#1
Since this has gotten to be a pretty diverse topic as of late, I figued I'd thread it. What do YOU think distortion is and where does it come from. Word.
#2
Goddamnit. Distortion is made to clip. Overdrive is natural clipping.

better worded
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#4
Quote by IlIk2plygUItAr
Distortion comes from distorting the signal.

HAHAHA REALLY?
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I hate everyone the same.

#5
Quote by SpIkE27Z
Goddamnit. Distortion is made to clip. Overdrive is natural clipping.

better worded

tis right, overdrive is the natural distortion you get when you crank ur tube amp up to 11
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#6
you can crank a tube amp into distortion too, though, in most cases.

overdrive is where it's soft clipping, perhaps with the volume control on a tube amp around 7, while distortion is with it at 10.

distortion sounds harder-edged, overdrive is softer.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
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#7
I use both

Depending on what style I'm playing. Metal I would use Distortion, Grunge or Classic Rock would be Overdrive.
#8
distortion is what ss amps use on their supposed overdrive channel. you can still use distortion on tube amps but overdrive really only applies to tube amps. overdrive is the more natural tone that you get when you push the tubes
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#9
^ good god.

YOU CAN PUSH A TUBE AMP INTO DISTORTION AS WELL AS OVERDRIVE, AT LEAST WITH SOME AMPS.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#10
^i never said you couldn't i probably phrased that in a confusing manner though. overdrive in my opinion doesn't apply to ss amps because they dont have tubes. overdrive is more when you began to push the tubes by either cranking the amp or using the drive channel on a tube amp. distortion also obviously comes in pedal and natural form cause like you said you can crank an amp into distortion or you can buy it in a pedal like the ds1.
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>various magicial noise boxes
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For the funk:
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>Acoustic B100
#11
^

though you can buy overdrive pedals which are solid state, too.

it's a grey area, to be honest.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#12
Quote by Dave_Mc
it's a grey area, to be honest.


pretty much
My Rig
>MIM Fender Stratocaster and SX SJM-62
>various magicial noise boxes
>Peavey Classic 50 212

For the funk:
>Ibanez ATK300
>Acoustic B100
#13
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#14
You're all arguing semantics, saying the same thing different ways ;-)

Overdrive is something you DO. Distortion is the result.

Overdrive is when you push a component (mosfet, transistor, or tube) beyond its capacity to accept incoming signal voltage. The result is that the top and bottom of the signal (sine wave) is clipped off. The sine wave clipping is what is called distortion.

An overdrive PEDAL is designed to push "too much" signal into your amplifier to overdrive the components. A distortion pedal either overdrives a mosfet or transistor, or uses a diode to artificially induce signal clipping.

Overdrive and distortion are not two different kinds of crunch.

So, in summary: Overdrive is an excess of signal being forced into too small of an input. Distortion is the signal clipping that happens as a result of overdrive.
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#15
^ not necessarily.

there are certain sounds I'd call overdrive (soft clipping) and certain sounds I'd call distortion (hard clipping)...
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#16
Overdrive is putting too much power through the circuit. Distortion puts holes in the signal.

The distortion signal looks like this:


|--| |-| |--|
| | | |
| | | |
|_| |_|


The dips represent where the signal is cut out.
#17
^ not necessarily.

there are certain sounds I'd call overdrive (soft clipping) and certain sounds I'd call distortion (hard clipping)...


Yes, necessarily. I fix amplifiers as my source of income to fund my band, and I've been doing it for a while. Soft clipping and hard clipping are simply a difference in the shape of the edge of the clip, soft being rounded and hard being very sharp.

It's fine with me if y'all want to call soft clipping overdrive and hard clipping distortion, but you are arguing over definitions that are fundamentally flawed. I'm simply trying to enlighten everyone regarding what the actual technical definition of overdrive and distortion is.

ANY time an audio sine wave is clipped, that is signal distortion. Overdrive causes it.

Like I said, if it makes you happy to call some types of distortion "overdrive" then go for it!

Overdrive is putting too much power through the circuit. Distortion puts holes in the signal.

The distortion signal looks like this:


|--| |-| |--|
| | | |
| | | |
|_| |_|


The dips represent where the signal is cut out.


Not quite. If there were "holes" in your signal, there would be no sound. A hole would indicate a lack of voltage. What distortion does is clip the top and bottom off of a sine wave. A sine wave just looks like a squiggly line traveling in one direction. Like I said, distortion happens when the voltage is too high (the squiggly line is too "tall") and it won't fit through the "hole" it's supposed to go into. The top and bottom get chopped off so it can fit.

I've played around with asymmetrical distortion too (where the top and bottom are not cut off the same amount, or one side isn't cut off at all) and you can make some really cool distortion sounds with it!


