Analog vs Digital

Besides the obvious, thus more capabilities, varieties, options, and of course heftier price, what is the main difference between analog and digital in nature? So the digi and analog rhythm/four devices? What are the pros and cons? Does analog have a warmer sound and stuff like that?

Digital has the cold, dull, and lifeless sound that I desire. Analog is so 2018.


Honestly, don’t bother yourself with these sorts of questions. Digital can ape analog very well nowadays if you’re after analog sounds with digital options or just get an analog synth if you want it to be the “real deal”. Pretty much everything ends up as 1s and 0s nowadays anyway.

Edit: if it sounds good to you, it is good!


Just get a Prophet rev2

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“Warmth” basically has no meaning and can be interpreted in many different ways. I remember a post a year or two ago on the /r/synthesizers subreddit where someone bought either a yamaha reface or Roland boutique purely digital synth (wasn’t even virtual analog) and they were talking about how “warm” and “analog” it sounded compared to plug-ins.

But digital can often sound more analog then analog at times. There’s probably far more advantages to getting a digital synth or hybrid synth than any pure analog synth. Really, the only benefit hardware has is giving you an interface you can physically manipulate. There’s more cons than pros with hardware vs plug-ins. And I say that owning too much hardware.


that’s really about it…it’s an aesthetic difference, not a sound quality difference.

and most (all) comparisons are of dry signals…add reverb and it isn’t likely you’ll be able to tell the difference.

independent of the different sound qualities, digital devices have the performance advantage (if you see it that way) of being automatable and controllable from sequencers/MIDI CC that analog devices typically aren’t.



Analogue synth uses physical circuits built from discreet components to make an oscillator, filter, envelope, amp and so on in order to produce sound.

Digital synth uses a wee computer, running some software to produce sound.

No matter how you look at it, it all ends up as airwaves bouncing off your eardrum sending signals to your brain which then gets interpreted by your neural network and what ever programming/conditioning that has recieved during the how ever many years you have been alive.


Every week, in every music production forum, until the sun explodes.

It’s basically the same topic as Analog synthesis vs sample


Is such discussion still relevant in 2022?


I sample a lot of virtual analog instruments from my iPhone/iPad into my Digitakt. It’s all digital but it sounds lovely and warm. I don’t think it matters much as long as you’re happy with the result. I’ve had a time where I recorded my final mix onto a portable minidisc player because it (the d/a conversion and atrac compression) made everything sound very nice to my ears. I’ve had friends who did that betamax tape (not vhs!). People are weird and people who make music are even weirder.

tl;dr when a cake tastes nice I don’t care if the batter was mixed manually or with an electronic mixer or a bit of both.


I think you’re all BERY BERRY WONG’ here.


Bery, Bery, why ya’ buggin’?!

My Syntakt is mostly digital tracks, but it gets BERY BERRY WARM’ HERE

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Analog circuitry reacts differently and more unpredictably to computers, it can saturate better, and the harmonics are often different (which is where the warmth comes from).

The most important part of an analog voice is the filter and the mixer, in my opinion - for delivering the character that’s wanted.

The question is more about what character you want, nothing to do with better or worse. You can’t make a Digitone sound like a Minitaur and you can’t make a Minitaur sound like a Digitone.

A lot of Virtual Analog is good these days - but in such a case you’re still identifying the sound as analog - doesn’t really matter if it’s ‘real’ or not - it has a definable character.

So it’s maybe less of a digital vs analog and more analog vs fm etc. - don’t get too bogged down in whether there are capacitors in there or not.

Just focus on what sounds you want for the jobs you need the synth for. Listen to demos - find the characters you like.


Just a reminder that you are in fact, right, that is, despite Bery’s opinion.

Samantha Fox sounds only right when her music comes from a radio broadcast to tape.

Also brings the analog warmth to her samples.


Has the analog/digital conversation lost its way in 2022?

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