Is analogue like virginity? | The Canadian Guitar Forum

Is analogue like virginity?

Discussion in 'Effects Pedals, Strings and more' started by Doug Gifford, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Doug Gifford

    Doug Gifford

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    Once lost…

    When I'm playing live, I hate the notion of going through any digital effect because… I feel deep down inside that once digitized and then re-analogued something has been lost. Even if I can't hear it.
     
  2. Budda

    Budda Gold Member

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    You need to get out of your own head and way lol.

    What do you think the mic in front of your amp runs into?
     
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  3. Steadfastly

    Steadfastly

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    Dough, are you really Neil Young going incognito?:)
     
  4. mhammer

    mhammer

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    It's not analog vs digital, per se, but a matter of what digital, and even different generations of digital, do well. Digital can do some aspects of drive/distortion acceptably enough, but at present lacks the "organic" expressiveness of analog. But apart from that, I'm not hearing anything in digital emulations of other FX categories that disappoints. I suppose the centrality of overdriven/distorted tones to one's sound is the pivot point in one's view of digital pedals. Bear in mind, as well, that there can be a difference between individual pedals, each with their own DSP, and slightly older multi-FX where a single DSP chip may have to multi-task, and do a poorer job because of that.
     
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  5. Dorian2

    Dorian2

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    I think Mr. Hammer just explained what bugs me about certain types of DSP. Context is generally Rock music keep in mind. I've found the lower end processors have a weird, what I would call,, "tinny" sound to them. But that's is typically relegated to the drives and or Amp sims of these lower priced units. It 'feels' and sounds colder, harsher, and more Solid State to me. All the other effects apart from Gains and Drives/Amp sims sound great though. Having said that, I've also tried Amp sims and IR's in DAW processing and they hit much closer to the mark than my previous attempts with the now sub standard units from before. That new Revv G20 amp featured at NAMM may be a good example of this stuff getting a lot better now. I know guys like Budda, High/deaf, and a number of other folks here put this shit to rather good use. Seems to be a good mix of both analogue and digital combos that can do anything you need now.
     
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  6. High/Deaf

    High/Deaf Gold Member

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    I liken this to digital photography (and digital recording, I suppose). The first iterations weren't very good but they had to be done to get to the next and next and next generations. Those early 1, 2 and even 3 megapix cameras left a lot to be desired. Lens were fixed because builders thought digital zoom would be the be-all, end-all. It wasn't because it just reduced an already barely acceptable level of resolution. Fast forward 2 or 3 decades, and now you'd be hard pressed to find a serious photography that doesn't shoot digital - except for the artistes, I suppose.

    I was pretty into analog only for a long time. I would never even consider an always on pedal because it was going to have ss components in my signal path. Tubes only in my signal path, and my amps had to sound good on their own. And then of course ss for drives and mod, etc. Ffwd a couple decades and I think I've found where digital works the best and were analog - and tube - works the best. It certainly isn't a fixed set of rules either, one of the techs is constantly evolving and improving, the other just remains the high bar that all others try to replicate and improve on.

    I don't see how any of this relates to getting laid for the first time, though. I guess it's the old meme stuck in people's heads.
     
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  7. mhammer

    mhammer

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    The great irony is that the sorts of effects that digital stumbles on are often the simplest sorts of analog circuits, while the things they do well, when done in the analog domain involve considerably MORE complex circuits. Classic fuzzes may involve a mere 2 transistors and maybe 8-10 additional components (excluding knobs and jacks). A chorus will involve easily 80-120 components. And yet digital does chorus fabulously and struggles with decent fuzz and distortion.

    When I attended NAMM two summers back, I had a nice long chat with Christoph Kemper (the Kemper Profiler designer) about what digital can or can't do well at present. I asked him which gain pedal/s he found hardest to emulate authentically. His response, much to my surprise, was the Tube Screamer. I don't know why he said that, but I found it odd, because the TS-9 was really designed to provide as consistent a tone across the entire fingerboard as possible. I don't know if he was jerking me around (he has a very good poker face), or simply misunderstood the question, given all the noise around us.
     
  8. CathodeRay

    CathodeRay

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    ^ Agreed. So far, I've found dirt pedal emulation to be lacking life; analog circuits still reign there.

    But amp modeling has come a long way. To the point where it's changed how I 'feel' as a player for the better.
    E.g., I can play a model of a dimed Twin, with most of the luscious sag, overdrive and compression, without having the dishes fall out of the cupboard.

    A big aha moment came when I realized that unlike analog, in the digital multi-effects realm you can mess with volume levels within a patch without fidelity loss or noise issues coming into play.
    (I imagine the full signal resolution is kept, but is 'tagged' as being at a lower/higher volume. It certainly behaves that way.)
    E.g., I can reduce the signal volume to 1% at point A in the multi-effects chain, and then increase it again by 100x at point B in the chain, and retain the signal fidelity.
    Think about the consequences of that for a day or two and your world changes re how effects & amp models can be used together.
     
  9. KapnKrunch

    KapnKrunch Gold Member

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    Everything has it's place.

    Figure it out for your own personal purpose, and avoid blanket judgements either way.

