#1
Hey,

So I've just read an article comparing the two, with the conclusion that "overdrive" pedals are infact distortion, due to the process of distortion being created by overdrive within the amp.

I know booster pedals push the amp, but do "overdrive" pedals? Are they just lower gain softer clipping distortions?
#2
i thought overdrive pedals were boosts they just boost the signal and distortion pedals have some sort of clipping circuit in them to make distortion


but i neverreally get caught up on what to call things
#3
technically yes they boost, but also add distortion, a booster just increases volume... doesn't distort the sound to the degree an overdrive does.
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#4
Quote by supersac
i thought overdrive pedals were boosts they just boost the signal and distortion pedals have some sort of clipping circuit in them to make distortion


but i neverreally get caught up on what to call things



mhmm this is what ive always thought
#5
Ive always thought of overdrive pedals as a way to push already overdriven amps onto higher more saturated gain and boost as pedals that don't impart much on the amp other than about 10db of clean boost that don't do much to tone but push the existing drive and character further.
#7
overdrives are designed to push your amp into clipping for distortion. this works best with tube amps. they are a softer form of distortion. a clean boost is designed to make your signal stronger for more volume but not so it distorts (much as any increase in signal into the amp can cause it to distort a little).

distortion pedals are designed to give you the same sound as an overdriven amp, how much depends on the amount of distortion the pedal can produce. distortion pedals are best used thru a clean sounding amp as they produce the distortion as oppsed to the amp doing it.

both methods have there advantages and disadvantages just depends on what you are trying to do. distortion pedals work better with solid state amps than overdrives. they also work just fine with tube amps and can often achieve a better distortion sound at low volume levels. for many though the sound of an overdriven tube amp is the best sounding form of distortion.
#8
Quote by monwobobbo
overdrives are designed to push your amp into clipping for distortion. this works best with tube amps. they are a softer form of distortion. a clean boost is designed to make your signal stronger for more volume but not so it distorts (much as any increase in signal into the amp can cause it to distort a little).

distortion pedals are designed to give you the same sound as an overdriven amp, how much depends on the amount of distortion the pedal can produce. distortion pedals are best used thru a clean sounding amp as they produce the distortion as oppsed to the amp doing it.

both methods have there advantages and disadvantages just depends on what you are trying to do. distortion pedals work better with solid state amps than overdrives. they also work just fine with tube amps and can often achieve a better distortion sound at low volume levels. for many though the sound of an overdriven tube amp is the best sounding form of distortion.


Did you happen to read the article I posted? It seems to say differently.
#9
Quote by monwobobbo
overdrives are designed to push your amp into clipping for distortion. this works best with tube amps. they are a softer form of distortion. a clean boost is designed to make your signal stronger for more volume but not so it distorts (much as any increase in signal into the amp can cause it to distort a little).

distortion pedals are designed to give you the same sound as an overdriven amp, how much depends on the amount of distortion the pedal can produce. distortion pedals are best used thru a clean sounding amp as they produce the distortion as oppsed to the amp doing it.

both methods have there advantages and disadvantages just depends on what you are trying to do. distortion pedals work better with solid state amps than overdrives. they also work just fine with tube amps and can often achieve a better distortion sound at low volume levels. for many though the sound of an overdriven tube amp is the best sounding form of distortion.




Why is this myth so prevalent? Most distortions and ODs share the EXACT same topology, they simply change a resistor or pot value for more distortion or use different diode configurations to get a similar effect.

In short, not a single thing distinguishes them. People just generally refer to low gain dirt pedals as overdrives, higher gain ones as distortions and super high gain ones fuzzes. You could lump them all into distortion units.

Overdrives aren't meant to slam your input. Other wise they would use a much simpler topology that doesn't include distortion and frequency response changes.
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#10
Quote by mmolteratx


Why is this myth so prevalent? Most distortions and ODs share the EXACT same topology, they simply change a resistor or pot value for more distortion or use different diode configurations to get a similar effect.

In short, not a single thing distinguishes them. People just generally refer to low gain dirt pedals as overdrives, higher gain ones as distortions and super high gain ones fuzzes. You could lump them all into distortion units.

Overdrives aren't meant to slam your input. Other wise they would use a much simpler topology that doesn't include distortion and frequency response changes.


Thank you!

