Mixing true bypass and non

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by d_town, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. d_town


    Jul 2, 2013
    I'll try and get my question across as clearly as possible. Can you mix true bypass pedals with non tbp pedals? I mean, would a tbp tuner be ok with non tbp pedals..? And vice versa? Or a mix of both? I'm referring to impedance issues that some believe, tone loss etc.
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I can't think of a reason not to.
  3. TomA1234


    Jul 27, 2009
    Fareham, England
    You can, and as far as I'm aware there are no problems with it.
  4. mazdah


    Jan 29, 2010
    Kalisz, Poland
    No problem at all.
    If you have a pedal with good buffered bypass, try putting it closer to the front of your pedalboard. For me TU-2 is always first in my effects chain.
  5. d_town


    Jul 2, 2013
    So start with a tuner..? I want to run an odb-3 and an octave pedal (undecided on brand at this stage), what order should they be in..? Or if i'm using them individually does it not matter..?
  6. d_town


    Jul 2, 2013
    Correction, i also want to run..
  7. mazdah


    Jan 29, 2010
    Kalisz, Poland
    BOSS ODB3 also has buffered bypass. Id put octaver before the drive, because of the tracking. iMHO tracking is of clean notes is easier for most octavers out there.
  8. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    As Martha Stewart used to say: "It's a good thing!" Mixing TB and buffered pedals that is... If you had a pedal board with all true-bypass pedals, you've added a bit of wire length to your signal path and you can start to get some mild tone suck, especially if you've got a long cable from your pedalboard to your amp. This doesn't matter if you're using an active bass because the preamp acts as a buffer. Conversely, having a pedalboard full of buffered pedals ain't so hot either because some buffers aren't that good. (So I'm told) So it's actually optimal to have a mix of buffered and true bypass pedals. Some fuzz pedals don't sound the same with a buffer in front of them, if you have a fuzz you might want to experiment and see if that's the case with yours, and if so put it at the front of your signal chain.

    I'll grant that this is really splitting hairs, but that's what people seem to enjoy doing when it comes to their tone. :)
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I used to think 100% true bypass was what you wanted, but found out to my loss that this may cause problems with worse tone but even more importantly, phase issues. I had to add back buffers/buffered pedals to restore the best sound. You want buffers of high quality though, low quality pedals/buffers can cause "tone suck". You may want a buffer or buffered pedal as you first and/or last pedal on the board, and in my case I needed one after a pedal that inverts the signal phase when active.
  10. NeroJazz

    NeroJazz Supporting Member

    May 2, 2011
    This. I use pedals with high quality buffers at the beginnig and second to last in my chain.
  11. d_town


    Jul 2, 2013
    Excuse my ignorance guys, but what's a buffer..?
  12. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    I've got my board setup with a buffered pedal first in the chain and last in the chain...11 true bypass pedals in between :)
  13. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

  14. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    A buffer is an amplifier stage that takes a high-impedance signal - like those from a pickup - and converts it to a low impedance signal. It does not boost the level (voltage) of the signal, but puts more current behind it so the signal is not 'dragged down' by resistance and capacitance in a signal chain. Any pedal with electronic bypass (like BOSS pedals) will have a buffer because because otherwise the electronic bypass would cause an unacceptable signal loss in bypass mode.

    Basically, it's needed to shove the signal through the signal routing transistors that electronic bypass circuits use.
  15. taurus1


    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    in the most basic of terms, it's almost like having a tiny booster preamp that drives the signal.
    all Boss pedals for instance have a buffer.
    some guys will say they can hear the difference in a buffer circuit, personally, I think you'd need a shovel if you know what I mean.
    forget about his true bypass versus non true bypass garbage.
    hook up your gear and play, the best players don't worry about these things.
  16. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    That I don't believe - usually "the best players" are quite particular and knowledgable about their tools.

    But I'll give you that there's currently quite a hype over true bypass, and it's not always even a good thing.
  17. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    You'll be fine 99.999999% of the time. The only time it's a problem is if your non-TBP pedal has poor shielding and you use a really hot signal, it could pick up radio frequencies *cough*Moogerfooger*cough*
  18. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Ehhmmmm.... There are different interpretations of "knowledgable". A lot of the "knowledge" I see promoted by pros is superstition, misattribution, and repetition of what they were told by the sales rep of their brand. What they really KNOW is how to play the instrument, how to do their job and live the lifestyle. As soon as you get into someone else's job though, say an electronic engineer or an acoustical engineer, the pro musician is generally way out of their depth.
  19. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Sure, but if they are effect users I would expect them to at least have heard about the pros and cons of true bypass. But maybe I'm overestimating the average pro musician and maybe I'm too much of a geek and too little of a musician myself since I do care about the gear and want to somewhat understand what it does. :)
  20. rsmith601

    rsmith601 Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Boston, MA
    President, Source Audio
    I am going to offer a pedal-builder's take on this topic for what it is worth.

    We studied this issue when we first started out. There was buzz about True Bypass being a must-have. The triple-pole-triple-throw foot switches that are in most TBP pedals had been originally designed for high voltage applications and while measuring low resistance, they did have some inductance and capacitance which, when combined with long cables and multiple pedals, could be a source of tone suck. In addition, these TBP footswitches were expensive, did not facilitate presets, and they were predicted to be good for only 250,000 stomps. Finally, true bypass can audibly "pop" when it is engaged. Buffered bypass can be REALLY quiet. We looked at high quality buffered bypass and thought it would be the best solution. We thought that true bypass had some benefits, but the hype was being way overdone.

    While this seemed all logical and it was what Boss was doing at the time (they were clear #1 in pedals 9 years ago), we got slammed by the "it must be true bypass" fashion trend.

    It is very interesting to see what has happened over the last 2 years or so as a more thoughtful discussion is happening around this topic, and this thread is a perfect example: each has clear benefits - true bypass is not the end all be all.

    We noticed that Line 6 made relay-based true bypass in their DL line. This is a nice way to get presets and more than 250K clicks on and off. The relays are also low in inductance and capacitance, because they are made for low level signals and not 240V electric motors. We then noticed that TC started making pedals with both relay-based true bypass AND buffered bypass so that the user could set the bypass to fit the application (as in where it sits on the pedal board). We think that TC has the best solution, and we followed that approach in all of our SB2 products.