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Oh no! There's a digital pedal in my all analog chain...but is it a bad thing?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by kamilwysocki, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. So I'd like to start this forum to gather opinions and experiences with comparing analog and digital pedals. For a long time I've always thought hey my amp is analog, sending digital signal through it would
    Somehow compromise the warm tube sound and I would no longer have the un colored tone I love. 1)Is this true? 2)Why?3)what brands produce analog effects/compressors/equalizers ex.
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    If you loved uncolored tone you probably wouldn't use a tube amp.
    Whatever you add into the signal chain will alter the sound in some way, which isn't always a bad thing.
    Digital/analogic is transparent to the user, it doesn't matter the least to me. Many people use digital effects without knowing about it.
    All brands produce analog effects and most of them have digital ones too.
  3. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    I mix them up--it works.
  4. tomhanzo


    Apr 20, 2008
    West Virginia
    Both the above are true in my experience. Each pedal is different.

    Boss pedals are usually digital with buffers and have little to no effect on your tone when bypassed. My analog ibanez delay would colour my tone horribly when active or bypassed.

    You just have to try things. No true right or wrong here unless your asking about a particular pedal.
  5. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    You can't judge just based on digital vs analog; there are good and bad sounding pedals of both types.
  6. You won't send a digital signal to your amp regardless of the pedals you use. Digital pedals us AD/DA conversion. This means on the way in it converts analogue to digital and on the way out it converts digital to analogue.

    Every CD you have ever listened to has gone through this AD/DA process. In fact, even if you buy a new album on vinyl it has very VERY likely been stored as digital media at some stage of the recording/producing process.

    What really matters is the quality of the conversion and the bit depth and sample rate of the signal while it is digital.

    And the thing is, the first frequencies to have degradation in digital form are the highest. There isn't too much signal coming from your bass that would be affected by a low sample rate or bit depth.

    Digital technology is quite well suited to our end of the spectrum and as long as you are using quality digital equipment with good AD/DA conversion you should be fine.
  7. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014
    If it sounds good.. Who cares?
  8. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 GAS resistance is utterly futile... Supporting Member


    I tend to look first for analog when buying a pedal, but it's just personal preference. I have 2 digital pedals in my current chain and everything works fine. I use the 60B for tone-shaping (its MarkBass patch is great, among others) and the BassDriver for fuzz and when I'm playing with the band, I'm pretty sure nobody but me hears or feel the difference when a digital pedal is on, if there is any. Heck, I can't even say at that point.

    This quote from a famous bassist in Bass Player's Tone & Technology issue from a few years ago comes to mind from time to time:
    It probably oversimplifies the issue, but makes a good point nonetheless: sometimes I overthink the whole thing instead of just plugging in go.

  9. Thanks for all the responses. It's looking like quality isn't limited to analog products. The reason I started thinking about this subject is because I was looking at the mxr m87. Mxr really prides themselves on their analog pedals from what I've seen but I couldn't find any information on whether or not the m87 is full analog. I doubt it is because of its size and the ridiculous amount this pedal can do, but then again I have no idea. I'm going to use the pedal regardless.
  10. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 GAS resistance is utterly futile... Supporting Member

    I'm a huge MXR fan, I've owned a number of their pedals and still play a BEF and a BCD. I recall reading here on TB that all their "Bass Innovations" products are analog, but I can't locate said post. Since they have outstanding service, I'm sure they will reply to an e-mail asking to clarify the issue on the Bass Comp.
  11. This. If you can't hear a difference then it's not a bad thing right?
  12. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right?

    Apr 9, 2012
    Occasional Beta Tester for Confusion Studios, Singular Sound, and Source Audio
    No. /thread
  13. while i certainly think it's interesting to think about the construction and how that relates to sound, obviously it has some impact, but i don't even think about digital vs. analog when i look at a pedal.

    1)does it sound good?
    2)does it do what i need?
    3)what do i have to sell to afford it?

    yeah, that's about it.......
  14. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses

    AFAIK, the M87 is 100% analog. there's no reason that it shouldn't be, especially since it's a lot harder to program a digital pedal to make a great sounding compressor than to make an analog one, although the zoom MS60B's DBX 160 is a really good one.