From what the article it seems like it's true, and it makes sense, like if you turn down a Big Muff, it sounds like an "overdrive" pedal.
#11
Quote by DeadlySurfer
Did you happen to read the article I posted? It seems to say differently.


no, seems to be saying pretty much the same thing i did. where is the confusion? as i mentioned both overdrive and distortion pedals are in fact distortion producing devices. the overdrive is much less and is desinged to mimick the sound of a naturally overdriven amp (mild for lack of a better term). a distortion pedal is designed to mimmick the sound of a full blown cranked amp (heavy once again for lack of a better term.

the boost is designed to perform the same function as the gain knob on your amp. it adds gain but doesn't produce a distorted sound on its own. most people just use them to add volume when playing leads while retaining the same tone.
#12
Quote by mmolteratx


Why is this myth so prevalent? Most distortions and ODs share the EXACT same topology, they simply change a resistor or pot value for more distortion or use different diode configurations to get a similar effect.

In short, not a single thing distinguishes them. People just generally refer to low gain dirt pedals as overdrives, higher gain ones as distortions and super high gain ones fuzzes. You could lump them all into distortion units.

Overdrives aren't meant to slam your input. Other wise they would use a much simpler topology that doesn't include distortion and frequency response changes.


+1

though most ods tend to use soft clipping while dists tend to use hard (that's what you're saying though). normally the diodes in dists seem to be to ground whereas in ods they tend to be in feedback loops- is that anything to do with it?

I guess what I'm saying is, in principle they're the same thing, and I agree that an od isn't a boost (though it can be used as one) as it will clip too, but they also tend to sound/feel different and be used in different ways. If that makes sense.

I mean it's a bit like saying a motorbike is the same thing as a car because they both use an internal combustion engine, lol. Whereas a booster (an actual proper boost, i.e. clean or treble boost) is like a bicycle, which is different.
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#13
Quote by mmolteratx


Why is this myth so prevalent? Most distortions and ODs share the EXACT same topology, they simply change a resistor or pot value for more distortion or use different diode configurations to get a similar effect.

In short, not a single thing distinguishes them. People just generally refer to low gain dirt pedals as overdrives, higher gain ones as distortions and super high gain ones fuzzes. You could lump them all into distortion units.

Overdrives aren't meant to slam your input. Other wise they would use a much simpler topology that doesn't include distortion and frequency response changes.


not exactly a myth as many people trun down the gain on their overdrive pedals and turn up the level to get a boost. most distortion pedals still add dirt even when turned down. also i'll point out that many boosts do have a tone knob. if you read what i said you'd see that i did indeed say that overdrives and distortion pedals are both distortion producing devices.
#14
The hard/soft clipping thing is a little vague. You can't say that a circuit is doing one or the other without looking at the post distortion waveform on an oscilloscope and at lower distortion levels, most that are traditionally thought of as 'hard clippers' give a soft, rounded edge to the waveform due to the rest of the circuit.

The diodes in the feedback loop/diodes to ground doesn't really make much of a difference without knowing the rest of the circuit and the diodes used. The Distortion + uses back to back diodes to ground after the op amp stage and is traditionally thought of as a soft clipper, while the Rat uses nearly the exact same topology but is traditionally thought of as a hard clipper. The shape of the waveform strongly depends on the rest of the circuit.

Of course they can be used as a boost. But that's not what they're designed for and when using one with a distorting amp, I tend to set the output to unity.

EDIT: ^ I meant to bold this part:

overdrives are designed to push your amp into clipping for distortion. this works best with tube amps.


They weren't initially designed to push your amp into clipping and in fact some were designed to get 'cranked tube amp' tones through SS amps (Boss SD-1 and it's everpopular derivative, the Ibanez Tubescreamer).
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Mar 20, 2011,
#15
Quote by monwobobbo
no, seems to be saying pretty much the same thing i did. where is the confusion? as i mentioned both overdrive and distortion pedals are in fact distortion producing devices. the overdrive is much less and is desinged to mimick the sound of a naturally overdriven amp (mild for lack of a better term). a distortion pedal is designed to mimmick the sound of a full blown cranked amp (heavy once again for lack of a better term.

the boost is designed to perform the same function as the gain knob on your amp. it adds gain but doesn't produce a distorted sound on its own. most people just use them to add volume when playing leads while retaining the same tone.


Well, you said overdrives are designed to push tubes, where as the article says they're not, so that's all I meant.

And I understand that overdrive and distortion are used for different things, like you wouldn't tend to use overdrive to play death metal or something.

Edit: So a question, that I kind of started this for, is that I can use an "Overdrive" pedal on my Twin, and it's not going to try to break up the tubes, right?
Last edited by DeadlySurfer at Mar 20, 2011,
#16
^ it's gonna push the tubes if you set the level higher than unity... if you don't want to push the tubes, just make sure it's no louder with the pedal on than with it off.

EDIT: most metal players use an overdrive pedal too h But they use it to push an already distorted high gain tube amp, and to tighten up the low end etc., make the harmonics jump out a little more, etc. They're not using it into the clean channel.

