Analog delays vs. digital imitations

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by ASATClassic, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. ASATClassic

    ASATClassic Member

    Messages:
    353
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Nowadays lots of digital delays have an "analog" sound. For example, DL-4, DLS Echotap, Digidelay, Analogman DD-X, BYOC Delay, Rocktron short timer, SIB Mr. Echo etc. etc. etc. etc.

    With all the advantages of digital (features, longer delay time, versatility, usually lower price) does it still make sense to buy analog? Or is digital close enough?
     
  2. mild

    mild Member

    Messages:
    2,117
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Location:
    Bottom of the World
    This is a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" type question.

    I find that for myself, digital delay is fine. The audience would never come up to me and tell me the difference, because they are ignorant. I am playing live every week, and I seek functionality - namely, tap tempo, and lots of different delay times. The DD5 and DD20 combo do it for me, for versatility, and for price. Echoczars and TTE's are going to cost you your CHILDREN.

    If I was going to make a record though? Studio sessions? That's when you would want to be gunning for some nice analog delays to borrow off of people.

    Thats just me. Analog junkies are bound to be typing furiously as I speak, so I'm just a-gonna pip 'em at the post now...
     
  3. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

    Messages:
    5,333
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    +1! For live use, the analog sim on my DD-20 is good enough for anyone. Sure, it won't oscillate, but aside from that (and how many people actually oscillate their delays, practically?), noone will know nor care. Heck they wouldn't care if I used a standard digital delay.
     
  4. scottywompas

    scottywompas Member

    Messages:
    1,595
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Location:
    Sunny California
    I think delay is sooooo subjective. I mean, digital came about because we all wanted looooong delay times without the degridation of the reapats as well as a clean signal. Now we all want that warm, analog sound because digital sounds sterile to some people.

    I don't know. I've used all types. Tape echo, analog pedal, cheap rackmount, good rackmount. I guess it all depends on how much you are relying on the delay. I use mine for a little echo on a solo here or there so It doesn't really matter to me. Convenience and eas of use are where it's at for me.

    Scott
     
  5. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

    Messages:
    2,972
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Location:
    northern Connecticut
    I have a Boss DD3 but mostly use my cheap Rocktron Short Timer because it does a very good tape echo emulation. My only concerns with digital delay is that it might be easier to overload the input when running a high signal (like from a maxed out OD) into it. Digital clipping can be ugly. I think analog (think recording gear for instance) is more forgiving of level mismatch. Fortunately, I've never had this problem as I don't run that hot into the delay.

    I think lots of boutique gear junkies have a preference for analog, for whatever reason. I myself would love to have a Moog or Maxon, but just can't see spending that much (~$600+ and ~$300+ respectively) on pedals anytime soon.

    As others have said, it all boils down to whatever works for you. This can vary from song to song as well.
     
  6. Big Bob

    Big Bob Guest

    Its true Digital delay "imitated" Analog but don't forget Analog delay "imitated" Tape. It so happens that Analog also had something of its own that CREATIVE musicians used and abused. Digital has its own mojo that CREATIVE musiscians use and abuse. My point is...its all good. :angel


    Bob
     
  7. JohnLutz

    JohnLutz Supporting Member

    Messages:
    466
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    I ended up with both. For rhythmic delays that add extra notes to what you're playing, you want a nice clear digital delay. I'm using an Echo Park. For ambient soundscapes where you don't necessarily hear distinct repeats analog is way better to my ear. Especially with mod. The memory lane works great for this. You can get a beautiful singing or string-like sounds.

    John
     
  8. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    There's a place for both... different applications. One does not replace the other, though the lines are clearly blurring in both directions with digital delays such as the ones you mentioned being designed to sound and feel a bit warmer and more analog, and true analog delays being designed to have digital-like delay times in excess of 1 second, such as the Echoczar.

    That said, digital still doesn't have the sound and feel of analog, and analog doesn't have the pristine clarity on longer repeat times that digital is capable of.

    There are also a variety of other factors in design a delay that can make one sound drastically different from another... filtering, voltage, and other component choices, so it's not just a question of digital vs. analog in my mind.

    The short of it all is that there ARE clearly differences with both platforms and all the different designs in each category, and you have the pleasure and pain of deciding which design is most beneficial to YOUR tone, or just buy a few of each like the rest of the true delay junkies in the world! ;D
     
  9. Stressfest

    Stressfest Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,492
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Perth, West Australia
    For myself...i love the warmth of analog, but hate the limitations in terms of delay times. I found the BYOC DD-80 and nice combination of 'acceptable' delay time and warmth with a nice tone on the repeats...pristine enough. Having said that though...i have better luck with rack delays for gigs. I find that high end rack mount delays tend to be more prominent in the mix than a swampy analog box...unless you crank the mix in favour of the delay. Does tend to mush out a bit too much to my ears though.
    Guess it's whatever works best for your style, ears and application at the end of the day.
     
