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#1
What are buffers and how are they used? (Info from Bob Bradshaw, the inventor of switching systems for guitar)

Buffers are extremely important in a multi-component system. They are often misunderstood and often get a bad rap by those who are uninformed. Speaking about Custom Audio Electronics systems (as it is what I use), a buffer is a unity gain (input level equals output level) impedance converting circuit. It essentially protects your high impedance guitar output (or any other high impedance source, such as an amps' effects loop send) from being loaded down by the input it is connected to. In effect, it converts high impedance to low, which means subsequent stages are then driven by a low impedance source (the buffer's output). High impedance sources such as your guitar's output (assuming you have passive pickups) has very little current drive capability and it's signal is subject to a harsh environment once it leaves the guitar. You already know the adverse affect a long cable has on your tone. Same thing happens if you pass your signal through a bunch of effects pedals. Even if they have "true bypass" (an ugly, over-used term), each one will suck a little more of your signal along with the cables and connectors, mainly due to capacitive loading of your high impedance guitar signal. The end result is a muffled weak signal that lacks clarity. But once your high impedance guitar signal hits a properly designed buffer with a high input impedance, the buffer takes over, and uses its higher current capability (remember, its an active circuit that requires a power supply) to drive all subsequent stages, thus preserving your instrument's tone.

This brings us to buffer quality. Buffers come in all types of designs, from discrete transistor, op-amp, to esoteric tube designs. All have their own unique sonic stamp. The Custom Audio Electronics rig I have uses the op-amp type. It is low noise, and is extremely transparent to my ears. Buffers often get blamed for causing an overly bright sound, but some feel if its designed properly, any perceived "brightness" is because now the guitar is not being loaded down by subsequent stages!

Buffers can cause problems, too. There are some effects devices that don't like to see the low output impedance of a buffer. These are typically discrete transistor designed fuzz circuits (such as the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face). They react better to the high impedance output of the guitar. In fact, the guitar output, cable and input stage of the Fuzz Face complete a circuit that is highly dependent of those 3 components to work correctly. Fuzz Faces clean up nicely when you roll back the guitar volume control... not so if a buffer is between the guitar and Fuzz Face input. So if you have a pedal board with a Fuzz Face on it , put it first! Other pedals may react the same way. Experiment to see what works best for you. Keep in mind all active pedals (such as Boss, Ibanez, etc...) act as buffers and will impart their own sonic stamp even when bypassed. This is what started the whole "true bypass" (ugh! that term again) craze. See? Too much of a good thing can be "bad". Which brings us to one of the mnain reasons I went with CAE, when Custom designing and building MY rig. They only use buffers where absolutely necessary. Typically, in a pedal based system they will not buffer until after the first 4-5 loops, which is usually just prior to sending the signal down to the pedal board (via a long cable run, hence the need to buffer) to hit the wah/volume pedals. Any more than 4 or 5 loops, and the guitar signal may be affected by capacitive loading. So the first few loops is where you would put any impedance sensitive effects. This also means your guitar will go through fuzz, overdrive or distortion pedals BEFORE the wah. I and they prefer this order because the wah then has a more harmonically rich signal to filter. Try it yourself. Of course, if a specific order is required, they will do everything they can to make it happen. Buffers are also necessary to drive isolation transformers, since the relatively low primary impedance of the transformers may be detrimental to whatever circuit is feeding it. This is also why amp splitter circuits must be buffered. You can't drive multiple amps with a relatively high impedance source. So there usually is a buffer somewhere in the output stage of your custom switcher. That's usually it. 2 places minimum. There may be more active stages depending on one's system requirements.

Hope this helps a bit
#2
i've never been a big stickler for true bypass or otherwise.. its just never made enough of a difference for me to really notice.

good work on the research!
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
#3
It didn't, did remind me I was gonna add a simple preamp to my guitar so I wouldn't lose treble when I rolled off my .
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#4
Quote by Kevin Saale
It didn't, did remind me I was gonna add a simple preamp to my guitar so I wouldn't lose treble when I rolled off my .


Such a Tool....

Ya to buffer the signal... Awesome true bypass guy. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Quote by Kivarenn82
i've never been a big stickler for true bypass or otherwise.. its just never made enough of a difference for me to really notice.

good work on the research!



Neither were Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Jeff Beck etc...

Thanks

Last edited by zachman5150 at Feb 12, 2009,
#5
YAY Zachman is back with more well informed posts!
Pain is an illusion.
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#7
Quote by zachman5150
Such a Tool....

