Heat vs strymon deco?


I own both the AH and Deco. I look at them as different beasts entirely. The Deco has that great tape warble/wobble/effect saturation , which to me, sounds like a tamed lo-if junky in which you can obtain your BOC sound with. While the AH is more of a mix bus/ reamp processor for me where I love using in place of plugins that bog down my CPU.

When I bought the Deco 3 years ago, I ran everything through it! The stereo widening effect it did to my mono synths were pretty impressive along with the tape flangy stuff, but I OVER did it and all my tracks started to sound so predictable after a while and I just became too dependent on it instead of learning how to mix properly. Subtle is the key for me now.

IMO, AH- mix bus analog dynamic processor. Deco- EFX tape emulation/ stereo widener

Ask me later how they sound together.


Absolutely. The Heat is much more flexible and makes much more sense as a mastering tool. A huge reason for this is the wet/dry balance control.

It’s just that if you’re after tape saturation alone, the Deco does a much better job than the Heat.

What a lot of people who try the Deco overlook is that if you want to use it on a stereo bus, you’ll 1. need to open up the unit and change a jumper to enable stereo input, 2. use an Y-cable to get the stereo input in, and 3. make sure you’ve set the pedal to “studio mode”. This is all described in the manual, but we all know how few people read that.

If you use the pedal with a mono input and if you’re in “instrument mode” then you are not going to get the results you’re looking for… :slight_smile:


I love mine, I use it on almost everything.
For me it is my glue and polish


Goddammit, now you guys made be buy one.
Used, like mint, for 260 - imo a good deal.


Haha its a good deal.

RTFM! Lots of hidden but important features.


Thanks for that. That reinforces my use case of putting it at the end of the line to make everything sound juuuust a little bit better/fuller/whatever. Or, I can just crank it and go nuts.


Has anyone here use the Heat for a DJ set ? I have a show booked soon and I’m considering bringing it for the filters and EQ/light boost.


It will sure do you good service.

Even doing some env following on the dirt will be handy.


Oh yeah, I agree - Heat would be great in your proposed setup. I’ve tried the envelope follower with dirt, but with limited success. How would you approach that @Augenadler?


I’m in the Hospital atm, not with my gear (well, AR suits in every backpack) so I cannot take a look right now.
From what I remember, dial in the env follower so it reacts to the desired freq range, set the threshold and the destination and that should be it. Experiment with threshold and dest amount to your liking, and save a few different setups so you have some at hand to switch between.


Oh man! I hope it’s not too serious. Don’t worry about my goofy questions! Your tip, however, is pretty much how I’ve approached the envelope follower, I probably need to dial in the frequency band. Perhaps I should try an extreme depth setting and then tweaking the band to see what the effect is. :+1:t3:


Most of the demos I’ve seen for the Heat seem to focus on how it changes drums and makes them gritty…do you guys just run your Rytm or Digitakt through AH or would the A4 and digitone benefit from it as well?


Sounds lile fanboyism, but EVERYTHING benefits from heating up a bit.
Lush pads open up, just a little lfoing here, a bit of subtle saturation there, stereo filtering is also a great thing of the heat.
Or go full mayhem and crush things to new things
Just a impulse of AR or other vlicky short sound with some long reverb on it - can get a bassline, whooshy something or whatever.
The Heat is all about experimenting.


Wow. Going to try the below! Great idea. I have a rack of 90s romplers that i love using and they really benefit from the heat.

Just a impulse of AR or other vlicky short 
sound with some long reverb on it - can get 
a bassline, whooshy something or whatever.


So I got a chance to try out the Deco today.
Granted, it was on a Digitone (playing full tracks) and in a room I was not used to monitoring in, but I have to say I was unimpressed with the level of high frequency roll off it has. And this was a big surprise to me.

Listening back to the above video, I can hear more of it, and I hadn’t noticed it before.

I could see it warming up harsh sounds, like old Electribes, but I’ve never found Digitone harsh. I did some tweaks to turn off the different drive settings within the Digitone but to no avail. Deco was taking a big hack at frequencies above 12khz, aka the “air” frequencies. It seems great for a lo-fi sound, maybe on a drum bus, but to put a whole track through it, I was surprisingly let down.

Even with the blend all the way to the right, engaging the saturator rolled off the highs.

Has anyone else noticed this?

If this is standard operating procedure, then I have to recommend the Heat in a versus match.
It has an enhancing quality that promotes high frequency harmonics rather than reduces them. My Analog Drive can also do this in the boost setting.
Perhaps the EQ on the Analog boxes helps make up that loss? I’ll have to test more with them.


i got a deco for my machinedrum a few years ago. if i remember correctly it rolled off the bass at any decent setting too. the heat was miles better with my gear imo.


You have to do some setup first. There is a tab inside that switches it from mono input to stereo and apart from stereo width it increases treble response. Also some secondary knob functions to tune the response. I love mine. Have not used a heat but not even gassing for one.


Yeah, I have been using the Deco for a while now.
I’ve tried hooking it up in a wide variety of ways, set all the secondary functions, etc.
As of late I have not been using it because it just takes away too much.
I really just wanted a wee bit of saturation, and lots of tape phasing.
I’ll probably use it on a few tracks in a mix, but no longer on a full mix.
I wish my A4 had multiple outs.
It’s definitely different from track to track


Switch inside was set to stereo, though. :man_shrugging:t3:


on the same topic of stereo saturation…

If I had the cash, I’d definitely get a pair of Rupert Neve Designs 551 Inductor EQs.
A pair of RND transformers balancing both input and output, and 3 band EQ.
If it is anything like my Bogner Harlow (but with more headroom), then it should sound fantastic. The vast majority of reviews are positive and they run about $650 ea for b-stock units.