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Anyone using a line buffer

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by PBFACTOR, Dec 15, 2011.



    Dec 21, 2001
    Boise, ID
    I'm loosing a bit of signal through my pedal board. Wondering if anyone is using a line buffer and if it helps. Thanks.
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    A lot of pedals already have buffers as part if their bypass circuit, Boss for example.
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    You have to identify exactly how your signal is getting "lost" before you can pick the right tool to fix the problem. For example, if a poor-quality buffered bypass is the problem, then adding another buffer--even a really good one--will not be the solution. Same if you have an "always on" pedal or two that happen to suck tone while on... the solution is to replace those pedals with good ones, not add a buffer. If the problem is you have a large number of true-bypass pedals, and tone is lost when many of them are bypassed, then YES a buffer can help! Or if the problem is you have a lot of length of cable to the pedals, among the pedals, and to the amp; and if none of the pedals already contain a decent buffer; then YES adding a buffer can help.

    There are other cases/examples, but hopefully you get the point that the cure depends on the cause.
  4. I used an MXR Noise Gate/Line Driver for many years, until I got the [sfx] MicroThumpinator a much better buffer.
    Like BongoM stated it may be the solution but you have to find where the issue is.


    Dec 21, 2001
    Boise, ID
    I'm using 2, 18 ft mogami gold cables, an ebs multi drive, ebs bass iq, an oc-3, a korg pitch black and a biyang reverb. I think only the biyang and korg are true bypass. Non of them are always on. Sometimes i run another distortion pedal too. I was thinking its the cable length. Dunno. Maybe a line driver would work better just to ad some gain half way through. Maybe a line driver to add some gain?
  6. I was going to suggest ask Bongomania
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It is possible that the Boss and/or the two EBS pedals may have a poor-sounding bypass, or the three of them together add up to a poor-sounding bypass (the more of these you have in series, the more noticeable the effect is). Now bear in mind I am not saying Boss or EBS in general have bad bypass--just saying they are suspects to be examined.

    So what I'd do is first remove them one at a time from the chain, and see if there's a noticeable improvement taking any one of them out. If not, then try removing all three of them from the chain ans see what you hear.

    Next, put the Boss (which we know has buffered bypass) back in the chain, and go back and forth between using just one 18' cable between bass and amp, and the pedalboard chain.

    The other thing to consider is that maybe one or more of your cables has "gone bad" i.e. has a deteriorating solder joint or some corrosion. Could be one of the the Mogamis, could be one of the short patch cables between pedals. Test them all by the process of elimination.

    AFTER doing all that, if you have not found a culprit, THEN consider using a booster/driver to juice up the signal.
  8. That's close to a 40 foot signal chain that may be draining your signal especially if you use a passive bass. A buffer or line driver may help but rule out the other pedals first.


    Dec 21, 2001
    Boise, ID
    Thanks guys.
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    are you using the bass in your avatar picture?

    it's active, right? if so, the "line driver/buffer" is already there, in the bass!

    which means the problem is something else, like a bad cable, patch, or pedal.


    Dec 21, 2001
    Boise, ID
    Sold that a while ago. Still use one active and one passive bass. Lose signal with both. I'll look at the cables and pedals. Thanks.
  12. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    I'm using an Xotic EP boost at the beginning of my pedalboard and I'm happy with the results. Definitely recommend it.
  13. Using an active bass should eliminate the need for a buffer / line driver. Start troubleshooting. I would do it in a slightly different manner than Bongo; start with your bass > cable > amp to make sure that it sounds how you want and then add until it sounds like crap, but that is just a personal preference and either way should guide you to your solution.

    Good luck.


    Dec 21, 2001
    Boise, ID
    Cables are fine and no one pedal saps a ton of gain. Must just be the 2 cables and the 5-6 (sometimes 8 ) pedals. Mess with the order some more too.
  15. Try putting it all back together and then split it at the midpoint to see if there is one bad side and one good side and try to whittle from there.
  16. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    Good quality cables should not present an issue with your active bass. As Bongomania suggested it could be a questionable buffer with one or more of the pedals. His suggestion for checking the pedals one at a time is a good one.

    To do it more scientifically it helps to use an FFT if you have access to one. Another way to test that will work fine with an active instrument is a looper box. This way you can switch an effect in and out in "real" time which is the best way to "hear" the difference. Unfortunately when we plug things in and out it's hard for our ears to remember more than a couple of seconds unless there is a glaring difference.

    The bottom line is that 8 pedals is a lot of pedals in series if you happen to be a stickler for your sonic integrity. Even if all the pedals use well designed buffers, all those buffers in series will increase your noise floor. If you go the true bypass route you will have to deal with the switching noise. There's a reason people like Bob Bradshaw and Pete Cornish have been in business so long.

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