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Best Buffer Pedals for Guitar & Bass 2024

The purpose of buffer pedals is to reduce tone suck (a loss of high-end clarity due to capacitance and impedance mismatching in the signal path). Buffering has to do with impedance and proper signal transmission in the context of electric guitar signals and pedals. Long, unbalanced patch cords and cables as well as pedals with high output impedance can greatly reduce the quality of the signal while guitar playing. In order to preserve the signal, a buffer reduces the signal impedance.

JHS Little Black Buffer Guitar Signal Buffer

JHS Pedals JHS Little Black Buffer Guitar Signal...
  • Restores the high end detail, output level, and tonal character that...
  • Mount it on the underside of your pedal board to use as a low profile...
  • Converts your guitar’s hi Z signal to lo Z for driving long cables and...

JHS Pedals expands their ever-expanding line of guitar effects with the addition of the Little Black Buffer. The Little Black Buffer works to smooth out any deficiencies across the frequency spectrum, making it the ideal solution to your signal problems. Even while the majority of effects pedals have true-bypass switching, capacitance issues are common when there are multiple connections in your signal chain. This JHS buffer pedal improves the consistency of your signal. It will do the job if you place it at the beginning of your chain. The Little Black Box Buffer pedal revitalises your sound by calculating and giving the ideal impedance for your guitar rig. You’ll notice that the tone grows richer and clearer.

Buffer pedals can sometimes make a guitar’s tone sound a touch unnatural if they aren’t up to par. This JHS item is handcrafted, with great attention to detail in both structure and material selection. As a result, you’ll get a natural tone that stays true to the natural relationship between your guitar and amp. This buffer pedal is also compatible with bass guitars, which is an added plus.

The JHS Little Black Buffer is Best Buffer Pedals for Guitar those with a mediocre high-end or sluggish bass. Because the Little Black Buffer is constructed with the proper input impedance for your rig, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in sound quality.

Fender Level Set Buffer Pedal

Fender Level Set Buffer Pedal
  • Level and hi-freq trim controls
  • Main mute footswitch for silent tuning
  • Led backlit knobs

The Fender Level Set buffer pedal is Best Buffer Pedals for Guitar. This elegant pedal eliminates the hassles of switching between single-coil and humbucker guitars onstage, as well as any concerns about long cable runs or packed pedalboards suffocating your tone.

The LED lighted knobs on the Level Set Buffer are one of the first things you’ll notice about it, which not only look great but also make finding your settings on a dark stage easier. This is great because the Level Set Buffer’s entire purpose is to allow you to switch guitars without having to alter settings on your other pedals or amplifier, instead relying on the trim controls.

The Level and Hi-Freq controls both have a plus/minus 12db range. There’s also a Load switch and a tuner out jack for silent tuning that won’t ruin your tone. The Mute switch can also be used to perform traditional, silent tuning.

Fender enlisted the expertise of a number of well-known guitarists to design the pedal. As a result, you’ll have a versatile, easy-to-use buffer. You can manually modify the signal strength using the Level control, Hi-Frequency parameter, and Load control.

The Mute footswitch is another remarkable feature, since it allows you to tune your guitar quietly without disturbing the single path. The Level Set buffer pedal is made of lightweight anodized aluminium with LED backlighting on all of the knobs. A 9-volt battery door is magnetically secured on the back of the pedal, allowing for rapid battery changes without the use of screws.

Unlike other buffer pedals, which don’t change your tone at all (besides from disclosing how it should sound in typical situations), this one starts to sound like a boost at higher levels (even a treble booster with the Hi-Freq set past 3). It’s a clever concept that allows you to balance out the volume variations between single coil and humbucker guitars without sacrificing their uniqueness.

This is a versatile but straightforward pedal that may be used as an always-on buffer, a situational level control, or even a boost.

Empress Buffer Plus w/Boost

Empress Buffer Plus w/Boost
  • Analog Buffer I/O Interface Pedal with Noise Filter
  • Tuner Mute Footswitch
  • Input Loading

The Empress buffer+ was designed as a comprehensive I/O interface for a pedalboard while keeping the finest signal fidelity possible. The all-analog Buffer+ succeeds in its design by reducing signal loss caused by dispersed capacitance in patch cables, ensuring that the audio stream is not degraded in quality or tone. This alone qualifies it as a fantastic buffer pedal.

