If I am digitally capturing an audio signal from an analog source and I know I will want some analog effects applied, is it better to use them on the analog signal before doing the ADC, or should I opt for as clean as a digital signal as possible and then pass that signal through the both the analog and digital effects I may need?
I assume that using the digital effects on the analog signal is unnecessary (in terms of quality of the final signal after all effects), so I can do them once digitized to my hearts content without as much loss. But also open to thoughts here.
I know that when the analog effects are applied before recording, they are "destructive" edits to the signal - meaning there is no going back. So you may not want to do it for that reason. However I had always thought that any analog work you're sure of should be done first (before ADC is done) because an analog signal is much more detailed or higher resolution before being digitized. By applying several analog effects on the analog signal, I had assumed the resulting final signal would have a similar detail / resolution as the input (within reason). Conversely, after digitizing where the signal goes through a "best fit" process to find the corresponding digital representation, I feared there would be a sort of "rounding error" that can add up since we're applying filters to a digital signal that is lossy.
I brought this up to an electrical engineer and he fought me on it so much I was left very confused. His argument was that the clean digital signal was the best for more reasons than just convenience.
Is there any (noticeable) difference to the signal if I apply analog effects before ADC rather than after or is it just theoretical?