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Author Topic: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
joe
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Posts: 224
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Post Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: May 17, 2013, 10:26
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Tonefiend DIY Club: Projects & Resources

Dimi Pana

Posts: 6
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 21, 2014, 14:26
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Howdy, Joe!

I found your blog while searching for a buffer/booster for my guitar, and man! Am I glad I did "land" here. What a cool site you have!

Anyway, it seems I am the first one commenting in the forum for this project specifically, so I'll cut to the chase.

I am a 50+ y.o. guitar playing enthusiast, by no means a music professional, and clearly an entry-level player. I used to play mostly acoustic guitar back when I was, ...hm...well...young, you know, the girls loved it, eventually had to get a serious job, then got married, car payments, mortgages, kids, the whole 9 yds as they say, no time for guitar playing .... Then, almost 30 years into the future, the ..."itch" came back. I picked myself a guitar, an electric this time (do not ask me why, I just did it, an amp and starting playing again. Boy, was it tough at first, my fingers had totally forgotten what to do, but I persevered and I fell back in love with the instrument I so foolishly abandoned such a long time ago.

Long story short, I am going through the same learning (and challenging) curve like anyone who's seriously trying to improve his playing. And of course, all that necessary(?!) paraphernalia i.e. gadgets and tone-quest, etc., became standard part of my everyday vocabulary. That's why I am here, to seek advice and share my experience while building this promising little device of yours (btw I saw the video and what I heard sold me right on the spot, I said to myself, you gotta build one of these!).

So, I have the following questions:

1. There's no question that anyone playing using a long cable and many stompboxes needs to buffer the signal. My question is this: So if I put a buffer at the end of my cable coming from my guitar, I still need to use a relatively short cable or -now- it really does not matter how long the guitar cable is? (within reason of course).

2. To me, it makes sense that the buffer should be first in row before the 1st stompbox. Is this (mostly) true?

3. I am playing an Ibanez ASR70 with a 25ft cable into a tuner-->compressor/sustainer-->EQ-->noise reducer/gate, then into a Blackstar HT-5C amp, then I am using the FX loop to add delay-->chorus-->reverb. I do not have a big cab, I am happy with the 12" speaker this nifty little amp has. Maybe later, I'm ambitious enough to wanna build a 4x12" cab, will see.

My question is, apart from any (welcome) comments on my rig and fx placement, is it possible that any of the fx boxes I have, already has a buffer in it? What if it does? How many buffers one can have in his signal chain, is two, one too many? At this point I have to admit (confess, rather) that my boxes are on the "economical" side, I use Behringers and Rogues, and to be honest, for now they sound OK to me, with time, as (and if) my ears get better (at my age this is questionable, ha-ha), I could definitely invest to something better.

4. Now, specifically about your project, it consists of a buffer "or/and" a booster. I wrote "or/and" because my understanding is these are two separate circuits that can co-exist if so needed. Well, that's what (I think) I need: A little stompbox that will act as a buffer ALL THE TIME with a SWITCHABLE booster that will help my solos "stick-out" more. Ideally, this device will be powered with a 9V battery or DC adaptor, have switching 1/4" jack input (so that battery won't drain when jack is removed), a red LED showing battery/power status, and a blue LED showing whether the booster is ON/OFF. So (finally), my question is: Does your project fit the bill, can I use your design to adapt to my needs?

5. Finally, a big thank you for the section on finger exercises, I'll be following all your blog closely but especially this section, I need to improve (a lot) in this area.

Sorry for the long post, my regards to all of you, many thanks to you Joe and hopefully we'll "talk" again soon!

All the best!

--
Dimi Pana

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 22, 2014, 04:13
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You have plenty of buffer in your signal , most tuners have one and it is possible all of your effects have one already.Actually the buffer is built into the circuit and is switchable on/off , they both work as needed. Batteries are expensive and a pain I have eliminated them from all of my boards using a Boss tuner to power a daisy chain or with a one spot power supply , it will make your life better .Really don't see the need for an extra LED in the effect , if you can't tell you have a boost turned on you have some problems with your pedal.You might want to do the first DIY project it has all the basics you need to learn and that all important footswitch soldering.Hardest part is putting it into the box and the switch.

Dimi Pana

Posts: 6
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 22, 2014, 12:44
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Oinkus, thank you for your prompt and informative reply!

How can I be sure the pedals I have provide me with enough buffer? Are you saying to do the old but time tested trick of using a long cable directly into the amp and compare the sound with the same cable going through my pedal board? I did it and -honestly- I can't hear any changes (e.g. drastic loss of HF/treble making the sound dull).

I want a red LED on my buffer/booster stompbox in order to be able to tell from a distance if the unit is powered on or off. Actually, I was going to build it in a way that when powered with a battery that starts going "bad" the LED gives a special indication (usually flashing) to let you know.

