Boss BC-2 British Combo: Analog or Digital?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by tweedlux, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. A.B.Negative

    A.B.Negative Friend of Leo's

    Aug 26, 2008
    I'd never heard of the BC-2 before reading this thread, so I had a look to see what the interweb said. Some good reviews, some bad...

    Then I saw that is selling them for £20.99 ($35) with free shipping in the UK and thought, "Why not?"

    Here's the link in case you're interested:$$ja=cgid:7111953537|tsid:48121|cid:130773177|lid:54119181177|nw:g|crid:37478041737|rnd:6510469081265033509|dvc:c|adp:1o1|mt:
  2. wstarkel

    wstarkel Tele-Meister

    Nov 14, 2012
    Norcross, GA
    I certainly didn't intend to sound pushy, sorry if that was the effect. Just wanted to suggest approaching the situation with an open mind.

    Anyways, good luck with your search. Let us know what you decided on and how it works for you.
  3. JHVH!

    JHVH! Banned

    Apr 30, 2013
    Interestingly, 11Gauge completed a degree in DSP design/engineering not too many years ago. That's his secong degree in electronics related now.
  4. Big John Studd

    Big John Studd Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2010
    Probably not...those guys/gals are too busy debugging DSP hardware!! I'm an electrical engineer in real life, and I've done some DSP design tasks for various projects, but technically that's not the same thing. I even tried to build a guitar pedal for fun once out of an FPGA we had laying around and had mixed results and minimal fun. The algorithms for your typical guitar effects are pretty straightforward, but implementing them in hardware (ie. on a DSP chip or similar device) can be quite challenging to say the least.

    Generally speaking though, you are correct, there is no reason that a digital pedal shouldn't "play nicely" with an analog pedal. You might even say that the job (or a job) of DSP is to bridge the gap between the analog and digital signal realms.
  5. StormJH1

    StormJH1 Tele-Holic

    Oct 5, 2012
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    I get that, but at the same time, my amp (Fender Super Champ X2) has DSP components in the preamp that are then fed into preamp and power amp tubes. So should I just not use pedals with that amp at all?

    I'm not a big fan of trying to craft universal rules about creating sound. I'm reminded of when I started playing guitar and told my dad that I wanted to buy a BOSS Distortion pedal. My dad knew nothing about guitars, but was one of those guys growing up in the 60's and 70's that knew about audio equipment and had massive speakers all over our house. He thought it was hilarious that I would by a pedal to purposefully distort my audio signal, since (I assume) the goal of high-end speaker equipment it to avoid overdrive and distortion altogether. Yet, if you looked through his record collection, it was littered with classic rock and guitar-based music that probably used OD/Distortion on every album. He liked the sound of a distorted guitar, but when someone tried to explain to him how you made it, the idea was laughable to him.

    I'm the same way with digital versus analog. It's not that I'm disinterested in discussions about the shortcomings of digital, or specific ways you can tell that analog is better. But to say as a blanket statement that one is superior/inferior, or that the two aren't meant to work together...I think that they can, and it's just "different" how it works.

    Prompted by the discussion, I pulled out my BC-2, and played it into both Channel 1 (more "tube" like, minimal DSP) and Channel 2 (more aggressive DSP modeling) of my X2. And I pushed it with my decidedly analog EHX Soul Food. Some of the results were okay, some were bad, and a decent amount of the settings were pretty good. But it can work.
  6. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    As someone who knows analog audio, DSP, and app dev/engineering/"insert your accepted term here," any hybrid can be made to work.

    I think the blanket statement thing was more of a posited theory with a flawed foundation, as was the assumption that no one discussing here in The Stomp Box is academically and professionally versed in DSP, audio engineering, Computer Science, or the "STEM certification of anyone's acceptable choosing."

    The HARDER part for anyone to see is how to marry these different lines of thought - the audio engineer has his or her own design issues to deal with. Likewise, the DSP/app dev specialist has specific issues. Someone who makes any gear whose sole intention is to sound musical has their own set of design criteria. To assume that someone isolated in a singular role is going to be able to grok all of the necessary facets is ridiculous, and even a team could come up short (and I've personally witnessed it happen). HECK - J. Tripps somewhat "resigned" from Line 6 because they couldn't integrate all the necessary pieces that they were shooting for.

    For instance, it's fairly straightforward for a DSP specialist to have a grasp on Fourier transform/series, and then how to at least start the ball rolling to move towards an eventual instruction set. And it's fairly straightforward for an audio specialist to understand what type of process or circuit implement to consider for different parts of the overall design, whether they be analog or digital. It's less straightforward for the developer, but newer agile-based methods of rapid development help to minimize scope creep, and allow for amazing sprints thru the burn-down for the process.

    ...But to expect one highly skilled person to be "essentially omnipotent" in an endeavor like this is utterly ridiculous. It would be like expecting Einstein to apply the theory of relativity to a better form of pitch correction for tempered system stringed instruments. It's not to say that he couldn't do it, but it would be silly to say that he could simply based on his credentials.

