Zendrive - tone loss when bypassed?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by rclemmer, Sep 4, 2005.


  1. rclemmer

    rclemmer Guest

    I'm bracing myself for the backlash even as I type this, but here goes...

    I got a Zendrive yesterday and the tone is AMAZING. I love it. I've been on an O/D quest lately and have acquired a TIM, OCD and now the Zendrive. All amazing pedals in their own right.

    So when I added the Zendrive I noticed some high end loss, even though the Zendrive was bypassed. I suspected a cable or other problem. I removed all other pedals and plugged in the following:

    Suhr -> Evidence Audio 6' cable -> Zendrive -> Lava 3' cable -> Route 66 -> Z-best

    Turn on the Zendrive and I'm a happy guy, but turn off the Zendrive and there's a loss of clarity in the high end. I A/B'd by removing the Zendrive and plugging straight into the amp until my arm got tired. The difference is there.

    Has anyone else experienced this?
     
  2. David-R

    David-R Supporting Member

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    I haven't noticed it but I'll do a little testing with my rig. The Zendrive is true bypass so it's a little surprising.
     
  3. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Senior Member

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    You have to use the same length cable when doing A-B tests. I'd check all your cable connections again. You may have some sheild touching hot, and causing some of those highs to go to ground. I'd look closely at the Lava. FWIW
     
  4. rclemmer

    rclemmer Guest

    Good point, Matt. Needless to say I was surprised by this. I'll try different cables and make sure the wiring is clean. I'm also going to pick up a looper pedal so I can experiment further.
     
  5. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Senior Member

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    Its a 9-pin switch John, but just for kicks I printed what you said just to have it as a resource! ;)
     
  6. basscracker

    basscracker Guest

    try these two rigs and see if these setups have the same high loss.

    :eek: :eek:
     
  7. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    You are telling him to put his pedal in between his amp head and his speaker. M.E.
     
  8. ahermida

    ahermida Member

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    The Zendrive is a true bypass pedal and it uses a 9 pin footswitch (to bypass signal and to turn on/off the LED). Check the footswitch to make sure that nothing metallic is shorting 2 pins that shouldn't be touching. If you're still in doubt send me a digital pic of a closeup of the switch or the pedal itself.

    Alf

     
  9. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    Do you have other pedals that are true bypass? If so, are you experiencing the same problem? I suspect it's the extra length of cable, doubling the cable length will give you a very apparent loss of high end, even with the highest quality cables.
     
  10. rclemmer

    rclemmer Guest

    Thanks to all who offered advice. I'm especially humbled that Suhr and Alf contributed.

    After countless experiments and hours spent scratching my head in disbelief, I've come to the following... I don't want to call them conclusions... so I'll say "here's where I am at the moment"

    What we have here is a multi-part problem. :confused:

    Initially the Zendrive sounded noticably different than my TIM when 'bypassed' - connecting one at a time. There was some amount of high end loss. Based on Alf's comments, I opened the Zendrive and found that the battery clip was floating around. Perhaps it was shorting something??? After insulating the battery clip, the Zendrive behaves exactly as my TIM when bypassed. Was the problem actually solved or is this some voodoo magic... I'm not sure. Perhaps I let the magic fairy dust out when I opened it up.

    However, there remains a tone change when connecting either pedal (set to BYPASS) as compared to plugging straight into the amp. I'm not sure if this change is due to the additional cable length, or perhaps the introduction of the Lava cable and a pedal into the signal path. The overall tone is subtly different. I don't have sufficient high end cables to create identical cable lengths for both scenarios, but that would be fun to experiment. (Just the excuse I need to buy more high-end calbes.)

    Once again, thanks to all who offered advice. I'll continue to investigate and welcome the constructive comments of others. Meanwhile, those who suggest I plug straight into my speaker cabinet and bypass my amp may want to consider a job at one of those big chain stores.:D
     
  11. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    I am super anal about tone loss/suckage. I hear a tonal loss no matter what box that I plug in to. All of my boxes are high end and true bypass.
    In my opinon, there is no true bypass box that sounds exactly like I am plugged straight in. On some subtle level, you start to lose the sensativity, shimmer and bounce that plugging straight in affords. Buffered pedals are worse for me, I have none on my board. They tend to modify my tone and flatten some frequencies. I have resolved to using a D/13 Joyride for bumping my cleans back up to par. I keep this pedal on all the time. This pedal goes into my Savage Blitz 50 that runs loud and clean. TONS of shimmer and bounce with that touch response that I so love. This is by far the best pedal as far as being "amplike" that I have tried and I have gone through many. For crunch/distortion/lead tones I have an OCD in between my Tophat Club Royale. Good pedal but I am still looking. My guitar plugs into an Analogman custom A-B/Loop/Tuner pedal and I am keeping all of my Fuzzes and boosters, both treble and full in the loop. With this setup, I have a huge array of tones available that I am going to need for live use. This setup is by far the best that I have had insofar as retaining that plugged straight in character. I am really satisfied with what I have going on. M.E.
    Edit: I also use a 10' Evidence from my guitar to my board and George L's on my board. I then built a custom snake that houses my Power cord from my board and George L's from my board to my amp. I have a Digital Delay [rackmount] on my board and I have a pair of George L's in the send/return of that unit. I am soon going to be adding a California Blonde to sit under my Tophat and that is going to be my wet side for both amps. I will be using a pair of Mini-Mass'es from the additional speaker outs to hit the SWR. The delay will then be in the loop of the SWR. George L's all the way around.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. basscracker

