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Are jhs pedals analog or digital?

JHS pedals have become quite popular in the guitar effects pedal world in recent years. The company was founded in 2007 and has released dozens of different stompboxes since then. JHS pedals cover a wide range of effects like overdrive, distortion, modulation, delay, reverb, and more. Some guitarists prefer analog effects pedals while others like digital ones. So are JHS pedals analog or digital? Let’s take a closer look.

The Analog vs Digital Debate

In the guitar pedal community there is often debate over analog vs digital effects. Analog effects like overdrives, distortions, phasers, and others use 100% analog audio circuitry to create the sound. This means no digital processing or conversion is used. The signal remains analog from input to output.

Digital effects convert the analog audio signal into a digital data stream using an ADC (analog to digital converter). The audio is then processed using digital signal processing (DSP) chips and software algorithms before being converted back to analog with a DAC (digital to analog converter) on the output.

Those on the analog side argue that analog effects sound more pure, organic, and react more dynamically to picking and volume changes. Digital advocates argue digital pedals can offer more features and flexibility like presets, parameter control options, consistency, and reduced noise.

JHS Pedal Technology

The majority of JHS pedals use a hybrid of analog and digital technology in their designs. Here are some examples:

  • The original circuitry and audio signal path is analog. This creates the core tone.
  • Digital chips are added for tap tempo, bypass switching, preset saving, MIDI control, or other features.
  • Some effects like reverb and delay use a mix of analog and digital circuitry in the effects engine itself.

There are a few JHS pedals that are designed to be 100% analog:

  • JHS Twin Twelve V2
  • JHS Colour Box V2
  • JHS Lucky Cat
  • JHS AT+

And a couple that are digital:

  • JHS Emperor V2
  • JHS Triple Delay V3

But the majority use a hybrid approach. Even on the digital pedals, the incoming guitar signal starts out analog before being converted.

Why JHS Uses Hybrid Analog/Digital Designs

In an interview with Premier Guitar, JHS founder Josh Scott explained why he prefers to use a mix of analog and digital technology in his pedals rather than going all analog or all digital:

“I like to mix analog and digital. I feel like if you were to make a cake, the cake itself better be organic and analog—a nice, fluffy, real cake made from scratch—but the icing can be digital. Add some presets and cool switches…I don’t want a digital cake, but some digital icing is fine.”

Scott sees the analog circuitry as providing the heart of the sound and feel, while digital components add extra features like tap tempo, switching options, and presets.

Some Example JHS Pedals

Here is a closer look at the technology inside some popular JHS pedals:

JHS Morning Glory V4

The Morning Glory is an analog overdrive pedal. The entire circuit is analog using JFET and op-amp technology to create a classic overdrive sound.

JHS Panther Cub V2

This analog distortion pedal uses a similar analog design as the Morning Glory. The distortion circuit is all-analog while a digital chip handles preset saving.

JHS Emperor V2

The Emperor is one of JHS’s few all-digital pedals. It uses a Belton BRICASTi digital reverb processor chip to create its ambient reverbs and echos. The signal is converted from analog to digital and back again.

JHS Colour Box V2

This pedal emulates the sound of a classic Neve console preamp. The entire circuit is analog for a 100% analog signal path.

JHS Double Barrel V4

This dual overdrive combines analog overdrive and boost circuits with a digital Multistomp section that provides delay, reverb, tremolo, and more effects.

Comparing Analog and Digital JHS Pedals

While it’s hard to make definitive statements that apply to all pedals, here are some of the key differences users note between the analog and digital JHS pedals:

Analog Digital
Richer, warmer overdrive and distortion tones More pristine, hi-fi reverbs and delays
React dynamically to playing Presets allow precise effect setting recall
Uncolored transparent boost/drive options Advanced editing parameters
Vintage vibe Ultra-long delay times

The Best of Both Worlds

While JHS does have a few pedals on both ends of the spectrum, most of their designs land somewhere in the middle. They aim to capture the warmth, dynamic response, and vintage vibe of analog effects while also incorporating some of the flexibility of digital like presets and tap tempo where applicable.

Josh Scott uses the cake analogy because he feels this hybrid approach gives guitarists the best of both worlds. You get that old school organic analog sound but with modern features guitarists have come to expect and rely on.

So in summary, while not entirely analog, the core sound and tone shaping stages in most JHS pedals remain analog. This helps them achieve the desired vintage sound and response. But they incorporate just enough digital magic to increase their versatility without compromising the integrity of the fundamental tone.


While there are a few exceptions, the majority of JHS guitar pedals utilize a hybrid of analog and digital circuitry. The incoming audio signal starts out analog and the core sound shaping circuitry remains analog. This provides the warmth, dynamics, and responsiveness that players expect from analog effects. But JHS adds in some digital components where applicable for features like presets, tap tempo, or delay/reverb engines. This hybrid approach gives guitarists the best of both worlds – vintage analog tones with modern flexibility and control.