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Digital Echos/delays VS Pedals VS vst What difference ?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Digital Echos/delays VS Pedals VS vst What difference ?

Hi there ! I've been playing the guitar for more than 10 years but I'm still a gear Newbie so I'd like to ask a few questions.

I like big echoey sounds, so I searched and found the most interesting gear to me : DL4 from line6, Boss Delay, TC 2290 and Eventide H8000 etc.

Of course those two last are waaay too expensive for me now. But I've been wondering, What's the difference between a digital rack like the TC 2290 and let's say a VST/plugin that is...Also digital ? (silly question I know but I have no idea how it's made). And what's the Delay pedal doing compared to the digital rack ?

And to a large extent... Is it possible to have a similar sound with let's say the Space Designer in Logic Pro or any "In the box" recording/mixing ? or with a combination of the DL4 and some digital delays from the DAW ?

Thanks for your time and response.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Wolf LeProducer's Avatar
 

Hi!! You are asking gigantic questions. The easiest way to answer is, "there are similarities and differences." Digital delay, reverb means, "software." In the case of a delay pedal, or rack unit the software is hard wired into the processor/pedal, in the case of a vst effect the software needs a host/daw.

Many vst effects will seek to emulate the response of a classic pedal. For example, there are a zillion, "little green disto vst's," and they are all emulating the Ibanez Tube Screamer. A big difference here is signal chain. As of now, if you want to put a vst effect before your amp, you will have to first plug into the computer, and then into the amp - that is a complete pita, though far from impossible, if you want the vst in your amps fx loop. To have the vst after your amp, you need to mic the amp.

Maybe you are beginning to see what is going on? A digital delay/reverb can either be found in a pedal, in a floor processor, on your amp, or as a vst, audio unit, some kind of plug in, gizmo built in max/pure data etc

As for the Space Designer - I don't know it. My background is Cubase/Renoise, and mostly pc stuff. I will say: there are bad reverbs, good reverbs, and legendary reverbs. The same goes for delay. If your effect falls into legendary category than in a similar sound will be hard pressed...
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf LeProducer View Post
Hi!! You are asking gigantic questions. The easiest way to answer is, "there are similarities and differences." Digital delay, reverb means, "software." In the case of a delay pedal, or rack unit the software is hard wired into the processor/pedal, in the case of a vst effect the software needs a host/daw.

Many vst effects will seek to emulate the response of a classic pedal. For example, there are a zillion, "little green disto vst's," and they are all emulating the Ibanez Tube Screamer. A big difference here is signal chain. As of now, if you want to put a vst effect before your amp, you will have to first plug into the computer, and then into the amp - that is a complete pita, though far from impossible, if you want the vst in your amps fx loop. To have the vst after your amp, you need to mic the amp.

Maybe you are beginning to see what is going on? A digital delay/reverb can either be found in a pedal, in a floor processor, on your amp, or as a vst, audio unit, some kind of plug in, gizmo built in max/pure data etc

As for the Space Designer - I don't know it. My background is Cubase/Renoise, and mostly pc stuff. I will say: there are bad reverbs, good reverbs, and legendary reverbs. The same goes for delay. If your effect falls into legendary category than in a similar sound will be hard pressed...
What a bunch of BS, "Mr. Crowley".

I'll provide an answer that means something when I'm not about to go to bed.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Addict
 
ThorSouthshire's Avatar
A big difference is that a pedal can also be analogue, ie a bucket brigade design like the original memoryman which tends to give creamier and often more musical delays than a digital pedal. That being said many digital pedals are also great and has their own sound, and some also do a pretty good job of emulating bucket brigade delays or other designs, such as the roland space echo or binson echorec, although the two latter is hard to get sounding just right. Strymon El Capitan, Timeline or The Eventide Timefactor or H9 are great here, although there are many more.

There are also many pedals, both analogue and digital that sounds like a pile of garbage and will, even if not enabled, suck the life out of your guitar tone, due to their design.

I don't have that much experience with rack delays but I'd guess in the earlier days they had an edge in sound quality but I'd imagine the converters is also partly what made them better than the pedals. Introducing a computer with vst/etc to the chain suddenly gives you all sorts of potential problems especially if you're playing live. First of all a computer can, and will, crash. A pedal or rack is more reliable in those regards. Also, a computer can introduce all sorts of grounding and noise problems that is very uncomplimentary to a high gained instrument such as the electric guitar.

These days an Eventide H9 can pretty much do the same job as all of this, except if you want an analogue delay, then I'd get something else. For something cheaper the TC electronics pedals are nice allrounders for basic digital delay sounds.

The line6 dl4 is an old dusty overpriced box computer that in its heyday did some fancy effects, these days though pretty much everything you find sounds better.

Last edited by ThorSouthshire; 1 week ago at 01:51 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Wolf LeProducer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
What a bunch of BS, "Mr. Crowley".

I'll provide an answer that means something when I'm not about to go to bed.

Congratulations on your life not being pathetic. I hope you are feeling better about yourself now that you've done a great job putting me down while I was just trying to help somebody.

