'Analog Snob"


Was speaking with nephew over the phone just a few minutes ago. He's a very good electric guitar player and has been using a variety of pedals for as long as I can remember. Only after I hung with him did it sink in that during my discussion concerning multi-effects pedals that he said that has a variety of devices that I had never heard of because he is an "analog snob". I'll be calling him back about this but.............

What are your thoughts of analog effects versus digital?
Is there any easy way to determine which pedals are what?
Is there any multi-effects pedal that is analog based?


Oh look! This is a thing I can change!
There is a long-waged debate over analog vs. digital and the ultimate result is that someone who obsesses over whether something is analog arbitrarily can never be fully convinced that digital is good and vice versa.


A wise person realizes that each type has its place, and that there are many good (and bad) examples of both. You just have to take it on a case-by-case basis.


i think the main beef that people have with digital pedals is the AD/DA conversion... that and a lot of digital pedals sound too clean or processed.
besides that, i think a lot of it is the mystique of analog circuitry... doing things the ol' fashion way.
with that said, i have a few digital pedals on my board and they're actually my favorite pieces (RRR and Superdelay).


i think both are great.
both are useful.
both are inspiring.
digital can do things analog cant............and sometimes.....vice versa.
ultimately, what matters is how the gear sounds.
thats it.
dont get caught up in all the other ********.
and there's a lot of it here.
I agree with everyone as well in that they both have their place. For instance I'm a huge delay fan and my pedal board is sporting both a EH Deluxe Memory Man AND a TC Electronics Nova Delay. Both have earned their place in the lineup, each bringing the finest of both analog and digital sounds to the table.
It really all depends on the sound you are going for.


Here is my take on things...

Effects that tend to sound better as analogue effects:
Overdrives, Distortions, Modulation (chorus, flange, phaser, etc), EQ, Boosters, Fuzz

Effects that can be done well digitally:
Delay, Reverb, Modulation...

I believe both have a place and a use. It all depends on your application. I used to think that modulation only sounded good if it was 100% analog, but the guys from Damage Control changed my mind with the Glass Nexus. The trick I think is allowing digital effects to have analog feel.


Analog VS Digital- a constant argument- but My decisions are based by application..
Some things are better Digital than analog and vice versa. Most analog guitar gear is pricey but you get what you pay for which applies to most of this digital stuff being very cheap in quality and tone..Good digital gear is pricey and tends to sound good but not as refined as analog.. ones and zero's will not ever replace controlled voltage imho..

as for the analog snob thing, Its not a bad thing, at the moment my whole rig is analog and I feel that with a 100% analog signal chain has rendered me my best tone in over 16+ years of playing guitar!..


The only thing that digital can rival analog is delay pedals and that's mainly due to features, not sound quality. Every digital distortion I've tried has been a joke. Same for modulations (except maybe chorus). Reverb gets a pass only because lugging a reverb tank around isn't an option for many of us. Pitch shifters can do more and track better, but they definitely sound much worse.

In short, analog almost always wins. Digital is good for some things, but usually its merely a surplus of features and parameters, not a surplus of good tones. No Line 6 sound "based" on an analog pedal sounds even close, ditto for Digitech and all the rest.

Cheap, convenient, versatile = digital.
Expensive, simple, great tones = analog.

IN GENERAL of course. There are exceptions, I just don't know of any-

Goo Fighters

Do you like peanut butter or do you prefer Nutella? Scarlett Johannsen or Salma Hayek? Crest or Colgate? They are both great, but they are different pedals for different purposes, so all these debates about which is better are silly. I like both equally. Analog for more ambient clean chordal sounds, and digital for high gain leads.


Check out TC Electronic's G-System or is it the Nova System, well anyway some of the effects are analog but controlled digitally.


Do you like peanut butter or do you prefer Nutella? Scarlett Johannsen or Salma Hayek? Crest or Colgate? They are both great, but they are different pedals for different purposes, so all these debates about which is better are silly. I like both equally. Analog for more ambient clean chordal sounds, and digital for high gain leads.
No Contest!
Peanut Butter

Seriously though, it does depend on application but from personal experience and as one other poster mentioned, I've currently got the best tone I've had in 20 years AND I'm all analog. It wasn't a conscious decision, just that the stuff Ive gravitated towards happens to be analog.


Gold Supporting Member
For me, the analog vs. digital thing comes down to this: Digital adds an unpleasant hum to the sound if I'm using it in front of the amp's input (no loop).


I prefer analog, but will use digital in a heartbeat if it sounds good-and sometimes it does.


In most of the discussions I've been in about analog v digital, I've seen a lot said about the issues of clarity/brittleness of digital audio and the corresponding issues of muddiness or reduced signal-to-noise of analog audio... but what about TIMING?

In my experience, live digital effects exhibit slight timing delays compared to analog devices - the signal travels through analog devices at the 'speed of light', whereas A-to-D and D-to-A requires time, often a few milliseconds at the very least.

I've noticed a difference in the timing tightness one can achieve playing digital effects live (of course it's even more pronounced using DAM-based effects plugins).

Anyone with similar thoughts?


These arguments are a waste of time. No one is going to convince me that my method of achieving the sounds I want and use are incorrect. It's the same as saying your brand of Jesus beats my brand...it's pointless, because in the end, the results are the same. We get tones that we like. If you don't like my tone, you don't have to listen. There have been many pedals (both analog and digital) that just aren't for me. This is not due to the basic nature of the technology, but the end result. My setup has both digital and analog, and I love both, but it comes down to the individual example of the effect in question. Whatever allows me to push what's in my head through the speakers and out to whoever wants to hear it is what's going to end up on my board.


Well thanks guys for your opinions. I guess that my biggest issue thus far has been the relative lack of exposure to anything other than the typical Boss, Roland, Line 6, etc. pedals available at the, blasphemy ahead, typical Guitar World, etc. How did you folks manage to find and try the atypical units that most seem to have. Did you basically just listen to others and try them?

Thank you. I have a Boss GT-10 that I purchased used that was initially a lot of fun and unique. The more that I use it, the more that I notice certain effects sounding forced, unreal, too something or another. So now I looking to try the individual effects path.

Is there such a thing as an analog looper?

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