Anyway, how can I find out if any of my pedals are buffered? I sort of heard through the ...grapevine that most Behringer pedals are BOSS clones and that most BOSS pedals are indeed buffered. So if my Behringer TU300 (tuner) is indeed a clone of the Boss TU-2 then I should be OK, right? The tuner is my first pedal in the board then I have a Rogue vintage compressor then a Behringer EQ700 then a Behringer NR400 noise reducer/gate then straight into the amp. I wonder if any of these pedals do buffer the signal even in the power-ON but switched-OFF position.

One last question that I'd love to have answered is about cable length: With a long cable straight into the amp, the signal will suffer loss of highs, that's a given. But going into a buffer first, have I basically offset the cable's capacitance or do I still need to be "cable-length conscious"? I mean, is there a cut-off point?

Again, thank you all for your feedback!

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 23, 2014, 03:57
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I use 100s of feet of cable with a good sized setup and 20 pedals or so , most of them have buffers unless it says true bypass in the literature or in the basic info at purchase. A couple of pedals and a 20' cable is really nothing to worry about. The Behringer stuff all have buffers , the Rogue Comp is true bypass .You really can't hear any loss of highs with a decent cable and the buffer works all the time unless you are using one that is built to be switched on/off like the clones of the Klon buffer pedals people make and sell.Do some searching on the net or go to Behringer.com for more info. For the most part you really only need to have cable length issues if there is a noticeable change in your sound , if you can't hear it , there isn't an issue. The more you learn and play the better you will sound !

Dimi Pana

Posts: 6
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 23, 2014, 15:43
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You are right, if I can't hear it then it's not an issue. Thanks for the feedback, one quick last question, have you build the booster/buffer designed here by Joe? Do you know if it can be wired so that buffer comes first and the booster second in the signal path? If I understood correctly what I read in the build document, these two circuits are independent of each other or can be wired as a booster+buffer. I am looking to do the opposite, e.g. buffer+booster, is it possible? Thanks!

EDIT: While I was still writing this, I did a search as you suggested and inevitably went to Behringer's website (among many others). There, I realized they make a pedal called PB100 which is labeled as "Preamp/Booster"! I mean, since it is a preamp (with a gain control) then it must have a buffer, right? Plus, it even has a booster function with bass and treble control. I am not here to advertize this particular brand, and I know a lot of serious musicians intentinally avoid Behringer products, but perhaps, in my case this is what I am looking for. Any thoughts? Thanks again!

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 24, 2014, 04:52
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I haven't built Project 3 but I would imagine you could put the buffer first. I have only had bad experiences with Behringer products but many people , especially those just starting out use them . It could easily be exactly what you are looking for and it won't break the bank to find out.Sorry I am not much help with the project , I lurk around here daily during my coffee/news run. The guys that know the electronics seem to be absent ?

Dimi Pana

Posts: 6
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 24, 2014, 11:14
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Oinkus, thank you for your input, you've been a lot of help, so patiently responding to all my novice questions. As you said until I develop a better ear for my guitar tone, and since what I now hear does not sound bad or "broken", I might just as well, ...stick with it. Time will tell. And by then, even the electronics guys may drop-in to enlighten me (lol)! Thank you again and thanks -again- to Joe for putting up this excellent site! Nice article by the way on guitar pots/wiring/etc., too bad I have single coil pickups on mine.

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 25, 2014, 04:33
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Ton of info around here for all types to use. Companies are trying to sell you things to make money , some of them do it well and others notsomuch. There are plenty of simple upgrades that will improve a guitar but that will only make it better up to a point.The better materials and workmanship you start with the nicer the end result will become.Just a bit of info at 52 my ears are better then they have ever been , at least I hear more things when I actually listen. It might just be I have trained my brain to sort more sounds more efficiently or something like that.You can find some of the stuff I do to poor helpless guitars all over the forums.

Dimi Pana

Posts: 6
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Post Re: Project #3: Booster + Buffer
on: July 25, 2014, 18:31
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Very interesting stuff, it gives me hope to know that (myself at 51 y.o.) I can still rely to my ears provided I take care of them and try to listen more critically, like you say, sorting out what goes in, into a meaningful experience. Of course a lot of training will get you there, my only concern is, if I can still train my ears, now that I am -clearly- going downhill. Again, time will tell, I am just enjoying my mostly ...poor playing, as long as I can see some improvement (even just a tad) 'till the next challenge and here we go again! I wish I'd made a conscious decision 20-30 years ago to spend more time playing music, I guess back then had to focus more at becoming a decent professional at what I do for a living (Information Technology).

Anyway, Oinkus, I do appreciate the time you've spent here, I'll be looking for your nickname in the forums, I've started to frequent, looking for the interesting stuff you've done to all these "poor helpless guitars" (lol).

Thanks gain so much, really enjoyed chatting with you!

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