Does the quality of a cable after the buffer matter?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by stevel, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. stevel

    stevel Member

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    In essence, a buffer "negates" any cable after it, removing is capacitance (and/or impedance?) from the signal chain.

    If that's the case, then would putting say, a Mogami or Monster, versus say, a Hosa or Rapco matter as much as it would before the buffer?
     
  2. josiahmac

    josiahmac Member

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    I tested this with a few different 20’ cables from pedalboard to amp. I couldn’t tell much difference between my Mogami vs generic.

    This always made me wonder why patch cables were so important if your buffer is early on in the pedalboard?

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe that cables affect sound greatly. Just not as greatly after a buffer.
     
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  3. TheGuildedAge

    TheGuildedAge Supporting Member

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    Cables are the biggest area of snake oil there is.

    Once you have one built strong with the right capacitance, the rest of just silly money.
     
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  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    even if the cable actively sucks (monster ;) ) after a buffer will eliminate any loss.
     
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  5. 2Badde

    2Badde Member

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    You never regret investing in quality. Cables are as important as anything in the chain.
     
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  6. Abram4235

    Abram4235 Supporting Member

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  7. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    No matter the buffer, it can’t make a cable more reliable.
     
  8. mrsongbird

    mrsongbird Member

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    Related question (maybe): I recently put an Xotic Super Sweet boost/buffer at the beginning of my chain (the buffer sounds really good). I have a MXR Sugar Drive later in the chain- it has a switchable buffer on it. Should I turn that on or off?
     
  9. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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    I would probably turn it off..
     
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  10. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    I did some experimenting back in the day. I can easily hear cable differences when direct from guitar to amp with passive pickups, but I couldn't hear any difference after a buffered pedal (or active electronics in the guitar). This is one of the things that led me to focus on active guitar electronics for years.
     
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  11. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    The buffer? Why?
     
  12. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    I gather the second buffer is useless since the impedance has already been corrected earlier in the chain. I only use one buffer at a time, as early as is feasible, other things equal, but after most fuzzes. But hey, I'm still open to learning more.
     
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  13. Tidbit

    Tidbit Member

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    I think it depends on how long your chain is between the first buffer and the last one. I have 11 pedals on my board so there is a lot of cable length in between. I also have 18' instrument cables on both ends. I run a buffer both near the front and back of my chain.
    The best thing you could do is to try your setup with it off and then on. Then you can decide what sounds best to you. If you can't hear any difference, it doesn't matter if it's on or off.
     
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  14. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Dude... I didn't see anything about a second buffer. I'm with you. I specifically have a buffer in my chain right after my fuzz... if you have any appreciable cable run, gotta have a buffer! I've run 75 feet of cable after my amp before. Other guitar player tried the same thing. (it was a huge stage). Had all true bypass pedals and he didn't get any signal to his amp. I gave him a boss pedal and it *fixed* the problem.
     
  15. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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    one of those things you need to experiment with.. I only run a few TB pedals but found I prefer the buffer after my OD/boost for solos
     
  16. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    i'd try it off too. never saw the need for multiple buffers, any loss happens right at the first load the signal hits before the buffer. (never saw the harm either, folks have rocked pedalboards full of boss and ibanez pedals for decades, so one buffer after another after another and it all sounds fine)

    the one exception is with passive volume pedals! (tons of threads about this): they suck tone unless they're after a buffer, at which point you'll want a low impedance volume pedal to have the right sweep.

    what i've found is that if the volume pedal is downstream in the signal chain after the drives and compressors where it belongs, with an initial buffer and all true bypass pedals (turned off) the volume pedal works fine with no tone suck. if you kick in any other pedals between the buffer and the volume pedal, that pedal's own output "takes over" for the initial buffer and it may not be the exact same output impedance, and that can cause the volume pedal to have a different sweep than before, meaning that kicking on your chorus pedal or whatever can cause the volume to change.

    the fix there is to have a buffered or always-on pedal right in front of the volume pedal, that way no matter what else happens upstream the volume pedal is always being fed the exact same buffered signal and won't change levels unexpectedly.
     
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  17. Glitch Magnet

    Glitch Magnet Supporting Member

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    Quality is subjective. Build quality (durability, etc.) matters throughout the chain, but cable capacitance specifically becomes essentially insignificant post buffer. As long as it meets your needs for reliability, noise, and functionality, almost any guitar cable should work fine post buffer.
     
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  18. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    The tone suck from having a long chain of cables/pedals after a guitar is loss of the resonant peak from the low pass filter effect created by the guitar pickups/pots/cable/pedals. That's the biggest thing a buffer early in the signal path will correct. That said, a buffer followed by many true bypass pedals, patch cables and a long cable to the amp can create enough "insertion loss" that you'll lose volume and treble content, in which case another buffer or always on pedal, later in the chain wouldn't hurt.
     
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  19. Tiny Montgomery

    Tiny Montgomery Supporting Member

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    What is “insertion loss?”

    If signal is already lost before the buffer, the buffer can’t magically bring it back.
     
  20. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    1. Before the buffer, the passive components create a low pass filter (think like a wah) with a resonant peak. Increasing capacitance decreases the frequency and height of the peak. It's more evident with single coils. There actually IS a circuit that can restore that, but it's way too complicated for me...

    2. When a source output impedance is more than about 1/10th of the input impedance of the next stage(s) of the circuit then high frequencies will be lost (hence insertion losses). So, your buffer provides a low impedance output, but too much "stuff" afterwards can reduce the input impedance of the rest of the system resulting in loss of highs. Any activated pedal or buffer in between will restore said highs.
     
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