You have a better answer? Good for you
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf LeProducer View Post
Congratulations on your life not being pathetic. I hope you are feeling better about yourself now that you've done a great job putting me down while I was just trying to help somebody.

You have a better answer? Good for you
Me? Put you down? I'm not the one calling you "Mr. Crowley". That's you.

And I'm not the one providing a somewhat pompous "answer" that somehow manages to avoid giving the OP any of the information he wishes to know. What the hell does saying that there are a zillion "tube screamer" distortion plugins have to do with a question specifically asking about delays?

So congratulations, I'm going to postpone addressing the question again because I really don't fee like getting into it now that you've tried to turn this into another stupid GS attack thread.

So have a good evening, "Mr. Crowley".
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I thought Wolf LeProducer's contribution was most generous.
And I'd hope that free speech remains fundamental to the ethos of the forum.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Guru
It's not my bedtime yet so let me tell you a story about delays:

In the real world, sound bounces of surfaces, and ears/brains are hardwired to figure out what that means. It stops us hitting into things in the dark, and allows us to dodge spears thrown at us, and to catch food and stuff ... it is powerful subconscious stuff going on all the time.

Sound in the air gets quite messed up quite quickly in the real world, and becomes a diffused reverb. But if the conditions are right - like a hard wall or cliff face, we can get distinct clear echoes coming back at us. And the further away, the long the time between repeats. And the acoustic energy dissipates, so every repeat is weaker and more degraded than the next. And this gives our brains a lot of clues as to the distance away or size of the room.

When magnetic tape recorders became available on the market after WWII - they ceased to be military weapons and came into the hands of musicians. Les Paul was an amazing inventor and pioneer - not just the inventor of the electric guitar, but also of multitrack recording and tape delays. Listen to some early Les Paul and Mary Ford ... check out How High The Moon. That song inspired many of the legendary rock guitar players ... fantastic stuff.

So magnetic tape made it possible to have repeat of a recorded sound - depending on tape speed and distance of playback heads. Around 100ms or so it sounds like sound slapping back of a rear wall of a big room. So this was called "tape slap back echo" - and this was a big part of early rock and roll. Check out early Elvis Presley recordings from Chess Records - huge slap back delay.

Once people got a taste for artificial delay, a lot of machines were invented. Some used tape. Some used oil cans of ferromagnetic fluid. Some used disks. Research the famous machines like Binson Echorec, Echoplex, Watkins Copicat, Tel_Ray Adinko, Roland Space Echo.

These delay units gave longer and more interesting delays - multiple heads, etc ... this launched a whole bunch of guitar heros with surf music and spy music and space rock etc.

The Beatles did a lot with tape FX - loops and delays and flanging and automatic double tracking ... probably re-inventing all the stuff that Les Paul had invented years before. By the 1970s the guys like Pink Floyd used extremely long tape delays - with engineers looping tape around a room, iterally, to get long repeats.

Around the 70's intergrated circuit chips made Bucket Brigade Delays possible. These chips had thousands of capacitors and amps on a single chip - and the sound was passed down the line to create a delay.

Some short delays - like the Cooper Time Tube - were created with very long coiled up tubes with a speaker and mic at each end.

Alll of these methods - whether mechanical or electrical or electronic - created really messed up delays. They were limited in bandwith, noisy, wobbly ... but it didn't matter, because they sounded great. In real life - echoes get messed up and noisy - it's part of the magic, and our brains can relate to this.

Tape delay was the cleanest - but still a little messed up. Then digital delay was invented ... and despite it's orginal limitations, it has got cleaner and more accurate. Which is a problem ... because it can be *too clean* and unnatural.

People like The Edge from U2 created amazing soundscapes - starting with analog BBD delays like the EHX Memoryman, but then moving to digital delays like the Korg SDD3000. It was possible to do things that were very unnatural - like modulating the delays, or pitch shifting them. This created large hyper-realistic or surrealistic soundscapes.

Plugins, being digital, can obviously do digital delays very well. Clean digital repeat can be musically useful - and sometimes that's what you want. Being able to sync to the host tempo can help the groove and make the delays blend in.

But then again - it was the quirks and defects and imperfections of all these early delay machines that gave real interest and character. Our brains are VERY sensitive to small differences - and the music that evolved using these new toys is very linked to some of these sonic signatures.

They all have their place. Don't for one momement think that plugins are inferior in any way. You can make hit albums with nothing more than plugin delays. But if you are trying to recreate a specific vibe from a specific time period - you may need to get a specific flavour delay machine.

A huge considerion in selection is whether you want the delay to be before the guitar speaker (assuming for a moment we are talking about guitars) or after the track is recorded. I adore using delays *before* a cab or simulation - bear in mind that some degredation of a delay is a good thing.

There are some really nice stomp box delays that model various flavours of delay. I personally love tape delay, but do not wish to ever purchase a tape machine or tape again. At this point, it's just not worth it for me ... that's a rich mans game. And for diminishing returns, unless you want to recreate vintage sound.

