#1
For years I had a Crybaby Original wah pedal on my board. After recently reading up and learning about true vs. buffered bypass, I convinced myself that my wah was tone-sucking and I needed to upgrade. I sold it and bought the Crybaby Classic, which is true bypass. A few weeks later, a friend of mine decided to buy a Crybaby Original, so I thought this was a good opportunity to compare the two.

I went back and forth switching them in and out of my signal chain with no other pedals hooked up, and honestly did not notice much of a difference with either one when turned off. There was a VERY small loss of high end with the buffered bypass Crybaby, but it was hardly noticeable, nowhere near what I imagined. So after this experience I'm not going to worry so much anymore about having only true bypass pedals, and maybe you shouldn't either. Hope this helps someone out.
#2
But your logic is flawed, not all buffered pedals are created equal (some really do alter your tone a lot). So you can't just make a blanket statement because your 1 experience. When you have a longer FX chain it is often much better to have at least one pedal that is buffered vs. having all true bypass
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#3
I know there's different kinds of buffers, but most people seem to think wah's do the most "tone-sucking", which is why I tested it with them. I figured if this was the worst case and it sounded fine, then it should be ok with other pedals. But I suppose there can be pedals with worse buffers..
Last edited by 757ian123 at Mar 29, 2014,
#4
Quote by 757ian123
I know there's different kinds of buffers, but most people seem to think wah's do the most "tone-sucking", which is why I tested it with them. I figured if this was the worst case and it sounded fine, then it should be ok with other pedals. But I suppose there can be pedals with worse buffers..


Your logic is flawed. I hope you don't give advice often.
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#6
If you can't hear the difference between true bypass and a CryBaby's awful bypass, you really can't hear much. There are plenty of great buffers, and I don't give a crap one way or the other, unless it's a CryBaby or something similar.

EDIT: I'd also like to point out that the bypass isn't actually buffered in the CryBaby, only the effect.
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Mar 29, 2014,
#7
If you had 10 pedals I'm sure you could be able to hear a difference between the combinations below. But there is nothing set in stone that one way is better than the other or what you prefer the sound of. Heck Jimi Hendrix liked using a 100 foot guitar cable because he loved what high capacitance did to his tone. Some people also like using dozens of standard boss pedals. It's all good in the hood.

10 pedals in a row no buffers
10 true bypass pedals in a row
1 buffer pedal 9 true bypass
buffer first and last and 8 true bypass
Last edited by cheesefries at Mar 29, 2014,
#8
Wow you guys are blowing this way out of proportion. I'm not saying that using an entire board full of buffered pedals won't effect your tone, I'm just saying don't worry about every single pedal being true bypass cause it's not that big of a difference
#9
Nah, its not blown of of proportion until cath posts a picture of a cat.

And to add again, not all buffers are created equally.
Some are good, some suck.
#10
I don't even use my crybaby anymore because the tone suck is so noticeable. Maybe yours is better than mine or something, but mine makes it sound like someone threw a blanket over my amp
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#11
True bypass is only as good as the switch and the patch cables connecting them. A buffer is only as good as the buffer and the patch cables. To say one is better than the other is nonsense.

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#12
The hardwire bypass(not the current true hardwire bypass as they call it) that MXR used in the past was really awfully compared to the others stuff.
#13
People often discount the affect of the quality of the sockets too. Cheap and nasty jacks can undo any benefits of the circuitry between them. You pull out some crappy Chinese socket and replace it with a Switchcraft or a Neutrix or something good and the difference can be remarkable. It would be easy to assign the problem to the wrong components. Doing a comparison between true bypass and buffers is worthless unless you can eliminate the other contributing factors. Even then all you can do is talk about specific buffers because they aren't all created equal.

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Last edited by Cathbard at Mar 30, 2014,
#15
I can't seem to figure out which is better myself. Sure the orange cat in the dryer has some admirable stamina but that grey cat has some slick dance moves.
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#16
Step 1: don't buy cheap ass shit pedals.

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#17
^ hey, you're forgetting about joyo and friends!
Quote by 757ian123
So what are some of these pedals that have such horrible buffers in them?
CryBaby's.
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#18
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^ hey, you're forgetting about joyo and friends!
CryBaby's.