    basscracker Guest


    i thought he was talking about the pedal RT66:eek:




    http://www.visualsound.net/rt66.htm
     
  13. D.G.

    D.G. Member

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    Try this:

    Guitar -> normal length cable -> pedal (in bypass mode) -> 6" or less cable -> amp

    Then:

    Guitar -> normal length cable -> amp

    Cables should be George L's or similar quality. With this senario you should hear no difference between the two setups. IF you do still hear a real difference, then try putting a good buffered pedal first in line. Some Boss pedals have decent buffers, but I prefer either an RC Booster or a Tech 21 pedal (GT2, Double Drive, Comptortion, etc.)

    A good general rule to follow is to have a good buffer as your first pedal, and all other pedals following it to be true-bypass. This is especially important if you are using a passive volume pedal such as an Ernie Ball.
     
  14. Rid

    Rid Senior Member

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    Huh?
    This sounds almost like religion to me:D
    You add something and it will change something, then you add something else to counter what has been added.
    Why not just run some sort of parralel setup then, and keep your clean signal and mix in what ever you want?
    But then again, I use nothing but buffered stuff mostly.
    Always makes my self a happy compromise, can't see how else one should be able to use pedals without going into compromises.
    Most of the time I actually have to turn down the amp abit, and lower the topend slightly.
    But I always had a fat clear sound that worked well within a band, for recording I just set it up way different.
     
  15. what?

    what? Member

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    I dont find any tone loss with my 2 mosferatus and a zendrive, but when I plug in my grinder my bypassed tone turns into tiny digital sounding shrill clean that is very2 annoying same thing with when I have my boss PH-1r in the signal chain. I dont understand how a true bypass pedal can do that, could it be cold solder or something?
     
  16. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I was running into this similar problem....and it was the extra cablage, as well as connections.

    Here's how you can tell...but you need at least two loopers. Setup with:

    Guitar->looper A-> (looper A send using same cables you will use in test, into the input of looper B. Output Looper B back into RETURN on looper A)->amp.

    I made it look more complicated, but essentially it is the same setup you use to test the Zendrive, but using a straight through connection on the second looper to substitute for the ZD.

    I am 99% sure it is going to be the same loss of high.
    I've learned to come to terms with the Heisenberg Principle...that like with the atom, the act of seeing it changes it...same here, the act of testing for the change creates a change.

    I think also, a good buffer can both compensate and also provide a constancy that you don't get with loopers, to the signal.

    I cam also to the conclusion, if you use ANY pedals, you will change the signal from what it would have been with guitar->amp. You can choose all TB, or a mixture TB and buffer to try and get back what gets lost, or boost, etc, etc. but no matter WHAT you try you aren't going to have the exact same as guitar->amp.

    The Zendrive, mine anyway, is fantastic, and I can't hear any noticeable change when it is bypassed.

    ALWAYS check though tha the jacks are making good contact and are clean at the contact point, as well as the cable ends!
     
  17. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Your way is better. Problem with the "parallel" thing is...some may be buffered in the loops (unless you have a loop for each pedal alone, turned on all the time) and suddenly you got too bright a sound, then dark..etc. inconsistent. Also, the loop for each pedal adds cable, which adds up quickly, and again..tone loss.

    I think a good buffer in there is the best solution, and/or boost at the front end.

    OR, best of all...do the best you can with what you like to play with, and just enjoy. I was getting obsessive, and
    now am letting go of the want/need/compulsion to absolutlely control every aspect of my tone, and yet be able to
    play any pedal I want, get ANY sound...I gave up on that.
     
  18. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    Maybe I am just not really giving a crap anymore but,I am to the point where I am running a combination of true bypass and buffered stuff and there is no time to bother with it any more.The small(read miniscule)amount of tone suckage that I get from using buffered pedals comes out in the wash,when performing live witha 25-50' cable.You end up needing the buffers to prevent any signal loss.There may be a little loss in there, and if all you do is record,true bypass is the way to go,but if you play out,buffering can be necessary for longer runs of cable.My Zendrive is on so much,I never notice a loss of signal.
     

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