A buffer or a buffer+ ??
What does the Empress buffer+ do, and do I really need a buffer? … I mean there are several interesting pedals out there that can do some really exiting stuff, so why spend money on a pedal that doesn’t add a wild distortion or other ‘stuff’ to your sound? Well let me try to tell you about my experiences with buffers and why I just got the Empress buffer+.
When I made my pedalboard a couple of years ago I spent hours reading about true bypass, browsing the internet to find the right pedals, cables and jacks. I was very happy and excited about most of the stuff I ended up buying. But I must admit I was confused and disappointed when I finally put everything together and plugged my guitar into the board and amp … what happened to that nice warm and present tone I just had a minute ago, going directly into the amp?
After talking to some of my more nerdy friends who have had boards for years, I was recommended a buffer. Actually a guy in a music store already mentioned a buffer to me, when I was complaining about how all the volume pedals choked the tone while I was trying out all the different brands – and back then I replied that I was looking for one good volume pedal … not a volume pedal AND something to fix it. But now I was a bit more ready to hear about buffers. Again I’m not into all the technical stuff … I just want it to sound good.
Let med try to explain very briefly what a buffer does.
It’s a kind of loop, that makes your output sound similar to the input with a loop added. The hidden treasure of this loop is that it makes up for differences in impedance, so everything in the loop (your pedals) has the optimal signal type/impedance to work with and what ends up coming out of the loop and out of the buffer is optimal for your amp … already now I’m out of my comfort zone – so I’ll recommend you to browse the internet if you want to get more into the technical stuff – maybe this link.
So let’s forget the tech-stuff – does it work and why the Empress buffer+??
Yes it works … for me, very well indeed. Suddenly I can recognize the sound of my guitar going directy into my amp again, and then I get several super cool extras with the buffer+. If you’re using the really old school kind of overdrives, you might want to place them outside the buffered chain … but it differs from which overdrives you’re using. You just have to check it out yourself.
Back to the buffer. The Empress buffer+ is meant to be the complete I/O interface for your pedal board. This means you’ll keep the highest fidelity to your guitar’s signal, with no signal loss even if you’re using long cables. And with the buffer+ you’ll also get some really nice features on top of that.
For instance, a convenient mute button for when you want to tune up (maybe you can skip your volume-pedal because of this feature? … I’ve been considering this, since I don’t want to run my signal thru the tuner, and earlier had fed my tuner from my volume pedals tuner output). Do you get more … yes – you’ll get noise filters … very nice – and an input pad and input volume control, so you can easily match the volume if you like me are using several different guitars with single coils and humbuckers – extremely nice and handy. And then the Empress Buffer+ has a clean volume boost that makes me cut another pedal I only use for clean boost … super nice.
Actually – that’s a serious benefit apart from the overall improvement to the sound – I’ve really been searching for a solution to get my rhythm and solo levels optimized – and a way where I can easily make a small fill stick out and then get back to normal rhythm level.
And in addition to all this – just like with some of the other Empress products I’ve bought, I feel I get more that I could expect when purchasing the pedal … that’s very nice. Things that show you that the people who have made this, have been thinking a lot about different scenarios – for instance, the fact that you can use the tuner output as an extra output if you are using two amps … nice – it’s stuff that makes me feel I really get value for money.
Maybe you don’t need all these features … just a buffer and you have other ways to make input and level changes – then go for a regular buffer – for most people I am sure it will be great.
Will I recommend the Empress buffer+?
YES, without a doubt. Would I travel without my Empress buffer+? NO – I would really miss it, and I would rather leave the volume pedal back home than letting this go, so once again: buy buy buy 🙂
Yeah, I know it can be expensive visiting my blog … but at least the blog is free of charge 🙂
All the very best