1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Digital vs. Analog (I'm Just Curious, That's All...)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by IcedEarthWOM, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. Analog all the way

    64 vote(s)
  2. Digital all the way

    15 vote(s)
  3. I don't really know/notice a difference

    19 vote(s)
  1. IcedEarthWOM


    Oct 2, 2005
    Just thinking the other day that of all the FX I've used the "analog" ones sound "better" IMO. By FX, I mean somthing that acctually changes/adds to the sound, so tuners, noise suppressors, etc. don't count.

    As the title says, I'm curious about other peoples preferences/experiences with the Digital vs. Analog debate. I'm most definatly not looking for flame responses, just raw opinion on the subject.

    My Experience:
    My MD-2 (which I thought was the shiz) was beat to s**t by my English Muff'n, and my V-Wah got beat by the Dime Crybaby (in both ease of use and sound). My RV-5 just didn't sound good on bass IMO, but that doesn't count because I don't have an "analog" verb to compare. Same with my compressor, as I don't have a "digital" unit to compare.

    My Opinion:
    Analog is better when sound quality really counts. All my digital stuff is used with my g**tar ;)
  2. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    I own a Roland space echo RE-201, that about says it all.
  3. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Digital works better for delay/reverb effects in most cases. Otherwise, it tends to homogenize a sound to my ears, and whatever character my instrument has seems to get lost inside a digital FX box.

    I'm not sure if this is inherant to digital, or if it's just that companies build digital devices to a price point and cut corners, though. I still like to record all-digital, and it sounds fine.

    BTW, I think the Dimebag Crybaby is the best wah made, period :)
  4. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    So far I've found analogue to sound a lot better.
  5. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    analog is much better sounding in general.

    remember those old vinyl turn-tables that were powered with valve amps? the sound produced by those was heads and shoulders above anything we have today. and that was the technology that we started with.

    even in high end amps(home theatre and music) such as rotel, harmon kardon, bose, etc; there is a definite and noticeable shift (on their top of the line models) back to valve and analog technology. it just sounds better; coz you get the whole sin wave reproduced.
  6. Modulation effects sound better digital, at least to me, as well with delay. Distortion and wah sound always be analog, and I've made that decision now.
  7. ninnlangel

    ninnlangel Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    France, Switzerland
    You should veryfy your facts man, some people prefer tubes, because they enhance certain harmonics, but they are not as accurate and fast as solid state. On top of that, "tubes vs solid state" are not the same as "analog vs digital". A great recording is a great recording. I've heard both digital and analog recordings that sounded wonderful and some that sounded bad. I heard them on highend equipment (real high-end : http://www.goldmund.com).

    As far as effects go though, I am 100% analog. I have yet to find a digital effect that sounds good live (obviously in a decent price range - not talking highend convolution reverb). They just seem to loose some part of my tone on the way.

    My .02,

  8. Cougar207


    Jun 17, 2005
    St. Charles, MO
    Yeah, I tried a few Boss delays and they sounded fake and lacked detail. For effects, a digital unit has yet to impress me so until then I will be buying analog.

    Regarding tubes v. transitors in high end home theater. http://www.theabsolutesound.com/newsletter/147/tubes_vs_trans.html Read that for 4 experts' opinions on the matter. There is no need for this thread to turn into another tube v. SS thread.
  9. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
    I like analog for a lot of things.
  10. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    actually tubes vs SS is a very good example of digital vs analog. the whole argument is about continuous(analog; of which tubes is an example) vs discreet(digital) current flow. i can tell you that you can SEE a noticeable difference in the way they distort when you connect a CRO to an analog decice and to a digital device.

    I used the tubes vs SS as an analogy to the digital vs analog debate. (BTW, i own a GK 1001RB-II; so i know and love the sound of SS and digital components).

    already a couple of TBers on this thread have posted that they have a distinct preference to one or the other. it seems analog for distortion and digital for reverb/delay. this backs up what I studied at university last year; i.e. there is a clear and distinct difference in many digital and analog circtuits.

    just ask yourself this question; why would these manufacturers(lets not forget they went nearly 100 % digital in the 1980's) start to release products that are made up of analog devices such as vaccuum tubes?

    now; it may not be that tubes are BETTER as a technology than solid state; but they certainly sound better in many applications (including effects); which is the point i was trying to make earlier.

  11. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    We need to bring that blindfold test thread here.

    I have a mix of analog and digital effects. I don't dwell in the vague "organic" or "warm" adjectives. I look for how the effect can be used in a song and how flexible it is.

    Why do high end audio manufacturers sell tube devices? Because they can charge vac tube fans an arm and both legs for their (noisy and distortion prone) toys. It is interesting that no audio expert ever agreed to submit to blindfold tests pitting high end and mainstream audio products against each other.
  12. My experience has been that I get better sound and reliability with analog effects. While I don't hate the sound of digital effects, they just lack something that I can't exactly describe in words, my ears definately ear it though. My analog stuff has also been a bit more rugged.
  13. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I love analog effects... but I'm a sucker for digital delays/reverbs.
  14. i think they both have their list of pros and cons, and i don't really think one is "better" than the other. personally i have more digital effects, just because i think that most analog effects are horribly overpriced, like vintage fender basses, and my digital effects suit me just fine.
  15. ninnlangel

    ninnlangel Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    France, Switzerland
    In that case, maybe not pointing out to articles that have very debatable views on the subject would be a good idea. I'ts really a matter of taste anyway.
  16. ninnlangel

    ninnlangel Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    France, Switzerland
    They don't sound better in any way. They have different characteristics. And some people a willing to spend fortunes on Tube amps because they like that sound. I like it too, but I'm already equipped with an amazing solid-state audio system, which I love, and have no need / interest for more, let alone the money. I have no desire for a SS vs Tubes thread. I think people have to recognize that they are quite different and a matter of taste.
  17. Cougar207


    Jun 17, 2005
    St. Charles, MO
    To some people's ears they do. Sound is entirly based on opinion.

    ...or just read the whole article. That is not a "tubes are better" article. Counter tube points include the fact that we hear digitally, tube amps 'smear' detail, they are not as accurate, exaggeration of certain frequencies, and that recording are in digital today anyway.
  18. That is a really interesting read. Thanks for posting.
  19. ninnlangel

    ninnlangel Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    France, Switzerland
    Fair enough, I didn't read the whole thing. But basically, we are agreeing. When I say they don't sound better, I mean that there is no concensus, nor scientific evidence that they do. To some people, SS sounds better.
  20. Basstyra

    Basstyra Commercial User

    Apr 3, 2005
    CTO @ Two notes Audio Engineering
    As a student in electrical engineering, I would say that analog or digital are just ways to achieve something you want. That's all, for me.

    For example, a delay is waaaaaay easier to make in digital (it's even one of the simpliest effect to do digitally), on the contrary a distortion is almost impossible to do, digitally, and analogically it's simple as turning the volume pot all the way right.

    As a musician, I really don't care it something is that or that, as long as it sounds good to my ears.