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Author Topic: Buffers, tone, cable length and...  (Read 297 times)
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Meron Rigas
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« on: August 11, 2017, 10:41:24 am »

Interesting read, a bit too detailed for me :http://screaminfx.com/tech/why-and-when-to-use-a-guitar-buffer-pedal.htm

Wizard has gotten into pedal building and so we started looking at making use out of some bits I collected.

The first thing I wanted to do was build a simple clean boost - no tone stack, no drive, just a volume boost. This was to serve two (similar) purposes - I want a boost for my passive instruments (guitar & bass), which are both rather soft compared to more modern humbuckers & active pups. I did try a Klon Centaur clone and really liked how it made my elk sound a lot less muddy and more 'stratty'.

Things got interesting when we tested a buffer circuit he made for his maribma's (impedance matching the piezo's to amps). We tested it on my transistor elk and I really liked how the buffer tightened up the low end and added a teeny bit of sparkle to the top end. Overall it 'tamed' a lot of the spikey nature of the amp - the amp responded more naturally to playing dynamics.

I hadn't really ever considered it, but all my cables are 15ft (5m) or longer (I have two gigging cables...8m each!) - I wouldn't have noticed as I have almost always played with some kinda buffered pedal between my amp (wah, boss, multi-fx). But with the elk I have only plugged straight in and after trying the klon - I've wanted to try and come up with something that work for that amp. I was thinking a a buffered boost (a very clean boost, want to avoid adding drive/clipping to the signal).

So we'll see how this all bolts together - since most pedals (non true bypass) come with always-on buffer (E.g. Almost every Boss pedal) and most people play with a longish cable (6m/20ft is fairly standard), it's the kinda thing you may notice, but not realise why when you are making up a pedal board.

For sure it's a minor thing, but for those seeking a that tone nirvana, it's a interesting topic?
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daveo1977
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 11:58:20 am »

Hey Meron!

Check out this "That Pedal Show" episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSWqLuXUfnY&t=1325s

Some great observations here.


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Dave
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 08:20:00 am »

Hey Meron!

Check out this "That Pedal Show" episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSWqLuXUfnY&t=1325s
Dave!

While I'm a big fan of that pedal show, this episode was really useful - thanks and thanked! It helped understand the theory Wizard tried to bash into my (thick) skull recently.

Wish I'd understood this a decade ago - I'd be a much happier strat player.

For those not interested - here's my over simplified thinkings :
A buffer is a 1:1 preamp. It doesn't boost signal, but matches impedance (E.g. a piezo pickup to a guitar amp). Also can counter excessive capacitance in your signal chain (long cables). 

Wizard has a great buffer he made for piezo to guitar amp. It works well, I dug it...but not as nicely as the preamp he made for me yesterday. The difference was the IC he used and the trim pot he added so I could dial in a bit of boost. We tested with some fellow junkies and we all quite enjoyed the sound - no reservations or exceptions, which is rare with a bunch of G.A.S'ed fellows Cheesy

I'm VERY interested to try this out on a DI signal into my interface. I have a feeling that this is the way forward...
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 08:43:41 am »

Very interesting discussion and videos. Just when you think the rig is "right" you discover you need a bit of a turbo.

Is that circuitry for the buffer available for a DIY build?

I discovered that while my tele PUPS are hot, the Strat is much more docile. I would like to boost that strat somewhat.

Thanks
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Meron Rigas
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 09:21:27 am »

Is that circuitry for the buffer available for a DIY build?

I discovered that while my tele PUPS are hot, the Strat is much more docile. I would like to boost that strat somewhat.
Not sure what schematic Wizard used as the basis for the buffer - he's been prototyping off a breadboard thingy, so it'll be a touch different from what he started out from.

Once we're happy with it & it's in a enclosure, I'll see if I can tweak his arm to post it up on GFSA.
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 05:08:17 pm »

Thanks Meron
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 11:39:51 pm »

The buffer I built is a simple circuit obtained from this excellent site of Jack Orman:
http://www.muzique.com/lab/buffers.htm

The 4th circuit diagram down - the one he says he used for the Dr Quack thingy.
I used a J201 JFET; but a 2N5457 JFET is said to work equally well.

I've just made a really tiny one to fit inside a miniature tin.
Will post pictures when it's finished.

If you have a piezo pickup, a buffer is essential else things get very thin & tinny.

The 2nd last circuit based on the TL071 is equally simple & works just as well.
Give a shout if you want any help.

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