    Does that make sense? I hope so. This discussion seems to have degraded a bit into "it has to be this or it has to be that," or "person X with ____ credentials is the exclusive authority on if this is feasible" line of thinking, IMO.
  7. Big John Studd

    Big John Studd Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2010
    All I am saying is that you could use pedals in front of the DSP everything will be just fine. Should you? Yes, no, maybe, I don't know, etc.
  8. filmix2

    filmix2 Tele-Holic

    Nov 9, 2010
    Tappan Zee, NY
    This conversation has morphed/matured somewhat, and that is a good good thing. It seems some very astute observations are being made on the nature of blending technologies at the user level.

    IMO, the future will be full of rhetoric that contains not only verbiage like "Pedal Friendly" but likely "DSP Friendly" or " Modelling Friendly".

    The pedal footprint (pun partially intended) will be ever popular with guitarists as it allows them as few or many building blocks to create their sound and performance environment.
    From what I have seen of modelling technologies in the past 3 years, DSP is well on its way to becoming a permanent part of the guitar/bass technology landscape.

    But as analog circuit design continues to improve and younger players continue to be seduced by traditional tube amp designs, the blending of engineering from discreet eras will only continue. Whether guitarists will want more integrated products from these eras (e.g. Fender SCXD) or a modular approach remains to be seen. I would bet players will still want to be able to swap a pedal out in a chain somewhere instead of always having to go reprogram a patch to tweak their sound.

    I personally am waiting for the inevitable "tweakers delight" pedal. The kind of platform that combines DIY, high level language, based-on-open-source-hardware with a BOSS or MXR sized stomp. Raspberry PI or Arduino based FX community is in the very very near future.

    One thing I can say for sure is, there will always be a mix of guitarists that skew from guitar-cable-amp players all the way to "I can only play gear that I have built myself".
    There is some much fun to have on so many different levels. And that includes just spending a bunch of hours simply gabbing about it all. ;)
  9. slippin slider

    slippin slider Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 30, 2013
    :confused: O.K. now that the topic has been clearified :confused:
    My Dynamatrix 26,000 CXXI works with both ana/digi if the mercury is
    not retrograde. However if I turn off my mind and let my hands plug in
    the jacks and float down stream, every thing seems to work just fine.
    Some times I get up into my head that I loose all conceptual continuity.
    When using pedals; Boss usually works and works and works and works
    some more for me, imho. Lately the 26,000 has been functioning as a
    Great paper wieght, all be it an expensive paper wieght, but kitty likes to get on top of the desk and gentlely paw with the nobs and lay against the rolled edges
    of the pedal.She looks so contented when she does so. That's whyI don't put it on E-Bay looking for a status concious individual ,not unlike myself to part with his/her hard earned..... a fool and his/her money are soon parted.
  10. sssteeve

    sssteeve TDPRI Member

    Feb 3, 2010
    Concord, CA
    Resurrecting an old thread... My friend Felix, a killer guitarist with an ear for really great tone was raving about the BC-2 a few years ago so I checked it out. What was most impressive to me was the full range of tone, response and compression controlled by the gain pot. I was sure that it must be digital because it would take something like a quad pot with some fancy circuitry to accomplish that strictly in the analog realm.

    I have been very unimpressed with the COSM modeling in Boss devices but the BC-2 is one digital pedal that really works well. I have a hunch that the designers weren't specifically trying to model a Vox AC-30 amp but were experimenting around with a single knob gain and compression control for the digital chip, and came up with a killer design which happened to have a lot of Vox-like qualities.

    And with its AD and DA converters it plays nice in the analog realm. When my friend plays a gig with a single pedal instead of his pedalboard it is usually the BC-2 that he brings along. BTW he plays blues, he plays rock, he plays jazz- he can get all of the killer sounds he needs from that one pedal.

    I was skeptical about digital pedals, processors and amps until I checked out what Ken Kantor was able to accomplish with his ZT Lunchbox amps. While Line 6, Boss, et al, tried to program the digital processing chip to model a dozen or more different amps, Ken stayed with one basic model and tried to capture the vibe and sound of what we used to call "a really nice amp" back in the 60's and 70's, not necessarily tube-like but an amp that you really enjoyed playing. His R&D facility had at least a dozen classic amps old-timers would drool over and he tried to capture some of the vibe of those amps.

    His original design for the Lunchbox did not distort as you turned up the gain which bothered most of the beta testers so he added a pair of discrete clipping diodes to the pcb which was otherwise all surface mount. (I removed the clipping diodes in my Lunchbox, preferring the improved headroom and using a pedal for distorted sounds.)

    Sorry for such a lengthy reply to an old thread...

    Steve Ahola
  11. Muzik4Machines

    Muzik4Machines TDPRI Member

    Nov 17, 2015
    A digital pedal can't accept the output of a 20dB boost without clipping the AD converter, so it can be an issue
  12. Mezzamort

    Mezzamort TDPRI Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Northwest , IN
    Hey I just bought this pedal and I was wondering where I should put it on my board B4 my DS1 & OD 1 or after they have been modded By Alchemy Audio and are Excellent Along with a DD3 now analog & digital and he even did a Great job on a CF-7 ,John can make any thing sound Great !!!
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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