worth it to me. If i could rip the buffer out of the Topanga and stick it earlier in the chain, i would. But like i said, it can only go so far forward before it’ll dick with the Germs. As of right now, my plan is to grab a standalone buffer. I forget which one i was looking at... CAE, AM, TC... i had picked, but i forgot..:) Any recommendations on that front?
 

Flatscan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,985
Your ears will tell you.

There are loads of groups making adequate buffers for cheap ($<50, especially used).

Go to reverb and search on "buffer." Try a few. I bet you'll end up buying cheap ones in the end.
 

J5jarod777

Member
Messages
791
Hi, here's a question. I'm thinking of getting a stand alone buffer for my pedal board. I don't even know if I need one but the arguments are pretty compelling.

If I have a buffered pedal, ala Boss, would that cover the buffer issue? Would I need more than that? Am I just looking to spend $? Is this even important?

Looking for a better way....
So a couple questions.....
Do you know what a buffer does?
Ok, just one question...
 

John Mark Painter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,726
@MoonshineMan
It isn’t exactly about how far a buffer can drive a signal. It’s also about consistency. If your tone changes drastically when some pedals are engaged, it can cause you to not be able to keep a consistent sound.

I avoided buffers and always used bypass switchers. But certain combinations of pedals were causing my tone to change.

I picked up a Polytune 3 and left a buffered pedal last in the chain. Fixed the inconsistency but the Polytune 3 was pretty bright....not natural.

I found a good deal on a PettyJohn Lift and figured I could sell it if it wasn’t worth it. It has a GREAT buffer, adjustable input gain, Hi and Lo cut that can be always on (independently ) or only on when it’s Boost is engaged.

I am totally sold on it now
I use the input gain and low cut to match different GTR and amp combos, and use the clean Boost
 

MrMoose

Member
Messages
2,106
No, you said “once you activate the Boss pedal, you no longer have a buffer at work until you switch it off again.”

That is not the case. When the pedal is turned on, it’s an active signal, and therefore, buffered.

That’s the other problem buffers can solve. When a TB pedal is engaged, it drives the signal. When it’s off, it doesn’t.

Especially with pedals like modulation, delay, etc., the base tone can change (it will generally get brighter), due to the sudden shift in impedance, when the pedal is switched on.

Sometimes, when people complain about their delay or mod pedals “changing the base tone too much,” it’s actually that, rather than the pedal.

A buffer early in the chain makes it consistent.
This post goes perfectly with your profile pic! :banana
 

earthmud

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,105
I just posted this in a different thread but seems applicable here as well.

Buffers are not always necessary. I recently removed a buffer from my board and all my pedals sound and interact way better. The noise level went way down as well. Buffers may work for some people but the are not needed in all rigs and can potentially alter the sound in a negative way. Seems like in the last few years this place has gone buffer crazy. What happened to turning up the treble on amps or pedals? For my rig which consists of six pedals and 25 feet of cable, a buffer made everything sound brighter and crispy sounding. Since I play Telecasters into Vox amps additional brightness is not needed.
 

Riffa

Member
Messages
4,737
I just posted this in a different thread but seems applicable here as well.

Buffers are not always necessary. I recently removed a buffer from my board and all my pedals sound and interact way better. The noise level went way down as well. Buffers may work for some people but the are not needed in all rigs and can potentially alter the sound in a negative way. Seems like in the last few years this place has gone buffer crazy. What happened to turning up the treble on amps or pedals? For my rig which consists of six pedals and 25 feet of cable, a buffer made everything sound brighter and crispy sounding. Since I play Telecasters into Vox amps additional brightness is not needed.
I hear you. I play a Tele as well and never use more than 5 or 6 pedals. I certainly don't need a buffer, and tend to dislike having one on a board. However, I always have at least one pedal on (reverb), and feel that's acceptable in terms of buffering.
 

blackba

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,303
I often wonder why people want a buffer at both ends, if one buffer can drive 50’ of cable or more. Which leads me to ask...
How far CAN a buffer drive a signal? I imagine they vary, but if the lowest number is like 100’, then why would anyone need two buffers?
I’m asking because I’m planning on gettting a second buffer for what is going to be a pretty big board with 14 boxes on it, counting the tuner and the Ditto, both of which are actually directly after the only buffer on my board (Topanga). I definitely hear a difference plugging straight in (which i do as often as not), which means me think an earlier buffer is needed, but i can’t insert a buffer until I’m at least 4 pedals deep before i get past the “no buffer zone”, because i have the wah and MDV-2 on the floor, followed by Ge London Fuzz and Beano on the board. I’m not even totally sure about the Ego comp, which will sit 5th. So a standalone buffer will only be buffering 7 TB pedals before it hits the Topanga. Am I gonna hear enough of a difference? I’m running a 15’ cord into the board and 25’ to the amp. I’m tempted to put the whole chain in a single bypass loop, but then suddenly it becomes 40’ straight to the amp, plus the loop cabling.
My only solution right now is to wire up everything, play through it, then plug directly into the Topanga to see if it improves. If i recall the rule of thumb, its about 18’ where it starts to make a difference, but i don’t know how they get that number, if pf/ft can widely vary. I’m using Spetraflex to the board and PW American Stage to the amp, and i have no idea if they’re “high or low” pf/ft cords.

Normally, i don’t sweat the minutia, but this is stuff that i can clearly hear in a band setting, and my friends hear it too. If it’s easy to fix, with a little research, it seems worth it to me. If i could rip the buffer out of the Topanga and stick it earlier in the chain, i would. But like i said, it can only go so far forward before it’ll dick with the Germs. As of right now, my plan is to grab a standalone buffer. I forget which one i was looking at... CAE, AM, TC... i had picked, but i forgot..:) Any recommendations on that front?
Check out the Truetone buffer, it’s about $50.

My board is 13 pedals and I have the buffer as the 4th pedal, which is my Klone. Planning to try a new Klone the pony boy and going to put that 3rd. My next buffer is pedal number 9 and another at 11. I didn’t put them there fore the buffer, just kind of happened. I wish all pedals had a switchable bypass, but it’s still pretty rare.

As was mentioned earlier, if you compare you board to straight into your amp, that is a good test. I also have found tone changes if I didn’t have a buffer early when I would kick on a pedal. But you already have that covered. I personally have found in my testing that a buffer early is all I need and that I don’t need a buffer late.
 

halcyon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,466
If you have a Boss pedal that you can place into your chain where you want the buffer to be, you’re fine. Boss buffers are perfectly fine. You’ll be fine!
 




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