The battle between analog delays and digital delays has been raging for decades now. I have summarized the argument as briefly and inaccurately as possible in the following flow chart. My contribution to the argument is in purple.
This ground has been tread a number of times. The grass is dead, and it is starting to get really dusty. To prevent any respiratory issues I’m going to travel to a green pasture of weirdness.
There are A LOT of delay pedals out there, from simple three knob analog delays up to an 8 knob, 12 mode, 3 footswitch digital foot-computers. I am going to experiment with two entry-level delay pedals. Say hello to the Boss DD-3 (digital) and MXR Carbon Copy (analog), each can be found on the used market for $100 or less.
Analog delays that use BBD (bucket-brigade device) can often self-oscillate at higher repeat settings. The result is loud and chaotic repetition and degradation of the guitar signal. Digital delay pedals make a digital copy of your signal, which also allow them to loop your playing. The DD-3 has a hold feature that can capture a moment and then repeat it. We’ll see what nonsense these pedals can create on their own, or gasp even together? A T.C. Electronic Ditto is used to loop the oscillation and hold sounds, this increases the utility of these often weird, and commonly unpleasant sounds.
We will start with the Carbon Copy on the edge of self-oscillation and then dive in.
I hope you have found this video both informative and distressing. Both delays can produce some incredible textures. My favorite usage for both these pedals is to create a melodic passage that can repeat and function as backing rhythm. I then use that as a base for additional looping, re-sampling and melody. When you dig deep into these pedals there's so much more to offer than just the tone of the repeats. There’s glitchy, alien, destructive, abrasive and beautiful sounds under the hood. The green pastures of weird await your arrival.
Artists who use these pedals
Jonny Buckland, Kelly Jones, Matthew Bellamy, Russell Lissack, Dave Grohl, Josh Klinghoffer, Dave Keuning, Slash, Vince Gill, Joe Bonamassa, Ean Golden, Ted Nugent, César Rosas, Dave Amato, Brad Paisley, Yannis Philippakis, Dave Navarro, Kele Okereke, Andy Bell, Billy Duffy, Dave Kushner, Joe Walsh, Daron Malakian, Graham Coxon, Will Lee, Tom Morello, Kim Gordon, Jimmy Smith, Wes Borland, Matthew Healy, Jamie xx, Shaun Morgan, Tony Rombola, Kurt Vile, Dominic Simper, Romy Madley Croft, James Shaffer, William Cashion, Lindsey Buckingham, Bradley Nowell, Don Felder, Nuno Bettencourt, Les Paul, Nels Cline, Prince, Adam Jones, Justin Chancellor, Tom Chapman, Mike Sullivan, Paul Waggoner, Dustie Waring, Dan Briggs, Bruce Springsteen, Nile Rodgers, Peter Steele, Michael Schenker, Patterson Hood, Peter Broderick, John Martyn, Jamie Hince, Laura-Mary Carter, Jez Williams, Matt Skiba, Mike Rutherford, Grant Nicholas, Chris Cheney, Lita Ford, Nicholaus Arson, Bryan Beller, Dan Deacon, Mike Stern, Neil Halstead, Jeff Owen, Simon Gallup, Tim Collis, Neige, Wayne Lozinak, John Dyer Baizley, Thomas Erak, Palo Pandolfo, Brian Molko, Rival Consoles, Benge, Van Mccann, Wayne Krantz, marty schwartz, Mike Vennart, Ophir- Fishman, Hot Since 82, Rhiannon "Ritzy" Bryan, Douglas Castle, Ben Biss, caloncho, Gus G., Anders Osborne, Alejandro Marcovich, Mauricio Durán, Francisco Durán, Gonzalo López, Kebu, santiago casillas, Iwan Gronow, Connor Kennedy, Tricot, Richard Bona, Dean Brown, Roger Franco, Reggie Young Jr
Billie Joe Armstrong, The Edge, Wayne Sermon, Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry, Mike McCready, Jeff Beck, Synyster Gates, Paul Banks, Scott Ian, Zakk Wylde, Paul Gilbert, Troy Van Leeuwen, Brad Paisley, Juan Alderete, Devin Townsend, Emily Kokal, Brad Whitford, Andreas Kisser, Monte Pittman, Leors Dimants, Rex Brown, Elliot Easton, Frank Iero, Dave Matthews, Jeordie White, Fredrik Åkesson, Scott Holiday, Jim Root, Mick Thomson, Tim McIlrath, Zach Blair, Richie Faulkner, Kurt Vile, Kevin Parker, Jesse F. Keeler, Melissa Auf der Maur, Ed Droste, Larry "Ler" LaLonde, Todd Gummerman, Vinnie Moore, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, J Mascis, Ian O'Neil, Misha Mansoor, Russ Parrish, Stephen Carpenter, Chino Moreno, Mark Morton, Avi Bortnick, Mike Sullivan, G. E. Smith, Josh Rand, Joe Duplantier, Dan Hawkins, Keith Murray, Laura-Mary Carter, James Bay, Dallas Green, Bert Lams, Luke Reynolds, Jonathan Wilson, Richard Zven Kruspe, Nick Hexum, Andy Timmons, Uli Jon Roth, Aaron Freeman, Mac DeMarco, Paul Ritchie, Jonathan Steingard, Ethan Luck, Nathan East, Matt Pike, Laura Jane Grace, Nick Steinborn, Alan Day, Stuart Smith, Kirk Windstein, Kieran Shudall, Michael League, Ghost B.C., Kevin Skaff, Jeremy DePoyster, Mike Hranica, Grant Brandell, Johnny Aries, Marcelo Corvalán, Rob Chapman, Stuart Braithwaite, John Cummings, Andy Othling, Fernando Kabusacki, Daniel Christiansen, Jon Poulin, Andy White, J. D. Cronise, Lucas Hamming, Alejandro Marcovich, Johnny Stevens, Mauricio Durán, JD McPherson, Josh Boyken, Primitive World, John Barrett, Ben Monder, Juan Gigena Abalos, Scott LePage, Liberty Ellman, HOMESHAKE
Joe Perry, Paul Gilbert, James Valentine, Doug Aldrich, Brad Whitford, Taylor York, Steven Wilson, Guthrie Govan, A.J. Dunning, Tim Mahoney, Esteban Serniotti, Mike Stern, James Vincent McMorrow, Reeves Gabrels, Nathan East, Jona Weinhofen, Gino Matteo, Tom Searle, Mike Hranica, Nick Beggs, Rival Consoles, Ruban Nielson, Roger Franco