Ya to buffer the signal... Awesome true bypass guy. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA


Neither were Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Jeff Beck etc...

Thanks



Yah, I know what it's for and I know what it is. Never said I had anything against buffers, the BOSS pedals simply have a bad bypass, whether or not it uses a buffer.
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#8
It seems that argument seems to follow a certain person in this thread no matter where he goes.
I'm putting my GAS on hold
for a couple months in order to pimp my ride.


Don't judge me.
#9
Quote by theoreticmusic
It seems that argument seems to follow a certain person in this thread no matter where he goes.


That is a FANTASTIC use of factual rebuttal (NOT), and an observant view of the fact that you and your buddy are trying to start an argument, instead of adding to the thread topic's substance.
#10
Quote by zachman5150
That is a FANTASTIC use of factual rebuttal (NOT), and an observant view of the fact that you and your buddy are trying to start an argument, instead of adding to the thread topic's substance.

That's uh...not a rebuttal. And I'm pretty sure Kevin doesn't like me.


It's just an observation, not an attack.
I'm putting my GAS on hold
for a couple months in order to pimp my ride.


Don't judge me.
#11
Hm, never thought about it like that.
Except with such a TB craze, it'd be hard to buy a pedal with a really good buffer
as mostly every high-end pedal has true bypass to make it seem "high-quality".
I've never ever seen a pedal described as having any of those really good buffers in the system either.
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#12
dude i just saw zachman get his sh*t jumped for no apparent reason in a different thread. lolz
and i will agree with kevin and say that boss does indeed have a bad bypass
Ibanez XPT707 Xiphos
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#13
holy diver first off I asked him nicely to stop posting pics thats all I asked, he bit my head off.
Quote by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era
#14
Quote by Bostonrocks
holy diver first off I asked him nicely to stop posting pics thats all I asked, he bit my head off.


I did? I think your selective memory, has the sequence of events backwards

Quote by theoreticmusic
That's uh...not a rebuttal. And I'm pretty sure Kevin doesn't like me.


It's just an observation, not an attack.


Hmm.... Well way to not contribute anything. You have a way with talking alot of BS and not saying anything useful. (Sad, really)
Last edited by zachman5150 at Feb 12, 2009,
#15
i was talking about the combined deal. some other guy came in as well. i just thought it was funny.
cuz sometimes when a pic loads you are about to reply then your page moves down and makes you miss the button....
im tired haha
needless to say i dont know about buffers

edit: i do not condone this argument
Ibanez XPT707 Xiphos
Schecter C-7 Loomis FR

Mesa Boogie Mark III blue dot Coliseum

Mesa Traditional 4x12 v30's x EVM 12l's


THE SEVEN STRING LEGION
Last edited by Holy-Diver at Feb 12, 2009,
#16
I'm not sure about that sir. I asked you to stop posting pictures all over the place and you got all defensive and mad.


but I don't want to start another argument and get us banned. so goodby
Quote by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era
#17
Quote by Faux~Affliction
Hm, never thought about it like that.
Except with such a TB craze, it'd be hard to buy a pedal with a really good buffer
as mostly every high-end pedal has true bypass to make it seem "high-quality".
I've never ever seen a pedal described as having any of those really good buffers in the system either.


The truth is-- There is no right or wrong about it. There is informed, uninformed or misinformed.

IF one is going to put ANYTHING between their guitar and amp, it WILL affect the "Pure signal". Sometimes that "affect" is what someone is looking for (analog pedals as an example) will warm up a signal, because of the introduced "noise".

If one is only using a pedal or two, there is likely not going to be that big of an issue. IF someone is going to use 10+ pedals then things start to become painfully obvious re: tone loss, volume levels jumping when various pedals are switched on/off in different combinations.