The Empress Buffer + has a buffered bypass switch and a configurable boost. This can be held down to tune quietly. There is an Input Pad switch that cuts or enhances your signal by 3db. This is useful for balancing guitar changes with various pickups.

The Noise Filter on the pedal removes unwanted noise from your effects loop. Finally, a trim pot for input loading adjusts your impedance level. Turning to the left will smooth out the high end, while turning to the right will give you complete fidelity and a boost in high-end responsiveness.

The Buffer+’s small input loading knob is a powerful tool for varying the load it applies to the input signal. The input impedance of this control can be adjusted between 10k and 1M to fit the guitar pickups (or the pedal that comes before the Buffer).

The tuner out on the pedal allows you to keep the tuner away of the main signal chain. The Buffer+ amp output can be muted to allow for silent tuning. The Buffer+ contains a loop send and return connector in addition to the tuner jack, allowing us to put an effects loop within the buffer circuit. This aids in the enhancement of our signal clarity.

The Empress Effects Buffer+ is one of the best buffer pedals in the world since it has everything you need in a tiny pedal that fits neatly on any pedalboard.

TC Electronic Bonafide

TC Electronic BONAFIDE BUFFER Ultra-Compact Analog...
  • High-quality analog buffer
  • Run long cables without any signal degradation
  • Power failure mode - automatically switches to true bypass if power gets...

TC Electronic also manufactures a simple yet effective buffer pedal that helps to eliminate signal convolution without the high-end bells and whistles. It uses what they call “intelligent bypass,” which essentially switches the pedal to real bypass if the power goes out, allowing your signal to come through loud and clear like a delay pedal.

The pedal is constructed of a durable die-cast metal housing that is built to last on the road. It also features a compact form, which is ideal for boards that don’t have a lot of space to work with. It’s just one of the best and highest-quality analogue buffers available. The TC Electronic Bonafide buffer includes a 1 M input impedance and a 100 output impedance to keep signal quality high and prevent degradation over lengthy wire runs.

True bypass circuits are a trademark of TC. They include a Power Failure option for this buffer, which is not full bypass by default. If power is removed, it will automatically switch to True Bypass. Even if the pedal is unplugged, it will continue to pass signal.

This small buffer maintains us sounding the way we’re supposed to with a signal-to-noise ratio of over 112 dB and a Total Harmonic Distortion rating of 0.001%.

The TC Electronic Bonafide Buffer isn’t anything exceptional, but it’s an appealing alternative for those looking for a more streamlined approach to saving their tone, thanks to its high-quality analogue components in a tiny design.

Xotic Super Clean Buffer Pedal

Xotic Super Clean Buffer
  • Buffer Guitar Effects Pedal with +12dB Clean Boost
  • Selectable Boost Frequency

True-bypass pedals are an excellent way to keep your tone consistent, but if you use more than one in your signal chain, the overall sound suffers. Long cords exacerbate these sonic issues, but thankfully, pedals like the Xotic Super Clean Buffer can help.

The Super Clean Buffer, as its name implies, keeps an eye on your tone and helps you get the most out of your gear. This buffer pedal offers a clean and well-rounded sound thanks to a high-quality preamp based on the well-known JRC4558 chip.

The inner buffer circuitry is simple in design but does an excellent job of producing a wide spectrum of tones. It also functions as a gain pedal, with a clean boost of +12dB and a customizable boost frequency. If you notice significant discrepancies in how your guitar, pedals, and amplifier sound in the practise room and how they sound on stage or in the studio, you can use the frequency booster to pinpoint the areas that need to be revitalised.

The SCB is also incredibly durable, as it is made of metal. There are no doubts about its capacity to withstand some on-the-road wear and tear because it features a heavy-duty footswitch.

Catalinbread Epoch Pre Preamp/Buffer Guitar Effects Pedal

Catalinbread Epoch Pre Preamp/Buffer Guitar...
  • Modeled after the exact preamp circuit from the original EP-3, from the 22v...
  • Not only does it provide boost it acts like a mastering plug-in on the...
  • The Epoch Pre can bundle all the frequencies without squishing them like a...

Catalinbread Epoch also functions as a preamp, allowing you to achieve a larger and fuller tone than previously. It’s based on the same preamp found in Catalinbread’s famed EP-3 tape echo machine, and we all know how accurate Catalinbread is when it comes to replicating vintage hardware.

