When too many pedals wreck tone?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by toast487, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. toast487

    toast487 Member

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    Maybe this is a dumb question to ask on TGP, but is there a point where having too many pedals will destroy your amp tone when all pedals are off even if they are all true bypass and dedicated buffers are placed at the beginning and end of the chain?
     
  2. digiTED

    digiTED rock > talk

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    Mo pedals, Mo problems.
     
  3. captainbrew

    captainbrew Member

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    I don't think there's a magic number. It really depends on the type and quality of the pedals.
    Use your ears and compare the sound you get plugging straight in vs. through all your effects and judge for yourself. That's the only way to tell if you're losing a bunch of signal/high end/clarity etc.

    Really though, if you're happy with the sound you're getting don't over think it and just play and enjoy.
     
  4. rootbeersoup

    rootbeersoup Member

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    If they have the dedicated buffers, then in theory, it shouldn't "wreck" your tone at all.
     
  5. tibbon

    tibbon Member

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    Unless you're arbitrarily trying to plug in a large number of pedals, no. I've seen boards with 30+ pedals that sound good. Does it sound absolutely the same as going direct to the amp? No, but everything is a trade off. Would the audience notice? Hell no. Its all in your own head.

    I also don't get the odd relationship people have with buffers. A buffer in a pedal is evil, but strategically putting buffers in your chain is good. A buffer that's always on is evil, but having "always on" pedals is good.
     
  6. swellguy66

    swellguy66 Member

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    If you have a lot of pedals that aren't true bypass, yes. Even having a lot of true bypass pedals can suck tone. Two ways to solve it: bypass looper or a buffer.
     
  7. tibbon

    tibbon Member

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    So wait, quite often pedals that don't have true bypass have a buffer instead. You say pedals without true bypass will suck tone.

    Then you say a buffer will help.

    Everyone understands what a buffer actually does electronically right? Its just a unity gain amplifier.
     
  8. AJBoy238

    AJBoy238 Member

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    Thats why I use true bypass strips. I only have 3 pedals in the direct chain, the other 12 are in loops so when they're off they don't cause problems.
     
  9. 78deluxe

    78deluxe Member

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    Without a doubt....but there are way to many variables too provide any specifics.
     
  10. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    the more you place between you and your amp - if it's a good tube amp - the more disconnected your interaction with the amp will be. that means a few things:

    1/ mission accomplished
    or
    2/ you have to arrange & compensate to restore & preserve the connection as best possible
    or
    3/ you lose something & gain something different
    or
    4/ you got the gig

    if you play swing or chicago blues then a elaborate board is probably not required. if you are rocking blues like hendrix or clapton then a board is probably gonna be essential.

    if you are playing in a cover band with a tuner and a boost then you're either wearing a cowboy hat and playing a tele or you just don't give a damn about recreating different tones.

    all valid.
     
  11. justonwo

    justonwo Member

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    Get a bypass looper and problem (if there was even one to begin with) solved.
     
  12. guitarz1972

    guitarz1972 Member

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    OP, describe your rig (list your pedals, what amp and guitar you use, what power source and cables you're pulling) and maybe we can help you a little better. As others have said, too many variables to say for sure.

    In a word, No there isn't a set point in the game like that.
     
  13. Blues Lyne

    Blues Lyne Member

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    Op-amp buffers are usually unity, but my understanding is that most transistor buffers are less than unity gain. It might not be noticeable with one transistor buffer, but it's possible to lose enough gain with multiple buffers to make it noticeable. In addition multiple buffers can add noise. Keep in mind some pedals have multiple buffers in the signal path even when bypassed. Not all buffers are created equally, and some sound better than others. There are differences in their input and output impedance.

    Then again, I haven't worried about that much on my board. I don't have any buffers before my dirt pedals, but have multiple buffered pedals after.
     
  14. oxtone

    oxtone Member

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    I have 11 (mostly true bypass) pedals on my board, including 4-5 overdrive pedals. Today, I stopped at Twin Town Guitars in Mpls., and tried the Lehl "Sunday Driver", a dedicated buffer/boost. It sounded very,very good. I always get good compliments on my tone, but I wonder if the Sunday Driver would improve
    it some more, at the end of my chain?
     
  15. CaptainAwesome

    CaptainAwesome Supporting Member

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    I think this sums it up - that and I gotta agree with a Captain!
     
  16. chervokas

    chervokas Member

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    There really should be no change in your tone once you have that first buffer in there and it's followed by all true bypass pedals switched off. The first buffer is loading the guitar with its input impedance and that and the capacitance load of the cable between the guitar and the buffer is very much determining the upper harmonic peak and roll off of the guitar system. The output of that buffer, which, presumably is fairly low, probably around 1K ohm, is driving the line to the amp and in most circumstance you probably gain nothing even from having that second buffer at the end of the chain.

    Now, there could be impedance issues between pedals when when some of them are switched on. But with all true bypass pedals in bypass after a buffer, you shouldn't have any discernable change in the guitar's frequency balance or signal level. That's the whole point of putting the buffer at the front of the line in the first place. It's not really about the amp tone, it's really about the guitar tone and how the loading of the guitar affects it's output.
     
  17. Manicstarseed

    Manicstarseed Member

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    When investigating loopers and buffers I came across an article where it recommends 3 or less (high quality)buffers in a pedal chain. I just switched out my MXR Dynacomp for a Barber Tone Press (buffer to true bypass). Now I have (2) buffers in the chain and noticed the high end difference going from 3 to 2. With two buffers, I am satisfied with the "pedal-off"tone. My set-up has (5) pedals in front and (2) in the loop.
     
  18. tylermoss

    tylermoss Member

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    :beer This. If it sounds good, it is good.

    Well said! Also, an "always on" pedal is a "buffer" in it's own right. Just one that REALLY colors and degrades your "original tone"
     
  19. cubistguitar

    cubistguitar Member

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    Sometimes one or two stinkers can make the chain less useful, a true bypass loop box can fix this. Careful use of the buffers either in something you own, like a delay, or a buffer in a separate box can help too.
     
  20. JTL

    JTL Member

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    Saw the title of this thread and immediately thought "... you might be a Praise & Worship Guitarist."
     

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