Pedal making in the buff(er)

Mike McLane

Active member
I run a very small FX board and no more than 10' or so of chord from guitar to board, board to amp. Don't know at that point if I need a buffer, but if I do I'd rather have it housed in a tuner or FX pedal to save space. There's a couple of buffer PCB's in the catalog that I would build into my lead dirt pedal. I read about how there are buffers, then there are GOOD buffers. Do these do the job in a commendable way? In the same vain, I'm thinking of incorporating a compressor to the lead pedal in my rig that would typically be an always-on. If the output impedance of the compressor is down around 100 ohms or so wouldn't it function in the same capcity as the buffer?
 

Mike McLane

Active member
Boss pedals?!?!?!?!? Bite your tongue!! I only use Pedal PCB pedals!!! 🤗

Seriously, I currently lead off with either the Mach I or the Tommy so I was thinking about putting a buffer in those.
 

phi1

Well-known member
The C buffer board on here is a copy of one that is highly regarded as a ‘good’ buffer. The board is designed to be wired into a pedal as always on, so if you have a pedal you know will never leave your board it’s a great option. With some wiring changes you could build that same pcb into your tuner. I have built a vero version of the circuit in my tuner battery area, and I do think it’s great. It does everything a buffer ought to and somehow sounds a bit sweeter (ok that was probably confirmation bias from all the glowing reviews I’ve read of the circuit).
 

benny_profane

Well-known member
The Cornish buffer, as opposed to an op amp buffer like that used in the klon, does have tone shaping inherent to the design. So, I think you’re probably hearing something that is indeed there.
 

Mike McLane

Active member
What about the compressor idea? Any thoughts? Speaking of which, I wish PPCB would break down and do a version of the Ego, et. al. . . a basic non-LDR compressor with a blend knob. You've got the Thumbsucker and Creamery, but I don't know that those Ratio knobs are "blend" knobs, but "ratio" as normally applied to high end studio units.
 

Feral Feline

Well-known member
Buffer up front, buffer in the rear.

Tuner at the front (or always-on compressor), Delay or Reverb with always-on buffer (for tails) at the end.


Mr PedalPCB needs to clone those CAL buffer PCBs that mount straight on a jack, then you could have the buffer on the board's in/out interface, or just about any pedal if they're SMD.
 
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phi1

Well-known member
You could add a blend to a thumb sucker. It’s a non inverting circuit so should be compatible with most blender circuits. Maybe the jmk panner or vero split n blend. We should put in the wish list a 3PDT mounted blender pcb. Also, I agree a compressor with blend built in would be nice. Some may argue it’s not really necessary with compression since the ratio knob acts similarly, but I think it could probably open up some different nuances in the sound.
 

Mike McLane

Active member
For guys like me (simpletons) nuance is the opposite of what we're looking for. Adjust the "chomp" (attack), adjust the sustain (release), adjust the volume. A little blend and tone adjustment is the icing on the cake. The General Tso does this very well. It imparts a beautiful sheen over the tone like a good booster and can sharpen or soften the tone subtley, but can't get the "squishies" for country pickin'.
 

daeg

Active member
The complaint I've heard, is that the Boss buffer does a good job of being transparent, but isn't the best for driving a long cable. So if it's a 40ft run from your pedalboard to the amp, or you're using a coily cable, you might look elsewhere.

Each Jfet buffer causes about a 1% loss in signal gain (an ideal buffer would be 0%), so 2 in the chain is just about perfect, and why the Boss Tuner up front is the standard.

I've never been able to calculate transistor output impedance so maybe someone else can chime in if they're familiar with that topic.
 

SillyOctpuss

Well-known member
What do you gents do about pedals which don't play well with buffers? I've managed to acquire three of them now and two of them I really like. I've got an OCD, lovepedal eternity and thorpy peacekeeper clones and none of them sound right if I have a buffer on my board.

I guess I can build an OCD v2 on a pedalpcb board which would solve the problem with one of them but I'd like a better solution. True bypass looper maybe?
 

Feral Feline

Well-known member
What do you gents do about pedals which don't play well with buffers? I've managed to acquire three of them now and two of them I really like. I've got an OCD, lovepedal eternity and thorpy peacekeeper clones and none of them sound right if I have a buffer on my board.

I guess I can build an OCD v2 on a pedalpcb board which would solve the problem with one of them but I'd like a better solution. True bypass looper maybe?
You need to build a "buffer buster", basically a small transformer with a few bits added to simulate a pickup.


I used to have some other info on it, I'll see if I can find it.
 

SillyOctpuss

Well-known member
You need to build a "buffer buster", basically a small transformer with a few bits added to simulate a pickup.


I used to have some other info on it, I'll see if I can find it.
Interesting. I've never heard of this before. Thanks @Feral Feline I'll investigate that and see if it will help me
 

Feral Feline

Well-known member
Can't find the other info, too much info on the HD — it's there somewhere, I just need to upgrade my filing system.

Meanwhile, since there's nothing quite like it on PPCB, you can check out the schematics of Aion's Epsilon, Penumbra, Solaris (N1-version) and Proteus — all four have what amounts to a buffer-buster in front of a Fuzz Face, which is notoriously finicky about being first in a circuit. Should give you an idea of how to go about it.

You can build the buffer-buster into the front end of the problem circuit, or build the buster as a stand-alone if you've got vintage pedals you don't want to sully with non-original solder.
 

mdc

Well-known member
To the OP's OP, you absolutely don't need a buffer to drive a 10' cable run.
 
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