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losing tone when using pedals!


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Has anyone one got any suggestions on how not to lose tone when plugging into pedals and effects?!?!


i'm experiencing a great loss of tone when i go into the following pedals : boss tuner - ebs multicomp- ebs octabass - deep impact bass synth


it's quality gear so i think the problem might be in the cables i'm using what do you guys think?!?



Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care.
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Well, that's why "true bypass" is such a head-turner. :) A LOT of pedals suck up your tone.


If you're wondering about the cables, try an A/B test with different brand cable and no pedals and see what happens. if the sound changes, it's obviously the cable.


Can't remember if cable length does anything to tone as well, but it might.

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There are two ways to deal with this:


1. Add an active preamp before the pedal chain to minimise the effect of the pedals' circuitry.


2. Add a true-bypass loop switching pedal to take all the pedals out of the circuit when you're running clean.


Three of those pedals use buffered bypass and one uses true-bypass. That means your signal is going through three extra preamps which is inevitably going to degrade the sound somewhat.


When you say "great loss of tone" can you actually hear it when the rest of the band is playing?



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I use the effects loop on my amp so that when I want clean I have TRUE bypass. I also use a BBE in the effects line up, but I dont know if that is what you are looking for. It has noise reduction which is nice and the sonic maximizer does well to return my sound to a full rich bass.


I use an old model I paid $30 for I think its a 362NR in stereo.








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I normally use the effects loop too only I'm not entirely sure it does give me a bypass as it still sounds noticeably different when the effects aren't plugged in even when they're "off".
Now theres three of you in a band, youre like a proper band. Youre like the policemen.
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Wow, I'll have to check my effects send and return loop too. Up 'till now I've rarely used effects live but now I have the looper/echo unit I'll have to find the best way to work it. I usually only have my tuner plugged into the effects loop!

I used to use a poor quality multi-effects unit on some gigs until a producer in the studio (I'd taken it as a tuner) pointed out the tonal contrast in my bass when going through it and direct.

The line6 stuff with the true bypass works wonderfully.

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If I had to guess I'd say your tuner is causing the most problems; or dodgy cables. If you're currently plugging into the tuner and then taking the tuner's output to the next pedal - try removing the tuner. Those other pedals are quality gear and while they will colour the tone to some degree they shouldn't be making it horrid.


My signal travels through 7 pedals before hitting my preamp. The biggest difference when I remove them and plug directly in is a decrease in gain.

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More info might help ...


Is your bass passive or does it have a preamp?


What kind of tone loss - is it high-end, level, etc.?


By "lose tone" - do you mean that even with your pedals switched off, your tone is altered?


Is any particular pedal more or less at fault?

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Whenever you plug into an electronic device there some sort of "effect" which causes some detremental changes in the tone of the signal. Running into multiple pedals increases this exponentially.


The greatest attenutaion of tone is caused by "loading down" of the signal. Passive basses, long cables, are especially prone to this.


This has been a plague of effects pedals for sometime, and one reason why so many opted for digital multi-fx boxes. Yet, tone-meisters almost always agree (and I am not trying to knock digital here...) that analog pedals have a certain something, a "je nais se quoi", which enhances the tone of a bass or guitar. This is why Bob Bradsaw and Pete Cornish made a bundle designing custom pedal boards and switching systems.


Now, true bypass switching, where in bypass mode the signal is shunted straight to the output avoiding any of the effects' circuity, is becoming quite a popular and desirable option to pedal design.


But some pedals don't have this...like the EBS pedals (which are fine pedals, btw, but their design is to lower noise by allowing a buffering stage internally. This has made these pedals gain a somewhat arguable reputation of being "tone-suckers" This effect is minimized by quality active electronics on the instrument, but can be "savage" with passive, or lower quality active instruemnts).


Adding a tru bypass loop to your setup will greatly help out this problem. But, you need to think about how many loops your need. Running all those pedal in series thru a loop you will find that having the lop bypassed sounds better, but only running one effect, with others off and the loop engaged will still cause a tone drop.

Loop pedal are available in a number of configurations for this purpose. With your set up I would consider running into the compressor and putting both the octaver and synth in a true bypass loop (Xotic and Radial now both make "blendable" loop pedals where the signal is blendable from serial to parallel, with true bybass, so with syth type pedals your can dial in a bit of your "dry" signal and maintain some signal integrity...)


A trick gtrists sometime employ is to use a "clean boost" pedal before any others. A good clean boost, like the Xotic RC, will not chnage or color the tone of your bass...just give more of what is already there to the rest of the things in the signal chain.


I would definitely take the tuner out of the chain...if one device is clearly known to rob tone it is tuners. Perhaps getting something like an Ernie Ball Volume pedal, fairly inexpensive, with a sidechain tuner send would remedy this.


Otherwise I would consider running the tuner from the fx send of my amp, with no return from the tuner, to get it out of the signal path.


On a note about fx loops on amps: Yes, running fx thru the aux loop of an amp, or preamp, can greatly improve the sound quality...one should pay attention to what kind of aux loop it is (serial or parallel?) and what level signals it accepts. Running instrument level (-20dBu) pedals thru a line level (-10dBu) parallel loop can cause problems. Some preamps, like the Alembic FX1 (and the BBE BMax--which was designed from the FX1) have an instrument level serial loop designed for running pedal effects (the down side is running -10 or +4 levels from rack gear into this does not work!), but most amps have line level loops for interfacing with line level devices. Running a stomp box, even a good one like a TC Chorus, thru a line level loop will cause you to distort the fx device.



A rule of thumb is most pedal are designed to run in front of the amp....and so adding a true bypass loop to that will be helpful.


And..get that tuner out of the line!



...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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I'm with Max...it's the Boss tuner that's the biggest culprit. Get that out of the chain and run it out of a tuner out or preamp out on your amp.


I have a true bypass pedal...it's called a Loooper...I found out about it on this forum. Mine has switches for:

1) going through the effects

2) complete bypass of all effects

3) straight to the tuner (no sound to the amp)

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