Don't ignore the fact that all these types of hardware or software go through stages of development, hit a peak and then fall out of favour. Digital has not hit it's peak yet - so it's steadily getting better and better. But delay is an interesting arena - where *better* might mean dirtier, noisier, less-perfect ... choose your flavour.

I know John loves his Roland Space Echos ... and a well maintained one is a magical sound. I have a Roland RE20 digital emulation - I think it is great. But ... there is no doubt that the real thing (in good condition) is better ... especially when you push them into saturation.

Digital is getting better, and it is cleaner and less noise ... different, but different can be good.

I love the Catalinbread delays ... really interesting quirkly pedals that give good models of vintage sounds, or totally new sounds.

It's like car design. The old Model T ford had a certain appeal - but I would not want to own one. A 1968 Mustang might be nice ... but I wouldn't want to drive one every day. Some people may find it necessary to own a Bugatti Veyron ... me, not so much. I'm happy with a Toyota.

I like my Boss delays ... I used to have analog delays but they now sound too dark and noisy for my taste. I love the Edge U2 stuff - am tempted to get a Korg. My RE20 Space Echo sounds nice to me, and my Strymon Deco is amazing for emulating retro tape based tricks. I really would like all the Catalinbread delays - I think they are amazing.

I've sort of moved away from plugins. They are too expensive for the temporary life expectancy ... software is constantly churning, and what works today won't work tommorow. So use them now if they make you happy, but my pedals will probably still work in 30 years time when those plugins are long forgotten.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by arpinz View Post
Hi there ! I've been playing the guitar for more than 10 years but I'm still a gear Newbie so I'd like to ask a few questions.

I like big echoey sounds, so I searched and found the most interesting gear to me : DL4 from line6, Boss Delay, TC 2290 and Eventide H8000 etc.

Of course those two last are waaay too expensive for me now. But I've been wondering, What's the difference between a digital rack like the TC 2290 and let's say a VST/plugin that is...Also digital ? (silly question I know but I have no idea how it's made). And what's the Delay pedal doing compared to the digital rack ?

And to a large extent... Is it possible to have a similar sound with let's say the Space Designer in Logic Pro or any "In the box" recording/mixing ? or with a combination of the DL4 and some digital delays from the DAW ?

Thanks for your time and response.
OK, let's see....From your post I infer that you tend to favor big digital delay sounds, not lo-fi analog BBD pedal tones and probably not even much in the tape echo area except maybe the Space Echo multi-head sounds, but you're mostly into the digital emulations, not the original tape hardware and the fine differences between the emus and the real thing.

So what's the difference between VST computer emus and hardware implementations? After all, they're all digital code running on some sort of computing device, right?

Well, yes and no.

The major difference between a VST and the same code running on dedicated hardware is optimization. On a dedicated hardware unit the code and the hardware are both optimized for one purpose - reverb. The hardware doesn't have to be designed with any other purpose in mind besides running the reverb algorithms and the rudimentary support functions of the user interface, which itself is optimized for one purpose - operating the reverb. The reverb algos run on only one, purpose designed, hardware platform, with one, purposed designed, user interface. That makes things very, very efficient.

VSTs, however, must be designed to run on many different hardware platforms as well as many different software platforms (DAWs). The code must be designed to accommodate these. Furthermore, a general purpose computer like a PC or Mac is designed to perform many different functions - it can't be optimized to do just one thing. Even in you're a expert in your OS of choice and go it and turn off all the unnecessary functions to get peak performance from your system there are still hundreds and hundreds of background tasks running all the time that are concerned with the basic operations of a general use comp. All of this takes code cycles, memory, etc. While computers have become MUCH faster than they were a few years ago, all these background functions still eat into the system's efficiency - and that's not even considering the fact that it still has to run the DAW, which is a very complicated program with many different concurrent functions as well; as all the other plugins that are running at the same time as the reverb. You can't get around this.

The result is that, even in cases where the VST is built on exactly the same core algos that were developed for the hardware product, there are still functional compromises that many experienced engineers feel have an effect on the resulting audio. Things HAVE got a lot better in the last few years, but you still can't entirely overcome the basic scientific facts, and those that come close tend to represent a very large CPU load.

And this is ignoring other factors such as the effects of being able to employ a dedicated hardware design, optimized power supply that doesn't have to deal with a bunch of other simultaneous systems, a purpose - built analog section, etc, etc, etc.

So, to make a long story short, a rack reverb is designed to do only one thing and to do it as well as possible (at least within the limits of production costs for a given retail price.) VSTs don't get to operate in such a dedicated environment and have to deal with the compromises dictated by running on a general purpose platform.

As far as pedals vs racks go, again it comes down to optimization and hardware compromise. With a pedal you're trying to squeeze a lot of functionality into a very small format which, again, entails compromise. The more complicated your user interface becomes, the harder it is to make it fit a pedal format that makes sense to use in a live situation. Generally speaking, the best pedals (functionally) have the simplest user interfaces, which generally means fewer "bells and whistles". Also, digital reverb requires more processing power than the vast majority of commonly used FX - that puts a load on the power supply and generates a certain amount of heat. The more processing power, the better the reverb, since a convincing reverb requires generating a great number of individual reflections (delays) at the same time.

