What Is A Buffer?

TSJMajesty

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In the context of a pedal (not like computers.) What's it's purpose and what's it do? Sorry if this seems to be a real basic question.
 
Its like a tiny amplifier I think. It takes the hi impedance signal and levels/isolate it to a "unity".

So having a bunch of true bypass pedals, they and the cables between will dampen the guitar signal, maybe noticeable by some high end loss. But a buffer keeps the signal even through all of those. Not really sure now, as it was many years ago I even thought about it. But placing a Boss pedal (those have buffers active when effect is off) first keeps the signal integrity through the whole chain of pedals.
 
100% What @the swede already said.

But additionally, it's probably worth mentioning that some buffers are implemented better than others; and whilst it's a simple electronic concept, it is hard to get it done just right. And to implement a buffer really well, it often requires slightly more expensive audio-quality components, which can significantly impact the production cost and final price of a pedal.

Essentially: whilst buffers are implemented to preserve tone, especially over long cable runs; there are bad cheap-ass ones (but not all) that can suck tone.

This is why buffers can be slightly controversial at times and this was something that contributed to the rise and popularity of "true bypass" pedals. It's usually considered more practical to have a pedalboard that is a mixture of true bypass pedals with one or two buffers sprinkled in, especially at the end of a chain before a cable that goes back to the amp.

An example of an excellent buffer on my board would be the Xotic Super Clean.
 
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This is why buffers can be slightly controversial at times and this was something that contributed to the rise and popularity of "true bypass" pedals.
It was also interesting that with the rise came an obsession that led to many questioning the reasoning behind “true bypass” as a marketing reason for pedals. Things seem to have settled nowadays I think.
 
It was also interesting that with the rise came an obsession that led to many questioning the reasoning behind “true bypass” as a marketing reason for pedals. Things seem to have settled nowadays I think.
Totally. TFFT.

Also, for the benefit of this thread's OP:

I can also confirm that there was a time when I understood this subject less, and I only had 6 or 7 pedals on my board; all true bypass, with only 6ft cable from the pedalboard to my amp and the high end tone suck was _very_ noticeable.
 
100% What @the swede already said.

But additionally, it's probably worth mentioning that some buffers are implemented better than others; and whilst it's a simple electronic concept, it is hard to get it done just right. And to implement a buffer really well, it often requires slightly more expensive audio-quality components, which can significantly impact the production cost and final price of a pedal.

Essentially: whilst buffers are implemented to preserve tone, especially over long cable runs; there are bad cheap-ass ones (but not all) that can suck tone.

This is why buffers can be slightly controversial at times and this was something that contributed to the rise and popularity of "true bypass" pedals. It's usually considered more practical to have a pedalboard that is a mixture of true bypass pedals with one or two buffers sprinkled in, especially at the end of a chain before a cable that goes back to the amp.

An example of an excellent buffer on my board would be the Xotic Super Clean.
So "true bypass" is like the pedal is not even there (when it's off, of course), except for the cable connections? So when adding several cables between those type of pedals, and the pedals themselves passing signal, you end up with tone suck? Is that right?
 
So "true bypass" is like the pedal is not even there (when it's off, of course), except for the cable connections? So when adding several cables between those type of pedals, and the pedals themselves passing signal, you end up with tone suck? Is that right?

That's right - adding successive pedals and patch cables is increasing the capacitance of the signal chain.

The same as the effect you get when you have a long guitar cable. You get high end roll off.
 
That's right - adding successive pedals and patch cables is increasing the capacitance of the signal chain; the same as the effect you get when you have a long guitar cable.
That's what I thought. So what's the thing with active pickups? My understanding is having them in your guitar means you don't get that tone suck with long cables and/or multiple pedals. Is that correct?
 
That's what I thought. So what's the thing with active pickups? My understanding is having them in your guitar means you don't get that tone suck with long cables and/or multiple pedals. Is that correct?
I believe active pickups is like a buffer
 
I believe active pickups is like a buffer
That's kinda the reason for the OP. I've never dealt with buffers or understood what their purpose was, so I suspected it had something to do with the pickups taking care of the issue.
 
That's what I thought. So what's the thing with active pickups? My understanding is having them in your guitar means you don't get that tone suck with long cables and/or multiple pedals. Is that correct?

Ahh... that's getting into a more complicated subject. Not all active pickups are the same.

Active pickups are powered by a battery and come fitted with preamp - they have a low impedance output so there is no loss of high frequencies.

Most active pickups aren't buffered. But some are.

But to complicate things further - my EBMM Cutlass has passive pickups but it does have an output buffer. This is generally a good thing, but because the true impedance load of my guitars pickups aren't directly exposed to the first pedal in the chain, it doesn't work well with many fuzz pedals. So fuzz users tend to really dislike guitars like the Cutlass (hah!). I don't use fuzz, so I don't care, but there are fuzz pedals that work with buffers anyway.
 
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Ahh... that's getting into a more complicated subject. Not all active pickups are the same.

Active pickups are powered by a battery and come fitted with preamp - they have a low impedance output so there is no loss of high frequencies.

Most active pickups aren't buffered. But some are.

But to complicate things further - my EBMM Cutlass has passive pickups but it does have an output buffer. This is generally a good thing, but because the true impedance load of my guitars pickups aren't directly exposed to the first pedal in the chain, it doesn't work well with many fuzz pedal. So fuzz users tend to really dislike guitars like the Cutlass.
So is a Majesty the same?
 
Ahh...I see. I've just noticed the Majesty in your avatar @TSJMajesty , so you're an EBMM owner too? I don't know much about the specs of your particular guitar, but it might use a buffer. I don't know off the top of my head.
 
Yep. I love 'em!

How did you learn that the Cutlass has one? I don't recall seeing it mentioned on their site, although I could have missed it.

I have the 2017 Cutlass and the buffer is mentioned on this legacy page:


The Cutlass uses the EBMM Silent Circuit. All guitars which use the Silent Circuit are listed on this page:


The Silent Circuit circuit is concerned with hum from single coils. No need for one in your Majesty because it's got Humbuckers.

Don't know if you've got a buffer in your exact model, but a preamp buffer is mentioned on the page for the 2019 Majesty here:

 
I'm sorry that I don't know anything more about your exact model, but perhaps another Majesty owner can chime in.
 
In the context of a pedal (not like computers.) What's it's purpose and what's it do? Sorry if this seems to be a real basic question.
it converts high impedance to low impedance so you can drive long cable runs without losing signal and clarity.

buffers DO have their own sonic fingerprint, so choose accordingly. the most transparent buffer i have is the pete cornish LD3, but it's also around 350 GBP.
 
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