My experiment proved otherwise. But, as I figured, you guys had a bunch of "in theory" reasons why buffers can be poor quality, but failed to name any such pedals. I stick to what goes on in the real world, and there was no difference. Sorry that the placebo effect doesn't allow you to realize this.
#19
Quote by 757ian123
So what are some of these pedals that have such horrible buffers in them?


It's not buffers usually, it's the awful method of bypass used when DPDT and 3PDT switches were rare and expensive. That method only switches the output of the effect, so the input is always loading down the signal. This is present in the GCB-95 CryBaby, a lot of old MXR/EHX pedals (and their reissues), etc.

One issue with buffers is that any components add their own noise. For a well designed buffer, the fact that it increases interference rejection post buffer usually more than makes up for it, but if the buffer has a high output impedance, that goes out the window, and makes the buffer rather pointless. There aren't many truly bad buffers, but the switching method used in some of the Boss pedals means you get bleedthrough of the effect (SD-1 is notorious for this), which is usually awful.

Again, the regular CryBaby doesn't have a buffered output. If you can't hear the difference there, you're either running a buffer or active pickups before the CryBaby (which would mitigate the loading effects of the shit bypass scheme) or you really just can't hear anything. The difference is extremely pronounced, especially if you're using relatively long cables. The shitty wah bypass is half the reason that true bypass caught on, because so many people were complaining about it.

Quote by 757ian123
My experiment proved otherwise. But, as I figured, you guys had a bunch of "in theory" reasons why buffers can be poor quality, but failed to name any such pedals. I stick to what goes on in the real world, and there was no difference. Sorry that the placebo effect doesn't allow you to realize this.


You can call placebo all you want, but put most guitarists in a room and perform a double blind, and they'll be able to pick out the shit CryBaby bypass vs straight in/true bypass/buffer. Again, you're not arguing in favor of buffers. There is no buffer in the regular CryBaby.
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Mar 30, 2014,
#20
I kinda can hear the difference between a crybaby and a true bypass.
plus, if mmolteratx says there's a difference, there'll be at least a bit of a difference.

Some people hear stuff better than others.
Also, some people have better equipment to try stuff with than others.
Though I don't see any reason why not using it if you don't find it bad sounding.
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#21
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^ hey, you're forgetting about joyo and friends!
CryBaby's.


they still suffer from cheap components as cathbard mentioned. you know damn well the jacks aren't high quality.
#22
Mmolterarx, I was actually using extremely short cables when I did this. Maybe that's why the bypass didn't suck as much tone. So basically you're saying buffered bypass isn't bad, but that there is an even worse form of switching a pedal on and off?
#23
Quote by 757ian123
Mmolterarx, I was actually using extremely short cables when I did this. Maybe that's why the bypass didn't suck as much tone. So basically you're saying buffered bypass isn't bad, but that there is an even worse form of switching a pedal on and off?


Exactly. If you're using short cables, most stuff really doesn't make a difference. And yea, buffered bypass isn't inherently bad, and bad buffer designs are exceedingly rare these days. Theoretically, the buffer is the best solution, as it isolates the guitar from any loading that may follow it, but it can screw up the interaction between the guitar and certain effects (ie, Fuzz Face, Tone Bender, other vintage fuzzes) precisely for that reason.

The three most used methods of bypass are true bypass (switches input and output, so that when the effect is "off," there is a direct link between jacks and nothing else), buffers (basically a current amplifier that's always in the signal path, and the output of the effect is switched between the effect and the buffer output) and then one that really doesn't have a name, but is usually referred to as hardwire bypass or similar by manufacturers.

Hardwire bypass just switches the output of the effect, so that the input is always loading down the signal. This is bad, because you parallel that load with any load that follows, and wind up with a very low load that will wind up in a decent sized voltage drop, and the input capacitance of the loads means that high frequencies are affected even more than the rest of the frequency band. However, this effect can be minimized if you place a buffer before it, as the buffer has the current capability (low impedance out) to drive low/heavy loads.

