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Author Topic: A/D..A?
ssl5

Posts: 8
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Post A/D..A?
on: August 7, 2012, 19:36
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Since digital technology has come so far, hands up as to who thinks it will eventually replace analog technology, sound-production-wise. Just curious.

joe
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Posts: 224
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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 8, 2012, 11:54
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You mean, it hasn't yet?;)

Schrodinge-
rsgoldfish

Posts: 105
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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 8, 2012, 13:09
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I think for a good number of effects it already has, and for most, it will soon. Some things will never quite be the same.

Schrodinge-
rsgoldfish

Posts: 105
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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 8, 2012, 13:09
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I think for a good number of effects it already has, and for most, it will soon. Some things will never quite be the same.

joe
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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 12, 2012, 14:05
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Actually, I still hear a difference between analog and digital distortion effects. Models of simple amps are pretty darn convincing, though models of complex high-gain amps with multiple gain stages aren't quite there yet (not that I use them much anyway). But when it comes to any kind of compression, delay, or modulation effects, case closed — digital is as good or better.

Caevan-
OShite

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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 14, 2012, 13:06
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I've found that digital-models of fuzzes and- particularly and especially- octave-fuzzes can sound excellently convincing UNTIL one tries to get various shades and responses by rolling-back the guitars volume-knob, varying picking attack, etc. The craziness, sag and dilation that some Octavia stylees exhibit when their controls are completely maxed is also not to be found on digital-models. It's like the model is a sonic, crisp but 2D snap-shot of the given fuzz/octave-fuzz in one specific setting, while the real thing is a true, fully-dimensional reality immersion experience, if you will.

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 14, 2012, 15:32
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Has anyone here used a Kemper Profiling Amp? I think it might finally be the digital modeler (or profiler as they insist) worth saving up for. A lot of musicians/engineers I respect seem to approve of them, but I haven't been able to test one out for myself. In theory, it seems like the proper way to emulate amp characteristics - basically measuring/recreating the IR instead of trying to digitally model the entire process.

Digital-
Larry

Posts: 192
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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 19, 2012, 08:18
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I have a Line 6 M9 stompbox modeler and I find it amusing how many of the models seek to include distortions and frequency response effects which were probably not intended by the original designers.

I like analog for a couple of reasons -
#1 due to component variations, certain types of circuits will inherently be unpredictable. As with vintage pickups, the opportunity for MAGIC ensues.
#2 You can make them yourself!

I have used some nice sounding digital rack units, like a TC G-Major. But using it was really difficult what with MIDI controller messages to set up and all sorts of technical complications. That just does not sit with my mindset when I'm a-twanging. The stompbox modeler is much more my speed in the digital FX world.

What I'm REALLY interested in from the digital world is some effect that does NOT have its basis in something that could be done using analog, yet has the universal appeal of e.g. distortion or reverb. The only thing I can think of is pitch shifting, and that's not something that tons of people use.

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: A/D..A?
on: August 19, 2012, 13:41
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Quote from Digital Larry on August 19, 2012, 08:18
What I'm REALLY interested in from the digital world is some effect that does NOT have its basis in something that could be done using analog, yet has the universal appeal of e.g. distortion or reverb. The only thing I can think of is pitch shifting, and that's not something that tons of people use.

I hear ya. Although there are plenty of decent pitch shifting options out there already. As effects become more....unique, I think the challenge is employing creative dsp/asp expression while maintaining an inherent sense of musicality. I know that's all highly subjective. From my perspective a lot of the more nouveau modulation/time/pitch shifting effects sound cool, but I have rarely heard them employed in a way that engages me musically. Perhaps you could consider them to be similar to abstract painting that hides the subject within the texture. Sometimes its cool, but often it just falls short of connecting with people (more sound than music). Maybe its just that few people have devoted the energy to perfecting the art of those effects.

I've spent a lot of time trying to 'think up' new effects, but I suspect that the greatest new advances will arise the mathematical theory rather than abstract 'creativity'. Here's my rationale

The majority of the the 'essential' effects we use generally fall into three categories - I know there's a lot of overlap here, but for the sake of discussion I'll draw the lines here. First, reverb, echo/delay, and some types of distortion and trem are all variations/representations of natural ambient environmental effects that have always been part of musical performance (I used to overdrive my violin strings to distortion with the bow long before I knew anything about amp tech). These 'natural' phenomena were just adapted/incorporated/improved when the tech made it possible. Second, tube overdrive and other types of distortion, fuzz, phase, compression and others effects largely arose from the limitations and flaws of early analog amp/recording tech. They were just appealing flaws. The third group of things like ring/filter/pitch modulation arose from the technological capabilities, mathematical/electromagnetic theory and a lot of creative experimentation. I think some of these are less frequently employed because they don't always facilitate the musical structures and systems that our current musical mindset embraces - for better or worse. They're just 'different sounds' that people try to force into a somewhat limited musical schema.

So digital tech has done a great job at emulating/improving the first category because they are mostly natural log based effects that can be easily calculated. The second category is more problematic because the subtle flaws/limitations of one (electromagnetic) system can be difficult to faithfully recreate in another (mathmatical) system. Although the recent entrance of IR based system measuring tech like the KPA is an improvement because it largely relies on quantifying the final effect rather than modeling the entire process. There are really only a couple pieces of the chain left to fix so I think we're only 1 or 2 tech generations away from satisfying purists (at least in blind testing). Very few of the digital 'limitations' have been appealing enough to go mainstream. Some of the new-found 'opportunities' like auto-tune have, but I believe that that one in particular is a huge setback to the musical species in both the short and long-term.

So if you want to design new effects. I'd look to the first or third categories, or where they overlap, because the digital flaws (sampling rate, etc) just aren't very appealing. There are a lot of environmental effects that haven't really been optimally modeled and I think there could be some cool sounds generated by modifying/converting/parsing waveforms and the spectrum at a high bitrate. For example, I'd like to see some better modeling/conversion of timbre and waveforms. ie. sustainers and ebows give you a sustained vibration, but they don't convert the sound to a muffled saw wave like bowed stringed instruments. So they sound good for what they are, but they aren't truly representative of a 'bowed' effect. I don't think a true bowed effect would be too difficult to develop if you approach it from the right theoretical and mathematical perspective. Would I want to use that effect? Who knows. As far as completely novel digital effects go, they'll either arise from a mathematical theory along with rigorous dsp experimentation or from a modeling design flaw. Short of that, always ask yourself what is missing from your sound and keep your ears open for unexpected sounds (from the instrument, effects, or environment). If you like it, make notes on everything and see if you can figure out what interaction/phenomena is occurring. Then get out the calculator.

Ok, I didn't intend to ramble this much, but I hope this perspective has a little merit. All effects operate within a multidimensional space of surprisingly few dimensions. The math can get complicated, but it's increasingly within reach of the lay person thanks to improvements in design/modeling tech. But I'll reiterate my first point. The new effect needs to fit into the musical landscape unless you want to create a new form of sound expression - which could be cool. Or perhaps move into a new system like bio-computing which could present a new realm of 'flaws' that may sound awesome (but probably not in our lifetime). I don't think its really possible to dream up a new effect or sound in an armchair. You've just got to dive into the math and theory, find some gaps or opportunities, and test the crap out of it through trial and error. When all is said and done though, I think the electric guitar as we know it will largely stay connected to its current sound palette for the conceivable future. It's versatile and appealing. And even though someone patented one of my old designs for an optical pickup system last year, I don't think the core tech will change for many years to come.

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