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Difference Between Analog Delay and Digital Delay

Analog Delay vs Digital Delay

A delay, in the music world, is an electrical device that is usually used with guitars to provide a specific sound like an echo. There are two types of delays; the analog and digital. The main difference between the two is in how they process the sound. An analog delay takes the sound and just plays it back while a digital delay takes a sample and converts it to a digital format then uses that to create the sound.

Many people describe analog delays as having a warmer sound. This is actually a result of losses of signal strength in the high frequency region; giving the sound a fuller sound without being too bassy. Because the type of loss that occurs in analog delays doesn’t happen in digital delays, it cannot replicate this sort of effect. There is a related upside to digital delays though. Because a digital delay uses the same sample, the echo it produces is more articulate compared to analog delays. In simple terms, each echo in a digital delay is closer to the original sound.

One of the reasons why many people like digital delays is their extremely high durations. While an analog delay’s duration is measured in milliseconds, a digital delay can last for a few seconds. This gives the musician a lot more control on how he wants the sound to come out. Another advantage of digital delays is their sheer number of options and presets that can be used. An analog delay typically has knobs for adjusting how to process the sound. On the other hand, digital delays can have digitally stored settings that can be chosen from while playing.

All in all, the choice between an analog or digital delay is down to preference; whether you want the warmer sound of an analog delay or the greater options and longer durations of a digital delay. There are many excellent digital delays available today but some analog delays are sought after because of their specific sound.


1. Analog delays keep the sound as-is while digital delays convert it to a digital form
2. Analog delays have a warmer sound than digital delays
3. Analog delays have a less articulate sound than digital delays
4. Analog delays have a shorter duration than digital delays
5. Analog delays have fewer settings than digital delays

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