Re: [Harp-L] delay signal

Seconded.  There are two main types of "analog" delay - Bucket Brigade and Tape.  The first is pretty rare to find, the second much more common.  A really good tape simulation includes wow and flutter, tape noise and tape saturation.  The (simulated) speed changes also give you a little frequency variation and timing jitter, sounding more like two players.

I've got two units, a Boss RE-20 "Space Station", which is a simulation of a very famous old tape unit; quite a number of artists use one of these on the road and the antique unit in the studio.  It also includes a good reverb.  My second is a Digitech "Timebender", which has simulations of both analog and digital units, and has all sorts of features.  The echo includes a "ducking" effect - the echo only cuts in as you stop playing.  That way you get clean lines, then echo in the gaps.


From: Richard Hunter <turtlehill@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, 27 October 2011, 22:29
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] delay signal

gary eldridge wrote:

> Is there a big difference, in sound , between analog delay and digital
> delay? Is it just preferance?

Yes, they sound different.  An analog delay tends to have less high-frequency content, and the clarity of the echo diminishes with each repeat. A digital delay produces an exact duplicate of the input signal, so it has more high-frequency content and less degradation of the signal on each repeat. 

Analog delays are great when you want some grit in the sound; that's why they're popular for styles like blues and dub reggae.  Digital delays are great when you want to produce a clearer set of echoes with a sweeter ambience. Some digital delays include an EQ that you can use to reduce the high-frequency content and make it more analog-sounding, but I haven't heard one that produces a really analog sound.  

If you want one pedal that does a lot of different delays, the Digitech RPs ship with several flavors, including analog, digital, ping pong (the echoes move around in the stereo field), modulated (the echoes have a little bit of swirl on them), and tape echo.  With a Digitech Rp155 going new for less than $100, it's a very cost-effective approach to delay (and you get a bunch of nice reverbs and other FX thrown in for free; Slim Heilpern uses one just for reverbs).  

Robert Hale said he generally sets repeats on his delays to zero, which I find is effective for slapback (short and punchy analog) delays in particular, but with a digital delay especially it's nice to set the delay time and repeats longer, and see what evolves out of the echoes.

There are plenty of good delays out there at price points ranging from $30 to multiple hundreds of dollars.  For most harp players, a good analog delay is the right starting point.  Like I said, I like the delays in the RPs--it's what I use on all my recordings and performances.

Regards, Richard Hunter

author, "Jazz Harp" 
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