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Fuzz, Input Impedance and why the auto setting "must" be fixed! The ultimate thread!

impedance auto fuzz bug fix tone feel

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#41 victorcastro1

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:50 AM

That's an interesting read, but quite off topic here: we don't have cables degrading our signals in Helix, and some fuzz pedals don't work correctly if preceded by a buffer or by an high impedance device. So a 'true bypass like' implementation is the only way to have the realistic input load on fuzz emulations without the dull sound of a low impedance setting when the fuzz is bypassed.

 

^^^ This.

There's no "high impedance device". A buffer has a high input impedance, but a low impedance output signal. The high impedance makes so the signal isn't messed with when it comes in, out goes a low impedance "SIGNAL", a low impedance signal isn't as easily affected by long running cables. 
 

I have been holding off on saying anything.... as I don't think referencing "impedance" is the issue.  

However... especially in a digital world, the video is very clearly unexpected behavior.   This could be a real issue with complex snapshots and likely is.

 

Bottom line... I agree...  If you have a preset setup... with an amp, and another preset setup with an effect and an amp...  if the effect is bypassed, both presets should sound the same.   That's simple logic.

An option for Bypass (True or Buffered) on the appropriate pedals might be a good solution, as well as many others suggested.  I find the Line 6 folks are pretty smart, so at this point I assume they see the problem  (if they see it as a problem) and will address it in some clever way none of us thought of.

It's not about bypass. Think the input impedance is the front end of every effect, but this is a crucial part that can't be digitally recreated as of now, it needs to be analog, that's why devices like Helix, Eleven Rack and Axe-fx II has an analog version of it, but controlled digitally so it can change value. 

What's the problem with Helix? Other devices set the input impedance to match the fist active effect. In the video example, what effectively is happening is that when I have the Fuzz Face first, it does't matter what goes after it, Helix will stick to the same front end. When I turn it off, what's happening is that I have the amp with the front end of a Fuzz Face, that's why it sounds wrong. It's like putting a pig nose on a fish. In the analog world I could build the fish with the pig nose while still making it true bypass. Do you get that? I's "NOT" about bypass. 

 


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#42 mileskb

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:19 AM

What's the problem with Helix? Other devices set the input impedance to match the fist active effect. In the video example, what effectively is happening is that when I have the Fuzz Face first, it does't matter what goes after it, Helix will stick to the same front end. When I turn it off, what's happening is that I have the amp with the front end of a Fuzz Face, that's why it sounds wrong. It's like putting a pig nose on a fish. In the analog world I could build the fish with the pig nose while still making it true bypass. Do you get that? I's "NOT" about bypass. 

 

First... I agree with you, or at least your premise.  I used the word bypass, cause that's what the little button reads..   here's a little closer to what's really happening.

 

When you pre-compile two subroutines, one with two functions, one with one function.  If you have code that doesn't execute the first function, both subroutines should have the same output.

 

This is what you video proves and I agree...  It's not right.

 

There's no impedance, bypass or any other ANALOG routine in the code stack.   I find it hard to believe they modeled what a fuzz does in bypass.   Maybe they did... but it seems silly considering, "turning off" something in the chain should mean that code isn't executing at all.   Further it would mean they modelled all of the devices in the off position as well, or that "off" means different things to different devices... that's just seems silly to me.   Possible, but a bit silly.

 

In any case... I still agree with you... something is not right.


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#43 victorcastro1

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:52 AM

First... I agree with you, or at least your premise.  I used the word bypass, cause that's what the little button reads..   here's a little closer to what's really happening.

 

When you pre-compile two subroutines, one with two functions, one with one function.  If you have code that doesn't execute the first function, both subroutines should have the same output.

 

This is what you video proves and I agree...  It's not right.

 

There's no impedance, bypass or any other ANALOG routine in the code stack.   I find it hard to believe they modeled what a fuzz does in bypass.   Maybe they did... but it seems silly considering, "turning off" something in the chain should mean that code isn't executing at all.   Further it would mean they modelled all of the devices in the off position as well, or that "off" means different things to different devices... that's just seems silly to me.   Possible, but a bit silly.

