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Hmmm, I have 12 high quality pedals on my board.
some bufferd, some true bypass.
I think that is probably fairly typical?
when I put a buffer at the start of the chain it made a big difference to the. tone.
I understand that if all pedals had quality buffers built in, you'd have no need for another, but life's not like that.
I need special pills to live.
Also, if the "better buffer" contains a very small level boost - subtle enough that you don't actually perceive it as an increase in volume - or the "better" one is true unity gain and the other one isn't (like Boss pedal buffers) - then the slightly louder one will always sound better than the slightly quieter one, even if the actual buffer "quality" is the same.
Last edited by ICBM; 21st May 2012 at 11:41 AM.
For a while I was running a This1smyne Mini Buffer stuck discreetly underneath my board post-wah (they are nice and small) but since I moved from a Pitchblack tuner to a TU-3 its buffer seems to work perfectly adequately for me so I removed the dedicated buffer.
Red ones are better.
Such as I understand these things, first would be my choice. It'll be interesting to see if those more knowledgeable think the same.
Red ones are better.
Put it where it sounds best.
Maybe first, maybe not. It depends on what the other pedals are.
For example, if your first pedal is a true-bypass vintage-style fuzz, it's very likely that you *don't* want the buffer before it.
Fuzz and many wah wah pedals do interact with the output impedance of the guitar, which is noticeable as you role back the volume (assuming you actually use the volume control).
I built a fully buffered fuzz pedal for a friend of mine, mainly it should be said to allow the use of a standard negative ground power supply. It sounds good with the guitar at full volume, but doesn't clean up very well as you role the guitars volume down as the guitar is buffered from the input impedance of the pedal.
Regarding true bypass, my main gripe with this is the poor quality of the 3P3T switches used in the vast majority of pedals with true bypass. The best method of impleneting true bypass, in my opinion, is to use a latching relay and momentary contact switch. Lovepedal, for example, use this approach. The next best method would be to use a high quality DPDT switch and employ RG Keen's Millenium bypass circuit to switch the LED on/off.
The buffers used in many buffered pedals are usually fairly poorly designed.
The main configurations are JFET source follower, BJT emitter follower and Op amp.
The JFET source follower has high input impedance, but poor linearity (although probably good enough for rock and roll) and significantly less than unity gain.
BJT emitter follower has better linearity although still less than unity gain, but can have quite low (and variable) input impedance.
Both the JFET and BJT buffers discussed above can be signifcantly improved by combining them with another transistor in a complementary feedback pair configuration, ie very cheaply. I've yet to see this in a pedal (although of course it probably exists somewhere).
The op amp option will give the best linearity and can provide any gain required (could even be user adjustable), but is (a bit) more expensive and will consume (a bit) more current.
BOSS pedals are indeed buffered, however when off the signal typically still passes through a JFET emitter follower, a JFET, and a BJT emitter follower. You probably won't notice the difference with one pedal (in fact you may prefer the sound), but I guess you would reach a point with several similar pedals where the sound has deteriorated noticeably.