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[Problem Solved] How do I fix the dreaded.... Tone-Suck?!?!?!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Drewcifer704, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. So I've noticed lately, after going pedal crazy, that I now have to turn my volume on my amp (Fender Rumble 40) to 12 o'clock to get any kind of volume where as before 8-9 o'clock was pretty loud. What gives yo?

    My signal chain is: Ibanez GSR200 -> Korg Pitchblack -> Darkglass B3K -> Deluxe Bass Big Muff -> Sansamp BDDI (Currently in the shop) -> Boss CEB-3 -> TC Flashback -> Fender Rumble 40

    My board is powered by a Donner DP-1 power supply and yes I'm running my pedals off of the appropriate plugs.

    Due to space constraints I have my board a little ways away from my amp so I'm using a 10ft cable from bass to pedal board and from pedal board to amp. Also I'm using Chromacast patch cables for the pedals.

    Do I have a pedal notorious for tone suck, do I just need a good buffer somewhere in my chain, or do I just need better cables?
  2. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    The bypass on Boss pedals is not well liked, but they usually have a buffer.

    Your best bet is to do a systematic test. Plug straight into your amp, then try each pedal separately. Then start to add them in together. I'll bet you find the Boss is the culprit for tone suck.

    You could get a true-bypass looper. That way, your signal doesn't have to go through each pedal if you're not using them at the time.
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Passive bass?
  4. YES
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Oh--interesting, I just Googled it and the web says it's active. If yours is a passive model, then its tone and volume will be affected by having multiple pedals and patch cords connected--even if they are short and decent quality.

    If it's active ("Active EQ with Phat II Bass Boost") then the problem is probably in some combination of the pedals.
  6. It's about 15 years old. Long before they put in the phat boost. The electronics are similar to what they put in the GSRmikros now
  7. King Weapon

    King Weapon

    Sep 20, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    If the problem is merely volume, I would just turn up.

    I have a passive Fender P, and use FIVE Boss pedals with literally no tone suck. I'm pretty anal about my tone and, if there is some type of change, it is barely noticeable (especially at a gig). Also, I'd rather have the effects I like and compensate "tone suck" with volume and or a good preamp, amp.
  8. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    Similar problem here with my guitarist's passive guitar and 12-pedal board.
    I put a T1M Mini Buffer first in the chain.
    Problem solved.
    Well actually, it's third, since the first two effects respond better to the passive pickups than a buffered (hotter) signal.
    Anyway, put a decent buffer in the chain somewhere and you should be good, especially last in line.
    Unless, as bongo suggested, you have a tone sucking effect in there somewhere.
    Then, swap that effect for a similar one that won't eat your signal.
  9. I had this exact problem. I only use a 10' patch to the first pedal. My (Keith Hilton) optical volume pedal is also a buffer, and was first in the chain. I replaced all the small patch cords just in case. I tried each pedal, and alone they were fine, but together I still had mad tone-suck. I no longer use pedals besides my one tube OD pre / DI, but I wish I could figure it out...
  10. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    What about placing all pedals through the FX loop instead of in line with your bass/amp?
  11. My amp doesn't have an effects loop
  12. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    Charlzm likes this.
  13. Why not put a booster/buffer out front? I like high impedance bc you keep all your highs.

    Here's a nice one, with bufffer/boost, and a nice 1.6meg input impedance. And a simple compressor.

    Fulltone Musical Products, Inc. | pedals | 2B

    Even with my basic buffer, it greatly helps my Ric punch through my B3K and my VMT, which I use together.
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    As a test, you can try putting the Boss pedal first in the chain, since it has buffered bypass. But a dedicated high quality buffer would be better. This could also be some pedal that you would have "always on", like a light overdrive, EQ, compressor, etc.
  15. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Knowledge is power. I would try removing each pedal from the chain to see if one is causing an issue, as well as plugging your bass directly into the amp (no pedals) to see if there is a volume difference. If you can figure out whether the volume drop is coming from (1) having a bunch of pedals and cables in the chain; (2) one problematic pedal; or (3) not from pedals at all (if your "direct" volume is now the same as your volume with the pedals in the chain, even if it is lower than before) then it will be easier to diagnose.
  16. srcTW

    srcTW Practicing my tail off Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Houston Metro Area
    I assume you know each pedal is at unity gain?
    gregmon79, blindrabbit and SunnBass like this.
  17. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    This right here.

    Unity gain (or unity volume).
    First thing to check.
    Volume loss is not "tone suck", it's volume loss.
    Which is what you're describing.
    Make sure your volume levels are the same with pedals on and off.
    Check each of them, one at a time.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  18. Darknut


    Apr 4, 2009

    Seth Miller and blindrabbit like this.
  19. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    I have a very cheap FAB overdrive that I love the sound of. It adds an amazing drive when added to other effects. However, when off it sucks tone like it's thirsty. I made a simple bypass loop pedal (a small project box, four jacks, and a DPDT switch). Now I keep the pedal on, and engage it with the loop pedal. I also prefer the positive click on the DPDT better that the silly electronic switch on the FAB pedal.

    But...yeah....unity gain is probably your culprit.
    SunnBass likes this.
  20. Isn't the Korg Pitchblack buffered?

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