guitar effects buzzwords all analogue

Guitar Effects Buzzwords Volume 3: All Analogue

By Stefan Vos
In Feb 12, 2018
1316 Views

The ‘Golden Age’ of guitar effects you say? Sounds fantastic! Anything I should know about, any words of caution? Well, yes, actually. Digital or all analogue? Don’t fall for the hype. Be informed regarding ‘the latest and the greatest’ trend. Know what the buzzwords are all about. The following for your edification:

“All Analogue’ – What is all the fuss about?

 

Surely we live among the wonders and marvels of modern technology, available to us through the miracle of digital? For a long time the warm, rich, harmonically complex sounds produced by older ‘vintage’ gear – tube amps – has been unmatched by modern digital technology, although, through ‘modelling’ software, and the likes of Kemper and the Fractal Axe-FX, this gap is rapidly diminishing.

Although the amplifier world has been leading the charge in bringing digital sounds up to par with analogue gear, the effects pedal world is also waking up to the possibilities. Traditionally, analogue pedals and signal paths ensured that fuller-frequency, harmonically rich guitar sounds were preserved. The digital pedals just seemed to lack a certain something in the sound department, which was a pity because the dizzying array of parameters and convenience was amazing. Things are beginning to change.

“Digital” – Is it a dirty word?

 

One of the first pedals that really changed the game for digital was the Line 6 Delay Modeller, a delay pedal with all manner of tricks under the hood. Since then delay pedals have stretched the limits. The trend now being to have an all-analogue signal path, with digital tweakery built in. A company that comes to mind in this regard is Chase Bliss Audio, whose pedals have a load of DIP switches. This allow almost unlimited digital tweaking of an analogue signal. These pedals also include MIDI options for greater convenience and digital manipulation

Another company synonymous with this type of pedal is Stymon. Strymon’s new overdrive and distortion pedals, the Riverside and Sunset respectively, have opened the doors to the possibilities of digital gain pedals. Digital tends to mean convenience and unlimited options. These are great but not at the cost of compromising on tone. Thankfully, this is ‘virtually’ no longer the case.

I believe that there will always be a place for music that reaches the soul in the way only a Telecaster, a Tweed Deluxe and analogue overdrive can, but perhaps the future will see new sonic architects, taking music to new places, enabled by the world of digital. Bon voyage!

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* Has played in the UK with the band Lightning Type on stages like the Camden Barfly, Dublin Castle and The London Astoria * Has recorded at Beethoven Street Studios, previously owned by Seal, through a mixing desk once used by David Bowie, with one of Brian May's amps * Has played with local rock superstars Cassette * Has been teaching for the last 10 years to all ages and levels * Listens to and enjoys playing ALL styles of music * Has spent years refining the POWER STANCE for maximum on-stage rocking * Has dedicated himself to the lifelong pursuit of ULTIMATE TONE: The Way of the TONE Master * Has never played "Guitar Hero"

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