 

In any case... I still agree with you... something is not right.

 

The input impedance circuit "is" analog. It's been confirmed, it's the same in all the devices mentioned, there's absolutely no question about this. But, it's digitally controlled. The auto setting in Helix sets the input impedance to match the first block in the signal chain, doesn't matter if it's on or off - and that's the problem. Fuzz Face first in the signal chain, auto setting sets the input impedance to match it, but when it gets turned off, nothing changes, Helix keeps the input impedance the same, but it should change to match the next effect that's actually turned on. That's how the Eleven Rack does it, that's how the Axe-fx does it. 


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#44 tommasoferrarese

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 11:28 AM

There's no "high impedance device". A buffer has a high input impedance, but a low impedance output signal. The high impedance makes so the signal isn't messed with when it comes in, out goes a low impedance "SIGNAL", a low impedance signal isn't as easily affected by long running cables.


Yep. I definitely know what a buffer is. I mentioned a 'high impedance device' merely because it's mentioned in the article I was referring to. Which doesn't apply to how Helix works. Except for the low impedance (digitally controlled at the analog input) of the fuzz emulations, needed to recreate the effect faithfully. That's why I underlined the fact that most fuzzes don't work well when placed post buffer.
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#45 Joepeggio

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 12:14 PM

The input impedance circuit "is" analog. It's been confirmed, it's the same in all the devices mentioned, there's absolutely no question about this. But, it's digitally controlled. The auto setting in Helix sets the input impedance to match the first block in the signal chain, doesn't matter if it's on or off - and that's the problem. Fuzz Face first in the signal chain, auto setting sets the input impedance to match it, but when it gets turned off, nothing changes, Helix keeps the input impedance the same, but it should change to match the next effect that's actually turned on. That's how the Eleven Rack does it, that's how the Axe-fx does it.



Yes!!!! ^^^^^^^^

Perfect concise explanation of what needs to be done.
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#46 chrisvermaak

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 10:33 PM

In examples shown the input impedance refers to the INPUT of the guitar input which should be selected to match the guitar output impedance, not the block it feeds to? That is how I understood the Auto setting or then the manual setting per preset.

 

I use on all presets a gain block as first block thus my input impedance between guitar and Helix should stay constant always. Am I correct in assuming this? Then as impedance simulations between interconnecting blocks do change that is a result of Helix and there I trust what they do since I would not have a clue. 

 

The AUTO setting used on global (and thus effective if preset input is also set to Auto) is more for where one wants to match different guitars to the same input. Maybe for comfort use the Auto, but I do find that not feasible so I label presets for each guitar I have the main diffence being setting the input impedance of the Guitar Input on the preset and then adjusting via the gain block that I get the same output volume at the same guitar knob setting for both guitars (each on their own preset which is in all other aspects normally a duplicate of each other).

 

Not sure if this is the solution or even if I am correct in my thinking.


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#47 Joepeggio

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 02:02 AM

Auto sets impedance to the first block's real world impedance.

Not sure if gain block has that.?.

The issue is the impedance doesn't change with the on off state of the block. In real pedals. Many change some not. In OP example, the Arbitor Fuzz, the designed low impedance of that pedal is needed to sound good. But when off it still affects the sound in a bad way (for most people).

We are hoping line 6 changes the behavior to the first ACTIVE pedal.
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#48 Rebel420

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 06:19 AM

It doesn't. As far as I understand, two things can happen when you bypass an effect: the signal is hardwired through, so it's like a cable: or it goes through a buffer to avoid signal loss. There's the input impedance of the actual effect (which is what we get in Helix) and the buffer, which effectively is just another circuit that's processing the signal from the input. The input impedance on Heliix related to the actual effect, the bypass is part is not related. If you read the Strymon manual you'll see they specify the input impedance of the "buffer" when the pedal is bypassed, it has no direct relation with the input impedance of the actual effect. (Technically I guess you could make a true bypass after the buffer, making it so the part of the circuit that is actually responsible for the effect is fed by the signal coming from the buffer, making it so that the input impedance is the same when the effect is turned on or off, but when the pedal is off the buffer is useless in a scenario where signal loss is a nonissue.)