  10. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,986
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Actually I prefer a large cathedral to analog imitations. :rotflmao
     
  11. theanalogfuture

    theanalogfuture Member

    Messages:
    294
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    NashVegas, TN
    Troy Nan Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age, in my opinion, said it best:

    "Lexicon Vortex, which is the easiest tap delay to use. Analog delay sounds better, but I think that it’s better for me to tap out a tempo on that thing live...I like to have stuff in the studio that’s vintage and I like to keep things as pure as possible. But when it comes to the road, I like to use stuff that works consistently. I don’t like stuff that’s vintage and cool, but breaks down. So that’s why I’ll use a switching system and new pedals. I don’t care about using vintage pedals over new pedals. The difference live is so minute. First of all, you’re in a hall or a theater which changes the sound. Then it’s going through a mic, then through a PA. And live, it’s not as much under the microscope as in the studio. Unless you’re bootlegging the performance, it’s not going to make that much of a difference to the listener. Your fingers are more important."
     
  12. Don Rusk

    Don Rusk Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,934
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    St. Louis
    right, and Tape imitated the mountains and canyons , but added its warble and modulation from its limitations ....yupper allgood:AOK
     
  13. markom89

    markom89 Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,191
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    T-Dot.
    I have a digital, analogue, and tape echo...I like them all. The DL4 has some cool features like the swell feature, and it has a looper. The Memory lane has amazing modulation, and is really nice and lush sounding. And, the TTE just sounds sooo damn nice and warm that its basically always on now. I use delay alot, so I have to have a good delay.
     
  14. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,583
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    MD
    Totally subjective topic.

    Have used analog for years. Even had a Howard Davis-modded DMM, which was very nice. Got a DLS EchoTap and sold-off everything else.

    For me, the warm repeats of the EchoTap, the ability to bring a hot signal to it without overloading (a big deal for me), longer delay times, tap temp, two delay presets available and bullet-proof construction made this decision a no-brainer. Again, that's for me!!
     
  15. cameron

    cameron Member

    Messages:
    3,220
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2004
    Location:
    Lower East Side, New York
    I prefer analog. I've got one of the analog-sounding digital ones (the SPF I-5) but I've found that any boost (OD, compressor, etc) in front of it will overdrive the A2D converter and produce truly awful sounding distortion.
     
  16. Big Bob

    Big Bob Guest

    Yeah but mountains can't self oscillate.....without help....


    :rotflmao :roll :angel :YinYang :crazy :Devil :crazy :YinYang :angel :roll :rotflmao
     
  17. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    Messages:
    9,044
    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere near White Rock Lake, N. Texas
    I have an old Boss AD analalog delay pedal I've had since it was new. I've tried a bunch of digitals over the years, and have always felt they either competed with the guitar tone or sucked the tone right out of it. Some did not do well when fed an overdriven signal from a Tubescreamer.

    The Boss analog unit I use won't do long delays, and it's got a muted tone, but it adds just the right ambience to what I play and it makes the guitar tone itself realy stand out without drawing attention to the delay.

    In the meantime, I'm always on the prowl for something that can truly copy all the "analog" nuances of a tube Echoplex without the hassles of tape.
     
  18. ASATClassic

    ASATClassic Member

    Messages:
    353
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Yup, I'm with you. For me, the echo tap is the best compromise out there. All the benefits of digital, and it sounds almost analog. Tap tempo, uses 9volt power, built well, and can easily be found used for around $200.

    That being said, I did a session the other day. A certain song called for a delay, and I asked the engineer if he had any interesting analog pedals (I had my own delays, but wanted to see if he had something better). He found me an old DMM and that thing sounded amazing! Right away, the tone seemed so much nicer than my best digital units, though I didn't compare them directly.

    However, in the real world (live gigs), I think it's hard to justify a $300-500 analog box when a cheaper digital will do so much more and sound close to analog.
     
  19. drolling

    drolling Member

    Messages:
    6,100
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    I need both! Like John said, if you're playing against yourself w/the delay set to dotted eighths, a crisp, clean repeat that sounds as close as possible to the original note works best for me - I can get that out of the cheapest digital gear and currently use a DigiTech pedal for that app.

    But it's hard to beat the warmth & ambience of a good analogue delay. I like the way it sits in the mix, the way the tails trail off much better than any digital sim I've heard. They are more sensitive to input impedance, and can be prone to ugly clipping compared to digital delay, but the tradeoff in tone's worthwhile to me.

    The Diamond delay provides the best of both worlds - it's all analogue, true-bypass, w/plenty of clean headroom AND it's got tap-tempo, too. Only 550 milleseconds, tho'. If you need more than a second, or so - you're pretty much stuck w/digital..
     
  20. albuht813

    albuht813 Member

    Messages:
    258
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I use both as well. A DL4 for all my digital needs and a TTE for my analog needs. Works great for me.
     

Share This Page