True Bypass or Buffered Pedals?
Is true bypass really better? That has been a popular debate for many years. But before we take sides in this heated argument, we should cover the basics, as each type has their pro’s and cons.
Let’s start by explaining what it means to be a true bypass pedal. When the pedals are engaged or turned on, the pedal’s circuit is turned on and the signal goes through it and you hear the fx. When the pedal is turned off, you are now 100% bypassing the fx pedal’s circuit. This eliminates your signal going through extra circuits when it is not needed. You might say that a pedal is small and there isn’t much going on inside of it to mess with the tone you are not using the fx, but that is not the case.
If you have 10 pedals and none of them have true bypass and they aren’t turned on, you are adding a lot of cable and circuits to go through for no reason. So the main positive feature of true bypass is it only puts your signal through the pedal’s circuit. When the pedal is off, it is wired input straight to the output. This cuts down on going through extra circuits and can keep your tone cleaner.
Buffered pedals have a buffer in the circuit and always have the signal running through the pedal’s circuit. Why would you want to have your signal running through a pedal at all times? Consider the following:
- How long is the cable between my guitar and my pedalboard?
- How many pedals do I have on my board and how long are all the cables in length between each pedal?
- The length of cable between your pedal board and amp?
If your answer is over 20ft, you need a buffer at some point in your chain and this is where a buffered pedal would help your rig. The longer the cable run, the more signal you will lose, especially in the treble or high end of your tone. A buffer or buffered bypass pedal will give you back the signal you lost. It will also give your signal a boost. This lets you run longer cable lengths and while keeping your tone intact.
To Bypass To The End
Both types of pedals fill a need and will help your instrument’s tone. Using a Boss TU-3 at the beginning of your chain and a buffer pedal at the end of your board can help. It will give you the flexibility to give your signal a little bit more if needed.
Check out all of our true bypass and buffered pedals at AmericanMusical.com