which do you prefer?

this probably is a really stupid question, but can using distortion through a clean channel cause long-term buzzing and hissing?
Definitely through clean channel. My pedal sounds rubbish through my distortion channel
"He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return"
Pends on the amp and settings. I use GuitarRig 2
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i doubt it can. Distortion is better run through a clean amp while overdrive can be used for a little dirt on a clean channel or to push your tube distortion harder. Not sure if it would sound great with a solid state amp.
It won't damage your amp, if that's what you're asking (assuming you don't turn it up too loud and blow your speaker).