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Why do Digital Delays cost so much?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Yertle The Turtle, Dec 1, 2000.

  1. Yertle The Turtle

    Yertle The Turtle

    Nov 15, 2000

    Can anyone enlighten me on this?
  2. As soon as something becomes digital, the electronic circuit gets about a 1,000 times as complicated as an ordinary analog circuit. A digital processor has millions of transistors in it. An average distortion effect only about 30 nowadays. And on top of that, a digital circuit has to have software to run. That has to be written too, and that takes a LOT of expertise and time.

    So you really should be asking: why are digital delays so cheap? You get an extremely complicated piece of electronics and it only costs three times as much as an analog effect.

  3. Yertle The Turtle

    Yertle The Turtle

    Nov 15, 2000
    Thanks for that

    Technically, you are correct. But I was just looking at relating to other effects that are physically bigger (like wah pedals etc)
  4. definetly more complicated to build than a wah wah
    plus there there there cooler cooler cooler cooler
  5. bassics


    Nov 27, 2000
    Newark, Ohio
    bottom line is, they're more expensive because people will pay it.
  6. Yertle The Turtle

    Yertle The Turtle

    Nov 15, 2000
    They could probably put every effect up like 50 bucks and people will still pay it....
  7. I wouldn't. I know what's in the box and I know how much it should cost. At least, I think I do. Anyhow, I already have a multi effect with everything I'll (n)ever need.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Pro-audio-quality memory chips (which can record and playback in real time) constitute a significant addition to the cost of a digital delay. You'll notice that the more delay time a device has, the higher its cost. Analog delays are little more than analog chorus units with extreme rate settings; hence, they cost about as much as chorus units. Put a memory chip in to buy yourself a couple of seconds and the cost goes up $50.
  9. I'm sorry, I have to disagree. Memory has never been as cheap as it is today. My computer has 128 Mb of RAM, and it cost as much as the 8 Mb RAM my previous computer had.

    With analog delays, you're right. An analog delay chip is, because of its special purpose, extremely expensive, and maybe costs $200 per second of delay memory. Nowadays, the memory cost in digital delays or multi-effects is negligable. A 24-bit 1 second stereo delay only takes about 256 kB of RAM. Shouldn't cost more than $10.

    Most digital delays have only about 5 seconds of delay memory. Not because memory is so expensive, but no-one could ever need more than 5 seconds of delay. My multi-effect has 1.4 seconds. I've never used it all.
  10. VictorLeMonteWooten


    Dec 6, 2000
    i know someone how can build a distortion out of $5 in materials. It's better than paying 60+. He knows a $hitload about electronics and wiring.
  11. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Semi-related question: why are MP3 players so bloody expensive? A decompression circuit, 64MB of RAM and and LCD shouldn't sell for $399. I guess the lion's share of the price goes towards paying off patent licensors.
  12. noise

    noise Guest

    Oct 23, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Well, I'm no authority, but I'd guess its because they a) need A/D and D/A converters b) use digital circuits, and c) are generally able to do much more. Delays like those in stompboxes aren't really that expensive, however. Compare the price of a Boss digital delay ($140 at zzounds) with the MoogerFooger analog delay ($600 pretty much anywhere)-- ouch!

    You don't necessarily need software for a digital circuit; software implies command interpretation, which is actually a *very* advanced concept. Digital circuits can be relatively simple without software. Now, those big TC Electronics effects boxes do some DSP, which is software... and those cost anywhere from $500 to thousands.

    But what are they expensive compared to? A distortion, compression, overdrive, limiter, EQ, or phaser effect? Those can be done with simple analog circuits. Digital circuits are certainly more complex (hence, more dollars). But analog delays are even more due to the fact that they require special ICs, which aren't even manufactured any longer.


  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You're confused, digital delays are CHEAP.

    Back in the early 80s digital delays were quite expensive, like $700-1000. Like computers, prices have fallen to the point where you can buy them for under $100 today and those $700 boxes of old can be found used for $50 or less. Plus today's delays often have at least 2 seconds of max delay, back in the 80s even 1/2 second was a big deal!!!

    Analog delays will sone be shooting up in price, the "bucket brigade" delay chips used in them are no longer being made.
  14. althought i didnt play bass in the 80's, (heck, i was only born in 86!) I have to agree with brianrost, cause i i have heard that in the 80s they cost a butt load. recently though my brother (a guitar player) bought a DOD digital delay used from a friend for $40. his friend bought it brand new for $200. so my brother got a steal of a price for $40. it works like a charm too. and from what i hear the DOD digital delays are now discontinued.

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