It's only been in the last few years that it has become possible to do a really decent sounding digital reverb in a pedal format, and those are on the expensive side.

Note that this post so far has primarily dealt with generalities between the three formats and with the requirements of digital reverb.

Digital delay is a related and somewhat simpler matter, but I'm getting a bit tired of typing (recovering from a hand injury), so I'll get into delays in part 2.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Guru
DSP code either executes the algorithmns as planned or it fails. It's just mathematics. And you would generally know when it fails.

Optimization of resources is an issue inside a computer which is multitasking ... but processing speeds are a lot faster than they ever used to be. Digital audio is measured in kilohertz - and 96,000 cycles per second covers most of audio range we need. Computer processing is measured in gigaflops ... 1000 Million floating point instructions per second. So there is plenty of time in between to process a lot of audio with zero compromise in the mathematical accuracy or timing.

Obviously you can't just load up a DAW with tracks and plugins ... there is a point where the CPU can't cope. But right up until that point - sucessful processing is successful processing. It's not really different to running a spreadsheet of your financial records or anything else that has to be done perfectly right every time.

One problem with computers is their relentless accuracy. They can't even generate random numbers really. As a programmer i've used code to generate random numbers - and they tend to use lookup tables of pseudo random numbers - so they aren't really random at all. You might use a seed - maybe the time - to start that psuedo random table in a different place ... but if a person really wanted to and understood the algorithmn, they could predict the *random* numbers generated by a computer.

Not that it really matters in practice ... but analog stuff is real world electrons and affected by temperature and stuff, so analog is capable of genuine chaos. Those vintage tape machines were not perfect - there were mechanical irregularitys. Or even the early digital stuff had major sections of analog circuitry that added to the flavour.

Something like a Roland RE20 Space Echo digital pedal is trying to emulate the real tape based RE201 tape delay. It introduces digital distortion and emulates the wobblyness of the tape ... giving it a nice vintage, almost chorusy flavour. Out of all the options available in a pedal, I like it a lot. If I really wanted to push a Space Echo to the limitis for studio use, I would have to get the real machine because I really don't like the digital distortion when pushed hard. But used careful, the RE20 rocks.

I see absolutely no reason at all (technically) why Roland could not implement the exact same DSP algorithm in a computer VST. Optimiztion is not the problem ... a modern PC has the resources to perform those calculation on time and deliver.

The real reason is marketing. Roland have to make money. Putting your good algorithmns into plugins that are going to be hacked and pirated for free is too dangerous to their business model. They are just not going to do this. They need you to buy their hardware.

In time, when they have better hardware they want you to buy, they will eventually put some of their good code into software. But they are playing the game and balancing what they release to the public, to maximise profits. That is the real reason *some* software lags behind hardware.

But then you have new software companies who don't have those overheads and interests to protect. They can put everything they've got into their code ... try to protect it with an iLock or something - and hope that enough honest people pay the full price. So that puts pressure on the big boys who have the good stuff (and the software patents!!!) ...

So buying hardware is stil the best way to get the good stuff - in some areas.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
I'll try to give a short answer

First there was tape delay, check this modern option; → REPLICATOR TAPE ECHO ← Buy your delay pedal online!

Then they made tape delays like this; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzgllPfulP4 (video contains modern digital alternatives)

Then they made pedal size delays using BBD chips, they were ment to mimic tape but more portable and needed less maintenance; Check mxr carboncopy, ehx memoryman deluxe, boss DM-2w...aside supercheap chinese stuff (which are actually digital), pedal delays sold as analog use bbd chips (sound ddegrades with each repeat).

Then they made digital delays; almost a mirror image of the source sound is delayed and delay time limits extend. Check boss DD-7 or dd-3

Finally, they made digital delay mimic analog/tape delays characteristics and then added even more fx inside the delay; check Boss terra echo, boss dd-500, line6 DL4, tc electronic flashback, strymon timeline...some brands focus on analog quality's while other try to get creative/ambient.

The difference between vst vs hardware is that simply hardware delays are carefully+creatively tailored while with vst you're usually on your own if you want creative sounds with delays.

Fun Fact; Emulating BBD was the hardest for digital delays, only recently bbd sounding digital delays are introduced.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Duke Murdock's Avatar
 

I find I'm happiest using physical devices to create sounds to be recorded and then using the intangible tools to further manipulate sounds that have already been recorded. "Playing" the sound is a big source of inspiration for me but it's also fun to try and take it one step further after that as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Wow, thanks a lot guys. I read your replies like a book. We live in a marvellous era, I didn't expect so accurate replies but I'll gladly take them.

Thanks Kiwi for the History part, didn't know any of this except about How High the moon, I studied it in Jazz class. You went deep inside the explanation, I appreciate it.