Many guitarists have used that same preamp to produce a fantastic tone throughout the years, so you’ll appreciate it too. It has several amazing features, including as a dual output design that allows you to operate two different pedal chains or amplifiers at the same time. The switchable buffer also helps to keep your tone consistent over extended cable runs.

The Catalinbread Epoch is best described as a buffer/mastering processor. It may help you change any suck tone into a vibrant tone that cuts right through any mix. The Catalinbread Epoch is a fantastic pedal for expanding your guitar tone in ways that normal compression and EQ can’t. It also accurately recreates the original EP-3 tape echo processor preamp, making it ideal for anyone looking for a retro sound.

MXR MC406 CAE Buffer

MXR CAE Buffer
  • Makes up for signal loss that can occur when combining effects
  • Fine-tunes signal recovery with Hi & Lo cut switches
  • Extra output for optional separate unbuffered signal chain

When it comes to basic buffer pedals, the MXR MC406 CAE Buffer is an excellent option for those searching for a reliable, mid-priced option.

The MXR MC406 CAE Buffer uses fine-tune signal recovery with High and Low cut switches to alter your tone to be even better than before, in addition to adding 6dB of gain to make up for lost volume along longer signal paths and maintaining the quality of your signal as it runs through deep effects chains.

An additional unbuffered output is available onboard, allowing you to connect the pedal to a tuner, a second effects chain, or a second amplifier. All of this comes in a tough, long-lasting box, perfect for the touring guitarist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Buffer Pedal?

There’s a long, technical explanation for what buffer pedals do, but we’ll try to keep it as straightforward as possible. A buffer is essentially a little amplifier that converts the guitar’s high impedance signal to a unity level. Overall, it aids in the preservation of signal strength as it traverses a bigger setup.

A buffer pedal is a small amplifier that converts the incoming high impedance signal from the guitar into a unity level signal. Simply put, it maintains the signal’s power as it passes through your system. A buffer isn’t a particularly interesting pedal, but it’s crucial for retaining the tone you’ve worked so hard to achieve. If you have a lot of guitar pedals and long connections, this multipurpose stompbox could boost your overall guitar tone sevenfold.

Tone loss is very possible if you have a lot of various pedals on your board with cables connecting them all. This is due to the fact that having a lot of guitar pedals might make your signal chain weak. Buffers can help to counteract this effect.

Why do I need a Buffer pedal?

The guitar isn’t an infallible instrument. Unfortunately, pedals are not ideally built, and wires are far from optimal for signal transmission. Because of all of these impedance flaws, the longer your cables are and the more pedals you have in your chain, you’ll lose a lot of high-end guitar frequencies. Just before the signal weakens, a buffer is an excellent addition to your pedalboard. This is known as ‘tone sucking’ in the industry. Clarity and brilliant tone may fade when a guitar signal loses power to finish the circuit.

It’s the equivalent of applying a low pass or high cut filter on your guitar signal. The more high end you add, the more low end you lose, making your tone flat and lackluster. This implies you’re missing out on vital frequencies that are critical to your band’s mix as well as overall tone quality.

How do I use a Buffer pedal?

Experimentation is the only method to figure out where the optimum area to install a buffer is. The buffer should be inserted between the guitar and the first pedal, and no further forward than the last overdrive pedal, as a general rule. If you use numerous genuine bypass pedals, your resulting signal is likely to be weaker because they have no influence on the incoming signal. Following the buffer, fuzz effects don’t sound as well, therefore place them earlier in the chain.

Following a buffer, your signal will be at maximum intensity. Only the length of cable preceding the buffer, as well as any pedals before it, will degrade the tone after the buffer is in place. A buffer can be extremely useful even if you don’t use guitar pedals. Long cables can cause just as much harm as a large pedalboard.

Where to put a Buffer pedal?

Experimentation, like with every other pedal, is the best way to go when it comes to setting up your buffer. This is, after all, your tone, not someone else’s. Having said that, the majority of guitarists feel that the buffer should be placed between your instrument and the first pedal on your pedalboard. It shouldn’t be placed any further back in the chain than the last overdrive pedal.

Many people also advise having heavy distortion or fuzz pedals in front of buffers, as they don’t sound as well when they’re followed. Of course, if you exclusively use real bypass pedals, you probably won’t have to worry about it. These are used to keep your tone from deteriorating as it passes through the chain. When your signal hits a buffer, it regenerates to full strength. The only signal deterioration will come from pedals before the buffer and the length of your cable once you’ve placed your buffer in your pedal lineup.