If my pedalboard has 5 true bypass pedals,do I need a buffer?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jackroylee, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. jackroylee

    jackroylee Member

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    As the tile said,thank you!
     
  2. wingwalker

    wingwalker Fuzzy Guitars

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    You tell us!

    Plug into your signal chain with all the pedal off and play then plug straight into your amp and play...if you think you loose something going thru 5 true bypass pedals then look into a buffer, if you are happy with the difference or lack of a difference then I'd say a buffer is not needed.
     
  3. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

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    :agree
     
  4. Suarkttam

    Suarkttam Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    On that note, will a buffer improve the output quality of my Boss RC-3 Looper? The recorded loops sound slightly muddier than the original input sound...
     
  5. guitarz1972

    guitarz1972 Member

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    I doubt it.
     
  6. Whiskey N Beans

    Whiskey N Beans Supporting Member

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    The RC-3 has to be a buffered pedal, right? Anyway, I use 8 TB pedals with zero issues. It sounds fine straight to amp but I use good cables and only 8-10' each. Also, I find I always have a clean boost set above unity for my clean tones and an OD or distortion on for my lead tones. If you have anything always on, you likely will not benefit from a buffer. It helps though to know he input and output impedance of your pedals to help to know better if and where you'll benefit from one.
     
  7. BluesHarp

    BluesHarp Member

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    Id say yes.. right after your dirt or last on your board. I suggest the vht valvulator w tungsol tube. You'll be able to power 4 pedals with it as well.

    You can thank me later.
     
  8. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    +1000
     
  9. jkokura

    jkokura Member

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    If you 5 TB pedals and nothing else with a buffer, then maybe. But probably not.

    Jacob
     
  10. chervokas

    chervokas Member

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    Probably not needed but you need to ask yourself what do you want from a buffer? Are you looking to reduce the capacitance load of the cable when all the pedals are switched off? Well then maybe there would be some benefit from a buffer but everyone's right, how does it sound to you know with all the pedals off compared to your direct-in tone? What's the capacitance of the cable you're using and how long are the cable runs? Maybe you don't need a buffer but you'd like to try lower cap cable. Do you play with all your pedals off most of the time or are one or more pedals usually on? If one or more is usually on you almost certainly will get no added benefit from adding an additional buffer unless you have a problem of an impedance mismatch between devices you're trying to manage. It all depends on your system and your circumstances.
     
  11. Strat58

    Strat58 Member

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    HI yes 4 pedals was for me the max, and I noticed with the 5th pedal an serious loss in volume. so I bought a Lovepedal buffer voila problem solved.
    Peace Strat58
     
  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    If you got a board with 20 pedals - yes.

    If your board has 10 or less - No
     
  13. jb4674

    jb4674 Member

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    I swear, there's so many folks on TGP that are believing all the hype about true bypass and buffers.

    The answer is quite simple as someone else stated earlier in the thread... Plug into your chain and play. If you like the sound that emanates out of your amp, call it a day and be done with it. If you think there's something missing, then add a buffer and see what it does. Don't assume you'll need a buffer just because there's a million buffer threads on TGP.

    More times than not, simplicity in a rig is the best approach.
     
  14. justnick

    justnick Gold Supporting Member

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    Hope this is helpful.

     
  15. The Ratchet

    The Ratchet Member

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    Just get a VHT/Fryette Valvulator.
     
  16. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Easy way to find out:

    1) Plug all of your pedals you are going to play in their appropriate places (out front/loop).
    2) Play at a volume that is normal for gigging and practice.
    3) Listen attentively. Getting someone else to listen with you is also a good idea.
    4) Take pedals out of the front. Play and listen.
    5) Jot down your findings.
    6) Repeat with your effects loop's pedals. Play and listen.
    7) Jot down your findings again.
    8) If you hear tone loss get a buffer.
     
  17. chervokas

    chervokas Member

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    Well, just to be clear, pedals in a effects loop are different from pedals in front of the amp. You may find you need a buffer in both places, only on, or neither.

