- Distortion is created by turning the volume of a sound up too loud.
- It is primarily a guitar effect, created using a pedal or stompbox, or a DAW plugin
- We can control three parameters of a distortion effect:
|Gain||The volume of the input signal (before distortion)|
|Output||The volume of the output signal (after distortion)|
|Tone||Changes the frequency content of the output|
- Historically, artists created distortion by damaging their amplifiers
- When the gain is increased, the wave peaks and troughs are clipped
- Soft clipping rounds the tops of the waves and sounds warmer. It is often seen in valve amps. Hard clipping creates a wave with square peaks & troughs and sounds harsher; it is commonly seen in transistor amps.
- The distorted signal has more harmonics, and filtering / EQ may be required to fit it well into the mix.
- Fuzz is a dense distortion used by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
- Overdrive gives the sound more crunch.
- It was originally created by pushing amps to play louder than they were able to
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
- Lowering the bit depth leads to distortion of audio
- The track can sound ‘electronic’ or ‘lo-fi’
La Roux – Colourless Colour
- We can use plugins to model the sound of distortion
- Software plugins include Logic’s ‘Overdrive’ and ‘Bitcrusher’
- We can also use hardware to emulate the sound of different distortions and amplifiers
- Line6’s Pod emulates the sound of many different guitar rigs
- This is beneficial as it means that you can have the option of lots of different amplifier settings without needing to own or transport the physical amplifiers