John Eppstein : Thanks man, thought I liked all the answers I think you were the one who best understood the question. Now I think Kiwi got a point on the marketing thing, I agree that hardware makes it sound better but it shouldn't sound so much different with the exact same code. I guess that what makes the Eventide or LC 2290 expensive is also the number of presets and effects they have.

I hadn't mentioned it but some of you assumed right about my intentions : My ideas was " Would it be possible to have the sound I want with my computer on stage and a Marshall Amp, all the sound going out from the Marsh Cabinet or other speakers". About that, well obviously my computer will crash... That's probably not a good idea but somehow, it would be then possible to have a similar sound with the delay designer on my computer ?

Let me clear this up a bit : I'm trying to get close to the coldplay sound (and build my own around of course) which is itself a personalized replicate of the U2 and Radiohead ones. And, as bad as it might be, the DL4 is almost always there, coupled with the LC and the Eventide, even a line 6 rack... Yeah I know, that's a lot for some damn echos ! Since I'm not going to buy them all, hence why I asked if I should better try the DL4 out coupled with a computer delay (plugin or design sth with the delay vst designer, that is btw absolutely fantastic, I know it's been used in the box on some albums) but yeah I just wanted to know if the Rack delays were really out of this world for a reason or if they could be replaced.

For the record, I've played heavy metal **** in my early years, so all my gear is totally obsolete now, I always assumed I wouldn't become a pedalboard guy, oh boy...
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Squawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by arpinz View Post
I've been wondering, What's the difference between a digital rack like the TC 2290 and let's say a VST/plugin that is...Also digital ? (silly question I know but I have no idea how it's made). And what's the Delay pedal doing compared to the digital rack ?
General differences are portability, ease of placement in your signal path (before the amp, in fx loop, or aux in daw). Rack units can have more features, connectivity and dsp power (ie. Eventide H8000fw, Eclipse).

Ultimately, pedals and outboard are cooler and more fun (IMO, esp. pedals), and you have analog options available as well.

I just acquired an Eventide Space pedal yesterday. Nice feature with it is switchable line/guitar inputs and outputs, so you can easily use it in your daw.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
but I'm getting a bit tired of typing (recovering from a hand injury), so I'll get into delays in part 2.
Btw, sorry for that mate. Have a good recovery !
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Gear Guru
You could definately use a computer on stage if you wanted to ... but I personally don't want to. I've even had hardware digital processor crap out during a gig .. they are just computers in a box really. Power surges and stuff can crash digital stuff - you aren't immune by not using a computer.

A Macbook with a Thunderbolt interface would have low latency. But why not just get a good delay pedal with the features and sound you need, and work with it.

As much as this freaks John out - I find my Pod HD Pro to be extremely useful for delays. It has various flavours - any feature you could want, and good midi control and patch recall. I love the way the floorboard connectsd with a single ethernet cable - no power or audio cabling required, and I get an optical expression pedal and switching, tuning etc ... massive bang for buck. And used as a delay alone, it is as good as most others for live purposes. Plus you can intergrate hundreds more effects ...

I believe The Edge used (probably still uses) a lot of Line6 gear in his pile of techno rubble he carries around with him ... I probably does more than you would think because it is ultra convenient. This is where Line6 stuff is best used, in my opinion - like a midi control centre to connect up real amps and to set things up for each song. Delays in particular need to be set for each song, and the midi synchronization can be ultra important.

For example, I adore the sound of the Catlinbread delays - but I would not like to use them in a gig for specific time delays where they have to be dialled in to the millisecond to interact with a drum machine for example.

Tap tempo is an option - personally, I hate tap tempo - but it's better than nothing. With drum machine or backing tracks, I like either tempo synchronisdation - or simply storing the tempo for the song in a preset patch.

So many options. And yet, a computer is an option. An iPad might be another. Pods work for me.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Reverb's Avatar
1) If you plan on performing live with a lot of various and complicated delay settings, a pedal like the timefactor from eventide can really save you a lot of hassle. You can save presets and, just as importantly, name those presets. The led screen allows you to recall the exact values of your presets' settings as well in case you forget them or need to make adjustments. Every delay unit has it's strenghts and some sound better than others, but don't ignore core UI functionality if you plan on performing complex material. I have my whole setlists mapped out and it makes everything so easy not needing to bend over and adjust pedal settings between songs.

2) I owned the line 6 dl4 - the inability to store more than three presets and the inability to see what you stored in those presets makes it a terrible pedal for live use unless you have very simple delay needs . Also, the pedal degrades your tone simply being in your chain, not drastically, but it does. Today, you should be looking at Eventide or Strymon, not the dl4.

3) delay plugins sound great and are basically better if your mixing. That being said, for live use it's not worth the hassle - you can approximate almost anything with the newer pedals for live use.

4) rack units are not necessary. If you have a wild budget and a ton of time and patience, then fill your boots, but very few guitarists use them for live use, and those who still do tend to have staff to deal with that.
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
DSP code either executes the algorithmns as planned or it fails. It's just mathematics. And you would generally know when it fails.
Erm, no.

