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Home Forums Products Stompboxes Analog BBD, Tape echo, and Vintage Digital Rack ideas Reply To: Analog BBD, Tape echo, and Vintage Digital Rack ideas


 Hi JC

you have *really* nailed the subject!

There are a number of definitions that not everybody may be historically and technically aware of:

-tape delay 

-analog delay

-vintage delay

-lo-fi delay

Tape delay is *highly* dependent on mechanical technology, with its major aspects and artifacts/features such as wow & flutter, tape wear, heads wear, dirty on heads and analog tube or solid state preamp section.

Analog delay used different technologies. Most of the people should know that what they ask for is basically *one* of the most popular designs, using bucket brigade technology. Most components are gone for good!  For more info please check this:


Vintage Delay is meant to replicate the sonic features of early DIGITAL delay technology (not analog) and has nothing to do with lo-fi…. more on this later.  It's the sound of late '70s/early '80 Eventide/Lexicon/Roland/Korg/MXR/Ibanez DIgital Delay. These products remains the best learning lab in fx design I strongly advice to all younger musicians. For a few bucks you can get one of these puppies and learn how classic fx are made (slap back echo/Sound on Sound/ADT/notch filter/*phasing*/chorus/flanger/etc.)

Owed to non algorithmic nature of these delays, lower bitrate/sampling frequency of the A/D & D/A converters and to preamp stages, you'd typically get a darker tone in repeats with clear aliasing (noise!) when repeats progressively decay in level. The preamp sections would add a typical color and compression (sorry a compressor doesn't work, as somebody suggested).

Lo-Fi is a mid '90s definition for delays created in full digital domain, algorithms based, no preamp section (disappeared from digital FX units from early '90s), based on voluntary induced digital artifacts of such technology, such as bit reduction, aliasing, dithering. Typical sounds used to process just about any source in Electronic music…then migrated to almost any style!

These are 4 highly different, discrete and distinguished technologies that share nothing or possibly very, very little in algorithmic technology. Infact there is no product in a pedal format that even comes close to replicate all of them.

Some aspects are gone for good! You can't have that analog preamp technology with its color/saturation/compression in such products. It would be very expensive to add that.

The idea that you can get these different sounds from tweaking a fundamental algorithm is not correct…in terms of decent replication of all of them. So, in simple words….you may end up with 4 delay names and 4 sounds that are highly compromised as a result of mix & match, boil & peel to get to replicate all of them. In this regards JC is right about not "touching" what sounds right in favor of extending its capabilities to cover other different technologies. All of this has to be  considered  under the limitations imposed by DSP power and other available FX in the product too.

It would reasonably take 2 distinct products to really and possibly (if ever!) nail only these 4 types of delays, missing all other fx your TF already offers. It's not easy to make it sound right. Compromise..or too much of it is not a good path.

I'm trying to be more realistic and possibly provide some learning paths to these much sought after delay fx. Nevertheless ther is action in progress on TF.

all the best