Just Learned A Hard Lesson About Buffers


I have been working a lot on recording lately and trying my best to capture the tone that I hear in the room. I play through a Jcm800 and so far I had managed to capture some beautiful clean tones. Then I started to go for the dirt, up the gain a bit, and get some nice tube compression.

As soon as I did this I heard it. This nasty, nasty overtone. It sounded like my amp when I strum the guitar as I switch it off. And as soon as I heard it, I couldn't unhear it. It was all that I could hear in the room too and it was driving me mad. What good is a Marshall if the crunch tone doesn't work?

Since I play attenuated my first thought was of course that it was caused by my Aracom(I'm so sorry for doubting you). As I switched through the different levels of attenuation and in and out of bypass I quickly realized that the Aracom was working just fine. Then I started pulling tubes, and went through everyone of them, swapping them around and trying different ones. Same thing, at this point I'm suspicious because I get this overtone no matter if the dirt is coming from the preamp tubes or the power tubes, or if I'm pushing the amp with a pedal, and it always sounds the same. But the clean tones are still great.

At this point I was thinking something was wrong with the amp, as I had recently been over my pedal board and knew that it was all working fine. All of my pedals are True Bypass except for one, a little guyatone gt-2 compressor which I have always really liked. Unplugged it from my board and magically the overtone has disappeared. Apparently the buffer in the gt2 was adding something to the sound that I couldn't really hear when the guitar was clean, but with any sort of clipping it got amplified and really started to smother the tone.

So all of that said, if you're going to have a buffer in your chain make sure it is a good one. Anyone know of a good compressor that sounds like the gt2 but is true bypass?


Good to hear you were able to track it down and fix it. I know what you mean about hearing something that you can't unhear from then on it just drives you insane. Certain OD pedals (almost all, IME) have this fizzly, almost glitchy decay. Some worse than others, and I just can't stand it, especially when it's bad. Not noticeable in a band situation but still. Even lots and lots of amps have this glitchy, fizzy overtone in the decay. That's one reason I'm so in love with the Kingsley Minstrel lately. It has NONE of this. I couldn't believe it. The decay is so perfect, smooth, linear, and natural. Love it.

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