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Microphone Month 2

True Bypass Pedal Pops

Q: I have a true-bypass delay pedal on my pedalboard that pops when I turn it on and off. What causes this?

A: This is somewhat common, and does not necessarily indicate that there is a problem with the pedal — in some cases it’s the nature of the true-bypass beast. Some players never have a problem with this, others suffer from it with certain pedals and/or certain combinations of pedals. Several things can cause popping when true-bypass switches are engaged/disengaged:

  • Using both buffered and true-bypass pedals in the same signal path. Sometimes the order of the pedals will affect this. You could try swapping the order of some pedals around to see if it helps; a buffer or buffered pedal at the end of the chain may also solve the problem.
  • Build up of DC leakage from the input and output caps in the true-bypass pedal. Sometimes stepping on the pedal a few times will release that build up and the pedal will stop popping. Sometimes this can also be fixed with a mod.
  • LED noise. This can sometimes be fixed with a mod.
  • Amplifier gain — more gain means louder, more noticeable pops.
  • Mechanical switch noise.

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