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Why doesn't everyone use a true bypass box?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Dr. PhunkyPants, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I'm seriously curious about this. For 30-50 bucks people can get a true bypass box that eliminates forever the problem of tone-sucking non-true-bypass pedals.

    We bassists are so friggin sensitive to tone suckage. I know tons of people who haven't bought this or that effects pedal simply because "it sucks tone."

    So why do bypass boxes seem to remain such unexplored terrain? Is there anyone out there who started using one and then STOPPED?
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Most effects have a more than decent bypass.
    No need for a true bypass box except with some very noisy or tone sucking units.
    Also, unless you wander a lot on the Internet you have no clue about companies like Loooper.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    True bypass is not always a good thing, especially if you have more than one effects box hooked together. It's become a buzz word that is almost completely meaningless.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    I like the true bypass when it's available but i won't drive myself nuts over it. Funniest thing was for a long time my guitar player stopped using a particular pedal but when he took it out of his signal chain he discovered he liked the extra capacitance it had even when off. We started calling it the "magic orange box". :cool:
  5. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    Why is it a bad thing?
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Boy, would I disagree with THAT assertion. Example, all "standard" Boss pedals suck the balls out of my tone. All of them. From the line selector LS-2 to the Chorus to the delay units. All of them. Don't even get me started on the cheaper brands.

    People just get used to the sound. At one time I did as well, but at one small gig I decided to leave the pedals in the case. Amazed at the great tone I got. Put the pedals back inline on break, and my tone lost its edge. Ever since that day, I've used a simple, cheap, and effective dual-loop true bypass pedal, and will not gig without one.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It's not always bad but it's not always good. A lot depends on whether the switching was well designed in the first place.

    You must use a mechanical switch to get true bypass which can make popping noises when switched in and out (you can add a capacitor to fix this in many cases).

    When you start running lots of true bypass pedals (more of an issue for guitarists than bassists) you can add a LOT of cable length and capacitance which by itself can suck out high end.

    What you do want to avoid is pedals that keep you directly connected to the effect circuit even when bypassed. Those can be massive tone suckers (mostly loss of highs). Wah pedals are notorious for this.

    Most modern pedals (Boss, for example) have small buffer stages that your signal passes through at all times. The only drawback of this is it changes the interaction of passive pickups and the amp input, so when you use the pedal even bypassed it seems to change your tone. That's only because your tone is already being colored by the impedance interaction between your amp and your pickups. OK, you may LIKE that way that sounds but it's still a coloration. It's also true that if you use lots of effects that you can end up running through many buffer stages when everything is bypassed.

    With active basses, impedance interaction is almost a complete non-issue because your onboard preamp already buffers the pickups from the external signal path.

    In any event. manufacturers are using the term "true bypass" as a hype the same way they use "tube", "digital" or anything else that they perceive will attract buyers.

    The bottom line is to always use your ears. If you think a Boss chorus pedal sounds better than anyone else's will you buy something that sounds worse but is true bypass? How much extra $$$ will you pay just to get true bypass?
  8. i have the real answer...money. I don't have an extra 30-50 dollars to put into an effect, not to mention postage...
    sure its money well spent, but what if i need 30 bucks for new strings, but i spent my money on giving my pedals true bypass?

    i will agree though, true bypass is really nice!

  9. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    tone is subjective. I use a loooper.
  10. Like IvanMike said sometimes there is a little added treble roll off that can be a desirable thing. I don't like a super bright bass tone, more old school and my old BassBalls has a pleasant roll off to my ear. I also use an older Boss PSM5 on the big board for the same reason.
  11. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Geez, no kidding. I never got into this need for "true bypass." In the studio, I do looping. At a gig, nobody gives a flying !@#$ about true bypass.

    If you feel you need true bypass, more power to you. I'll be spending my money elsewhere.
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Yep. Me too.
  13. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    I have spent thousands of dollars building the tone I have now- i have bought/sold/traded a whole music store full of equipment. I am almost there- a couple of speaker cabs I am done, but that will be $1500 more.

    The point? I built this tone and I don't want it sucked away. I realize that a pedal I like may adversly effect my clean tone when off. I am just now exploring pedals. Once I have that established, I am going to get a pedal board with true bypass function built into the pedal board.

  14. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Actually I meant I do use a true bypass box, built by Loooper. With one click of my toe I can get bass-->amp. I do also use a looper, the RC-20. OTOH, I'm fine with how my loops sound too, though I'd jump at better quality if I could afford an echoplex.

  15. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    It mostly just seems to come down to how much money you have (or are willing to) spend.

    If money was no object, why wouldn't you choose a true bypass pedal over one which wasn't (assuming both were sonically equivalent in every way)?

    Most of the arguments seem to come down to the fact that the extra expense isn't worth it, since the difference is difficult to hear.

    Besides anything though, it's nice to know that the pedal you're using won't suddenly go silent because it runs out of batteries or someone kicks out the power cable by mistake (only happened once so far :) )
  16. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    me three, Looopers are built like a tank