There are other methods of bypass (usually with mod effects, such as the Uni Vibe, which just kills the oscillator driving the modulation), but they tend to be rare.
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#24
Quote by mmolteratx
Eand then one that really doesn't have a name, but is usually referred to as hardwire bypass or similar by manufacturers.


half-assed

but yeah i agree with what you said.

i haven't tried any a/bing for a while but i don't remember noticing my wah being that bad. it is ages since i've tried it, though, and i have noticed problems with other effects where you can tell a difference between straight-in and with the effect bypassed.

in most instances i'd never really notice a difference unless I a/bed them. But it doesn't hurt to be aware of these things, either, because it lets you troubleshoot a lot more effectively.
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#25
From my understanding the true bypass in simple terms bypasses the sound of your signal passing through the padal... while the standard buffer in things like boss pedals helps dial out the sound you are hearing from your signal passing through long guitar cables. It is one or the other. If you use very short cables in an effects loop, true bypass is great, but if you have more than 15 foot of cables you need a buffer. Or something along those lines.

Check this video if you haven't - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOWeoizp4y0
#26
The problem is, it's stereo amp, and I don't think it's tube. However, for a stereo amp, it is very good. Don't plug guitar into it; just use it as hi-fi if it works.
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#27
Won't have any of these problems with a multiFX or modeling. Waka waka.
#28
So according to that video, buffered is better. Why even use true bypass at all then?
#29
or use all true bypass with one buffer at the end that you know is high quality.

Still yet to see the point of this thread. Were you posing a question for discussion or just showing one comparison then building a blanket observation on the true bypass vs. buffer debate?
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#30
Quote by bluestratplayer
or use all true bypass with one buffer at the end that you know is high quality.

Still yet to see the point of this thread. Were you posing a question for discussion or just showing one comparison then building a blanket observation on the true bypass vs. buffer debate?


Mainly the latter. I tried some Boss pedals today and I'm not convinced that they "suck tone" either.
#31
Quote by 757ian123
So according to that video, buffered is better. Why even use true bypass at all then?


Ideally, you have a buffer at the front of your chain and then all true bypass. The reason is that every buffer will add some amount of noise, and depending on the buffer, they tend to actually have less than unity gain. Only op amp voltage followers will have truly unity gain, anything else will have a gain of .99 or whatever, which becomes significant if you've got a ton of them (8-10 pedals means you've got around 10% signal loss). The BJT emitters in most buffered pedals are guilty of that.

Quote by 757ian123
Mainly the latter. I tried some Boss pedals today and I'm not convinced that they "suck tone" either.


Most don't. Some can be noisy (SD-1, IME), and some of the older ones aren't so hot, but all of the modern ones have input impedances on the order of several hundred kΩ and output impedances of a few hundred Ω, and minimal parasitics. Cheap transistors in the cheaper models are noisier, but that's about it, and that issue is easy enough to fix.
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#32
Quote by mmolteratx
Ideally, you have a buffer at the front of your chain and then all true bypass. The reason is that every buffer will add some amount of noise, and depending on the buffer, they tend to actually have less than unity gain. Only op amp voltage followers will have truly unity gain, anything else will have a gain of .99 or whatever, which becomes significant if you've got a ton of them (8-10 pedals means you've got around 10% signal loss). The BJT emitters in most buffered pedals are guilty of that.


Most don't. Some can be noisy (SD-1, IME), and some of the older ones aren't so hot, but all of the modern ones have input impedances on the order of several hundred kΩ and output impedances of a few hundred Ω, and minimal parasitics. Cheap transistors in the cheaper models are noisier, but that's about it, and that issue is easy enough to fix.


Interesting. Nearly all of my pedals are true bypass anyway, except for the DOD FX65. Any ideas on what their buffers are like? I'm also liking the Boss BD-2 lately, so that would be another buffered pedal in my chain if I decide to get one.
#33
Quote by 757ian123
Interesting. Nearly all of my pedals are true bypass anyway, except for the DOD FX65. Any ideas on what their buffers are like? I'm also liking the Boss BD-2 lately, so that would be another buffered pedal in my chain if I decide to get one.

buffers in the DOD pedals aren't bad but won't win any awards either. having a couple of buffered pedals won't hurt anything. my FX 65 plays nice with my other pedals when I use it.