Can a true bypass suck tone, and vice-versa?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by sega, Jan 20, 2008.


  1. sega

    sega Member

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    I'm about to buy a T-rex Dr swamp and the seller told me it was'nt true bypass.(he took of the battery and the guitar signal was passing trough, he sais that was the way to really know).

    So since my Trex Replica suck tone a little off my Fender strat plug in my fender dluxe and my Tube screamer was'nt...I,m starting to think that tone suck is out of my knowledge.
    Can someone light me up on this one???
     
  2. Idlewilde

    Idlewilde Member

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    If your using over four pedals and all the pedals are TB your going to get some loss. A clean boost will rectify this. I hate buffers.
     
  3. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before Gold Supporting Member

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    The only way a clean boost would rectify anything is if the clean boost had a buffer. Clean boosts (as an effects themselves) don't add clarity, punch, bring back your lowend push or your highend sparkle.

    True bypass shows your tone for what it really is, including showcasing all of the capacitance built up by the long cable run. The only way around this is either a) shorter runs of cable (doesn't realistically work for everyone), b) a buffer (buffers color your tone so that's another variable in your setup), or c) play direct into the amp (which isn't happening if you use FX).
     
  4. Idlewilde

    Idlewilde Member

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    You must be useing the wrong one. :NUTS

     
  5. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before Gold Supporting Member

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    Considering I own 2 at the moment: no.

    True bypass clean boosts do not offset the issues of cable capacitance. If you do not know what you're talking about, don't post.


    Clean boosts :

    in front of the amp - push the front of your amp (an uncolored gain boost with slight volume boost)

    in the FX Loop - ups the volume of your amp without coloring your tone at all... great for volume jumps for solos.


    I'd love to hear this "magic" clean boost of yours that is true bypass that changes your setup to a low impedance without incorporating some sort of a buffer ;)
     
  6. sega

    sega Member

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    Hmmm,

    I was wondering in my question if any of you has true bypass that suck a litlle of your Fender single coil pick ups.

    I don't use a lot of effect on my Fender Deluxe set-up.
    So far only a Fulldrive 2 in between my Fender guit and amp.

    But my main question is that I used at some time a TS9 and it was'nt sucking my tone, and my Trex replica was a little, wich is a drag for me.

    Now i'm wondering wich pedal does and wich does'nt.
    I sometimes order them online, and can't really try them before.

    So any help on this matter is welcome :)
     
  7. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before Gold Supporting Member

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    True bypass doesn't suck tone, it just doesn't fix the cable capacitance that is added up with a longer run of cable. As your cable run gets longer, you lose punch, clarity, the lowend gets mushy and the highend gets rolled off (which is definitely noticeable with single coils). Think of it this way - the cable run sucks tone (the signal gets weaker the longer the cable you use), buffers help strengthen that signal.

    A stock TS9 is buffered and if you like the way the frequencies it boosts when used, then it's absolutely perfect for you (some pedal buffers sound great and if you like it - that's great because you won't have to purchase a stand alone buffer to cover that territory). That pedals internal buffer changes your high impedance signal to a low impedance (which drives the signal) and in turn you have more clarity, your high end comes back and your signal has more punch and based on the buffer, may even have a bit more gain.

    The problem here is that there is no universal solution for every rig. Some people are perfectly happy with the way their tone sounds with no buffers and longer runs (probably folks with bright amps/speakers or guitars and like the darker tone) and some like buffers in different places in their rig (I like one in the very front of my setup). Listen to your tone with no buffers and hear if you want more brightness and punch added and that will help dictate whether or not you should invest in a buffer or buffered pedal (like your TS9).
     
  8. SunnyRollins

    SunnyRollins Member

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    by vice-versa you mean "can a tone suck a true bypass"??
     
  9. sega

    sega Member

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    ''A stock TS9 is buffered and if you like the way the frequencies it boosts when used, then it's absolutely perfect for you (some pedal buffers sound great and if you like it - that's great because you won't have to purchase a stand alone buffer to cover that territory). That pedals internal buffer changes your high impedance signal to a low impedance (which drives the signal) and in turn you have more clarity, your high end comes back and your signal has more punch and based on the buffer, may even have a bit more gain.
    ''

    I meant that when the TS9 was in between my Fender strat and Fender Deluxe, I did not activate the TS9 and I listened clearly to my tone, THEN I switch to the T-Rex using the same cables (if I remember well) and it slightly cut a little of the sound.

    I don't use long cables, max 6 feet,so I use 1 for the in and 1 for the outpout.

    Surely i will give it another try cause I might be wrong about it all, but to my knowledge....it seemed like it.

    By the way, do you use special cables, specially the person who has the T-rex...
     
  10. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Yup, while a true bypass pedal (with 2 jacks, internal wiring, and switch contacts) will likely have more capacitance than a foot of cable, I doubt that many players will hear any difference with one true bypass pedal in the line. It's when you have a few true bypass pedals in a row is when you start hearing the roll off.

    However, one man's roll off could be another man's holy grail tone...so it's all subjective. My main guitar cord is a curly one I originally purchased in the '60's (and I have a spare;)) and with it in line my Strat sounds its best. IMO, the first cord your guitar "sees" is the most important one as it seems to affect the guitars whole tonal spectrum more so than down line cables which seem to affect mostly the top end.
     