Quote by mmolteratx
The hard/soft clipping thing is a little vague. You can't say that a circuit is doing one or the other without looking at the post distortion waveform on an oscilloscope and at lower distortion levels, most that are traditionally thought of as 'hard clippers' give a soft, rounded edge to the waveform due to the rest of the circuit.

The diodes in the feedback loop/diodes to ground doesn't really make much of a difference without knowing the rest of the circuit and the diodes used. The Distortion + uses back to back diodes to ground after the op amp stage and is traditionally thought of as a soft clipper, while the Rat uses nearly the exact same topology but is traditionally thought of as a hard clipper. The shape of the waveform strongly depends on the rest of the circuit.


ah ok, that makes sense, thanks
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Mar 20, 2011,
#17
Quote by DeadlySurfer
Well, you said overdrives are designed to push tubes, where as the article says they're not, so that's all I meant.

And I understand that overdrive and distortion are used for different things, like you wouldn't tend to use overdrive to play death metal or something.

Edit: So a question, that I kind of started this for, is that I can use an "Overdrive" pedal on my Twin, and it's not going to try to break up the tubes, right?

Not unless you have the level cranked up on the OD pedal. If you set the dirt up higher and adjust the level to match you clean level, then you should be good.
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#18
overdrives were designed to be used with solid state amps? would you care to back that up with some supporting facts. it's been my experience that they suck when used with them.
#19
Quote by barden1069
Not unless you have the level cranked up on the OD pedal. If you set the dirt up higher and adjust the level to match you clean level, then you should be good.


Makes sense I know this is a lazy thing to ask, but I can't crank my Twin up at the moment;

Will the level on the pedal and amp volume stay the same? For instance, the pedal volume is on 4 and matches the amp when it's on 4. I turn the amp up to 8, will the pedal volume still be on four, and be equal to the clean tone?
#20
well with a solide state amp you arent overdriving anything. your just changing the sound by inputting a clipped signal.

the whole premise of an overdrive is it generally isnt on all the time, overdrive...as in more. as in its a footswitch because there are times when it is most applicable.

some plays probably use it like a distortion and just keep it on all the time for thier regular tone, but most people that do that have more thn one overdrive, or atleast a clean boost or distortion. its not uncommon for players to have 2-3 types of gain pedals.

heck, some peoples setups have 2 -3 of the identical type of tubescreamer. it really is just how you use your gear.

no. there is no way pedal levels and amp levels are going to match like that. it is generally my experience that pedal levels are fairly constant unless you practice at low volumnes and crank you amp live, you are going to have to sound check and make sure your volume off is relative to your volume with the pedal on.

my boss for example stays at about 9 o clock. even if i were to raise it, the volume is very sensitive. i really dont think it will ever need to be at noon or higher reguarless of my amp volume.

same with my EQ pedal that i use as a boost. it can boost 15 DB. that is CRAZY loud. i have it set on about 3....which isnt even to the first notch. its VERY noticible increase in sound for leads. i probably will never go above 5 db on the volume of my BOSS ge7. ( it also depends on the sliders too. if you cut all fequencies...your going to need to boost volume to get to the same volume as with normal frequencies)

and to answer the question:

most distortions (higher gain ones) have thier own characterisitics and sounds. most people love a great OD that is transparent and doesnt color the sound yet makes things a bit more gritty and intense. its why metal guys use tubescreamers too o top of thier uber distorted tone.

and fuzz....well fuzz isnt really as heavy as a high gain distortion (like a death metal band), but its just clipped so much the signal isnt even smooth anymore, hense the sound and name. think ZZ top and hendrix. still bluesy, but its so darn raw and gritty.

...im sure there are some crazy fuzzes out there though that are darn high gain sounding
Last edited by ikey_ at Mar 20, 2011,
#21
Quote by monwobobbo
overdrives were designed to be used with solid state amps? would you care to back that up with some supporting facts. it's been my experience that they suck when used with them.

Well the boss sd-1 has "just like a tube amp" in the description so i'd wager that it wasn't designed to be used with tube amps originally
#22
Quote by DeadlySurfer
Makes sense I know this is a lazy thing to ask, but I can't crank my Twin up at the moment;

Will the level on the pedal and amp volume stay the same? For instance, the pedal volume is on 4 and matches the amp when it's on 4. I turn the amp up to 8, will the pedal volume still be on four, and be equal to the clean tone?


doesn't exactly work that way. if you turn the amp up then the pedal will make the volume less but that doesn't guarentee the same tone. its not an exact scince and you do have to tinker with them a bit to do what you want.
#23
Quote by monwobobbo
doesn't exactly work that way. if you turn the amp up then the pedal will make the volume less but that doesn't guarentee the same tone. its not an exact scince and you do have to tinker with them a bit to do what you want.