3 scenarios in the "real world", not 2.
1. True bypass: effect is completely switched out of circuit (in other words, acts like it isn't there at all)
2. Buffered bypass: effect is turned on or off after an input/output buffer- can present a constant impedance input or output side. Also good for driving long runs (think Boss/Ibanez pedals etc )
3. Traditional mechanical bypass: input goes into the effect, as well as tapped, only the output is switched between the effect output or the input. The downside of this is that the input is ALWAYS affected by the input impedance of the effect. Most of the classic effects like fuzz face, crybaby wah, all of,the old click switch MXR/DOD effects of the 70s and 80s work like this. Also what I suspect that the Helix is emulating when modeling specific effects.
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#49 zooey

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 07:01 AM

3 scenarios in the "real world", not 2.
1. True bypass: effect is completely switched out of circuit (in other words, acts like it isn't there at all)
2. Buffered bypass: effect is turned on or off after an input/output buffer- can present a constant impedance input or output side. Also good for driving long runs (think Boss/Ibanez pedals etc )
3. Traditional mechanical bypass: input goes into the effect, as well as tapped, only the output is switched between the effect output or the input. The downside of this is that the input is ALWAYS affected by the input impedance of the effect. Most of the classic effects like fuzz face, crybaby wah, all of,the old click switch MXR/DOD effects of the 70s and 80s work like this. Also what I suspect that the Helix is emulating when modeling specific effects.

^^^ This.

So as mentioned many pages ago, the ultimate solution is three enhancements:

  • Add a global setting for whether Helix's input impedance should be set by the first ACTIVE block, or the first block in the chain, whether it's active or not
  • Add Input Impedance as a parameter for all block types, or at least stomps, defaulted to the real-world impedance of the real-world device if one exists, otherwise whatever sounds best to the designer
  • Add Bypass Mode as a parameter for all block types, choices being the ones listed by Rebel420, True, Buffered, and Traditional

Just to point out, adding impedance and bypass settings for all block types, not just "stomps" (whatever that means exactly), would let you do things like this: Switch on a fuzz with an EQ before it with one footswitch, and set the impedance of the EQ to match the fuzz, so the guitar gets loaded like the fuzz would, but still gets EQ'd first.

As to whether that's too techie for us lowly guitarists, I'd vote no, it's not, for people who are already using a pretty sophisticated modeler anyway.


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#50 Rebel420

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 07:09 AM

^^^ This.
So as mentioned many pages ago, the ultimate solution is three enhancements:

  • Add a global setting for whether Helix's input impedance should be set by the first ACTIVE block, or the first block in the chain, whether it's active or not
  • Add Input Impedance as a parameter for all block types, or at least stomps, defaulted to the real-world impedance of the real-world device if one exists, otherwise whatever sounds best to the designer
  • Add Bypass Mode as a parameter for all block types, choices being the ones listed by Rebel420, True, Buffered, and Traditional
Just to point out, adding impedance and bypass settings for all block types, not just "stomps" (whatever that means exactly), would let you do things like this: Switch on a fuzz with an EQ before it with one footswitch, and set the impedance of the EQ to match the fuzz, so the guitar gets loaded like the fuzz would, but still gets EQ'd first.
As to whether that's too techie for us lowly guitarists, I'd vote no, it's not, for people who are already using a pretty sophisticated modeler anyway.
For those inclined to read more in-depth on the topic, here is a great article by RG Keen (who was "the man" back in the 90s DIY community whose designs were used by a good number of boutique builders, and he himself went on to be big with Visual Sound effects company)--- http://www.geofex.co...pass/bypass.htm
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#51 zooey

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 08:30 AM

^^^ This.

