ANALOGUE -/ DIGITAL
Pro's & Con's
Analogue / Digital
Analogue sound is a pure
sine wave with all sound charateristics.
File size is heavy and editing is restricted
Digital sound is numerical
snapshot of the analogue sin wave.
File size is lite and highly editable.
Sample rate / mathmatical
interprutation is key to ensuring the
science of the replication is accurate.
Analogue purist or Not!
Frequency & Amplitude
Understanding the pro's & con's between analogue & digital sound in music and from a guitarist's perspective is not without controversy. In the following paragraph's we will try to open up the subject to create the necessary awareness.
Music and speech vary continuously in frequency and amplitude. In the same way, analogue signals can vary in frequency, amplitude or both. Digital signals are a series of pulses consisting of just two states, ON (1) or OFF (0). There are no values in between. Digital signals carry more information per second than analogue signals. This is the same whether optical fibers, cables or radio waves are used. Digital signals maintain their quality over long distances better than analogue signals.
The potential fidelity of an analog recording depends on the sensitivity of the equipment and medium used to record and playback the recording. Among other factors, digital audio fidelity heavily depends on the rate at which the recording equipment sampled the original sound wave over a specified increment of time. Even with the newest technologies and techniques, digital audio still cannot create exact replications of an original sound wave.
Many times, digital audio companies try to hide this fact with fancy words like “Uncompressed” and “Lossless”. These words are very misleading as all digital audio features some compression and loss of the original signal. However, even the best trained human ear may not be able to tell the difference between a high quality digital signal and an analog audio signal.
Digital convenience sometimes comes at the cost of fidelity. In mobile/casual listening environments, or if average quality playback equipment is used, the fidelity offered by digital audio may be sufficient for most people. However, for those audio purists that want the very best fidelity possible, and use really high quality playback equipment, digital audio may not be the answer.
Guitar synthesizers have been around since the 70's and after 30 year's of MIDI development we are now living in an incredible time for music software and synthesis.
A high quality recording of a valve amp in an expensive studio is going to provide the ultimate richness of tones. However, it is not often if ever we find ourselves in this fortunate position.
More affordable and accessible alternatives can be provided within the "home studio" set-up.
Making sense of all of the different routes into this digital environment can need a strong grasp of whats on offer within products and technologies in relation to what is trying be achieved. There are a number of affordable and flexible options out there.
Bit rate is the number of bits that are conveyed or processed per unit of time. "CD Quality" is defined as 16-bit/44.1kHz. Many of the Analog / Digital Converters that come standard on today's audio interfaces are capable of 24-bit/96kHz which is an even higher quality. When comparing A/D Converters it would be common to see them displayed like this:
24-bit / 96kHz - where 24 is the Bit Depth and 96kHz is the Sampling Frequency.
There are a number of different points in the chain of sequence where an audio can become or be effected by digital. From a guitarists standpoint what makes the best sense in the balancing act between a producing a good sound and getting the most out of the software that is available? And at which point can a conventional guitar file be superseded by a MIDI guitar file? Or which software solutions produce the best results for specific tasks?
Guitar sound in conjunction with how it is approached can take a number of different directions and equally produce a number of different results. It can be all about what you are looking for and what you enjoy.
From digital guitars (or digital applications of the guitar) to guitar synths & MIDI guitars there are a number of varying forms and systems of approach to the software arena. To simplify some of the main reasons for this are to;
- Access sound software
- Communicate to education software
- Control composition software
Even though how we listen to music today is mostly digital the guitar environment is complicatedly poised between the two formats, this is based on a number of delicacies related to the science of sound.
MIDI / Synth Guitar
Audio Recognition Software
The ultimate practice app for guitarists and musicians – for mac osx and pc
✓ Get the chords for any song in your collection
✓ See the chord diagrams synced with the music
✓ Slow down or speed up any piece of music
✓ Change the key or pitch of any song
✓ Isolate or mute the guitar in the mix
✓ Get perfect practice loops synced with the beat
✓ See a full feature list here
The future of learning to play. With Chord Intelligence, iCloud sync across all your devices, and an award-winning user interface, Capo will have you learning to play any of the music in your iTunes library quickly. Learn more about Capo for Mac and Capo touch for iOS.super-m-u-groovy.com →
MIDI Guitar 2 for iOS was just released on App Store. It is is now almost a 1:1 port of the desktop/VST/AU version. Tracking is very fast and more responsive and sensitive than most (hardware-) solutions which means it picks up articulations very well.jamorigin.com →
MIDI or Wav. files can both get processed with a digital sound output. A Wav. file (analog sinwave) utilises software that processes a sound whereas a MIDI file needs to be provided a sound source (tone) before any processing.
A Wav. file contains sound information that can then be further processed. A MIDI file contains mathematical values that need a sound or tone allocated, the file size is lighter/faster but needs to be allocated voicing.
A MIDI file arriving in a software device can be allocated to any sounds that are made available. From synthesizer tones to sample libraries that could be anything from a drum to a guitar.
MIDI / Synth Guitar today
MIDI Guitar / digital guitar.....can take on a number of varying forms...
MIDI sound sources sound libraries - samples
Understand there is a difference with keyboard activate guitar programs.....!
On this website we have divided certain review posts that target certain specific categories
vst guitar audio software →
virtual instruments guitar →
midi guitar →
Brands & Solutions
The potential of digital and MIDI guitars has seen major brands, even the iconic Fender & Gibson brands have made attempts. All be it if the technologies are being provided through specialist business associations.
As well as the guitar brands cited below Line 6 is a company that has always pursued digital solutions. line6.com →
Guitars addressing Digital
Roland / Fender
Roland and Fender have teamed up to address MIDI since 2007 with the launch of the Fender VG, still today Fender guitars can be bought from Roland fully equipped with the Roland GK 3 pickup to drive GR 55 and other 13-pin compatible gear.www.roland.com →
Gibson have made attempts at digital tone with the Chameleon tone they featured on the “Robot” series of guitars which was also launched as a self-tuning guitar featuring Tronical tuning.www.gibson.com →
Godin are another leading guitar brand that has been addressing the potential of MIDI for many years. Godin teamed up with Richard McLish of the RMC pickup company to produce the specially customized Multiac.www.godinguitars.com →
The Carvin NS1 Nylon Synth Access Guitar offers the flavor of a nylon string acoustic with the addition of MIDI synth access. Using the “Graphtech” Hexaphonic pickup with MIDI-compatible output (compatible with controllers such as the Roland GR33™, VG88™ and VBass™, Roland GI-10™, Axon 100™ and others).www.kieselguitars.com →
Continuing the MIDI quest
Creative solutions within limitations
Just to be clear the division of where analogue turns into digital can be carried out at numerous junctures...different systems/solutions approach this differently. Where the best solution lies is still emerging within the evolution of this technology.
Hopefully this page has helped in getting a general understanding within the standards & differences of analogue / digital for guitar...playing...recording...& getting the most out of a creative experience with a guitar.
More Extreme approaches
MIDI control surface, dive into the vast world of software, controlling programs like Logic, Garage Band, Ableton Live, Guitar Rig, Reason…lividinstruments.com →
Senus is a guitar produced by Mind Music Labs, designed to satisfy the needs of contemporary musicians looking for new sounds and new ways to express themselves.www.mindmusiclabs.com →
Lineage MIDI guitar arrived in 2015 and follows on from the You Rock MIDI guitar…www.lineageguitar.com →