Analog vs Digital Delay Pedal – What is the Difference?

If you speak to a guitarist you will often find that they have quite strong views when it comes to the debate relating to analog vs digital delay pedal. However, in reality you will find that many guitarists like to use both for different reasons and so their 'strong views' are often not actually that close to the reality.

In essence, they both do the same thing. They delay the sound and affect the noise it makes, often making a sort of reverb or echoing effect. However, they both do it in slightly different ways.

This short article will take a look at analog vs digital delay pedal, outlining what they actually are and what the differences between them are. It will take a look at how musicians make use of them and suggest what you might need to do to look after it.

The guitar pedal is key to the whole process and it is important to understand the differences between analog and digital delay pedal.

what is an analog delay pedal?

analog delay pedal

A large number of guitarists will say that they love the analog system when it comes to delay pedals. The analog delay pedal works by using a bucket brigade device (BBD) that sends the signal through a selection of capacitors in a cycle of one step per clock. Many guitarists will tell you that they like the fact that with each cycle the sound become that much more broken up. It becomes warmer and darker over time. One of the things that analog falls back on when compared to digital delay pedals is that with analog the maximum delay time is often shorter which can be more restrictive.

What is a digital delay pedal compare to the analog?

The digital systems,which is perhaps goes without saying,uses a Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chip to make the echo sound.Because they are digital in scope the designers have a greater amount of control over the sound and how it is generated.

They are more flexible and some even have a MIDI control system. It is necessary for there to be a converter at the front end of the pedal so that signal can convert to digital at the front end and then back again to analog at the output.This can be a pain sometimes but modern guitars mostly make this process simple.

digital delay pedal

Analog delays are often thought to be the more musically pleasing and some guitarists simply won't work with digital if they can help it. However, digital does allow for a greater amount of flexibility and also allows special features, such as being able to preset sounds, which can be really useful. You also get a greater amount of time delay with digital, which is useful again if it is what you are looking for. As mentioned in the introduction, in reality, many guitarists will opt for the best of both worlds and make sure to have both an analog delay pedal and a digital delay pedal on their pedal board, so that they have both options should they need it. The sound of digital has become much better over the years as designers have tried to make it sound more like analog, whilst having the same amount of control as the older digital systems.

To maintain the pedal it is easier with digital as you can preset and record various 'loops' and then play them back at each other. You click the pedal down and then click again to cancel the loop. You can then choose when to play it.


Most audiences probably won't be able to notice the difference between the analog and digital delay pedals. An echo is an echo after all! Still, for the guitarists themselves it is a very important thing to sort. Analog vs digital delay pedal is not a unfamiliar terms them at all.

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