So as mentioned many pages ago, the ultimate solution is three enhancements:

  • Add a global setting for whether Helix's input impedance should be set by the first ACTIVE block, or the first block in the chain, whether it's active or not
  • Add Input Impedance as a parameter for all block types, or at least stomps, defaulted to the real-world impedance of the real-world device if one exists, otherwise whatever sounds best to the designer
  • Add Bypass Mode as a parameter for all block types, choices being the ones listed by Rebel420, True, Buffered, and Traditional

Just to point out, adding impedance and bypass settings for all block types, not just "stomps" (whatever that means exactly), would let you do things like this: Switch on a fuzz with an EQ before it with one footswitch, and set the impedance of the EQ to match the fuzz, so the guitar gets loaded like the fuzz would, but still gets EQ'd first.

As to whether that's too techie for us lowly guitarists, I'd vote no, it's not, for people who are already using a pretty sophisticated modeler anyway.

Some correction and/or elaboration is needed I fear...

  • The global impedance tracking setting proposed above may change the tone of ALL your presets at once, a pretty big deal. It's probably better to make it per preset, so you can migrate or reconsider your patches gradually.
  • Same deal with having individual blocks suddenly adopt new input impedance and/or bypass behavior by default. That says the new settings have to default to the current behavior, whether it was the same as the analog original or not. Following the original is a nice idea, but changing the sound of everyone's presets is not.

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#52 victorcastro1

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:51 AM

3 scenarios in the "real world", not 2.
1. True bypass: effect is completely switched out of circuit (in other words, acts like it isn't there at all)
2. Buffered bypass: effect is turned on or off after an input/output buffer- can present a constant impedance input or output side. Also good for driving long runs (think Boss/Ibanez pedals etc )
3. Traditional mechanical bypass: input goes into the effect, as well as tapped, only the output is switched between the effect output or the input. The downside of this is that the input is ALWAYS affected by the input impedance of the effect. Most of the classic effects like fuzz face, crybaby wah, all of,the old click switch MXR/DOD effects of the 70s and 80s work like this. Also what I suspect that the Helix is emulating when modeling specific effects.

 

It's not about bypass. If Helix was doing this, pedals that in reality are true bypass would not impact the input impedance, but they do. It's not about bypass.

 

^^^ This.

So as mentioned many pages ago, the ultimate solution is three enhancements:

  • Add a global setting for whether Helix's input impedance should be set by the first ACTIVE block, or the first block in the chain, whether it's active or not
  • Add Input Impedance as a parameter for all block types, or at least stomps, defaulted to the real-world impedance of the real-world device if one exists, otherwise whatever sounds best to the designer
  • Add Bypass Mode as a parameter for all block types, choices being the ones listed by Rebel420, True, Buffered, and Traditional

Just to point out, adding impedance and bypass settings for all block types, not just "stomps" (whatever that means exactly), would let you do things like this: Switch on a fuzz with an EQ before it with one footswitch, and set the impedance of the EQ to match the fuzz, so the guitar gets loaded like the fuzz would, but still gets EQ'd first.

As to whether that's too techie for us lowly guitarists, I'd vote no, it's not, for people who are already using a pretty sophisticated modeler anyway.

 

1 - Set the impedance based on the first block is useless. It's the same as fixed. Want fixed? Fix it. 
2 - Every device has it's own input impedance, not just stomps. I agree it should be an option, but the auto setting still needs to be corrected. 
3 - That would add a layer of complexity that would be useless and only make things confusing. If you want to replicate this behavior you suggested, you'd only need to set the EQ's input impedance to match the fuzz's. 

 

For those inclined to read more in-depth on the topic, here is a great article by RG Keen (who was "the man" back in the 90s DIY community whose designs were used by a good number of boutique builders, and he himself went on to be big with Visual Sound effects company)--- http://www.geofex.co...pass/bypass.htm

 

It's not about bypass. 


