Originally Posted by gidbass
you know, i already have an LS 2 and i was thinking about pickup up another and experimenting with it as you mention.
Thanks for the info though, I don't understand the buffering side, but what you say makes sense to me...sort of anyways...
Buffering (when used in the guitar and bass guitar worlds) is a fancy way of saying that your signal runs through some rather basic electronic circuitry that passes the signal straight through it but doesn't put a "load" on your pickups. Well, it puts a load on them, but a load that they really really like .... your pickups "think" they are plugged in to a very kickass made bass amp.
Almost every single Boss pedal made has a really great "loading" (otherwise known as "impedance"). The input impedance is so nicely engineered that your bass ~thinks~ you plugged it into a high-end bass amp. Even when the pedal is bypassed, your signal is STILL run though this ~buffer~ circuitry.
"True Bypass" means that your signal is actually hardwired directly around the pedal, just as if it weren't even there. However, if the next pedal in line has a crappy "impedance" it will load your pickups down and they will sound dull and with less life and sparkle. Since Boss pedals don't have "True Bypass" setups (instead, your basss runs through this "buffer") then no matter what is next in line doesn't matter if it has crappy impedance specs or not, because the Boss has the same great input impedance whether it's bypassed or engaged.
There are mountains of details about this "buffered bypass vs true bypass" debate, most all of it is correct. It comes down to the fact that if you don't want to do the wrong thing and make your bass sound less-than-good, you have to brain-up on some of these issues to protect yourself from Tone Suck.
Knowledge is Power! THAT is an absolute fact!
So since Boss stuff is all "buffered bypass", your bass ALWAYS "thinks" it is plugged into a killa-badass bass amp, whether the Boss pedal is bypassed or engaged. When you bypass a buffered pedal (like almost all Boss pedals are) you're only actually bypassing the effect, not the internal buffer. So if you are using (let's say) a phaser, when you bypass the phaser you have only bypassed the stuff that is phase shifter stuff, the buffer inside of it is still engaged and your signal is still running through that buffer, even though the phaser electronics are bypassed.
The other thing about true bypass setups is they can actually produce tone suckage if your chain is kinda long. You have to add up the total distance that your bass's sound travels from the jack on your bass to the input jack on your amp. EVERYTHING has to be included. The cables, the patchcords, even the distance that the signal travels through the pedals when they are all bypassed. If that distance is long enough, it can actually produce what is known as "cable capacitance". All you really need to know about that is that the total length of your signal path can create a tone-dulling affect if it is long enough. Since true bypass pedals don't have "buffers" to make your bass feel the love of a good input impedance until it gets allllllll the way to the amp's input jack, they can actually contribute to tone suckage.
Putting a buffered pedal at the beginning of your pedal chain makes your bass think it is plugged into an amp that is only as far away as your first cable is long. So if you have a 10ft cable and it is plugged into a buffered pedal first, your bass sounds as if you only have a 10ft path from the jack on your bass to the input jack on your amp. The bass is loving life at that point! Even if you have fifty feet of signal path AFTER the buffered pedal, your bass thinks the total path is only 10ft, not a total of 60feet. The buffer basically hides all of the wiring AFTER it from your bass, your bass doesn't know that there is 50 more feet of path after the buffer.
Sorry this was so long, it's a tough thing to put in only a few words. This video demonstrates the way that capacitance and path length can srew up your tone, and it also shows how a buffered pedal can correct it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOWeoizp4y0
Many players just use a good tuner as a buffer. The Boss TU2 is a buffered tuner, the LS-2 is a buffered 2-channel parallel FX Loop with different looping and switching modes.