10. Digital Products

Put simply, digital designs allow for much greater versatility, as we shall now discover. Digital pedals do not employ discrete analogue components at their hearts, but instead use DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology to ‘physically model’ the most popular units of yesteryear. But how does physical modelling work?

In order to ‘model’ the sound of a classic pedal, the first thing the design engineer needs is a complete understanding of the inner workings of the original unit. He’ll take it to bits and examine every component within the circuit. He’ll then spend hours taking detailed electronic and acoustic measurements and performing listening tests, until he has eventually built up a complete profile of the device and understands how it works, both electrically and mechanically.

Now it is his job to try to represent these characteristics using a mathematical model that can be stored in digital circuitry and used in real-time to ‘flavour’ your guitar signal, in exactly the same way as the original ‘classic’ wah would have done. This of course is easier said than done! With the sheer number of variables involved, and the huge amount of interaction that inevitably goes on between the various components, trying to come up with a workable global mathematical model like this is very difficult to say the least. So the model is usually built up from smaller pieces - each piece is a mathematical equation or ‘algorithm’ which describes the working of just one part of the original circuit’s function – perhaps a representation of how a transistor works, or maybe the resistors and capacitors comprising the filter section.

Provided that each component has been modelled properly, and under all extremes of operation, the ‘virtual’ components can be assembled – just like building the real thing – into a ‘composite object’ which will then run like a computer program inside the host, mirroring the characteristics of the original wah-wah with all of its nuances and interactivity. As the pedal is effectively a small computer processor running a program, it is possible to imagine selecting from a list of alternative built-in programs using a simple control knob, calling up different models of well known wah-wah pedals, and this is in fact exactly what digital pedals offer. Note that digital units use ADC (Analogue to Digital Conversion) at the input and DAC (Digital to Analogue Conversion) at the output. When the unit is bypassed, even though the effect is disabled, the signal still goes through ADC and DAC, and some claim that they can hear this. With modern conversion techniques this is unlikely – a quick test with your own gear should put your mind at rest.

The Boss PW-10 – a digital pedal

A good example of a digital pedal is the Boss PW-10 (V-wah), which offers faithful emulation of Crybaby, Vox, Morley, and many more. In addition, the pedal operation is ideally suited for controlling other effects, and so rotary speaker, Roto-Vibe and talkbox emulation (as made famous by Peter Frampton) are also provided. Some digital pedals also have the provision to store a selection of favourite sounds and settings in internal memory – three in the case of the PW-10, whose stored sounds can be recalled by using an innovative heel operated switch under the back of the pedal.

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Wah Pedals overview

Dante AVIO Analog Output Adapter 0x2 Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb C.Giant LP-6210C Black Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green Vic Firth SIH2 Presonus Studio One 4 Pro UG Prof/Prod Steinberg UR-RT2 TritonAudio FetHead Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0 Fender SQ J.Mascis Jazzmaster 2018 Marshall Major III Bluetooth Black
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Dante AVIO Analog Output Adapter 0x2

Y Adapter Enables the output of analogue audio line signals from a Dante network, RJ45 Metal plug with built-in LEDs, 2 XLR male outputs, 96 KHz / 24 bit, Robust housing for day-to-day tasks while touring, Fully functional Dante...

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€163
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Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb

Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb, effects pedal, 11 different reverb types: HALL, SPRING, PLATE, REVRS, ECHO, TREM, MOD, DYNA, AUTO-INF, SHIM and POLY, Tails switch: Select whether the reverb fades out naturally or stops immediately when the pedal is switched...

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€149
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C.Giant LP-6210C Black

Keyboard 61 Keys with touch dynamics, 162 Sounds, 200 Rhythms, 61 Percussion effects, 50 Demo songs, Fill-in, sync and rhythms variations, Split function, Chord, Recording, Pitch bend wheel, Microphone input, Line out sockets, Headphone output, Sustain pedal connection, USB...

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€66
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Gibson Les Paul M2 Citron Green

Electric Guitar Poplar body, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard (Dalbergia latifolia), Slim Taper neck profile - .800"-. 875", 22 Frets, Pickups: 2 Gibson Pro-Bucker humbuckers, Volume and tone controls, 1 Toggle switch, Chrome hardware, Wraparound bridge, Mini Button machine heads,...

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€398
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Vic Firth SIH2

Vic Firth SIH2 isolation headphones, (reduces overall noise levels by 25 dB). successor of the legendary Vic Firth SIH-1 headphones, features redesigned larger driver in the ear cups that deliver a more powerful low end, cleaner mids and clear highs...

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€79
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Presonus Studio One 4 Pro UG Prof/Prod

Audio MIDI Sequencer (DAW) (download) Upgrade from Presonus Studio One Professional 1-3 / Producer 2 to Studio One 4 Professional Sleek single-window philosophy, Consistent drag-and-drop functionality throughout, Project page allows integrated mastering with DDP export, Redbook...

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€145
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Steinberg UR-RT2

4x 2 USB 2.0 Audio Interface Up to 24-bit/192 kHz, 2 Class-A D-PRE microphone preamps with + 48 V phantom power, Rupert Neve Designs transformer switchable on each front input channel, 2 Analog XLR/jack combo inputs plus 2 line...

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TritonAudio FetHead

TritonAudio FetHead, in-line microphone preamplifier, XLR 3-pole female XLR 3-pole male, ultra low noise Class A JFet amplifier, 27dB amplification (@3 KOhm load), 4 matched JFets, 24-48V Phantom Power required, for Ribbon & Dynamic microphones, shields phantom power from...

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€66
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Roland TM-6 Pro Drum Trigger Module

Trigger Module For acoustic drummers who want to extend the sound possibilities of their drums with electronic sounds, 500 one-shot sounds, 268 V-Drum sounds, 80 Drum kits, SDHC card slot for importing your own samples, 6x 6.3 mm stereo...

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€789
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Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0

Dante AVIO Analog Input Adapter 2x0; converts analog audio line signals to feed any Dante-connected system; 96 kHz / 24 Bit; fully-functional Dante interface; adjustable signal levels: +24dBu / +4dBu / 0dBu/ 0dBV /-10dBV (through Dante Controller); frequency Response: 20Hz...

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Fender SQ J.Mascis Jazzmaster 2018

Electric Guitar J.Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.) Artist Model, Body: Basswood, Neck: Maple, Fretboard: Indian Laurel, Neck profile: C, 21 Jumbo frets, Nut width: 42.5 mm, Scale: 648 mm, Pickups: 2 Jazzmaster single coils, Adjusto-Matic bridge with vintage style floating tremolo,...

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€477
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Marshall Major III Bluetooth Black

Marshall Major III Bluetooth Black stereo headphones, on-ear design, closed back, foldable, Bluetooth® aptX Technology, up to 30 h running time, control knob on headphone, 40 mm moving coil dynamic speaker, newly constructed hinges and headband for a better fitting,...

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€135
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