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#53 BigRalphN

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 12:44 PM

I am not at my Helix, but acknowledging the issue, I wonder what happens if you bring the fuzz in on a different path setting that input to guitar. Then join it in the main path before the amp. Will the main path maintain integrity then if the fuzz is off? I am not sure if I am getting my thought across and obviously it's not a fix.i am assuming the issue is not there if you set the input Z manually.
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#54 zooey

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 03:58 PM

Victor, I think we may have a terminology problem. I keep thinking we're on the same page, then you throw in these "it's not about bypass" lines, and I'm confused again about what you mean.

 

Do I understand correctly that you consider it to be a problem that Helix reads the impedance of the first block, whether it's active or not? Or in my terminology, "bypassed" or not?

 

If so, then the problem is how Helix treats blocks that are "bypassed", i.e., not active, and in that sense it most definitely IS about bypass, at least what I mean by bypass. Can you agree with that, terminology aside?

 

 

If I've got that right, great, I'm fine with different folks using different words for the same thing, though I have to say it is more than a little confusing in this case.

 

If you mean something different than that, please try once more make it clear.

 

I'm about ready to give up (not that anyone gives a hoot about that). I've been around this same block so many times with you. I've read this and other related threads all the way through.  I've tried multiple times to be as clear as I can about what I think the issue is, and some possible solutions. I see comments from others that make perfect sense to me based on my understanding of what we're talking about.

 

But then you throw out another "it's not about bypass", and I just want to stop reading this thread, I'm so frustrated and confused. There's a real problem here, but it's getting so muddied up, by us, I can't imagine Line 6 or people just coming into this thread now doing anything other than permanently ignoring it, which would be a shame.

 

Just to be clear, I'm 100% NOT criticizing you. I'm sure you're talking about something real, I'm just not following what you're saying. Maybe. Or maybe I am, just using different words.


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#55 tjbassoon

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 04:10 PM

It's not about bypass. If Helix was doing this, pedals that in reality are true bypass would not impact the input impedance, but they do. It's not about bypass.

 

 

You're contradicting yourself here. I don't think you understand the use of the term "bypass" as is commonly used in English speaking communities about guitar effects pedals. "If pedals in reality were true bypass they would not impact the input impedance." That is a true statement. There are many such pedals. Helix does not reproduce this behavior.

 

Why is the simple solution here not been suggested (or maybe it has but it's buried in a lot of noise)? Either a global or by-block setting for "true bypass" or "buffered bypass" for each block. "True bypass" would mean the block is completely 100% gone from the signal, as if the user removed the block from the preset completely. "Buffered bypass" is the current behavior (either scenario #2 or #3 as Rebel420 posted above, possibly different per effect based on how the real life model acts), left as the default.

Edit: Yes, this has been suggested, by zooey, basically saying what I'm saying.

 

It's not that hard.


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#56 victorcastro1

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 06:42 PM

Do I understand correctly that you consider it to be a problem that Helix reads the impedance of the first block, whether it's active or not? Or in my terminology, "bypassed" or not?

Yes, the terminology problem is that most of your are confusing input impedance and bypass as the same thing. They are not the same.

 

 

It's not that hard.

 

It may not seem hard because you think you understand something you actually don't. Sorry if I sound a little harsh, I get that through text it may sound like it, but I'm just trying to be as straight forward as I can. It's about the input impedance, not bypass. You guys throw around "buffered bypass" like this is what happening right now, and it's not. Understand that with a buffered bypass, when the effect is turned off, the signal goes through a buffer. Usually (and ideally, so it can do it's designed to do) a buffer is a high input impedance effect with a low impedance output signal. Which means that a Fuzz, if it has a "buffered bypass" will have a high input impedance when off, not a low one like it happens with Helix. 

For me it would be easy to just agree. "True bypass", how you describe it, would solve my problem. "Yay, great!"... But you keep throwing ideas on top of this false idea, and it ends up making things way more confusing than they need to be.

 

Auto setting sets the input impedance based on the first block in the signal chain, it should be the first "active" block in the signal chain. It's this simple. 


