Is there a big difference between tape and digital delay?

Lhdr

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Analog seems unique. In tape, I’m referring to digital representation. What’s the sound difference between these?
 

tzd

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Digital delay is a pure repeat of the sound. Analog delay has a decay to every repeat of the sound.
 

ARandall

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Surely a search of this on youtube would have been the most logical way to get an answer for this. You would have known the answer in person and with your own ears before you even managed to type in your thread.
 

Davey Rock

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I hate to be “that one guy” but honestly those vintage tape repeaters (yes that’s what I call them) sound a lot better to me. Much wetter and believable. Obviously these aren’t necessarily BETTER. You can see which you like for yourself from various internet sound clips. I have a 20 Dan electro pedal and it sounds good. Granted it doesn’t have adjustable speed so I’d either be playing in bpm with the pedal or letting my weak mind confuse the slap back for a metronome beat. Goes great with the electronics on my dove pro though. Great sounds with a fresh battery, for the guitar and pedal, as well as new strings. Great grandads twin reverb takes it extremely well.
 

DavGrape

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Yah, I used to have one of these Ibanez; must have had a loop of tape in there.
Sounded fantastic, real natural sounding, the highs would kind of roll off on delays.
Using a Danelectro now; it's great, but digital... sounds better playing real low.
vybc873talpzuacmhali.jpg
 

strayedstrater

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In tape, I’m referring to digital representation.
Many digital delays have a "tape" setting that simulates tape delays. If you're asking what that setting does, it varies from pedal to pedal.

As said, with mechanical tape delays every repeat loses some fidelity. The most basic digital "tape" settings just do that.

Motors and drive trains aren't perfect like digital. They sped up and slowed down, changing the pitch and timing of the repeats. Many digital "tape" settings simulate that. Some have modulation knobs to adjust the intensity of flutter.

Some mechanical tape units had distinctive sounding preamps that added pleasing coloration to both the direct and delay signals. A few digital "tape" settings try to simulate that.

Tape is noisier than digital. A few digital "tape" settings add some noise.
 

filtersweep

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Through an amp? At band levels? In a mix?

Real tape is a bit maintenance heavy— and comes in a bigger box.

I, for one, welcome innovations such as digital emulation in delays and reverbs.
 

jwinger

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I owned a fulltone TTE for years. The dunop echoplex digital delay is 90% there, and it's 90% smaller haha. Sold the TTE, and no real regrets but occasionally I miss it
 

Rocco Crocco

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Tape delays have a preamp that adds "character" to the overall guitar sound as well as the repeats. These sound "better" at the beginning of the signal chain. Digital delays work better in the FX loop of your amp.
 

Lhdr

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I can hear the difference between digital and analog on my ipad speakers. I cant hear the difference between digital and tape. That is my question. What is the sound difference to the ear between digital and digitally represented tape Delay?
 

EpiLP1985

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I'm not an expert but I'll throw my $0.02 in:

1.) True electromechanical tape delays actually, to my ears at least, have much more pristine repeats than nearly everyone gives them credit for, i.e. well cared for machines with new tape will have sonic characteristics, at least where the frequency content of the repeats are concerned, that are much closer to digital than others would think.

2.) Even when factoring in mechanical anomalies in the tape units themselves as well as the tape imperfections, a good tape delay will have repeats that are much less high passed and dark than the standard analog delay.

3.) The best digital representations of tape delay give the user complete control over the tailoring of the mechanical and tape related imperfections and anomalies, i.e. Strymon El Cap, etc. I have an El Cap and the control over the quality and tone of the delay is incredible. I also have a cheap Valeton digital modeller with tape and tube options. The issue with this is.....

4.) Like many, even more expensive, options the Valeton has fixed "black box" frequency shaping and modulation on these models. It makes it a crapshoot where you are at the mercy of the builder as to what THEY think tape echo sounds like.

5.) Lastly, many digital tape emulations, even the high quality ones like the Strymon, benefit from being "goosed" by an Echoplex type preamp pedal.
 

Rocco Crocco

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I can hear the difference between digital and analog on my ipad speakers. I cant hear the difference between digital and tape. That is my question. What is the sound difference to the ear between digital and digitally represented tape Delay?
the tape delay simulation in the line 6 helix sounds authentic to me and sounds nothing like the digital delays in the Helix.
 

JKjr

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They call you Derek huh? Well good on ya, they just call me Stoopid.

Not here much, and the first place I go I read posts like yours. Maybe I should hang out more. Sometimes I play Fenders though...does that mean I'm out??

I can't speak to numbers 3 or 4 but have found the rest to be on the money. I'm old enough to have the sound of new EP-2's imprinted on my young brain, and have rarely heard it since. I've tried a bunch of pedestrian delays but haven't had the opportunity to spend any time with the good stuff. I've sure heard some great sounds from players who use them .

I use an EP Booster first on my board .It's a great buffer and gives that famous analog goose. I like delays in the loop if I have one I've been thinking of getting a looper pedal for when I don't. My fav cheap ones are either analog and pretty noisy or digital and just not what I'm looking for. Can anyone who's tried this chime in please?

Lastly, on almost any working pro's pedalboard there's a big green DL-4 in the loop. They sell them to idiots like me too.
 

EpiLP1985

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Not here much, and the first place I go I read posts like yours. Maybe I should hang out more. Sometimes I play Fenders though...does that mean I'm out??
I take this as the highest of compliments and I love my Squier Stratocaster!

I use an EP Booster first on my board. It's a great buffer and gives that famous analog goose.
I decided to go with the Aion Fx Ares PCB (it's a Clinch Fx EP Pre clone) as opposed to the EP Booster because I did not need the additional gain that the EP Booster supplied and I wanted something more true to the Echoplex preamp.

The El Cap takes on some very wonderful properties when being hit with an Echoplex preamp, provided it is not one of the gainier ones.
 

el84ster

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There is a massive difference between a real tube and tape echo and digital.
it’s like a classic tube amp vs…a pod maybe?
 

EpiLP1985

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There is a massive difference between a real tube and tape echo and digital.
it’s like a classic tube amp vs…a pod maybe?
I'm was a little confused by the OP at first. Digital emulation of tape and magnetic delay, whether with a solid state or tube preamp, is really varied.

It tends to sound best when you have complete control of the various parameters AND you hit it with a period correct preamp.
 

JKjr

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I take this as the highest of compliments and I love my Squier Stratocaster!



I decided to go with the Aion Fx Ares PCB (it's a Clinch Fx EP Pre clone) as opposed to the EP Booster because I did not need the additional gain that the EP Booster supplied and I wanted something more true to the Echoplex preamp.

The El Cap takes on some very wonderful properties when being hit with an Echoplex preamp, provided it is not one of the gainier ones.
The gain thing is my only beef. I keep it all the way down, but tend to turn it off playing "dead clean", which really isn't at all. The flip side is it sounds great turned up with a strat. Ooops did I say that out loud?
I found the Aion website. That looks like the ticket for me. Thanks!
 

jamason

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Surely a search of this on youtube would have been the most logical way to get an answer for this. You would have known the answer in person and with your own ears before you even managed to type in your thread.
Wow, what a helpful response... and from a senior contributor. NOT.
 

NotScott

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The responses above pretty much cover the differences. I don't use a lot of effects but for live use, I would prefer the lower noise, consistency and reliability of a digital unit and I doubt an audience would be able to tell what delay type I was using.
 

zdoggie

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this is above my pay scale , my amp has a digital reverb that minnics the old style reverb It sounds great to me ,I also have a 2290 and an eventide that are in the rack un plugged.

zdog
 


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