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Guitar Myth Busted! Is This Better than True Bypass?

Ok, so I came across this video last night that explains how Visual Sound’s “Pure Tone Buffer” is actually better than true bypass. While I didn’t believe it at first, the video demonstration led my ears to convince me. What do you guys think?


So, basically Visual Sound organised a ‘pedal shootout’ between 2 pedals that were both switched off. The first pedal was a Keeley Pedal with True-Bypass and the second pedal was the Visual Sound pedal with “Pure Tone Buffer”.

As both pedals were switched off, the test was to see which pedal didn’t colour the tone of the guitar and produced a good sound through the amp. Surprisingly, the vast majority of listeners choose the 2nd pedal as the best sound.

True Bypass is good for keeping the sound clean for that pedal, as the input jack is directly connected to the output jack. However, in the example below they used a 25ft guitar cable which meant that there was going to be cable capacitance which caused ‘tone loss’.

Visual Sound Comp 66

Visual Sound Comp 66

The benefit of the Visual Sound pedal is that it converts the signal from high impedience to low impedience which allows the tone of your guitar to get through the cable no matter how long it is.

If you add a Visual Sound pedal to the front of your pedal chain, you signal will remain pure and won’t get lost over the distance of the connection between your guitar to the amp.

Well, I have definitely been convinced and so I’ve bought the Visual Sound Compressor to see what difference it makes to my pedal board.

The Visual Sound “Pure Tone Buffer” Demonstration

4 Responses

Jul 12, 2010

It’s no secret that buffers preserve your tone over long cables, but tone loss does not only occur from lack of buffers, it also occurs from too many buffers. This is where true bypass is useful

Jul 12, 2010

Good call Joe, that’s why I’ve decided to use the Visual Sound Comp 66 as my first pedal and try to keep the rest of my pedals true bypass (excluding the TS9).

Oct 11, 2011

I recall the guitarist with Government Mule usually runs his guitar (Les Paul) via a long (25ft I think) lead specifically because he likes the capacitive loss (presumably rounds off the high tones – low-pass filter?).

Jan 16, 2014

Good afternoon, I have a question. I’m thinking of putting a VS Comp 66 at the beginning of the effects chain. For this the “PURE TONE BUFFER” I have to be always on the comp 66? or do I need to have it turned off? or simply do not care if it on or off? I await your response, thank you very much.

I have doubts on how this is achieved PURE TONE, if the pedal is activated, or is deactivated when no matter if on or off.

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