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Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by adamsmatthewj, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. adamsmatthewj


    May 4, 2013
    Ok folks, need some clarification on the buffer thing...

    I understand that with a long signal chain, buffering can be a needed thing. They are placed usually at the beginning of a chain, sometimes also "sandwiched" at the end of the chain as well, and some even put them in between fuzzed and such...

    My question is this:

    I currently run 10 pedals in my signal chain...

    The first thing in my chain, right from my bass, is a Boss OC-2 (buffered bypass!)

    The fourth pedal in my chain is a Boss PN-2 (buffered bypass again!)

    and the last pedal in my chain is a Boss TU-2 (yay for boss buffered bypass!)

    As I am cheap, lazy, and like things as simple as possible, I've told myself that since I've "sandwiched" my board with buffered bypass pedals and also dropped a buffered bypass pedal right in the middle of my chain, that my buffer needs are met, and are making up for the long distance that my signal has to travel through (the 7 "true bypass" pedals I have in my chain)

    Am I fooling myself? Or am I on to something?

    (And don't criticize my "tuner-last" placement! I like it there to be a kill-switch so I can mute everything, and I also like that I might be on to something with this buffer idea...)
  2. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    More than enough bufferage.. The only possible disadvantage is that of low-frequency rolloff.. That is to say that most buffers (or pedals in general) start off with a highpass filter
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Not all buffers are equally good. This is why the whole "true bypass" mania got started, was because of the negative effect of too many poor-quality buffers in series.

    I'm not saying your pedals have poor quality bypass. I'm only saying it's potentially possible for you to still hear tone loss of some kind even with multiple buffers.
  4. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    In my experience I think the buffers in the Boss pedals are pretty good. Just try the signal chain with and without them and see if you notice the difference.
  5. Bongomania hit the nail on the head. You have plenty of buffering, the only question is how good are those buffers.
  6. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Commercial User

    Aug 17, 2010
    Manufacturer: Tech 21
    Actually the "true bypass" thing had more to do with the early vintage effects. Before buffered bypass was introduced, early effects units used a foot switch that was really meant for vacuum cleaners or other higher voltage uses. They were not well suited for the low voltage of a passive guitar pickup. They also kept your guitar connected to the input stage of the effect and your signal was loaded down and there would usually be a volume and tonal loss. This is different than a badly designed buffer.

    We have information on our site about various bypass schemes. http://www.tech21nyc.com/technotes/index.html

    I've tested the TU-2 here on our FFT and it has a good buffer. The problem is that not all Boss effects use the same buffer circuit . Some use a different buffer scheme which can cause some negative effects to your signal.

    If you don't have test equipment handy, the easiest thing to do is plug your bass directly into your amp and listen and then add one pedal and listen again. Test all the pedals individually first and if all is good combine them and then plug your bass directly in and hear if there is a big difference.

    What I do at home is I have a dual TB looper pedal that allows me to hear the difference in real time. I can switch back and forth between the pedals in line and just the guitar. You're hearing can't really "remember" after a few seconds but if there is a drastic difference, the first test I suggested should suffice.
  7. Thanks tech21nyc, this is what I remembered about Boss: some of their buffer circuits are fine, some not so much. What I also remember, hearing second hand, was that their newer pedals have good buffers and it's some of the older ones that can have some low-quality buffers. I keep my OC-2 in a bypass looper for that reason (along with a number of other pedals too).

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