VHT Valvulator vs. Axess BS-2 Buffer vs. ZVex SHO vs. ? to help tone

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Kingofguitar, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. Kingofguitar

    Kingofguitar Member

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    Greetings,

    What is the best device that will un-degrade my signal? I am running a LOT of effects in my chain and my tone sounds lifeless. Most of the effects are true bypass, but since there are so many, the signal has to travel a long way. Thought a Zvex super hard on at the beginning of my chain might help push my signal through. Have heard some good things about the Axess Electronics buffer as well as the VHT Valvulator. But some say it isn't good to run these before overdrive or fuzz boxes. Is there anything else that would help? Whats the best way to go?

    Please advise. Thanks.
     
  2. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I run two buffers for a string of 9 pedals (that number includes the buffers) - an Antelope MDEQ EQ/Buffer right after my wah and Hellbilly, and a BS-2 at the end of the chain. I think a buffer is crucial if you're running any more than 4-5 T/B boxes and if you run cable lengths of more than 25-30 feet. The BS-2 sounds great - works as advertized IME...
     
  3. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    I use 2 axess buffers on my board with many effects, all true bypass.

    After much experimentation with just one buffer at the front after fuzz but before everything else or at the very end of the chain I then tried 2. One after the first pedal which is a fuzz, the second at the very end. That is what sounded the best and all the pedals sounded the best this way for me. My problem with just one good axess buffer at the front was that if I engaged my Analogman Boss DD-5 (on a looper) that Boss buffer taking over without some buffer after it gave a dramatic nasaly treble spike. Kind of wierd but both of my DD-5's I tried did the same thing.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Kingofguitar

    Kingofguitar Member

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    Why do buffers need to go after fuzz/distortion pedals?
     
  5. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    Fuzz pedals will almost never work correctly and clean up with rolling off the guitar with a buffer in front of them. All of my other OD's (Fulldrive 2 - Bad Cat Extreme Tone) work fine with the buffer in fron of them...
     
  6. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    I had an Axess BS2 and it worked great. Then I tried the Valvulator 1 and I liked it even more, especially when I put a NOS Tesla E83CC in it - WOW! The tone was so good it was startling at first. I use it right after my V-Stack Classic, which doesn't like to follow the V1. All other pedals don't mind and their tones were improved by the V1. I found the V1 accidentally when looking for an additional power supply for some pedals. What a great find.
     
  7. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    I haven't tried the others, but I'm very happy with my valvulator. I run it first in the chain, and never had any problems with any OD's or Fuzz pedals (PE Experience, Demeter Fuzzulator).
     
  8. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    I have a MDEQ at the front, several TB pedals and end with a DD20. Is the buffer in the DD20 good enough to push it (I don't here alot of tone loss, though I'm sure there is some) or would it improve to put a BS2 after the DD20?
     
  9. stratofied

    stratofied Member

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    Unless you need a signal split feature with the BS-2, I would go with the MDEQ.
     
  10. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Sounds like your set-up is similar to mine (except I have an Arion SAD-1 instead of your DD-20) - I have the BS-2 last for two reasons: 1) I do notice a tonal improvement and 2) I use it to split my signal to another amp. I think the DD-20's buffer is probably adequate on it's own, but you won't know until you try the BS-2 to see if there is a difference.
     
  11. aortizjr

    aortizjr Member

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    No matter what buffer you use you are going to get some coloration and things are going to act differently. Basically the buffer changes your impedance, which changes how thing will react depending on the impedance they expect.

    Personally I like the change, but that is guitar to buffer to amp.

    Also any op-amp, transistor, or tube will color the tone some as well. Tube probably being the worst at coloration... but in a good way. Since everything colors your tone, might as well have a tube that colors it in a pleasing way.

    Now, I have heard reliability issues with the Valvulator. Plus it is big and heavy and requires it's own power supply. I haven't used the BS-2, but I built my own buffer that uses and Op-Amp, essentially the same or very similar to the BS-2 and I love it. Mine runs on regular 9V negative tip power, which most pedals use (ie. Boss, Morley, Zoom, etc.) Then I can power it with a Godlyke Powerall or Visual Sound One Spot and daisy chain.

    I have noticed differences between Op Amps and I can't really say which ones I like best. Even the same code with different makers I have noticed differences. The BS-2 claims to be specially selected to sound good with guitar. Anyone know what Op-Amp that is?

    I built a looper box basically. So all my effects are bypassed when I want none. My buffer is at the end all the time mainly to drive the 30ft. run back to my amp. And my Amp sounds much tighter at low impedance than high, so just the buffer alone made improvements.

    I only have 2 pedals though, a Zoom A2 and a Moorley Wah. So a buffer before probably wouldn't help much.

    In your case with all the true bypass, I would put one in front for sure. So when they are all bypassed your tone will travel through nicely. But when any one of them is engaged, the buffer will no longer help much. So then you might want one after as well.

    They are pretty easy to build if you are good with DIY stuff. My latest one, looper one, was made with an Electrical box from home depot, and just about everything else came from Small Bear Electronics www.smallbearelec.com
     
  12. shakti

    shakti Member

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    Well, the Valvulator may need power supply, but don't forget it's actually working as a pedal board power supply too! So you just need to connect the mains cable, and you have a PSU and buffer all in one.

    I have no experience with the Axess. I had a SHO years ago. Wonderful pedal for giving a clean boost with some upper-end grit (in a good way) to clean Fender amps, but not to my liking into overdriven/hairy amps. It alters your sound quite a bit, IMO.

    The Valvulator will also alter the sound, but very subtly, and with a good tube in there only in the most positive way. I love mine more and more. 4 years without any trouble whatsoever. I also use a Tesla E83CC in there. Perfect, but I'm gonna go through all of my NOS/used old stock too see which one I like the best.
     
  13. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    bump for Tedintheshed
     
  14. LouRossi

    LouRossi Member

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    Hmm, I have a TC or EBS compressor on most of the time & that boosts the signal a bit so is a buffer necessary for me. Other problem I have a passive volume pedal too.



    My chain: compressor> filter>od>mod>vol>delay>looper

    Thanks. Lou
     
  15. The Whiz

    The Whiz Member

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    Love my Axess. To my ears, it's pretty transparent.

    I've got a ZVex Super Duper. Sometimes I use the yellow channel as a buffer, but it's not transparent. It adds a nice sparkly presence, but I prefer the Axess for buffer purposes and use the Super Duper more for od and boost. Overdrive from the red master volume channel of the super duper sounds awesome IMO. I'm not as excited about the yellow channel on its own, I usually don't even use it.

    taco
     
  16. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I used the Valvulator years ago to warm up a digital amp. I have since switched to an Egnater mod 50 and running pedals. I am looking at the axess buffer or Valvulator.

    How do these work with tuner pedal? Can I run a line out to my tuner? What happens with the other side of the tuner pedal, the output?
     
  17. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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    Yes use one out for the tuner and one for your signal. Of course you lose the ability to shut your signal with the bypass foot switch on the tuner. You can use a volume pedal or switch on your board you shut down your signal.
     
  18. gtrguy17

    gtrguy17 Member

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    BOth the Axxess and the VHT work great with tuners - the output of the tuner doesn't get plugged in.
    FWIW, I've had both and I kept the VHT. It sounds, well, 'bouncier' to me.
     
  19. Sikor

    Sikor Member

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    I am using MI Audio Boost'n'Buff as a buffer and it works great :AOK

    I've heard also good opinions about MXR CAE MC-401, but I didn't have a chance to compare it with my BnB.
     
  20. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I was told the best is the Creation Audio Labs Redeemer.
     

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