How come my bypass signal sux?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jklotz, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. jklotz

    jklotz Supporting Member

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    I did a little playing around today. I was shocked at how much loss I am getting in overall fidelity, running my guitar through my pedal board (all off) vs straight in. I don't get it - all my efx are try bypass. :dunno

    Cables are ok - (planet waves). Power via one spot. Small board, shortest possible cable runs. EFX are:

    polytune
    SP compressor
    J. Rockett Blue note
    Dispatch Master
    EP boost

    Any ideas?
     
  2. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    The pedals at unity gain?
     
  3. sacakl

    sacakl Silver Supporting Member

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    How far is your cable run from guitar to amp when including the pedals? Sometimes it can be at least double as opposed to plugging straight in, plus I haven't been a fan of planet waves since they sound a little dull to me but reliable. Having your first pedal with a buffer might help, or could buy a standalone buffer at the beginning.
     
  4. rschultz13

    rschultz13 Supporting Member

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    Putting a buffer at the beginning of your board is my first suggestion. T1m has a simple one for $40 or so.
     
  5. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    Yup, you're probably hearing the increased cable length compared to plugging straight in. You can try this by using a short patch cable from pedalboard to amp, and compare that to plugging straight into the amp (using the same guitar cable). That will let you hear what effect the pedals and patch cables have on the tone, without the additional cable length. I suspect you'll get most of the tone back, compared to when you have the longer cable between the board and amp.

    The solution is to use a buffer or active pedal somewhere on the board, to take the board->amp cable out of the equation.
     
  6. jklotz

    jklotz Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. Im running a 15 ft to the board, and another 15 ft to amp vs a 10 ft straight in. Is 20 ft difference enough to cause this?

    I have some boss pedals that are buffered, but thought they screwed up my clean sound too much when bypassed. Is there a buffer that is more transperant? I play mostly clean, so i guess i hear it more than someone who uses more gain.
     
  7. broken_sound

    broken_sound Silver Supporting Member

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    Just grab a buffer and throw it in front. If you decide to throw a boss in there make sure to isolate the power going to it. You won't notice any difference between being plugged direct and through your board.
     
  8. Rango

    Rango Supporting Member

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    Another victim of the myth that "true bypass" is aways "better". Get a good buffer and put it in front. Even a TU-3 tuner will fix it. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
  9. jordane93

    jordane93 Member

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    This is your problem. Having all true bypass pedals aren't good. I guess Boss doesn't suck.
     
  10. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    Most definitely - with the pedalboard (all true bypassed) in place, you have three times the cable length compared to the 10' cable you used to plug straight in. But again, you can test this to see exactly what difference the cables make. Keep the 15' guitar cable, and use it to plug straight in, then compare with plugging into the board with a short (1' preferable) patch cable to the amp. Then connect the whole thing as normal, using the 15' board -> amp cable. That difference is what that cable adds.

    Most people - myself included - would argue that most Boss pedals are transparent enough and just fine as buffers. There are a few that seems less so, though - for me, the PH-3 didn't work at all, for instance, and I also didn't care for the DD-2/early DD-3. Those have more than just the plain buffers going on in bypass mode, which may be what was responsible for the unwanted change in tone. But most of them are just fine. Of course, opinions vary wildly (there are quite a few threads on TGP on the subject ;)), so find one that both provides a useful effect and sounds fine in bypass. If you want to get into standalone buffers, there are lots of options out there.
     
  11. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    Get you couple 1/4" barrel connectors.
    [​IMG]

    String up your 2 15' cables together, hear that same tone loss or sort of close? Then it's you cable length + whatever the pedals /jacks and patch cables are adding in between. Then use both barrels and put that 10' in between the 2 15'. That should approximate the cable lengths and multitude of jacks on your 6 pedals.

    And keep in mind just because a pedal is supposedly TBP doesn't mean that their all designed/created equal. All it takes is one half way janky solder on one jack terminal to make a true bypass suck the life out of your tone when in bypass.

    Same goes for patch cables, what one sounds like with a active buffered pedal pushing through it means nothing when it has a passive bypass signal passing through it. Sure it will rob tone in both uses, but with a hot signal from a cooking OD you just might notice that slight 15% in performance, in fact you might prefer tone of that OD pedal with a little high end loss behind or feeding it.

    Use those barrel connectors and preview each and every patch cable. I actually rec you use a TBP looper for this, you can do instant true A/B comparison with them. I think every pedal user should own at least a simple $30 - 1 loop TBP looper.

    Just take your patch cables and use them to jumper the loop. Then you can do a true A/B of every patch cable. Then when you have 2 good patch cables and have weeded out bad ones, set each pedal in that loop one at a time, look for one that suck your tone down when in bypass.

    Once you identified the problem children you can toss or try to repair those cables, and then use that TBP looper you bought to put problem pedals in or replace them or if you can learn to use a multimeter and see if maybe you can redo a single solder on pedal to get performing at 100% as it should have come from factory/maker, this is actually a more common problem than you think, seems like a simple thing, but especially in mass produced pedals it is a more common problem than you think.

    Ps: my secret sauce, Deoxit Gold, all my plugs and guitars/pedals/amp/preamp jacks contact points are cleaned and then treated with this. Prevents corrosion and improves conductivity of contact points. It is a electrically conductive protectant, don't spray it in jacks, you can cause a jumpered short if it's dripping off stuff, just use a qtip and lightly coat jack points and plugs.
     
  12. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    Like the others have mentioned, place a buffer either at the beginning or end of your pedal chain to regain some clarity.
     
  13. guitarsngear

    guitarsngear Member

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    To reiterate what the others have said put a buffer or a buffered bypass pedal at the front of your chain and the problem will go away. In your true bypass board you have in addition to the cables to and from, all the patch cables between, and the length the signal has to travel in the pedal itself, it all adds up and that is where your tone loss is coming from.
     
  14. jklotz

    jklotz Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the help guys. I appreciate it.
     
  15. NielsM

    NielsM Member

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    Yep. Or keep one pedal always on. Then it's always buffered.
     
  16. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    I think daveks is on the right track. From what I've read, planet waves cables are 28pf foot, so using 30 feet is not excessive. Comparing it to a 10 foot cable, if that cable has less capacitance than the 2 15 footers, will lead to a brighter, peakier top end. Personally, I prefer my pickups loaded with 800-1000 pf to get a flatter response.

    I try to avoid buffers, as in practice, they do not sound like plugging straight into the amp which tends to defeat the point of being able to bypass your effects. Generally, I use an elixir cable between pedals and amp which is so low capacitance that buffers are not necessary. But, it may be that it's not capacitance in your case, which would just be an eq shift not a loss of fidelity, but a bad cable, switch, jack, etc.
     

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