Any good programmer will tell you that an algorithm running on optimized, dedicated hardware will perform better that the same algorithm running on an optimized, general purpose platform.

That's why, for example, the official Lexicon VST effects don't sound quite as good as the original hardware running the same algos on which the plugins are based. The3y just don't - they get pretty close but they're not the same.

What's particularly interesting is that the algos running on something like my Lexi PCM 90 hardware, which is "obsolete" 20 bit processing, sound better than the same algos running as a VST on a 64 bit general purpose box. The difference isn't huge (they're very good algos), but it's definitely audible, at least to the well trained ear...
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post

As much as this freaks John out - I find my Pod HD Pro to be extremely useful for delays.
Well my computer as for now works with the focusrite saffire pro and thus firewire.
I have just recalled that I do have something interesting in my cellar, I have an old POD XT HD500, my friend lent it to me, I kept it but never quite used it. Actually, I wanted to use it as a distortion pedal back then but never tried the potential it has on delays and reverbs.

Now one other question from all of this is : Will the Pod XT or any rack contain the exact same sound as the small stomboxes like the DL4 ? Since it's the same brand you would say... We're not even talking about racks, pedals and...more complex pedals. And it's not even analogue so the question is legit

I listened to the Strymon VS DL4, I found the DL4 to be an old "Rough" Digital delay whearas the Strymon has some kind of smooth reverb into it, giving the sound a more ambiant sound, that's definitely more close to what I want ! Maybe the DL4 is overerrated after all.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Reverb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by arpinz View Post

I listened to the Strymon VS DL4, I found the DL4 to be an old "Rough" Digital delay whearas the Strymon has some kind of smooth reverb into it, giving the sound a more ambiant sound, that's definitely more close to what I want ! Maybe the DL4 is overerrated after all.
The Dl4 is just old - it was great when it first came out but it's been rendered obsolete by newer pedals.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
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Duke Murdock's Avatar
 

The thing with digital technology, modeling in particular, is that it's always changing and improving. Every time a manufacturer releases a new product you see them attach a fancy name to their new processing technique and promise that this time they really do have the most accurate representation of all your favorite sounds in one box ever. That is until the marketing team gets tasked with selling the next product and the cycle repeats.

Then you get cases like the DL4 where it was nearly essential for a long while but now doesn't really stack up to the competition. It's stuck in time with that sound, but if that's the sound you want then don't let anyone stop you.

Personally I have a tc flashback on my live board which I love and think will do what you want. In the studio I've also got one of those stomp box to iPad interfaces which I run in the loop and there are some crazy good effects available in the App Store.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Squawk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Erm, no.

Any good programmer will tell you that an algorithm running on optimized, dedicated hardware will perform better that the same algorithm running on an optimized, general purpose platform.

That's why, for example, the official Lexicon VST effects don't sound quite as good as the original hardware running the same algos on which the plugins are based. The3y just don't - they get pretty close but they're not the same.

What's particularly interesting is that the algos running on something like my Lexi PCM 90 hardware, which is "obsolete" 20 bit processing, sound better than the same algos running as a VST on a 64 bit general purpose box. The difference isn't huge (they're very good algos), but it's definitely audible, at least to the well trained ear...
That's got more to do with the converters than the code. Whether or not the character they impart is more appealing over a "non-converted" algorithm would be subjective, but could certainly be considered a part of the sound.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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Thread Starter
Yep the TC Flashback sounds great ! I've listened to the legendary TC 2290, compared to lots of pedals on youtube... Well, they're all great but no doubt the TC 2290 is still in the game, it's soooo crystal clear, the echo bites until the last bit of it, very "incisive" and clear sound. But they discontinued due to lack of electronic components... I wonder if some crazy engineers around have tried to reproduced the stuff, in a same way that sound engineers reproduce the PAF59 and other great pickups with pure original materials ( cf CuNiFe magnets )
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Erm, no.

Any good programmer will tell you that an algorithm running on optimized, dedicated hardware will perform better that the same algorithm running on an optimized, general purpose platform.

That's why, for example, the official Lexicon VST effects don't sound quite as good as the original hardware running the same algos on which the plugins are based. The3y just don't - they get pretty close but they're not the same.

What's particularly interesting is that the algos running on something like my Lexi PCM 90 hardware, which is "obsolete" 20 bit processing, sound better than the same algos running as a VST on a 64 bit general purpose box. The difference isn't huge (they're very good algos), but it's definitely audible, at least to the well trained ear...
Define "better" algorithm processing. If I ask a computer to add 2 + 2 I expect it to give the correct answer of 4. Anything else in incorrect.

DSP is simply mathematics- with a given input signal, there is the correctly calculated output signal. I'm not saying the result is always the same - because we can model randomness and free-running LFOs etc. But the expected outcome is either calculated correctly in time, or it is not and it fails.

When an analog voltage is sampled - lets say 96000 times per second - we have 96000 numbers every second that need to be crunched. They could be crunched offline and take as long as it takes. You could employ humans with calculators to come up with a file of numbers - and then play them back at 96 000 times per second, and as long as nobody made any mistakes, the audio waveform would be the desired sound.

