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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Which has more to do with loss of tone in a pedal board setup?

1) Using those cheap thin cables between each pedal
or
2) cheaper, not "true bypass" pedals?

I'm talking about six pedals....
Compressor - Wah - overdrive #1 - overdrive #2 - chorus - delay.

I was very happy with my pedal board when I first built it. For playing live, I could get lots of different sounds and it sounded good. That was with a set neck guitar loaded with humbuckers. Now I'm playing a Strat with vintage single coils. I LOVE the sound of the Strat straight into the amp (Fender Super Reverb). And it sounds good with just an overdrive pedal but when I plug into the whole pedalboard I really notice the loss of tone. The guitar sounds thin in comparison.
The simple answer is skip the board and play straight into the amp, but when playing live I like to have the overdrive boosts and some delay, chorus, etc.....
 

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Depends how bad your cables are. They would have to be pretty bad to have a tone loss. How many ohms would the cable have to be able to carry to be higher than the impedance of the pickups over the cable? I really am not sure but I would guess its like a million....
 

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The simple solution may be to get some sort of a buffer... if you've got low output (strat) pups to begin with, trying to figure out if the pedals or cables or at fault probably won't help much.

A buffer at the front of your signal chain will convert your guitar signal to low impedance, which will travel long cable/FX runs without as much volume or high-end loss.

Several options to consider:
- Axess Electronics buffer -- the most transparent, based on what I've heard
- WOBO buffer -- seems to give a slight high-end boost
- VHT Valvulator -- uses tubes and can also be used to power up to 4 pedals, but I've always had problems with them adding slight levels of gain/distortion
- Morley Bad Horsie -- theoretically has a built-in buffer, as do many of the new Visual Sound pedals. They'd have to be first in your signal chain to make a big difference, though.

--B
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmm, I have a Morley PWA II, would that have the same buffer? I used to have the Morely 1st in the chain, and now that I think of it I really only noticed this problem after moving it to #2 spot.
 

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I don't know... I thought only the Bad Horsie's had the "clear tone" buffers, but perhaps it's built into some other Morley pedals as well. May be worth switching the order around to see if it makes any difference.

--B
 

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I've experimented with my signal path a bit and have had great luck using a ZVex Super Duper to make up for any signal loss. It's got (2) independant clean boosts that are totally transparent. I leave one on all the time and the second one kicks in when I'm using my Strat.

 

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Not that many pedals at all actually. I play in a couple of different bands, both of which are totally different. So, I put that board together so that I could play shows with either band using it and my Bogner Shiva combo. Works perfectly!

As for overdrive, the TS-9 is for that "in-between" sound that isn't totally saturated, but isn't quite clean. I can pretty much get any tone I want with the setup. I don't use the Whammy or the Ultimate Octave that often, but I like to have the option to use them if I want to.

For the occasional blues gig, I'll just throw (2) TS9s and a wah in front of my Matchless. :)
 

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i get a small loss of signal from my Boss PW10 pedal but not enough for me to drop it out of the board. i can hear a very faint digital noise if i crank up my amp and i'm guessing it is the PW10 and the DD20 delay. again, not enough to warrant taking them out of the chain all together.
i've never heard of the "buffer"? i've thought about getting the George L cables but haven't dropped the $ for those yet.
 

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Rotti:

Theoretically the problem you have noticed would greatly be rectified with either a dedicated buffer at the beginning of the chain on your pedalboard or with a pedal with a buffer built into it, such as was listed. The problem as I read it was the difference in impedance between the humbuckers and single coils. A buffer ... in working terms, basically acts as a little amplifier to jack your signal up a little to be able to push thru all the pedals.

Here's a couple things copied from various websites reguarding buffers:

Buffers have several advantages: You can drive longer cables with less noise; have a tuner connected with less interaction; and loading no longer becomes a problem as you gang a bunch of pedals together.

Without a buffer, each time you introduce another pedal or a cable, more noise gets into your system. This is because guitar pickups are high impedance devices that are particularly susceptible to noise from power transformers, LCD screens, power cables and stage lighting. Furthermore, if you extend the hi impedance cable more than 20 feet, the tone of the instrument will change due to the capacitance of the cable and of course more noise will enter the circuit. Then of course there is the strength of the guitar signal itself. If the guitar signal is divided in two to drive two amps or in three when you ad a tuner, the tone will be severely altered.

And Input from guys using dedicated buffers (which I use one as well and agree completely with the tone I look for)

This little black box restores the clarity and punch to my guitar signal. It now seems i have more frequencies in the signal to work with. I can dial down the top end and still have it cut thru the mix without it being harsh.
It will change your tone, but for the better. It gives you much much more control over your sound because your amp is dealing with a better signal.
All 10's here. I was beaming from ear to ear when i first heard the difference. Its hard to believe how one little device can make such an improvement to the tone.

Reviewers on this forum are always talking about tone. This pedal retains and maintains your tone. If you have ears you will notice a different. One caution some fuzz/distortions work better in front of this pedal.

The Buffer works fantastic, there is no noise and no loss of signal or tone. It did exactly what I hoped it would.


I hope this helps some

kevin
 

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if you had an amp with two inputs, could you use a splitter pedal and have one output from it through your fx, and in to the amp. and the other output straight to ther second input on your amp. then you could keep the cleans , and have fx.
this is just an idea, anyone think its a good one?
 

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DO get George L cables..they make a big difference, IMO.
If you have two or three pedals that you can deem the biggest suckers, play them in the loop of a true bypass looper pedal. These can make a big difference. You would be introducing MORE cable into your overall run, so George Ls would help even more in this situation.

http://www.lovepedal.com/Guitarminibuffers.htm
Order one! They make a HUGE difference! I actually like mine at the end of the signal chain. Small, cheap, AC Tap. That's an impressive little device!
 

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toma said:
if you had an amp with two inputs, could you use a splitter pedal and have one output from it through your fx, and in to the amp. and the other output straight to ther second input on your amp. then you could keep the cleans , and have fx.
this is just an idea, anyone think its a good one?
Don't think that'd work unless it's a true stereo amp with completely seperate channels. For example, that would work with something like one of the Rivera TBR rack-mounted heads. Two totally independant power amps with two sets of outputs. You could run one side dry into one cabinet and one side with FX to another.

More trouble than it's worth though - just get an amp with an FX loop.
 
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