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#57 tjbassoon

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 07:11 PM

Input impedance *when the block is active* and input impedance *when the block is not active* are what we are discussing here. We're not discussing impedance and bypass as if they are the same thing. Not at all. You're the only one that seems to be putting this idea out there.

 

Many pedals use 3PDT switches that when set to "pedal off" mode mean that the signal passes through wires only, no significant impedance change to the signal at all. Many pedals operate this way. I've made many myself. All people in this thread are asking for is a way to have a block option to operate in this fashion. You're the one making it more complicated.

 

Regardless of how the impedance is operating in the Helix now, many fuzz pedals, for example, really operate differently when put directly after the guitar pickup in a signal chain. If you put something else before it (with any kind of bypass switching other than 3PDT hardwire switching) the input signal is different to the fuzz pedal compared to the guitar pickup. The impedance changes. If you have pedals that are "true bypass" when not active, the fuzz pedal sees the input signal as if it were first in the signal chain, getting the sound most guitar players want. How those pedals between the guitar pickup and the fuzz pedal (in my example) bypass the signal when not active is what we're talking about here. What is the impedance change of a signal when the block or pedal is not active?


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#58 victorcastro1

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 04:00 AM

We're not discussing impedance and bypass as if they are the same thing. Not at all. You're the only one that seems to be putting this idea out there.

 

Many pedals use 3PDT...

The parameter is called "input impedance". Helix and other devices have an digitally controlled analog circuit to mimic the different input impedance values of different devices... But you start your point by talking about an specific kind of bypass switch. 

Auto setting should be set by the first active block. There, it's simple. 


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#59 tjbassoon

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 06:34 AM

Now I'm not sure if you're trolling or not.

 

Yes, I started talking about a specific kind of bypass switch. Because we're talking about the impedance of any given block in its bypassed state.

 

If the first block is not active, it should not set the impedance. Yes. But also any further inactive blocks should not change the impedance from where it was after the last active block (which they currently do). It's not just about the first active block, it's about the impedance of any block in the inactive state.


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#60 victorcastro1

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 07:09 AM

Or maybe I am, just using different words.

 

You and tjbassoon are. The issue is very simple. Auto setting should set the input impedance based on the first "active" block. You can read this pretty much word for word on the article by the Eleven Rack's designer and also on the Axe-fx II manual. There's no mention of bypass this, 3PDT that, hardwire, buffered bypass, nothing. I don't understand the need to make something more complicated while adding nothing useful. 


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#61 shanecgriffo

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 01:17 AM

just a quick Q relating to this- if i have an OD pedal in front of helix (mxr GT OD pedal to be specific) or a boost/comp unit (bogner harlow) how does this affect having a fuzz on and first in the chain, in the helix.. .. Just wondering 'cause while i mostly just use the helix, i'll sometimes run these pedals too- the bogner allows me to quickly compensate between guitars with its boost and tilt eq (and is a nice tone sweetner too) and the OD i find handy in jams to add OD quickly to any patch. How does all that sit tho with this issue of the Fuzz impedence/input and is there any difference if they are off or on ? thanks
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#62 Joepeggio

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:08 AM

just a quick Q relating to this- if i have an OD pedal in front of helix (mxr GT OD pedal to be specific) or a boost/comp unit (bogner harlow) how does this affect having a fuzz on and first in the chain, in the helix.. .. Just wondering 'cause while i mostly just use the helix, i'll sometimes run these pedals too- the bogner allows me to quickly compensate between guitars with its boost and tilt eq (and is a nice tone sweetner too) and the OD i find handy in jams to add OD quickly to any patch. How does all that sit tho with this issue of the Fuzz impedence/input and is there any difference if they are off or on ? thanks


I would think any pedal in front of Helix would have an affect, since the impedance in Helix is a real circuit loading the pickups (based on Line 6's explanation of the circuit). Same affect as having anything in front of a fuzz pedal on a board.

Just educated guesses. Only way to tell is to test.
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: impedance, auto, fuzz, bug, fix, tone, feel