Thought so, just needed to make sure before I started playing with the pedal at gig volume.

And yeah, I meant metal players using an overdrive into a clean amp, rather than an already distorted signal
#24
Quote by coolstoryangus
Well the boss sd-1 has "just like a tube amp" in the description so i'd wager that it wasn't designed to be used with tube amps originally


yeah that's marketing but have you ever used a sd-1 with a solid state amp it doesn't sound like tubes to me at all. my understanding is that overdrives were in fact designed to be used with the old (new at the time) tube amps to get the sound of a totally cranked one at more reasonable volumes. this may not be true but i'd like to see something factual as i'd never heard that they were originally meant to be used with SS amps.
Last edited by monwobobbo at Mar 20, 2011,
#25
Quote by monwobobbo
overdrives were designed to be used with solid state amps? would you care to back that up with some supporting facts. it's been my experience that they suck when used with them.




Dunno why you'd need a tube like sound when you've already got a tube amp. Though what I'm saying specifically refers to the SD-1/Tubescreamer topology. I don't know what the hell MXR was thinking when the developed the Dist+ and EHX was trying to make the perfect sustainer when developing the Muff Fuzz/LPB/Big Muff. Maestro was trying replicate the nasty speaker/console input distortion when creating the FZ-1 that many classic fuzz pedals are a derivative of.

EDIT: Also, the SD-1 was developed as Roland was rolling out it's first SS guitar amps. And if you're so convinced they were developed for tube amps, can you offer some evidence to prove it? Just because they sound like ass with SS amps doesn't mean they weren't designed to go together.
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Last edited by mmolteratx at Mar 20, 2011,
#26
Quote by monwobobbo
yeah that's marketing but have you ever used a sd-1 with a solid state amp it doesn't sound like tubes to me at all. my understanding is that overdrives were in fact designed to be used with the old (new at the time) tube amps to get the sound of a totally cranked one at more reasonable volumes. this may not be true but i'd like to see something factual as i'd never heard that they were originally meant to be used with SS amps.


I used to use an SD-1 with my Marshall MG30, and it did add tube-like overdrive to the sound (just not very nice). I mean they're designed to clip the input signal in a similar manner to overdriven tubes (hence boss patenting of 'asymmetric' clipping). I think at least one of the manufacturers intended uses was on solid state amps.
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#27
from what ive heard as a general rule of thumb, overdrive are more geared toward a tube amp and boosting the signal where as a distortion pedal is better suited to a solid-state amp to add gain
#28
anything that boosts your input signal by say 10+db is also going to overdrive the front section of your amp since that first stage is usually expecting to see only the guitar input signal which is very small.

anything that also clips your signal before the boost will also add its own distortion.

very few pedals are designed to not ever clip internally.

even a clean boost will clip if you put another pedal in front of it.

the point is...

what the hell does it matter what something is named....

what's so ****ing hard about learning how something actually works and then using it accordingly.

for the love of megatron.
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#29
Quote by mmolteratx


Dunno why you'd need a tube like sound when you've already got a tube amp. Though what I'm saying specifically refers to the SD-1/Tubescreamer topology. I don't know what the hell MXR was thinking when the developed the Dist+ and EHX was trying to make the perfect sustainer when developing the Muff Fuzz/LPB/Big Muff. Maestro was trying replicate the nasty speaker/console input distortion when creating the FZ-1 that many classic fuzz pedals are a derivative of.

EDIT: Also, the SD-1 was developed as Roland was rolling out it's first SS guitar amps. And if you're so convinced they were developed for tube amps, can you offer some evidence to prove it? Just because they sound like ass with SS amps doesn't mean they weren't designed to go together.


ok i spent the last hour or so doing some reasearch. i have found no evidence for either side of our debate. i can't prove i'm right however i also see nothing that even remotely proves your contention so feel free (once again) to show me where this info came from. i'm guessing you can't. as for why you would need a solid state pedal that sounded like tubes, hmm... could it be that they were thinking that a guy using a tube amp would want to preserve that sound. oh and why would a pedal maker design a pedal that sounds like "ass" for it's intended use? anyways hope you have more success than i did as i'm curious about this.
#30
Quote by AcousticMirror


the point is...

what the hell does it matter what something is named....

what's so ****ing hard about learning how something actually works and then using it accordingly.

for the love of megatron.


I don't care about the name, and this thread was designed to help me figure out the useage...so...