    [Nothing wrong with guitar-cord-amp. Especially live. I fiddle with other stuff at home, but it would take a road crew to convince me bring an extra piece. Of course, when you've got my kind of talent... lol.]
     
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  10. Granny Gremlin

    Granny Gremlin Gold Member

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    Sure many, possibly even most, venues have gone with digital boards (and neven digital snakes from stage to board), still not all. Also see below. It's not crazy to avoid digital conversion when not necessary. Yes the 'prevailing' wisdom (aka common nonsesne) used to be digital is bad, and yes that has noe changed to 'it's fine, and hell - I like the convenience and aren't all these emulations great' but it is still not accurate. Yes it's gotten better, but you must realise this is mostly the result of PR and marketting that has managed to shift perception over time, along with a few other insidious factors.

    Further to all that, no matter how good the conversion is, the issue is stacked AD/DA conversion; going back and forth multiple times.

    This point also goes back to the first quote above. If something is converted to digital, using a modern converter at a decent sample rate/bit depth, and then stays digital all the way until final DA conversion at the amp or speaker, sure, that's great. It's why I don't bother with analog mastering anymore (unless somehow I found myself mixing into a reel to reel, which I don't see happening).

    However, if you have a series of digital pedals, and then digital PA, then you are going to start hearing a difference as all the conversion 'stacks' up.

    With better converters it just takes more generations of back and forth to get artifacts, but it will still happen, even if only under extreme circumstances.

    Another note: for guitar, this may not matter as much as for other sources (full mixes, piano, even vocals - more 'air' than guitar). Guitar actually has very little content in the treble range (say above 6kHz - the highest fundamental note on a guitar is <2k). So the weakness of most digital conversion is further masked a bit due to it not having any content where a given bitrate would start to harsh out (e.g. 44.1kHz means that for a tone of 10kHz, there are only 4 samples per wavelength, vs a bass frequency, say 100 hz, which will have 441 samples per wavelength - one of those is going to produce a much more rounded natural waveform than the other, which will be jagged and therefore 'harsh ' sounding).
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
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  11. jb welder

    jb welder

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    Ever see an analogue purist using a wireless system? ;)
     
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  12. KapnKrunch

    KapnKrunch Gold Member

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    You and I argued about this before. Lol. And you still love me, bro.

    The standard mastering wisdom is that it is better to convert back to analog for mastering, so then all the changes that are made are responding to analog, rather than computed. Otherwise every part is tampered with digitally throughout the whole mastering process. Conversion back to digital after mastering makes a second conversion, which is still miles ahead of possibly bad math through every change that was made during mastering.

    Lol. I know you are not convinced, GG, but I only repeat this "just for the record"...

    A big drawback to analog mastering is the expense. Everything must be done in real time, which means running through the whole performance for one change -- there is no punching in and out at specific places.

    However, here is Interesting info that you will like GG:

    This guy is a genius because instead of trying to imitate analog gear (like other software does), he discards all that nonsense and uses the computer's best way of doing things. Rave reviews from guys with the snobbiest analog compressors in the world. And dirt cheap too! Please note the elegant smoking jacket and decanters of pricey brandy -- this the "Gentleman's Edition" after all. Lol, what a guy.

     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  13. KapnKrunch

    KapnKrunch Gold Member

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    The bass player had an extra wireless at the last gig. I tried it and all the life was promptly sucked out of my $2 Zen-On microphonic gold foils. It was rejected immediately. Poor guy was crest-fallen.
     
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  14. mhammer

    mhammer

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    Nov 30, 2007
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    Ottawa, Ontario
    Fair points all.
    For a great many effects, cumulative latency due to conversion, may not matter very much. If a mostly digital time-based effect adds a half millisecond onto the wet signal, I likely won't notice. And if I'm using a digital pedal to achieve overdrive, and THAT latency is added to whatever the time-based unit does, there's a good chance I won't notice that either. I likely won't stack two or more digital; drive pedals, so that sort of cumulative latency or artifact won't likely occur.
    But you're right. Certainly, from a guitar player's perspective, sample rates and resolution are currently more than adequate for our meagre needs.

    And I should add that most of us here are primarily concerned with how we sound to ourselves, whether noodling around or playing in a band, and having our final sound come out of our amplifiers. Not that mastering or digital PA shouldn't be a point of concern, but it is a considerably less frequent or prominent one for most of us.
     
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  15. Doug Gifford

    Doug Gifford

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    Gananoque
    When I recorded my CD, I plugged the guitar straight into a preamp/DA converter and did all the signal processing on the computer. Ditto voice and percussion. For piano I used MIDI and Pianoteq. Bass was MIDI and Logic's upright bass, which was the weakest part because a keyboard is *not* an upright bass. I remain very pleased with the sound.

    For playing live, though, I'm very much a guitar-cord-amp kind of guy. Maybe add a passive volume pedal once I've mastered it. Likewise piano -- *digital* piano direct to powered speaker, so there's a bit of a contradiction there.

    But the best sound I've heard lately was a concert in a church where the instruments, including a lovely grand piano, were all played un-amplified. Which makes me suspect that whatever the gains of signal processing might be, there are also losses. Important losses.
     

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