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Analog vs. Digital

rumbletone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,680
Since I started building pedals I haven’t bought any analog pedals. I have bought a few digital though - like an EHX K9. May buy an FM3 ...
 

stanshall

Member
Messages
2,072
I've got two old digital Ibanez delays among my pedals, almost all the other 40 or 50 are analog, I like the older tones best, with the vintage guitars into the funky old analog pedals into the old tube amps I know for sure I'm getting authentic vintage tones

I don't like internal mikes or pickups on acoustic guitars either, I just like the sounds of the old-fashioned way better

but: when I had my POG I liked it for years, until I moved on, and still my favorite all-time pedal was the Boss PS-2 digital pitch shifter/delay on long delay with feedback cranked

and I do want a Boss DD-7 and a Dunlop Echoplex delay and an Electro-Harmonix Attack Decay, but I always find other analog pedals to jump their places in the queue

there will always be new and better digital pedals and I can get to them whenever

digital pedals with memory banks and presets and software updates don't get me going, too much work and not enough fun for me, but I'm very limited technologically, I love one-knob and no-knob no-brainer pedals, I'm not a tweaker, I'd rather switch the pedals themselves than scroll through settings

which is not to imply that my way is better or that analog is superior or that there is anything at all wrong with digital pedals, I am interested in digital stuff and if somebody were to give me some good stuff I would definitely find a way to use it

or trade it for some analog stuff on my list haha

I'd rather have my Jerry Jones electric sitar back than any digital pedal in the world

but the second-to-last pedal I bought, almost a full year ago, was a Boss MZ-2 Digital Metalizer, just remembered that one, I love it, even the digital chorus stuff I was supposed to not like

and one more, my Boss DC-3 Digital Dimension, that is a great one for stereo fun

but those are vintage pedals and fit into my scheme

but for sure I'd use any good digital pedal I was given, I enjoyed the hell out of this DD-20 I borrowed last year and I tried to buy it from my friend, but the f*cker decided to keep it
 
Messages
212
I've managed to put together an entire Source Audio ecosystem and I love it.
My drive is still purely analog... for now.
I would be willing to give digital dirt a try, though.
Any recommendations?
 

lefort_1

Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,955
.
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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.
I've heard that, the things one finds entertaining offer a window into the soul.
If that's true, I fear that the joy I experience whilst watching complicated all-wheel-drive vehicles and their algorithms go bonkers on wet, sheet ice on a windy day most likely does not reflect well upon my mental makeup.
I-84 at the mouth of the Sandy River on January 1 is always good for a few inelastic collisions.
 

Joncaster

Member
Messages
102
I'm busy building a spring tank reverb, in the tuning phase now.
It's a great project, fascinating and totally worth the time and effort purely from an interest point of view.

But, I've come to realize that:

This particular method of creating an effect to mimic an actual space is extremely inefficient.
It takes up lots of space, uses a lot of power, requires tons of gain in places, and is very sensitive to the outside world (not very robust in an engineering sense)
Also, the parameters one can affect in order to arrive at a truly beautiful sound are limited (due to its mechanical nature).
I am embracing all this though, because why not, I can. And springs are cool.

I'm busy tuning it and wondering where the magic sauce is, what the values are, where the changes need to be made, that will give it it's final voice.
I'm pretty damn close, it sounds great...but i'm not there yet. It gets really subtle.
I want all my builds to have something happening, where they allow me to express, add to my textures, etc.

So after I finish a few more analog builds, I want to start in digital.
The palette seems to be infinite there, such an open expanse of possibility (setting aside the constraints of the hardware and coding abilities, etc).
My question to myself will be:
With all that choice, how do you find the magic sauce?
 

Stikoun

Member
Messages
412
I’ve been trying—and enjoying—a lot of digital pedals since the beginning of the year. I even got a digital compressor (something I would never have done in the past) and I’m glad I did because it’s awesome (Boss CP-1X). I’ve also had a lot of fun with an old Whammy, and the Boss Tera Echo. I do like my analog pedals, though.
Exactly my experience, your whole post. I actually bought my Boss CP-1X to push the boundaries of my open-mindedness. A digital compressor? The very idea makes me sick to my stomach. Well, actually, not anymore. I was actively trying to listen for "digital artifacts" or any undesirable tone coloration. No luck. The thing just sounds awesome.

If the OD-1X is as good, I can imagine one in my future (and that will be pushing my mental boundaries even further - I'm mostly with the "I like my dirt analog" crowd)

You mention the Whammy - I used to have the not-so-popular IV version and still kicking myself for selling it. Lots of expressive stuff can be done with it (Gilmour in "Marooned", anyone?).

Finally, my H9 is not going anywhere, in spite of being PITA to power and having no analog dry-though. Sonically, there is very little I don't like about it, even the less than popular modulations in it sound good to me. So many great sounds from a relatively small footprint. Don't know anything on the market that could replace it, so I have no trouble living with its quirks.

To me, it has been paying off to let go of my preconceived notions of "digital cannot sound natural".
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
24,831
Tell my sleeping-brain that.
Besides, wouldn't you like to hear a poor-tracking, analog-derived octave ?
dunno about basing my aesthetic judgment on the metric of "poor tracking" (of a pitch-shifted delay-line), but hey:
Chase Bliss Thermae pretty much rocks!.
"digital brain, analog heart".
ymmv, natch.
 
