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Annoying thing about digital delays

Messages
3,023
Anyone notice that when you have a really hot signal (e.g. from a boost) or a spikey signal (e.g. from an envelope filter) that a digital delay can't seem to handle it and sends out a distorted repeat?

The delay in question is the Flashback. However, I assume this is an overloaded A/D conversion issue, and it might be a problem for any digital effect.

It's enough to make me think about getting out my old (original) Ibanez AD9.
 
Messages
3,023
Yeah same here. I use 2 DD7's with a SHO running just before them and I don't have that problem.
Hmm, maybe I'll try some different settings on the Flashback and see if it persists. I generally use the "Lofi" setting - perhaps all the more reason to revert to analogue anyway?
 

Heady Jam Fan

Member
Messages
9,014
It is the Lofi setting working as it is supposed to I believe. That setting, along with the Tape and Analog settings are supposed to distort with a hot signal because the effect they are emulating would do the same. I believe the fact is the opposite - that digital delays have a higher headroom, ie try the 2290 setting, I'll bet it won't distort with the same signal amplitude.

I had the same issue though and I found the Toneprint's to be better than the on-board settings - better overall as well as headroom. I use the Matt Beck Echo almost exclusively, which is designed to have more headroom than the other Echo settings.
 
Messages
3,023
Hmm, maybe I'll try some different settings on the Flashback and see if it persists. I generally use the "Lofi" setting - perhaps all the more reason to revert to analogue anyway?
It is the Lofi setting working as it is supposed to I believe. That setting, along with the Tape and Analog settings are supposed to distort with a hot signal because the effect they are emulating would do the same. I believe the fact is the opposite - that digital delays have a higher headroom, ie try the 2290 setting, I'll bet it won't distort with the same signal amplitude.

I had the same issue though and I found the Toneprint's to be better than the on-board settings - better overall as well as headroom. I use the Matt Beck Echo almost exclusively, which is designed to have more headroom than the other Echo settings.
I tested the 2290 setting and it did seem to have more headroom than the others, but I still got it to distort a little with a really peaky envelope filter signal. A compressor between the envelope filter and the delay sorts it out, at the expense of dynamics (no surprise). Not a huge issue really and probably not likely to push me in the direction of a Carbon Copy...yet.
 

Webfoot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,890
I spent the last two days comparing the Flashback against a very nice top of the line analog delay trying to decide which one to keep. I have another all purpose analog delay. I kept the Flashback to put on the board because of tap/strum tempo and other features. Never had tap tempo and always used analog delays. Now I cannot imagine not having it (even though its strum tempo is a little funky at first but I am getting the hang of it).

The real Analog delay pedal was voiced different and has repeats on the lower notes so the bass sounds bigger and more rounded highs. But ultimately the strum tempo made it and the other chorus/vibrato/toneprint goodies sealed the deal for me.

I am playing single coils into dirt pedals before the Flashback and can control the input signal to the Flashback. I have not detected any distortion even though I see some of their toneprints purposely have dirt in the toneprint. I suspect if I was playing hot humbuckers it could overload the input or running a pedal super hot.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,327
i'm not sure if this is the same issue that i had w/ my old
EH 16 ddl-ri

if you give it a clean signal it would handle it fine, and you could loop it, mangle it, etc. but if you wanted to loop the clean signal, but then play over it w/ a fuzz-tone (or distorted) signal, there was something in output construction of the pedal, that would not allow the fuzz sound to really come through. an engineer explained it to me about what EH did, he told them about it, but they ended up having the 16 ddl-reissue only on the market for a short time, and replaced it w/ the EH 2880.

i've never had any of these issues w/ my digitech dl8-which i use the 8 sec of delays to create loops and play over. it will allow a hot/distorted signal to pass through just fine.....
 

rayza

Member
Messages
474
i've had some headroom issues with a carbon copy and an el cap in the loops of some amps, and after boosts. but i never had any headroom problems with a boss dd3 or dd7 in the same situation, they always sounded good.
 

lux_interior

Member
Messages
5,376
It is the Lofi setting working as it is supposed to I believe. That setting, along with the Tape and Analog settings are supposed to distort with a hot signal because the effect they are emulating would do the same. I believe the fact is the opposite - that digital delays have a higher headroom, ie try the 2290 setting, I'll bet it won't distort with the same signal amplitude.

I had the same issue though and I found the Toneprint's to be better than the on-board settings - better overall as well as headroom. I use the Matt Beck Echo almost exclusively, which is designed to have more headroom than the other Echo settings.
Precisely. Some Flashback modes are made with lower headroom on purpose according to what they are emulating. On top of that, the pedal itself can handle line level signals which are hotter than instrument level, and I also believe - don't quote me - that the voltage is bumped up inside. Furthermore, I can't really remember analog delays being famous for their headroom... quite the opposite, in fact.
 

HayekFan

Member
Messages
1,526
Something else to consider is that you may have inadvertently been hitting it with a signal that was too hot. Like if you had a pedal before it with its output level cranked. It's possible that you went beyond the Flashback's available headroom.

Sometimes it can be good to bypass all your pedals and listen to how loud the straight signal is, then make sure your affected level is close to the same.

...

Okay, I just tried slamming my Flashback with a super loud signal and found that it will indeed distort. With a signal that's even close to a normal level I get no distortion.
 

HayekFan

Member
Messages
1,526
Whoops, I just reread your original post and realized your point is specifically about hitting your Flashback with a hot signal. Sorry about that!

My guess is that the levels required to make a Flashback distort would also make an analog delay distort.
 

OMTerria

Member
Messages
199
I've never had a problem like this with any delay I've had. Could something be wrong with the pedal itself?
 

cj_wattage

Member
Messages
6,709
As has been mentioned, headroom is intentionally crappy in some of the Flashback modes....to make them sound more analog. That's part of what is "warm", I suppose, about analog. Same goes for the Hardwire DL-8.
 




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