So, how do I use a buffer?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by drolling, Feb 10, 2006.


  1. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Been using effects for 30 years, but I've never had a dedicated buffer and I'm looking for some pointers on where to place it in a signal chain.

    Got a few crude, homemade boards that are in a constant state of flux, thanks to the many hours spent reading posts here at TGP.

    My pedals are a mix of buffered & true-bypassed effects; one board starts w/a Foxrox boosted wah & ends w/an analog delay, another begins w/an old DynaComp & ends w/a cheap digital delay. The electro-acoustic rig starts w/a high impedance volume pedal & ends w/an EQ.

    None of my amps have FX loops, so pedals are always in front.

    The incoming buffer box is an Antelope Morning Dew, which can be used as a buffer and/or an equalizer from what I understand.

    Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions you might throw my way..
     
  2. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I've decided that this whole true bypass vs. buffered boxes is a load - as long as the buffered pedal has a high-quality buffer in it, it should actually make a real difference in maintaining your uneffected tone. I do agree that having all T/B effects can dampen your tone, so having at least one buffer in your chain is a very good thing. I'll be running two on my board of 8 pedals one near the beginning (after wah and fuzz) and one at the end.
     
  3. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    First you spread the wax around. Then you let it dry until it is white. And them using a circular motion, you wipe the whole car down until it shines like a diamond.
     
  4. Play by Tone

    Play by Tone Member

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    Depends on the day.
    First or last. Wahs or Fuzzes might force you to place it after them, but generally keep it as close to the guitar as possible.

    And as far as it being bull, I had a rehearsal last night were I played without my normal pedalboard, and since this one is being assembled I didn't have any buffered pedals. I didn't even think about it until I noticed I had some tone issues. So buffers make a big difference when you have a lot of cable to drive.
     
  5. webb

    webb Member

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    The cool thing about the morning dew is that you can switch the buffer on or off.(via switch inside) I like it in buffer mode, very transparent. In buffer mode, the buffer is working whether the effect is on or off. As for placement, I think it sounds best anywhere but last in line, but try it everywhere.
    Have fun
     
  6. wleeds

    wleeds Member

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    I use to have mine (EMG JG-2) in my guitar before the volume pot. The problem is I only have one buffer and play more than 1 guitar now. I now have it in its own hammond case on my pedal board, no noticeable difference.
    I asked Mario at Axess if there was any point to using his BS2 along with the JG-2 and he said it would be redundant given I already have a buffer.
    The function of the buffer is to really lower the impedance of the signal which restores a lot of the clarity. It isn't so much of a true bypass vs buffered switch as much as it is maintaining a wider signal throught the chain...........i think.

    Whatever happens, I now pretty much rely on mine.

    Axess Electronics also has a built in buffer in the GRX-4.

    have fun......
    mark

    :eek: ...........
     
  7. Bob Sweet

    Bob Sweet Member

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    You guy's are leaving out one important fact.
    With or without a quality buffer in front, your signal is only as good as the weakest link (buffer) in the chain.

    Let's say you have 4 OD's (or any effect). With a buffer in front before them, the first 2 are TBP and the 3rd is a buffered ??? pedal. As long as it is a good quality buffer everything is cool. But there are plenty of pedals that have very questionable buffers in them and some that are out right misleading.

    Let's say #3 is one of these, now your signal leaves #3 with whatever that manufacturer saw fit to leave you with. It could be good (Cornish, Axess, Mayer) or it could be bad (insert favorite tone sucker here). That is where your signal is now, so it would be wise to add another buffer after that effect. Am I making sense?

    In an all true bypass setup you could get away with one, because the only time it see's the effect is when it's turned on and usually they don't show the tone sucking as much because of the buffering action of the effect itself. Most of the time the "suckage" is most noticable when the effect is off.

    At least this is my findings after way too many years playing :)
     
  8. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    I'm currently working on getting a pedalboard together. The pedalboard will include the following:

    Fulltone OCD
    Timmy
    SPF I-5 Delay
    Dreamtone Sexy Vibes Tremelo
    Analogman Comprossor
    Boss TU-2 Tuner

    I'm pretty sure these are all T/B except for the Boss. Should I grab a buffer for the board?
     
