WHEN you’re buying effects, you’ll notice a lot of talk about bypass. The main two methods used by pedal builders for putting your pedals into bypass mode are buffered bypass and true bypass.
With buffered bypass, your guitar signal is routed through the pedal’s effect circuitry – even when it is in bypass mode. A ‘buffer’ is then used to push the signal on to the next pedal in the chain.
With true bypass, it routes your signal directly from the pedal’s input jack to its output jack when you switch the pedal off, giving you a technically ‘cleaner’ signal path.
With this in mind, surely true bypass is a better option? Not exactly. If you have a busy pedalboard with lots of patch leads adding up to a long cable run, your leads introduce capacitance, which results in a cut to your high-end.
A pedalboard that has one or more pedals with buffered bypass helps to solve this, because the extra ‘push’ from the buffers keeps your signal’s impedance sturdy. Yet if you’re using a small number of pedals with a limited cable run (less than about 20ft), true bypass pedals offer a ‘cleaner’ route to your amp while the pedals are switched off.
The answer, then, is subjective and depends on your setup, but a pedalboard comprising true bypass pedals with a buffered pedal at the start or end of your chain offers a good trade-off between integrity and a robust signal.