Tape and analog delay: what's the difference

jstoffel

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134
What's the difference between analog and tape delay. And what's this whe "bucket" and "dbucket" thing that I see strymon talk about all the time?
 
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"bucket" refers to analog "bucket brigade" chips (IC's). This is like a Memory Man or a Maxon AD999.

dBucket is just a dsp digital simulation of an analog bucket brigade of chips. It's a Strymon trademark, so it's only used by them,

a Tape delay is literally a loop of tape with a recording head and a playback head. It was the original "delay" unit.

dTape is a DSP digital simulation of a tape machine trademarked by Strymon.

FWIW, "tape" delay is technically an analog delay.

Bucket Brigade is also an analog delay. It never converts the signal to binary code.
 

S. F. Sorrow

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8,259
Bucket delay comes from an old term of when firemen used to pass buckets from one to another. As the bucket was passed from person to person it would get less and less. In the delay terms it means each repeated delay would get diluted (cloudier) as it repeated. Like in nature, if you were in a canyon and yelled, each delay/recycle would be less and less defined because of the irregularities of the canyon. It's not a flat wall.
With 80s digital delays, the repeats were sterile. The first repeat was as pristine as the last. Sample-y sounding and not natural. Digidelays (like Strymon) are much better than early digis because they are mimicking characteristics of old bucket technology.
BTW - as a user of all types thru the years NOTHING beats REAL tape delay. It's not as lo-fi as these modelers make it out to be.
 

MilwMark

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2,765
BTW - as a user of all types thru the years NOTHING beats REAL tape delay. It's not as lo-fi as these modelers make it out to be.
Agreed. Soft, but very good fidelity, is what I heard from my tape units. If that makes sense. Unless they were in need of maintenance (which had good sounds, but unpredictable and hard to harness in a band context). Seems like the market wants modelers that focus on the lofi/out-of-spec aspects though.
 

CosbyTron

Member
Messages
24
If a digital delay pedal has both a "Tape" mode and an "Analog" mode, the difference is usually in how the delayed signal degrades and modulation (though some digital delays will actually model different times between tape heads, rather than consecutive on-beat delays).

A Tape delay model usually adds modulation to the delayed signal to emulate tape "flutter." It may also change the EQ of the delayed signal over time.

Analog models tend to distort the delayed signal over time to emulate signal degradation, without necessarily affecting the EQ.

Hope that made sense :p
 

MilwMark

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2,765
Analog models tend to distort the delayed signal over time to emulate signal degradation, without necessarily affecting the EQ.
Re EQ, I hear analog delays as distorting and cutting highs with each successive repeat. Not sure about modelers I guess.
 

NHBluesMan

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6,141
also, IIRC, in the evolutionary chain of delay pedals analog pedals were created to emulate tape delay pedals, and to provide something alittle more substantial since some tape units were prone to breaking down if not taken care of.
 

hugbot

Member
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951
Re EQ, I hear analog delays as distorting and cutting highs with each successive repeat. Not sure about modelers I guess.
That's because analog delays have filters built in to chop off the noise added with each repeat from the bb chip.

That filter section actually has a lot to do with how they sound, which is why you can get digital pedals like the deep blue delay or DE7 which sound and feel very "analog". They're a digital chip in an otherwise analog circuit.

Then on the other hand you have pedals like the dd7 or dl4 which are straight dsp all the way.
 

forgivenman

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Good thread, just learned a few new tidbits. Thanks guys!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

shoepedals

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3,792
Bucket loss is one component of analog delay sound. Another important factor is aliasing. Analog delays are analog in the sense that they work by using a lot of capacitors to create the delay, but they are controlled with an essentially digital clock timer that changes the rate at which the signal is passed through. As this rate moves into the audio range it will interfere with the original signal and create another tone reminiscent of a ring modulator. This is essentially a digital artifact but the sampling is still done in analog so its not quite like a low sample rate digital chip.
 

Toggle

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281
Just to be clear, since it was suggested otherwise further up, the “bucket brigade” in an analog delay does not refer to each successive repeat, or echo. Rather, the incoming signal goes through a series of stages—thus the bucket brigade—in order to delay the signal the desired amount. This is basically a series of capacitors storing what amounts to an analog sample of the signal, and each sample is passed to the next capacitor at an interval dictated by the clock circuit. So whether you have one repeat or the max, the signal still goes all of the (512 or 1024 is common) stages of the bucket brigade. (There are a few exceptions to that last bit, but it’s basically true.)

Tom
 

DT7

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2,794
BTW - as a user of all types thru the years NOTHING beats REAL tape delay. It's not as lo-fi as these modelers make it out to be.
"Beats" is a relative term...it depends what you want out of a delay. They can be very organic sounding...if that's what you mean.

BTW, if you do have a tape-delay that's real low-fi, it's time to clean, demag and re-align the heads.
 

S. F. Sorrow

Member
Messages
8,259
also, IIRC, in the evolutionary chain of delay pedals analog pedals were created to emulate tape delay pedals, and to provide something alittle more substantial since some tape units were prone to breaking down if not taken care of.
Yeah, think thats why I bought my Memory Man in the late 70s. Still it's no comparison to the clarity of tape delay.
Also the 'maintanence' issue is a joke. Nothing more of a pain in the a** than changing guitar strings. Cleaning and demagnitizing the heads only takes about a minute.
 




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