    Remember, nothing in the effects loop will be able to load the guitar -- those pedals are being inserted in between the amp's preamp stage and its output stage. So a buffer in the signal chain in front of the amp has no impact on the pedals in the loop, and the capacitance of the cable in loop and the impedance of devices in the loop have no impact on loading the guitar. So if you have an issue you're trying to resolve with cable capacitance loading the guitar or a hardwire bypass pedal loading the guitar, a buffer in the effects loop won't help you.

    However many loops have unbuffered sends and returns and that means the impedance of the send varies with how you have your preamp gain knob sent.

    Unless you have the preamp gain on "max" the send can have a high output impedance. So say the send has a 300K ohm output impedance and it's being loaded by a pedal with a 1M ohm input impedance. That's only a 3.3:1 ratio of load impedance to source impedance and it will result in pretty audible voltage loss.

    Also if you have a send with a high output impedance and you connect a long run of typical guitar cable to it -- say 15 feet of cable with a capacitance of 33 pF/ft -- the low pass filter formed by the output impedance plus the cable capacitance will roll off the high frequencies pretty dramatically.

    So, often you may find with an unbuffered effects loop that a buffer in that part of the chain is neccesary, and in that application you'd probably be better off with a buffer with a very high input impedance -- like the 10M ohm T1M buffer --- than would be preferable in front of the amp where something with a 1M ohm input impedance, like that of an amp's front end, works better.

    But any buffer in the effects loop will have no impact on anything that may be loading the guitar in front of the amp. That's a separate part of the circuit.
     
  18. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

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    Thanks, cool video. Any practical way a guitarist can measure the capacitance or their cable/pedal board and identify where the resonant peak of our setup is?
     
  19. justnick

    justnick Gold Supporting Member

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    Well sure, if you want to you can draw a schematic with your pickup as a resistor and inductor, your tone and volume controls as resistors to ground, with any capacitors that you have on them arranged accordingly, your cable as a capacitor to ground, and the input of your amp or buffer as a resistor to ground and possibly a capacitor too (in the case of the amp).

    Then you can write down all the values (cable capacitance per foot x total length).

    Then you can do the math with the appropriate formulas (Wikipedia RLC circuits) or plug the numbers into one of several calculators available on line or use circuit modeling software (I think there's one for Iphone/Ipad, and certainly free or cheap ones for PC's and OSX). You can then calculate the resonant frequency, damping factor (which may affect transient response but not much in these cases) and cutoff frequency.

    There's also lots of cool resources on line to help you get used to calculating things like impedance at different frequencies and resonant frequency of RLC circuits. Doing the numbers really helps one understand how they work.

    I suppose you could also use a function generator and O-Scope or other specialized test equipment to plot the frequency response of the circuit, though I'm not exactly sure how one would do this with a guitar rig.

    BUT...Though it might be interesting and educative to do all that, when it comes to the practicalities of your rig it is a much more useful exercise to just listen and see if everything sounds good to you, works in the mix etc.
    If you want to experiment, try different cable lengths. Keep in mind though that if the differences are too small, you may easily fool yourself into thinking you hear differences that aren't actually there.

    Hope this helps!
    n
     
  20. chervokas

    chervokas Member

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    Here's a web based calculator: http://www.calctool.org/CALC/eng/electronics/RLC_circuit


    Most multimeters won't let you measure capacitance but lots of cable manufacturers will publish the capacitance per foot of their cables. For example Gepco Xband is 22 pF/ft; Mogami 2524 is 39 pF/ft; Canare is 49 pF/ft; I think the Dimarzio is 33 pF/ft....etc.

    So using that calculator if you have a typical Tele bridge pickup with an inductance of around 3.5 henries, and 15 feet of dimarzio cable with typical Tele pot loading you'll have a resonant frequency of around 3.8khz. Switch to 15 feet of Gepco and you move the resonant frequency up to 4.68khz. Switch to Canare and you move it down to 3.15khz.

    Similarly if you use 35 feet of Dimarzio you'll have a peak at around 2.5khz. If you reduce that to 10 feet by inserting a buffer after the first 10 feet of cable, you'll raise the resonant frequency to 4.68khz.

    If you plug in the values you'll find that there's much more of an effect from changing the capacitance in the circuit with lower inductance pickups (typically single coils) than with higher inductance pickup (humbucker or very overwound pickups).
     

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