Tone Report Weekly 194 - Page 14

Analog delay vs. digital delay I hesitate to even include the historically contentious analog-versus-digital rivalry in this article, primarily because I think we are very near to the point where the debate is entirely moot. The newest crop of analog- mimicking digital delays is so good that it is becoming increasingly difficult for hardheaded analog puritanism to exist any longer. Pedals like Catalinbread’s new Belle Epoch Deluxe have set a new standard for analog-voiced digital effects, one that has nearly broken the will of even the most die-hard DM-2 and Echoplex fanatics. The flipside of this coin is that some of the new, purely analog delays like DOD’s Rubberneck—which boasts 1500 milliseconds of delay time and tap tempo— features that were once the sole domain of digital pedals. As you can see, the once clear lines between digital and analog are becoming ever blurrier. 14 TONE TALK // This being said, however, it is helpful to understand the fundamental sonic differences between analog and digital styles. Traditionally, analog lovers have preferred the darker, somewhat softer tonal qualities of BBD and tape-based echo devices to the harder-edged, more cutting sounds of a standard digital unit. The murkier quality of analog repeats can allow them to blend more seamlessly into a mix, making things like exact tempo matching mostly unnecessary. Digital repeats, however, with their cleaner, clearer timbre and precise repetitions, make careful tempo matching more important. It is not necessary to choose between these types of sounds when finding your delay style, as many units will do both kinds of sounds quite well, but if you do have a strong preference for one over the other, then don’t be afraid to let this preference be your guide down the path to delay enlightenment. A Guide to Your First Delay Pedal