For this to work in realtime, the numbers have to be crunched faster than the playback rate. But with modern computers that is easily possible. There comes a point where the computer easily keeps up or could run multiple other tasks at the same time.

Sure - optimising hardware and software allows more to be done for less money. But it does not improve the sound. And algorithm is just calculations that have to be performed correctly in time - it either works or it fails.

The differences you are hearing are nothing to do with the algorithm running "better". The differences are in the analog circuitry. Some of those early Lexicon units had extensive analog in the actual delay line paths - and therefore the modern algorithms are not the same - they are emulating parts of the sound. So of course they will sound different.

Or - in some of their units the actual algorithm may possible be exactly the same, the analog section and AD and DA will have a different sound.

But unless a developer is lying to you about the algorithm - if they say it is the *same* then the same input delivers the same output - just like a spreadsheet doing your taxes should deliver the same result.
Old 1 week ago
  #25
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by arpinz View Post
Well my computer as for now works with the focusrite saffire pro and thus firewire.
I have just recalled that I do have something interesting in my cellar, I have an old POD XT HD500, my friend lent it to me, I kept it but never quite used it. Actually, I wanted to use it as a distortion pedal back then but never tried the potential it has on delays and reverbs.

Now one other question from all of this is : Will the Pod XT or any rack contain the exact same sound as the small stomboxes like the DL4 ? Since it's the same brand you would say... We're not even talking about racks, pedals and...more complex pedals. And it's not even analogue so the question is legit

I listened to the Strymon VS DL4, I found the DL4 to be an old "Rough" Digital delay whearas the Strymon has some kind of smooth reverb into it, giving the sound a more ambiant sound, that's definitely more close to what I want ! Maybe the DL4 is overerrated after all.
The Pod XT and the HD500 are very different products in time. The HD500 is the newer and better model.

As far as I know, they both do the same delays as the stompboxes which came out earlier. They might have ommited some small features to fit the format, but you get much more sophisticated midi and patch storage.

They won't compare with Strymon on some things ... but that doesn't make them any less useful, especially for delays. They have a range of delay types which are really worth experimenting with because they have character. They are modeled on vintage units, so some are supposed to sound thinner or distorted etc. Some model the effect that they had on the dry sound - and then they give a version tha doesn't affect the dry sound.

I find the reverbs very useful for very short rooms - set the size and zero and crank them up and see how lush they sound. Not many digital reverb cover themselves in glory when doing small rooms - but these are great. I believe they had a Lexicon engineer to help them.

With the HD Pods you can put FX in any order, and have series or parallel paths. The opportity to add vibrato or frequency shifting or EQ, wah, ring mod ... you can go crazy with sound design which makes them an extraordinay unit for those with skills.

People either get it or they don't. They are clearly too complicated for typical guitar players.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Thread Starter
Hm actually I checked and it's an old X3 live... And to be honest I find it to simply be ****. It cruelly lacks of...life. It seems all fake like my first pedal, the legendary Vamp from Behringer. Lord... Why would anyone use this ? it sounds like you're listening to an amp through a cellphone speaker, seriously. Well maybe if you don't overuse the effects and tweak a bit, you're gonna get something out of it but good luck. I hope the new ones got better than that !

Oh btw, I checked again and this son of a * from coldplay actually got everything... ( not surprising for a multi millionaire band), The lexicon rack, TC, eventide, bigsky, Korg, Timeline... Legend says if you turn them on all together you're gonna see aliens coming. (You might see Satriani flying around too)
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by arpinz View Post
Hm actually I checked and it's an old X3 live... And to be honest I find it to simply be ****. It cruelly lacks of...life. It seems all fake like my first pedal, the legendary Vamp from Behringer. Lord... Why would anyone use this ? it sounds like you're listening to an amp through a cellphone speaker, seriously. Well maybe if you don't overuse the effects and tweak a bit, you're gonna get something out of it but good luck. I hope the new ones got better than that !

Oh btw, I checked again and this son of a * from coldplay actually got everything... ( not surprising for a multi millionaire band), The lexicon rack, TC, eventide, bigsky, Korg, Timeline... Legend says if you turn them on all together you're gonna see aliens coming. (You might see Satriani flying around too)
OK - hours ago you were confused about what you had, and now you have identified it and assessed it and found it to be sh!t. And I can tell that you are clearly wowed by brand names.

I'm clearly not going to be able to convince you otherwise - but for the sake of onlookers, I have to call you out.

I have a few Pods - from XT onwards, so yes I have an X3 floorboard. I don't use the older ones really - but that is mainly because they took an AC power supply and I can't be arsed with that. But my Pod HD Rack has a built in IEC mains jack - I'm that shallow, but it makes it easier for quick live setup.

X3 was released in 2007 - so it's not fair to compare it with newer pedals that can benefit from Moores Law (doubles every 2 years). Back it 2007 it was the shiznit - for a good, affordable digital guitar processor.