  11. sega

    sega Member

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    You seem to be right about the top end, so any suggestions for cables?
     
  12. Bo Faulkner

    Bo Faulkner Member

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    I board full of true bypass will still suck tone
     
  13. amz-fx

    amz-fx Supporting Member

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    Here is another factor to consider.... the whole argument about bypass switching goes out the window once you turn on any pedal in the setup.

    That switched-on pedal becomes the driver for the signal path and its input is receiving the signal passed through the guitar cord. The impedances have changed and the bypass conditions are now different... they change every time you turn on a pedal!

    A pedal like the LPB has a fairly low input impedance (<40k) and a high output impedance (about 10k). This is contrary to the typical arrangement of high-input-Z/low-output-Z and will result in the pedal not only boosting but altering the sound of the signal... and guess what... lots of people like that sound!

    A string of true bypass may alter the sound slightly, but that can be minimized by using a good quality cable from the guitar to pedalboard. A string of buffered bypass pedals will definitely alter the sound of the signal, more so than the other type by my measurements.

    http://www.muzique.com/lab/truebypass.htm

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=335943

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=269464

    Bypass should not be a consideration when buying a pedal... how it sounds should be all you worry about.

    regards, Jack
     
  14. Teahead

    Teahead Member

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    I think he was intending that the Clean Boost in question be left active, or switched on. In this case being true bypass wouldn't matter, when on the clean boost is acting as a buffer, lowering impedence and pushing the signal across long cable runs.

    It doesn't even have to be a clean boost, a compressor will also do it, although obviously a clean boost might be considered a better candidate for the application because they are usually flat frequency.
     
  15. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Don't forget that if all the pedals are 'true' bypass, and you turn them all off, the cable following the pedalboard is now added to the load on the guitar. This makes it extremely important, possibly more so even than the one from the guitar to the board since how much the tone changes is dependent on this second cable.

    This is the really big disadvantage with all-'true'-bypass... lack of consistency when you turn on a pedal. It's why so many people (who probably haven't realised this) find it so hard to find natural-sounding pedals that don't change the tone when turned on... because actually they change the tone when turned off too and it's impossible to eliminate that contrast, because one sound is effectively buffered and the other isn't.

    You'll actually do far better with at least one buffer in the chain somewhere, probably best immediately after all the 'true' bypass pedals (not in front as sometimes suggested since this will change the tone of the pedals too) so the effect of the second cable is eliminated.
     
  16. Teahead

    Teahead Member

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    Well said, John. I find the most consistent reults come with having all true bypass pedals, but keeping the fist and last pedals in the chain always on. This seems to isolate the guitar and amp from everything else I switch in and while it's not a perfect solution, it works for me.
     
  17. amz-fx

    amz-fx Supporting Member

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    If you are looking for consistency, then having the buffer at the front is the place for it. The guitar and its cable are always driving the input of the buffer which can be tailored to the sound that you like... the output of that buffer is then driving the signal chain with a consistent low impedance making the characteristics of the bypass switches less important. (boosters are not buffers - see my note about the LPB)

    The input cable has more impact on the sound than the output from the pedalboard, according to my measurements. The capacitance of that cable is causing a resonant peak, which can be pleasing (or not). Using a low capacitance cable removes much of the artificial resonant peak.

    Also, the output of the pickup is already loaded by a 250k (or 500k) volume control and a capacitor/resistor tone control. This changes when you flip the pickup selector switch, depending on the wiring inside the guitar.

    Buy a pedal for its sound, not its bypass switch! :)

    http://www.muzique.com/news/?p=66

    best regards, Jack
     
  18. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    I got rid of all my buffered pedals and noticed a difference... for the better, I now plug straight into my amp using a Fulltone cable and only have 2 pedals in my fx loop which are true bypass. for me True Bypass is the way to go if I want to keep my tone as pure as can be!
     
  19. WailinGuy

    WailinGuy Member

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    I doubt the capacitance that a true-bypass pedal in bypass mode adds to the signal chain is significant. Pedals rarely use shielded cable for their internal wiring. Six inches of a standard patch cable will likely have many times more capacitance than that of the sum of the components and (non-shielded) hookup wires making up the input jack->switch->output jack bypass circuit.

    I'm guessing that some signal degradation occurs just because of all the mechanical contacts that exist in a chain of several TBP pedals. Each one contributes three mechanical contacts: the plug-input jack connection, the contacts within the footswitch, and the plug-output jack connection. Still, I find that this type of signal degradation (loss of clarity) is pretty small, unless a lot of TBP pedals are used, or if some of them contain cheap-o jacks or switches.

    I find that my signal stays pretty clear going through 4-6 TBP pedals with a buffered bypass pedal (Nova Delay) at the end, just before the cable to amp. In this setup, the main factor in how my all-bypassed tone sounds is the cable between guitar and first effect.
     
  20. redpill

    redpill Member

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    These are all fascinating considerations, and I like seeing them addressed so knowledgeably.

    For large stage gigs, sometimes you are talking about some *extremely* large cable runs, particularly from the pedalboard to the amp. Likewise, sometimes there are rather large runs from the guitar to the pedalboard, if you move around a bit on stage. It could become a big deal.

    And thinking about that led me to ask myself - how do wireless units factor into this equation? If a pedalboard had a wireless going into it *and* going out of it to the amp, how would that change things?
     

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