Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Postby BJolley » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:08 pm

In studying up on Garcia-type wiring (thanks to the wealth of knowledge on this forum) it seems that on-board effects loops are rarely, if ever, installed without pre-amp buffers. As I understand it they serve two distinct functions: the OBEL both sends full pickup signal to the effects independent of vol controls and allows the effects signal to be turned on and off from the guitar, whereas the buffer prevents sound loss over long cable runs. For a recreational player who doesn't gig can an OBEL be installed without a buffer (and on-board power source) or must they go hand-in-hand? Anyone have experience with this? Thanks.
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Re: Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Postby hippieguy1954 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:23 pm

Check out the very first post of this thread. All the other posts in this thread are helpful as well.

viewtopic.php?f=419&t=11846&p=109940&hilit=buffer#p109940 :smile: :smile: :smile:
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Re: Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Postby JonnyBoy » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:02 pm

I had a guitar without a buffer, straight to the amp will not be buffered and the effects will be since most have buffers in bypass mode. That eventually showed me what I was missing tone wise when I turned off all effects and switched between the obel and regular. The buffered tone is much cleaner. You will want a buffer or at least I did because the two guitar tones didn't match up right between obel and normal.
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Re: Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Postby waldo041 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:17 pm

Yes, you can use the obel with no buffer but if you use the onboard switch you will have signal loss on the effects loop side with the added cable. You can eliminate the switch and just use a 14b jack, see Jerry's Travis Bean 500 wiring. But on that note, effects with buffers will intermingle and produce a tone difference of your old clean signal as they will always be in the loop. I believe that is why Jerry put the buffer in. Ymmv

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Re: Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Postby BJolley » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:15 pm

Thanks for the insight. Seems the short answer is "you can do OBEL w/o a buffer but you will regret it..."
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Re: Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Postby milobender » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:59 am

Or... you can use the buffer, with or without the OBEL, and love it! :smile: :smile: :smile:
I have one in every guitar, and wouldn't have a guitar without one now... you'll really be suprised by the improvement it makes.
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Re: Buffer necessary for OBEL?

Postby zambiland » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:16 am

milobender wrote:Or... you can use the buffer, with or without the OBEL, and love it! :smile: :smile: :smile:
I have one in every guitar, and wouldn't have a guitar without one now... you'll really be suprised by the improvement it makes.


+1! I have preamps ranging from Stratoblasters to homemade adaptations of Craig Anderton's Clarifier circuit in my guitars. I love what a preamp does and it's really fun to experiment with making your own. It's incredibly cheap (maybe $15 if you go all spendy with caps and ICs) and easy to do. I highly recommend Anderton's DIY Projects for Guitarists. He takes you through preamp design from a simple buffer all the way to a preamp with EQ. I put that circuit in my Ibanez 2680 and it sounds really nice.
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