  9. drolling

    drolling Member

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    This is really great stuff - exactly what I was looking for!

    I haven't given buffering a whole lot of thought in the past- other than to swap out the switch in my wah (easy!) or physically remove pedals like the DigiTech Whammy, for example, when not in use (also easy, but a PITA). But I have noticed that if I've got more than a couple of true-bypassed pedals hooked together, my guitar's tone starts to go. Through experimentation, I've found that throwing a buffered pedal into the chain usually seems to help. Now I'm beginning to understand why..

    So thanks guys, Keep it comin'!
     
  10. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I'm with you...I noticed sometimes some folks seem to be saying (without actually saying it in black & white) that the ideal seems to be ALL TB, except ONE...which should have a great buffer.

    I think that idea is taking what you point out, to unrealistic levels (some pedals I need to use have buffers..some TB.)

    I am going to be trying out the Radial Dragster (hope I get it tommorrow) which might also help the signal balance.

    But mainly, good cables, and leave out (or put in a loop) the tone suckers.

    Buffers in front of some pedals don't make sense to me. Some I want to control the dist level with the guitar vol...but here is another thing...for a long time I kept the volume up pretty high, didn't notice much tonesucking, but when you lower the vol THAT is when you'll notice it most. Losing highs especially.

    In essense, I also think of it like....when any pedal is ON (any powered pedal that is) it is buffered. People kinda forget that point. The buffering we keep talking about seems to me to be mainly worry about when the pedal is OFF, what it does to the signal.

    There may be exceptions.

    I also am not quite sure if this issue affects tube MORE than Solid state amps.

    I first choose the type of pedals I want. Then when researching I try to find out if they are TB or not, or possible tone suckers or not. It never stops me from buying a pedal if I really want it, but I might try several combinations, and adjust a lot....without a looper (I don't have one yet) it is harder to tell for sure if you are losing tone (but...that means it probably isn't too bad)....with a looper (or a friend standing by the amp with two leads...one from effects one just straight...switching them with you) it would be easier to tell how much it really affects.

    Main thing...if I don't like my tone, I consider if it could be due to loading, but only one among several things to think about. If I like my tone, I don't care if I am losing signal if the end result is the tone I want.

    I DO see too many reviews and posts where the person seems to think ONLY TB on any pedal is acceptible.
     
  11. teddy boy

    teddy boy Member

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    I had a really bizarre experience today. I have quite a substantial board with 9 pedals, two a buffered, my TU-2 and Voodo-Vibe jr. I was just screwing around with the pedals and I wondered if the direct guitar-to-amp tone would be substantially better. To my surpise, I found my tone lacking some sheen and balls that I had with the pedalboard. What was that all about? Are the buffers really that good or was it just cosmic jive?
     
  12. drolling

    drolling Member

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    I didn't even discover the volume knob on my guitar for many, many years, but when I finally started using it, I noticed the highs dropped out whether I was connected to some pedals or going straight into my amp. A buddy of mine soldered some caps & resistors onto the pot and my tone now stays nice & bright no matter how far down I roll the volume. This was a real revelation for me, as I'm constantly riding the controls now - especially when using one of those great fuzzes that clean up when you lower the guitar's volume.
     
  13. Bob Sweet

    Bob Sweet Member

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    As long as the effect is designed right you should be able to control the distortion with the guitar vol any way. But there are some that are just not practical to expect to be able to control that way (ones with HUGE amounts of gain). The high end loss you experience is probably what you're losing from the guitar cable to the pedalboard, also don't overlook the pots in the guitar.
    I always thought that as long as it was a decent quality pot they all worked the same. Not too long ago I got a guitar that had some cheap mini pots in there and notice a huge loss in high end when turning the guitar down just a small amount. Replaced them with full sized CTS and it's MUCH better, not perfect but better. That is another reason to keep the 1st buffer as close to the guitar as practical, you will lose less high end.
     

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