Analog vs. Digital

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by amz-fx, Dec 2, 2019 at 7:50 AM.

  1. lefort_1

    lefort_1 Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    I'm running about 70:30 analog over digital.

    My own tinkering is all analog.
    I woke up last night from a dream in which I was designing an all-analog shimmer... I don't really like shimmer, but I guess my sleeping-brain wanted something fun to do. I can remember most of it. The addition of the distant repeats with octaves applied was surprisingly easy, according to my dream.
    I should probably write this one down before I forget it.
  2. Robert Libutti

    Robert Libutti Member

    Aug 22, 2015
    I'm basically 80%+ digital in use. I have more physical analog pedals, but use an HX FX for pretty much everything else. So the board is HX + 2 analog drives (typical). And it's more that the delays, mods, etc. vary song to song, but the drives are more consistent throughout. I use amp distortion, so basically just an OD to boost. Rather than have that in every preset, I just pop a drive on the board. I also like the immediacy of knob tweaking on an overdrive. And...drives are commonly analog. AND, the bulk of my drives are reissue Big Muffs, so in concept, it's not a lot of pedals.
  3. Lupus87

    Lupus87 Member

    Mar 16, 2016
    Dirt, comp and modulation: analog
    Delays: tie
    Reverb, shimmer and harmonizers: digital
    amz-fx and ChampReverb like this.
  4. captaincoconut

    captaincoconut Member

    Dec 8, 2014
    There's not enough shimmer pedals out there.
    lefort_1 likes this.
  5. Madsen

    Madsen Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Denver, Co
    i have a healthy mix of both.
  6. lefort_1

    lefort_1 Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    Tell my sleeping-brain that.
    Besides, wouldn't you like to hear a poor-tracking, analog-derived octave ?
    ... out there, in the echo-ey distance, burping and flubbing those multi-note shimmery pads?
    Would you like some 'drip' with your shimmer?
    Oil-Can Dreck-O?
    Brazen EchoWreck?
    Gentle Glint would have used it on their album, "The Wow and the Fluttery".

    With Captain Beyond as my witness, I think there's a market for it.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 12:36 PM
  7. Pazz

    Pazz Member

    Jun 11, 2014
    I guess I'm happy that I really don't know!!

    I know my Carbon Copy is analog. I like the way it sounds. My reverb (original Hermida Reverb) has the Belton block in it, which makes it digital. I like the way it sounds.

    I think my drives are analog too. So I guess I THINK I'm an analog guy, but since I don't even know for sure, my opinion shouldn't count.

    If it sounds good and feels good, it IS good.
  8. Joshua Bernstein

    Joshua Bernstein Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2017
    After being an analog snob for years (except for my tape style delay, couldn't justify a whole friggin tape machine) I have decided that I actually prefer digital mod/delay. Drives and fuzzes I stick with analog, but analog choruses are typically just too dark for me, the flangers tend to be noisy, i can never get the delays to blend the way I want and they tend to be dark as well. Pedal form spring reverbs never did it for me, no matter how badly I wanted them to.

    Now 100% of my delay and modulation pedals are digital. Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay, Earthquaker Pyramids, and Merris Mercury 7. Much better for me!
    amz-fx likes this.
  9. caledoneus

    caledoneus Member

    Dec 12, 2018
    I'll honestly say I don't care if it's analog or digital. If a pedal sounds good I'm ok with it however it gets the sound.
  10. hippieboy

    hippieboy Member

    Jun 7, 2014
    when I'm looking for a pedal It's all about the sound. However, I must admit that I've never had a digital Gain pedal, so in that regard I might be a bit biased. but, when I see things like the multiwave distortion I do think it's cool and may end up getting one, not interested in things like Strymon sunset/riverside though.
  11. Glitch Magnet

    Glitch Magnet Supporting Member

    Dec 9, 2009
    Lower Hudson Valley, New York
    Digital pedals with analog dry-through (TimeLine, Polara) have been satisfying. All-digital (Wavelength, OBNE Reflektor) have been dissapointing compared to similar analog pedals I have. The digital are more versatile, but the analog are quieter, richer, and lusher sounding.
  12. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Capital City
    It’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil.
    Johnny Moondog and coltonius like this.
  13. jamester

    jamester Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2010
    Baltimore, MD
    These days it's analog front end, digital back end for me (not counting first in line tuner)..
  14. Silent Sound

    Silent Sound Member

    Jun 8, 2012
    I prefer pedals that sound good. So digital or analog, it doesn't really matter when I buy a pedal.

    About the only time I care if a pedal is digital or analog is if I have to open it up to repair or mod it. Then, I highly prefer analog.
  15. Killshakes

    Killshakes Member

    Sep 30, 2016
    The vast majority of my pedals are analog. I doubt I’ll ever exhaust my interest in analog pedals, if only because I never seem to have enough money to buy all of the ones I want to try.
    stanshall likes this.
  16. Bobby Brown

    Bobby Brown Member

    May 24, 2019
    No. Digital is good but electric guitars are analog, the first digital pedal without dry analog out in the chain will destroy the soul of you instument. You won't hear it but I will with great disappoinent.
  17. Brad2

    Brad2 Member

    Nov 11, 2019
    I always preferred analog pedals but must admit that the digital ones have become better over the years. Some of them really have an analog sound like the Boss PH-3 phase shifter. That is the case with pedals, the digital multi fx are still not my thing.
  18. Jack DeVille

    Jack DeVille Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Lucky. You have a wife.

    In late 2010/early 2011, when I was initially hired on for my first digital signal path contract (not to be confused with Digital Signal Processing, although both yield the same end result), I was staunchly against digital processes in guitar effects, due chiefly to my previous experience(s) with the available "digital" products I had experience with.
    During the course of my time on that project, and many others occurring concurrently (and following), I came to learn that the end result of the "digital pedal" came down to who was designing the system and individual blocks (down to most minute routines/algorithms; e.g. a simple potentiometer/switch read/filter/accept/reject routine in a digital system) as compared to the classic "digital vs. analog" debate.
    The only place I feel that analog holds an advantage to digital is in the overall systems' simplicity with respect to amplitude focused systems (read: boost/overdrive/distortion/fuzz); and while the previously suggested processes are simple enough to design, code and execute in the digital domain, the overall parts count and system complexity are generally reduced when limited to the analog domain. This makes for a happy customer when they receive their final BOM and estimated COGS statement.

    This is not to say one is always better than the other, but it is to say that my time designing in each domain (for myself and others, who often only care about the bottom line) has leant to an understanding of which discipline/practice is best suited/applied for each task, and I feel that, in general, with today's processing power and available parts: digital holds some tremendous advantages over the analog equivalent, especially in complex systems.

    The closest parallel I can draw, in everyday American life, is manual vs. automatic transmission in commercial/consumer-focused passenger vehicles.
    An automatic holds benefit, in some instances when compared to a manual, and similarly, a manual holds advantages, in some instances, when compared to an automatic. Both systems transfer power from the powerplant to the post-transmission/transaxle drivetrain and the end result is forward or rearward movement of the automobile.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 9:08 PM
    ThinPaperWings, junu, sanfi4u and 4 others like this.
  19. Monkeyboy23

    Monkeyboy23 Member

    Jul 24, 2006
    I have one digital pedal (Dark Sun Delay/Reverb) and the rest are analog running into a tube amp.

    I'll happily mix in-the-box with a bunch of plug-ins though.
  20. rsmith601

    rsmith601 Vendor

    Jan 28, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Really interesting thread, Jack.
    Buddy67 likes this.

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