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TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

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  • TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

    Hello,
    I have 2 new (about a year) TC Electronics - Corona Chorus, and a Hall of Fame. I asked a guy at their shop about internal buffer and true bypass and he was adamant,
    almost shouting about about it "I hate true bypass, new buffers these days are so much better for your signal , etc etc, screw true bypass, If I could have it my way they would never make another true bypass ever!!"
    He seemed upset. so I put the trim switch in "buffer" mode and I think I heard a bump in the high end. This was in my Corona Chorus. So I realized the new HOF I had probably had the same thing. Here is the question: I have 8 pedals. can you have too much buffer in your signal? will it sound bad, or is it the more added buffer the better? I thought true bypass was all the rage as it did not suck power when not using. I have 5 true bypass and 3 with buffer, the Boss DD-3, and the 2 TC Electronics HOF and Corona that can go either way. I have the buffer switch on the reverb and chorus at the end of my signal path, and the DD-3 I guess buffers automatically, it is at the end of my chain also.
    Should I have both those buffers on or just one? Does anyone have an opinion on this, besides the guy at the shop who almost stroked out on the phone?
    Thanks,
    Steve Buffington

  • #2
    Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

    First off true bypass or buffered the circuit still draws the same power it doesn't cut power when in bypass. As far as using buffered pedals, some are good some aren't, the two issues I have found is impedance and noise, that said tc electronic buffers are very good and don't show the problems. I tend to use buffers at the beginning and end as a happy medium. I have a few pedals that have to have buffer (a couple of boss pedals), I have my flashback set to buffer, also I'd recommend any pedal splitting to stereo to have a buffer to keep impedance the same. I'd keep your tc pedals on buffer but not worry about your Tb pedals

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    • #3
      TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

      If you heard increased top end, it was because the buffer prevented that top end from being lost. So you are hearing a truer representation of your signal. It restored the frequency response of your pickups. Some buffers have lower input impedances, and sound more like your guitar passively, which is to say some top end has been attenuated. But it will remain constant as you add cable and effects.

      Once your signal is buffered, more buffer stages won't do anything but maintain your signal integrity. The other thing a buffer does is present a low impedance output to drive more cable and other circuits in the signal chain.

      The reason some people don't like buffers is they became used to the dulling effect of cables, etc. it's like when people heard audio CDs for the first time they thought they were too bright! But then you get used to it and then vinyl sounds dull, with soft transients.

      Now for some history behind "true bypass." It wasn't to eliminate buffers or electronic switching. Back in the day, many effect pedals used cheaper SPDT foot switches. They left the input of the circuit always connected to the input jack, and switched the output. Many early guitar pedals had input impedances that were too low. This dulled the tone of the guitar put two pedals in a row and the dulling was multiplied.

      So by actually bypassing the circuit entirely, you stop that from happening. So manufacturers went to DPDT switches. Or FET switching. This was "true bypass."

      It's become a buzz word with a lot of hype. But if you have enough pedals on your board that are all true bypass, and without a buffer, you will start to degrade your signal in all that wiring. There's a few YouTube videos demonstrating this.

      I use buffered pedals when ever I can.


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      • #4
        Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

        James Rock, DavidRavenMoon,
        Thank you for responding. And thank you guys for the information,
        Steve Buffington

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        • #5
          Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

          David basically covered everything. I will add that too many lesser quality buffers will negatively affect your signal as well, but you'll only notice it when you compare to straight in.

          In the end, the most important thing is that you like how it sounds. Experiment with all your options and find what you prefer.
          Oh no.....


          Oh Yeah!

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          • #6
            Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

            Great, and non-dogmatic, explanations here, Steve. To me, it's all bout the ears - buffers restore top end, so your tone will be brighter. If that's enjoyable, then buffer away. If not, then don't. I have a BYOC Silver Pony (Klone) as my third pedal after guitar, and that has a buffer, so I'm always running buffered.


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            • #7
              Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

              My understanding was the first pedal after the guitar was the one that mattered because that buffer or lack of was what the pickups were seeing.

              I haven't experimented enough with switching pedal order and analyzing which have buffers/true bypass to tell. I do notice when treble is attenuated and just avoid those setups.

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              • #8
                Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                Originally posted by beaubrummels View Post
                My understanding was the first pedal after the guitar was the one that mattered because that buffer or lack of was what the pickups were seeing.

