• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

What does "sounds digital" mean to you?

JasonE

Member
Messages
315
I have read this term on posts about modelers and profilers for well over 10 (probably more than 12) years. I still have no clue as to what "digital" sounds like when people use this term to describe something they don't like. Enlighten me. What does "sounds digital" sound like? Extra points for audio clips...

Note Added: Describe it in detail. I always see this posted with other vague terms. I want to know what it actually sounds like. What are you hearing that "sounds digital" to you?
 
Last edited:

DieSchmalle

Member
Messages
260
For me it's funny sounding artifacts too.

Sometimes falsely attributed to digital while also existing in tube amps.

I sold my Atomic Amplifire because some of 'unnatural' buzzing mid frequencies I heard. I've since heard the same stuff in my AxeFX, too, but never that pronounced.
 

108

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,432
It's a meaningless catch phrase for people who can't rationally justify their opinion. It doesn't mean anything, and knuckleheads usually use the term in regards to the high-end, so anything that's bright "sounds digital" because they lack any vocabulary past that of a neanderthal to describe something.
 

Alchemist XP

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,187
I have read this term on posts about modelers and profilers for well over 10 (probably more than 12) years. I still have no clue as to what "digital" sounds like when people use this term to describe something they don't like. Enlighten me. What does "sounds digital" sound like? Extra points for audio clips...

Note Added: Describe it in detail. I always see this posted with other vague terms. I want to know what it actually sounds like. What are you hearing that "sounds digital" to you?
It really depends on the modeler as most have gotten much better over the years and sound better than they used to.

When I play digital amp simulations, for me it's mostly a feeling of compression and/or loss of headroom and the dynamics that a lot of headroom creates. I like tube amps and dirt pedals that don't compress as much when they break up for that very reason. The louder I play, the more noticeable it is. For low volume or headphone playing, I find digital gear is easier to use and often sounds better.

When it comes to digital effects like delay, reverb and modulation, I think many (but not all) of them sound better and in some cases, much better than their analog competitors.
 

mike_m

Member
Messages
246
The reality is that it usually means mostly the same complaints one could level against any “bad” amplifier. And in conversation, the fact that a modeler is digital is conflated with it being bad, so naturally digital causes the bad lol. Sometimes it’s an unnatural decay, like there was a noise gate built in that didn’t always work correctly. Or the hard edge on clean sounds that fizzed when you hit the strings hard instead of a smooth overdrive/tube compression. or a weird metallic buzz you couldn’t dial out. I grew up with older Line 6 stuff, and these things were there for sure. The same stuff was in my Vox valvetronix amp, and the solid state analog fender frontman that came with my squire.

I think it’s the same stuff that shows up in a lot of sub par amps outside of the digital world as well, but was heavily present in older digital gear as well. Modeling in the last 7-10 years is really miles ahead of where it used to be. I used to be dissatisfied with digital solutions, but now I haven’t even owned a traditional amp in like 3 years.
 

Baba

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,492
Both of these:

Square waves, unnatural harmonic content from sampling limitations, comb filtering from additive reflections with IRs, etc…
The reality is that it usually means mostly the same complaints one could level against any “bad” amplifier. And in conversation, the fact that a modeler is digital is conflated with it being bad, so naturally digital causes the bad lol. Sometimes it’s an unnatural decay, like there was a noise gate built in that didn’t always work correctly. Or the hard edge on clean sounds that fizzed when you hit the strings hard instead of a smooth overdrive/tube compression. or a weird metallic buzz you couldn’t dial out. I grew up with older Line 6 stuff, and these things were there for sure. The same stuff was in my Vox valvetronix amp, and the solid state analog fender frontman that came with my squire.

I think it’s the same stuff that shows up in a lot of sub par amps outside of the digital world as well, but was heavily present in older digital gear as well. Modeling in the last 7-10 years is really miles ahead of where it used to be. I used to be dissatisfied with digital solutions, but now I haven’t even owned a traditional amp in like 3 years.
It is not some random, useless term, it's just been associated with a particular type of technology, that's all.

I will say this, whenever I have played even the top modelers, even now, next to a tube amplifier, one sounds like an emulator, (which, it IS), and the other sounds like a tube amp, still.
 

RolandKorg

Member
Messages
4,832
I always imagine 'ring modulator.'
I either haven't experienced or haven't recognized the "fizziness" people often describe.
I wonder if it has something to do with not dialing in the proper global high cut?

But, i also don't play actual tube amps. Both the tube amps i hear and the modelers i use are all coming through the same studio monitors. When i do play amps in shops, i actually don't like them very much :oops:
 






Trending Topics

Top Bottom