digital pedals : How much latency do they introduce?

mrboy

Member
Messages
140
I don't even want to count how many conversions my signal goes through when it leaves my guitar via a digital wireless, and goes through all the digital guitar equipment and then goes to a digital mixer and then to my wireless (these are still analog) in-ears.

I think the thing that keeps the latency in check is the in-ears. If the sound would also have to travel a distance through air to my ears, the latency might be distracting.

In my opinion it would be great if there was a common method to connect all the subsequent digital stuff together without converting the signal to analog between the devices. Could S/PDIF, in other words a digital I/O be implemented on pedals and other digital guitar devices that don't have that yet? I am not too familiar with digital I/O's so I don't know would that work with pedals without problems. Of course one thing that prevents digital I/O's from being standard in pedals is the price increase that it would bring.
 

rsmith601

Vendor
Messages
6,909
I don't even want to count how many conversions my signal goes through when it leaves my guitar via a digital wireless, and goes through all the digital guitar equipment and then goes to a digital mixer and then to my wireless (these are still analog) in-ears.

I think the thing that keeps the latency in check is the in-ears. If the sound would also have to travel a distance through air to my ears, the latency might be distracting.

In my opinion it would be great if there was a common method to connect all the subsequent digital stuff together without converting the signal to analog between the devices. Could S/PDIF, in other words a digital I/O be implemented on pedals and other digital guitar devices that don't have that yet? I am not too familiar with digital I/O's so I don't know would that work with pedals without problems. Of course one thing that prevents digital I/O's from being standard in pedals is the price increase that it would bring.
One day we might start adding SPDIF to our pedals. We have talked about it often. Some of the DSP chips we use have it integrated. It is the most logical standard and a smallish connector.
 

Otdacha

Member
Messages
82
In my opinion it would be great if there was a common method to connect all the subsequent digital stuff together without converting the signal to analog between the devices.

Just what I was thinking about recently. Manufacturers of digital stuff like Strymon or Source Audio could add some kind of digital link to their pedals to avoid multiple AD/DA conversion.
 

Otdacha

Member
Messages
82
One day we might start adding SPDIF to our pedals. We have talked about it often. Some of the DSP chips we use have it integrated. It is the most logical standard and a smallish connector.

Ooops.. I typed my post for too long time))
 
Messages
1,432
Just what I was thinking about recently. Manufacturers of digital stuff like Strymon or Source Audio could add some kind of digital link to their pedals to avoid multiple AD/DA conversion.

I think there are a couple of problems with this though

First is where you are dealing with pedals with both analog dry thru and digital fx - ok so you get the digital portion going to the next pedal in the chain, but it also needs the analog dry portion, and it needs to mix them to apply it's effect in serial. For pedals with analog dry through I don't think this is even possible, though I'd be interested in the specifics of this!

For fully digital pedals with no analog dry through (e.g. Source Audio Nemesis, Eventide H9) there could be some benefit, but it would only really be valuable with a chain of digital pedals in succession - e.g. an H9 going before dirt would have no use of this digital output, and I think the use cases for deisgners/builders to actually implement this would add cost to pedals for a very niche real-world benefit IMO.
 

rsmith601

Vendor
Messages
6,909
As noted, lots of DSP chips has SPDIF integrated these days. It is a complex circuit, because of the clock recovery and sample rate conversion necessary.....but if it is there......then why not use it? I could imagine that pedals would have 2 more jacks....RCA in and RCA out. Only one set needed for stereo.
 

ERGExplorer

Member
Messages
6,052
I think there are a couple of problems with this though...

For fully digital pedals with no analog dry through (e.g. Source Audio Nemesis, Eventide H9) there could be some benefit, but it would only really be valuable with a chain of digital pedals in succession - e.g. an H9 going before dirt would have no use of this digital output, and I think the use cases for deisgners/builders to actually implement this would add cost to pedals for a very niche real-world benefit IMO.

I think Source Audio have been moving forward with an integrated standard for all their pedals. The control hub, the Hot Hand, all make the Source Audio gear much more flexible when used as a well-integrated modular system.

Adding SPDIF might make it easier to incorporate an audio signal router enabling on-the-fly effect order changes.
 

Kasdaddy

Member
Messages
400
One day we might start adding SPDIF to our pedals. We have talked about it often. Some of the DSP chips we use have it integrated. It is the most logical standard and a smallish connector.
I would really like this!

The SA ad/da stages sound great, but my whole board is basically SA now and it would be cool to only have one conversion if for nothing else than as a talking point!
 
Messages
1,432
I think Source Audio have been moving forward with an integrated standard for all their pedals. The control hub, the Hot Hand, all make the Source Audio gear much more flexible when used as a well-integrated modular system.

Adding SPDIF might make it easier to incorporate an audio signal router enabling on-the-fly effect order changes.
Great points - I do like what SA is doing (Nemesis is amazing!), and from their point of view if you get into their pedal 'ecosystem' these could be great selling points for them and great options for the consumer.
 

rsmith601

Vendor
Messages
6,909
And someone will market special "digital signal cables" to go from pedal to pedal boasting "warm sound signal retention" and sell them for $100. They will make more money than we will, but at least our technical credibility will be intact!

On a serious note, I think it is highly likely there will be some kind of digital pedal interconnection system in the next 20 years. It makes too much sense.
 

minty901

Member
Messages
2,124
I think there are a couple of problems with this though

First is where you are dealing with pedals with both analog dry thru and digital fx - ok so you get the digital portion going to the next pedal in the chain, but it also needs the analog dry portion, and it needs to mix them to apply it's effect in serial. For pedals with analog dry through I don't think this is even possible, though I'd be interested in the specifics of this!

For fully digital pedals with no analog dry through (e.g. Source Audio Nemesis, Eventide H9) there could be some benefit, but it would only really be valuable with a chain of digital pedals in succession - e.g. an H9 going before dirt would have no use of this digital output, and I think the use cases for deisgners/builders to actually implement this would add cost to pedals for a very niche real-world benefit IMO.
Presumably you would connect your pedals with traditional 1/4" at the same time as the digital connections, and the pedals would know whether they need to send analog dry through the 1/4", digital, or both simultaneously; and if it's the last in the chain with nothing plugged into digital out, it would know to do the analog conversion in the 1/4" cable. I don't know, I'm sure there are solutions but I agree that it's probably more complicated than what's on the surface.

But yeah it does make too much sense to use digital connections when pedalboards are only getting bigger and more digital on average over time. It's stupid to have that many conversions. Then again we get close to the point of saying why not just get a multi effects unit.
 




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