Analog and Digital Delay Guitar Pedals What’s the Echo ?

ad5Analog and Digital Delay Guitar Pedals What’s the Echo ? – For many years, ok decades we have heard the words it’s a digital delay that sounds like an analog delay, or sounds like a tape delay. Why can’t they just sound like a digital delay ? Because we have been brow beaten into this thought that digital delays are harsh or cold or lack tone, but the fact is in the past 25 years digital delays have matured into something much different. Pristine exact tones,with LONG delay times of 10 mins or looping involved is more like it. There so pristine we kind of still crave that analog sound, but what is that ?

Analog delay in a guitar pedal or old rack unit was done with a Bucket Brigade Chip that split your signal manipulated it and delayed it and then feed it back with the original guitar note. So you had a the original note, then the delayed note and that repeated how many times you wanted and at a level you wanted. It was a old chip technology, it was very SHORT echo times usually .33 of second and they where warm sounding? Where they ? The classic AD-80 Ibanez analog delay was warm, but actually it wasn’t warm it was dark. It was not quiet it was noisey and tone was kinda dirty. They rolled off the high end on the echo too cut down on noise and the sound of the clock in the background. All this mumba jumba I don’t I love that pedal, it just sounds FAT to me. I have had that guitar pedal since I was 15 and that was a long time ago.

Digital echo in a rack or guitar pedal the note is split and then sent to a A/D converter that converts it to a digital bit stream, then manipulating the time, the through a D/A converter back to analog then mix’s it back to your signal. WOW that’s a lot of chips and technology. Now you know why 25 years it sounded harsh, the technology wasn’t there yet, but man in the past 20 years everything is digital and they have figured it out. Delay times went from 2 secs to 2 hours, the conversion of AD and DA (analog to digital and back) is incredible and cost 10 cents. So our delay guitar tone is better than ever, 95% of all delays are digital and players love the looping function and long delay times and the pristine tone. But for basic echo, give me that warm, fat, dirty, analog delay sound any day !

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