There are many early digital rack processors that simply can't do what it can do. There are many digital pedals even today that cannot do what this can do. Seriously.

It can do hundreds of different FX - and i'm not even counting the amp, cab and speaker and mic sims which you can turn off and ignore if you are unable/unwilling to use properly.

How did you test it? With a guitar amp? And did you use the factory presets? And did you read the manual to find out how to correctly use this? Those are the usual mistakes - because it leads to people like you making hasty dumb conclusions and spreading ignorance.

The factory presets are basically to make beginners plug in some headphones in a noisy shop and go *wow!*. They tend to overuse too much of everything - and they are generally FAR too much when plugged into an amp. Because an amp is already voiced to make a guitar sound good - it has a preamp and tonestack, and it shapes the sound to cut out the mud and add harmonics and brighten the sound.

When you play a Pod factory preset through a PA or hifi system - you get more of an idea of the factory presets - but they are sill OTT. There is an eq'ing system built in to allow you to filter these sounds to make them fit the eq curve of guitar amps - but they are hit and miss and most people don't even know that feature is there to be used. Because they don't read the manual.

But basically ... two preamps, two tone stacks, two cabs and a mic and AIR modelling all in series is a recipe for stink tone ... it's just wrong, and many people don't get past the fact that *you do not need a amp sim in front of an amp*.

So operator error is the #1 reason for Pod hate crimes.

IF you spend any time with this and test just one effect at a time - for example a delay - you will find that it behaves very much like that one effect they have modeled. In the same way that the more basic digital delay pedals out there achieve the same thing.

You are slamming this for a *lack of life* ... since when did digital delays have life? These Pods have quite a few delay models to choose from. They have some very simple digital delays that are very clean and digital. Mono or stereo, with or without modulation.

(For that matter - Strymon and many others have units designed to give digital delay, as opposed to tape or BBD). The goal of any of these digital delays is to just give clean repeats. That's what they are used for. With the Line6 you can set the delay to the millisencond, or you can sync it to Tempo and use midi ... that puts it into a league above most simple delay pedals.

It's got tape and analog models too. I will 100% that Strymon and a few other offer nicer tape and BBD models. They also use a lot more processing and more modern CPU, and cost a lot more. I also find that recent delays from TC and others are also rather sterile and boring ... so in my mind, the Pod is close to TC and other older classic delays.

They are what they are ... useable digital delays, with a few different flavour. Yes you can get 'better' and yes you can get a lot worse. But you would have to be a very poor sound engineer to not be able to use these as a delay unit and get an acceptable sound.

To be honest ... while Strymon can model BBD delays quite well - if I particularly wanted an analog BBD delay, I would simply buy an analog BBD delay. And the same goes with tape delay ... if you really need that specific sound and particuarly if you want to push it into saturation, even Strymon can't get there.

I have a Strymon Deco and a Roland RE20 ... because they are better than my Pods, but for live use - the difference is so small I would take the Pod and not bother with a bunch of expensive pedals.

If you have money to burn, go and burn it. But for people who need an adequate digital delay (or just about any other effect) and can get a Pod X3 cheaply ... you can get great sounds and massive bang for buck. To say it is "cruelly lacking life" or "fake" or "sounds like a cellphone" is just wrong ane malicious or just plain ignorant.

Most probably operator error. I guess some people just can't use a Pod and that is that.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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Thread Starter
Okay, my bad, you're probably right. I may have tested it with the wrong amp or without any amp after all, that was a long time ago, that's why I'm gonna test again with the Marshall JVM to see what it's worth

. I don't think I'm wowed by the brand though, but of course all of us somehow are wowed because you generally get what you paid for (minus the benefits of the company...). I don't think people are totally in the dark when they say Behringer or Squier isn't that good. There might be a reason for that, like the cheap pickups made with poor iron, of course it's getting better and better and I haven't tested those for a long time so I'm getting more and more wrong each time if I say Behringer isn't worth it, especially now.

Now about the Pod, the doubts are legit, since you can't expect a restaurant to serve you a gastronomic plate when they have hundreds of choices on their menu. It's like when you say you're not gonna take the Strymon if the only thing you want is the BBD delay or tape delay. That's why I cannot assume in theory the Line6 Pod delay will be as good as the DL4 even though this last one has been made 18 years ago. But the Pod was sold maybe 450$ so it might be the case, or it might be marketing, or I just might be wrong and it's the same damn thing, which would make me really happy at the moment.

Anyway, time to test it rather than uselessly talking about it.

PS : "Lack of life" was just a feeling, describing a harsh EQ probably, due to what you probably guessed right, the Operator error or something else.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Reverb's Avatar
I'm not one to defend line 6, but kiwi has a point - if you are bypassing the amp models and just using the fx on the x3 with an actual guitar amp the delay shoudn't sound THAT terrible.
Old 6 days ago
  #30
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Thread Starter
I'm trying it, for now it sucks the life out of my amp, with the classic connection : guitar => Pod => Amp input. I'm gonna try with the Fx loop but can't test with the 4 cables method though, I only have 3 :/.
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