Quote by Bostonrocks
I'm not sure about that sir. I asked you to stop posting pictures all over the place and you got all defensive and mad.


but I don't want to start another argument and get us banned. so goodby




I posted 2 on topic pics-- in the same post, that's it--- and you went off on a rant
Last edited by zachman5150 at Feb 12, 2009,
#18
but you post pics ALL the time
Quote by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era
#19
Quote by Bostonrocks
but you post pics ALL the time


Stop being so melodramatic and over--exaggerating. I admit I have posted pics, and note the ability as allowable on the forum. My posted pics are on topic and relevant, and I do NOT post pics "All the time", in every post.
Last edited by zachman5150 at Feb 12, 2009,
#20
damn yous guys need to turn those frowns upside down. this is too much

anywho, i have a triple x head and... well its in my sig.
i was wondering, for metal cleans, would i be better off using just using...uhhh CAE?
what is that even?
Ibanez XPT707 Xiphos
Schecter C-7 Loomis FR

Mesa Boogie Mark III blue dot Coliseum

Mesa Traditional 4x12 v30's x EVM 12l's


THE SEVEN STRING LEGION
#21
Quote by Holy-Diver
damn yous guys need to turn those frowns upside down. this is too much

anywho, i have a triple x head and... well its in my sig.
i was wondering, for metal cleans, would i be better off using just using...uhhh CAE?
what is that even?


CAE= Custom Audio Electronics. To answer your question, most definitely
#22
is that a brand? i am somewhat of a noob when it comes to pedals/effects
Ibanez XPT707 Xiphos
Schecter C-7 Loomis FR

Mesa Boogie Mark III blue dot Coliseum

Mesa Traditional 4x12 v30's x EVM 12l's


THE SEVEN STRING LEGION
#23
Quote by Holy-Diver
is that a brand? i am somewhat of a noob when it comes to pedals/effects


I get the feeling you're yanking my chain.

Yes, Custom Audio Electronics is the company run by noted rig builder Bob Bradshaw (The inventor of MIDI switching systems for guitar)-- whose star studded client list is insane. Van Halen, Steve Vai, The Edge, Andy Summers, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau etc... etc...
#24
And you would NEVER guess who has a rig made by him

/sarcasm

<3
Pain is an illusion.
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YouTube Channel
#25
Quote by sesstreets
And you would NEVER guess who has a rig made by him

/sarcasm

<3


Congrats on the rig

/sarcasm
#26
If you found this informative and want to know more I'm writing a document on buffers, pedal impedance and bypass and how they are all related to the tone of the guitar signal. I'll make a thread when I do.

In the meantime you might want to read Pete Cornish's 'the case against true bypass' (google it) although the article is horribly biased (he loves his buffers) theres some great information in it.
#28
Quote by Entrant_21
If you found this informative and want to know more I'm writing a document on buffers, pedal impedance and bypass and how they are all related to the tone of the guitar signal. I'll make a thread when I do.

In the meantime you might want to read Pete Cornish's 'the case against true bypass' (google it) although the article is horribly biased (he loves his buffers) theres some great information in it.


Congrats on your article. GREAT news. I'm looking forward to reading it. I have read the Cornish articles where he, Bob Bradshaw and Dave Friedman discuss rig building, and found them interesting.

In the end-- I went with having Bob Bradshaw build my rig, and I couldn't be more pleased with the result.
#31
Why do you feel the need to compulsively copy and paste information from other people and post it on here?
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#32
Quote by SG thrasher
Yeah, the difference is that I was 13 when I made the account, I've grown up since then, you're a 42 year old man.


You have a long way to go
#34
Quote by MrCarrot
Why do you feel the need to compulsively copy and paste information from other people and post it on here?


So you're saying retyping stuff makes a point MORE valid? Interesting
#35
Quote by SG thrasher
As do you, it seems.


OMG, How will I ever face my friends again, knowing that you-- of all people have a less than stellar view of me.

Piss off
#37
Quote by zachman5150
So you're saying retyping stuff makes a point MORE valid? Interesting
I am in fact saying that it is unnecessary and you then edit the quotes to make it seem as if you've written them yourself. I mean, you either quote directly and reference or you write it in your own words. It's convention. Not peddling another's intelligence as your own.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#38
Quote by MrCarrot
I mean, you either quote directly and reference or you write it in your own words.

Quote by zachman5150
What are buffers and how are they used? (Info from Bob Bradshaw, the inventor of switching systems for guitar)

...
#39
Quote by Horlicks
...
If you read the original document you'll find that he's edited it.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#40
Quote by MrCarrot
If you read the original document you'll find that he's edited it.


Quote by zachman5150
What are buffers and how are they used? (Info from Bob Bradshaw, the inventor of switching systems for guitar)


Sorry if you find that the edit I did-- after posting that the info was from Bob Bradshaw-- to avoid having it read like an advertisement for his gear or company was in poor taste. Though I suspect you knew that, and are just trying to be a dick
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