Relay Switchers Changing Tone more than standard 3PDT switches

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by JKoeth, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. JKoeth

    JKoeth Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,760
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Without using any buffered pedals or stand alone buffers, I've found that relay switchers change and degrade tone more than regular 3PDT stomp switches. Relay switchers I've tried include Lehle, Wobo, Axxess Electronics and a few others.

    I ask because I am considering getting a Musicomlab, Gigrig or other programmable looper and I am hesitant. I don't like to use buffers with my clean tone and have been using a loop-master (3PDT type) for some time as I believe it is the lesser of the evils. The loop master is the most transparent solution I've tried but I have out grown it and need more loops. The programmable relay loopers are appealing but not if all relays alter tone in the same way.

    Have you found that relay switchers/loopers alter your tone more than standard true bypass 3PDT stomp switches?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2015
  2. shuffle

    shuffle Member

    Messages:
    869
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney

    I have used both relay switching loopers, true bypass loopers similar to the loop master, and finally no looper. I have never found any difference worth noting between the bunch but I prefer as a player no looper. My reason for this, and my solution to you, is to have a good buffer at the start of your chain.

    Depending on how many pedals and cables you are running through, having no buffer can often be detrimental to your sound. Even when using a looper with no loops engaged is too much signal loss in my experience. Just the two guitar cables (usually roughly 15 foot a piece) causes a difference.

    My guess is when you tried these relays loopers, without a buffer, the signal loss is not because of the looper, but the distance your signal is still travelling.

    A good buffer is a crucial piece of equipment. Especially if you have a passive volume pedal in your chain, or even an old pedal which might be loading your signal, a buffer is the one tool to fix these issues. Hope this helps.
     
  3. JKoeth

    JKoeth Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,760
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for your response shuffle.

    I have had my share of buffers too including Cornish, Lehle, Axess, etc.

    I currently have a Crowther Hotcake and a Rockett Archer which are both buffered pedals but I've been looping them out as I don't like the effect on my clean tone. I also use germanium pedals that don't care for buffers (yes, I know I can place buffers after them).

    So, in a nutshell, I've experimented with buffers and don't like them. I'd rather have the degradation of a 3PDT looper and two guitar cables than a buffer on all the time. This sounds more natural to me.

    I'm just curious if others have experienced the same with relay switching units and what solutions were found.
     
  4. shuffle

    shuffle Member

    Messages:
    869
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney

    Perfect, just wanted to make sure you had experimented with them first. A lot of people can get confused by buffers and what purpose they serve.

    Sticking with buffers for one more minute..
    When you say the buffer effects your clean tone, whats the difference you are experiencing?
    Is there more or less treble with the buffer?
    Is it a difference in, say, the brittleness of the high end?
    Or is it just a unexplainable dynamic feel thats different?

    With the relay switches, what difference are you experiencing here?

    Getting a little bit more info about what is actually changing will help my next train of thought.
     
  5. amz-fx

    amz-fx Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    It's not the relays.

    The contacts are gold and silver, and are less than five-hundreths of an ohm.

    If you are noticing a difference, then it is likely the extra cabling that is required.

    regards, Jack
     
  6. JKoeth

    JKoeth Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,760
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    This is the main thing. Why do relay switchers always sound worse than a straight up 3PDT switcher (using the same cables)?
     
  7. JKoeth

    JKoeth Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,760
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Buffers alter the EQ (yes, I know this will always be the case) and add a false treble. They also add a stiffness to the tone that is less open. The relays I've experienced add a slightly unnatural feel and a dullness. I'd like a solution that sounds more like plugging straight in with a single guitar cable. Over the years, I've been through some of the best buffers and relay switchers on the market.
     

Share This Page