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chunky48

Member
Messages
758
The 2 digital ring modulators I have, simple one-knob one built into Nord Electro2 and full-featured one in Eventide ModFactor, just don't 'do' what the analog MF-102 moogerfooger does to a sound.
 

Riffa

Member
Messages
4,324
If the OD-1X is as good, I can imagine one in my future (and that will be pushing my mental boundaries even further - I'm mostly with the "I like my dirt analog" crowd)
Indeed it is. I was skeptical, but very curious. I decided to bite the bullet and don’t regret it at all. It’s unlike any of my analog pedals in terms of responsiveness to pick attack.
 

Mungi64

Member
Messages
240
I've managed to put together an entire Source Audio ecosystem and I love it.
My drive is still purely analog... for now.
I would be willing to give digital dirt a try, though.
Any recommendations?
I really like the saturation side of the Deco. Usually set it for slight hair, but I enjoy it cranked as well. It also stacks nicely with my analog dirt pedals, primarily a Snouse BB2 or Looking Glass.

Check out Eric Haugen’s recent YouTube video on Deco vs. Lightspeed....
 

Squatch57

Member
Messages
3,708
Mostly analog front end for me, before the Timefactor and Big Sky
Exceptions are, Tender Octaver, Superego and lofi delays like the Echobox and Tap-A-Delay
Sometimes I like the TC Corona for end of chain stereo widening
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
26,907
First off, I have to say, I love threads where Jack Black comments on Jack Orman's thread or vice versa, don't know why, it just makes me happy! Oh, and Jack (Orman), why would you buy drive pedals when you wrote the book (literally) on drive pedals? Whose work did you respect enough to actually pay for the privilege (if you don't mind saying)?

There's no question, to me, that digital CAN do really good things. Think of all the great stuff that's been done with an H3000, a 2290 or a PCM40/70/80 that would be impossible to do in an analog environment. That said, there are two parts to any digital device: the analog signal preparation and the actual algorithms. It's clear from the differences in clarity, that pedals do (and may always) lag behind the space (full sized components?) and voltage rails of the vintage digital uber-processors. You're just not going to get the same performance with a 9v rail, although it'll be interesting to see what happens with the 27v swing that JHS is now advertising for the Colour Box V2. But well designed analog will give you a quieter and clearer signal to work with. Then the guy programming the device is critical. Compare one of the Spin based pedals from China (for example, one of the multiple algorithm mod devices) to one of Jack Black's modulation pedals and the difference in how good it sounds is immediately obvious.

It gets really interesting on the edges: a really well done analog device like the Lovepedal 5 Knob Vibronaut vs a really well done digital device like the Lovepedal 4 Knob Vibronaut-a collaboration between a pair of great designers (Alf Hermida and Sean). There are people who like one better, and others who prefer the other.
 

peter_heijnen

Member
Messages
2,036
I love all my analog pedals best but none of it is on my main board since i just don't like what all those pedals in series do to my guitars' clean audio signal.

So i use my H9 as dedicated volume pedal/wah/tremolo/phaser/flanger/chorus/swell delay/tuner, simply to avoid all the different buffers, patchcables and mechanical switches that i'd have to go through if using the pedals. I made presets trying to match the sounds of the analog originals and though the digital presets will never be like the real thing, this is how i like it most since the audio signal remains all nice and clean.

I have a Cali CD into a Xotic RCv2 feeding the H9 that goes in the front of the amp and a Boss DD200 in the amp's fx loop. Chainwise it's still a more or less minimal setup, but it can do anything that i want.
 

amz-fx

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,620
Oh, and Jack (Orman), why would you buy drive pedals when you wrote the book (literally) on drive pedals? Whose work did you respect enough to actually pay for the privilege (if you don't mind saying)?
I got a new DDR drive pedal recently but it was gifted to me by Robert Keeley. The drive pedal I got before that was the Keeley Oxblood, but I helped design it so it probably doesn't count. :)

The last distortion pedals that I bought were a couple of EHX Big Muffs, but that was research for updating my book on modding them. I bought 3 analog drive pedals in 2019 but I didn't count them because they were for a project... two Boss Metal pedals and a Behringer metal pedal. I also bought several analog compressors, but again for testing of compressor types... Robert gave me a Compressor Pro for use in the tests and it has turned out to be the best compressor that I have ever used. It's now my go-to pedal for compression. I also built a couple of compressors for the tests including an Orange Squeezer (which is a very flaky design that takes a lot of tweaking).

I also built a new Tweed Stack 2 (my own AIAB design) for a future article, and an op amp fuzz that will either be great or a flop; we'll see!

There are lots of talented builders who make drive pedals, but I have more than I will ever use, so I never buy one.

Best regards, Jack
 
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Chadley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,009
I am cool with digital for delays and verbs, but prefer that they keep the dry signal analog. Everything else in the chain is analog.

i did just get my first digitally controlled analog drive pedal (Kismet). I think that is the future.
 

skiltrip

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,934
All my drive and modulation is analog (not counting the Iridium). All my delay and reverb is digital. I like it that way.
 




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