                I haven't experimented enough with switching pedal order and analyzing which have buffers/true bypass to tell. I do notice when treble is attenuated and just avoid those setups.
                Basically it's all the pedals in the chain until you reach either a buffer or an "always on" pedal that affect it. And the only true negative is that you may go from a bypassed tone that is a little rolled off, then kick in an Overdrive and think "man that's bright and harsh" since the rest of the signal chain was EQ'ed for the duller, bypassed tone.

                A buffer converts a high impedance signal (passive pickup) to a low impedance signal. For our purposes after the signal is low impedance, everything after is irrelevant from a signal loading standpoint. (Of course this is not technically true, but it's close enough for rock and roll)

                There are some vintage style circuits that have odd impedance issues and work best (read we are used to hearing) directly connected to the high impedance pickup output. For me, that includes vintage style wah, Fuzz Face and Tonebender style Fuzz and Uni-Vibe. From there I like to go to a Buffered or "always on" type pedal. (Usually either a Katana or EP) This allows the Fuzz, wah and Vibe to interact in more vintage style and still have a powerful enough signal in case everything else is bypassed. If I don't use Fuzz or Vibe, I go Wah->buffer/always on and it's a nice consistent tone.

                That being said, many prefer a different arrangement, and the best method truly is to try out multiple options to see what works for your rig and ears.
                Oh no.....


                Oh Yeah!

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                • #9
                  Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                  I always liked a buffered pedal first. But I must admit, don't get hung up on the electronics- it either sounds good or it doesn't. If it has internal settings, I will try both. But I never dismissed a pedal outright because it was true bypass or buffered.
                  Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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                  • #10
                    TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                    Originally posted by Mincer View Post
                    I always liked a buffered pedal first. But I must admit, don't get hung up on the electronics- it either sounds good or it doesn't. If it has internal settings, I will try both. But I never dismissed a pedal outright because it was true bypass or buffered.
                    Yup - I'd go one further - given that moving your picking hand a matter of an inch or two along the strings can radically shift the tone of any guitar, it's always a matter of "if it works, it works" [emoji3]


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                    VinceT
                    Ultimate Tone Slacker
                    Last edited by VinceT; 06-21-2017, 09:29 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                      Just to point out,,,,,,,,if you're running active pickups you won't "need" a buffer at all,,,,,,,but you still could like the sound better with it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                        Just to see if there are any other suggestions, allow me to point out what and where, thanks -
                        From guitar - Mini Wah (as is) - Boss tuner (as is) - VooDoo Lab Sparkle (TBypass) - J.Rocket Archer (TB) - J. Rock. "The Dude" (TB) - H.O.F. (Trim switch to buffer) - Boss DD3 Delay (as is) - Corona Chorus (trim switch to buffer) - Amp(Hot Rod Deluxe) always on clean chanel at about half way up.
                        My always on pedals are my VooDoo Sparkle (a little grit) HOF Reverb (subtle).
                        Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
                        Steve Buffington

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                        • #13
                          Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                          What cable length at each end, Steve? From guitar to board, and board to amp?


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                          • #14
                            Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                            Looks great to me. The Boss tuner makes those paragraphs I wrote irrelevant.

                            By the way, I think the Archer has the Klon buffer.
                            Oh no.....


                            Oh Yeah!

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                            • #15
                              Re: TC Elect. trim pots? buffer vs. true bypass?

                              ^^. The Archer and Archer Ikon are buffered bypass and do have the Klon buffer circuit.

                              As a side note, for what it's worth ... I cant really put my finger on why, other than feeling it wasn't transparent, but I didn't like the buffer in the Archer. It just seemed brighter beyond what you would expect from the benefit of the high end retention. Crazy or not, I got rid of it because of it. I use a Crème Brulee pedal right after the tuner. It's a cheaper "klone" that I actually like a little better than the Archer despite the Archer probably being a more accurate "klone". But more importantly, I guess I find the buffer to be more transparent. I think it's the same buffer circuit in both pedals so maybe it's just a matter of me preferring the end result of the differences in the passive components used in the two buffer circuits. Or, maybe it was all just in my head. Clearly, it wouldn't make a lick of difference if I were gigging.
                              Darg1911
                              Mojo's Minions
                              Last edited by Darg1911; 06-22-2017, 08:05 AM.

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