EDIT: There are some really awesome resources on the technical side of audio signals out there on the 'net. I'd really encourage anyone to check it out. Knowing more about the tech side of audio will actually help you be a better musician, IMHO. I can't tell you how many sound techs have appreciated my relative competence when they've run sound for my band and told me they wished they worked with more musicians with a grasp of sound engineering.
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Last edited by Riffington at Jan 5, 2007,
#18
Quote by Riffington
(a) Yes, necessarily. I fix amplifiers as my source of income to fund my band, and I've been doing it for a while. Soft clipping and hard clipping are simply a difference in the shape of the edge of the clip, soft being rounded and hard being very sharp.

It's fine with me if y'all want to call soft clipping overdrive and hard clipping distortion, but you are arguing over definitions that are fundamentally flawed. I'm simply trying to enlighten everyone regarding what the actual technical definition of overdrive and distortion is.

ANY time an audio sine wave is clipped, that is signal distortion. Overdrive causes it.

Like I said, if it makes you happy to call some types of distortion "overdrive" then go for it!


(b) Not quite. If there were "holes" in your signal, there would be no sound. A hole would indicate a lack of voltage. What distortion does is clip the top and bottom off of a sine wave. A sine wave just looks like a squiggly line traveling in one direction. Like I said, distortion happens when the voltage is too high (the squiggly line is too "tall") and it won't fit through the "hole" it's supposed to go into. The top and bottom get chopped off so it can fit.

I've played around with asymmetrical distortion too (where the top and bottom are not cut off the same amount, or one side isn't cut off at all) and you can make some really cool distortion sounds with it!


EDIT: There are some really awesome resources on the technical side of audio signals out there on the 'net. I'd really encourage anyone to check it out. Knowing more about the tech side of audio will actually help you be a better musician, IMHO. I can't tell you how many sound techs have appreciated my relative competence when they've run sound for my band and told me they wished they worked with more musicians with a grasp of sound engineering.


(a) touche, but in guitar playing, colloquially, soft clipping tends to be called overdrive.

I mean, you wouldn't tell someone you need a distortion tone for SRV, for example.

(b) +1 on that.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#19
Just depends on what style you are using it in .. even almost a light distortion in a blues song i would call it overdrive..

While Necrophagist would use distortion not Very heavy overdrive.
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#20
Quote by IlIk2plygUItAr
Distortion comes from distorting the signal.





I don't think people should care between the two, really.
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#21
hey zeroconsequence i remember you from my pedal thread where you got into a big fight about distortion an overdrive.
#22
Wouldn't call it a "fight" as much as a discussion on a difference of opinions.
I think mr. riffington hit the nail on the head. I appreciate hearing what other people think and why they think it.
#25
Read a story once. Don't know if it is true but it said that this dude back in the day dropped his amp while going to a show. It knocked one of the tubes loose and that made the amp sound "distorted". He liked it so much that he started unscrewing one of his tubes on all his amps to get that "dirty sound". BAM!!! The birth of distortion/overdrive.
#26
that was link ray and he didnt drop it he punched a hole in the speaker cone.as for od vs dist,fuzz is extreme clipping to give completly square wave ,distortion is moderate clipping giving a round-straight-round peak on the wave and OD is extreme compression and amplification often without any clipping at all
#27
Link Wray isn't the dude i'm talking about. Although he was a pioneer and basically is the father of the power chord. I'm pretty certain distortion/overdrive was used earlier by blues guitarists.
#28
I was referring to an article in Guitar Player which stated that in 1956 guitarist Paul Burlison dropped his amp and knocked a tube loose. It is said that this was one of the earliest examples of distored rock guitar. He then intentionally dislodged a tube in one of his amps to replicate the sound.
I got this info from the articel "101 greatest moments in rock history", written by Matt Blackett for the April 2005 edition of Guitar Player magazine. Word.
#29
Theres nothin like the sound of a cranked tube amp

They respond to dynamics so well so very touch senstive and really lets you dig in and make the amp speak.
#31
anyone ever try turning up the OD on their amp and then run there wah on the open side... sounds wicked dirty, turn down the tone and u have that thin sixties rock tone, wonder what that wave would look like
#32
Riffington, it seems obvious that you actually know what you're talking about. You're in the wrong forum. At UG the answer is supposed to be like this:

Overdrive comes from the tubes clipping the diodes in a solid state amp's rectifier, while distortion is built into the poweramp input of a tube amp's preamp. And don't even try to argue with me, I will PWN you, I know what I'm talking about. I used to deliver pizza to Guitar Center every week plus I'm not a dum fukin noob, I've been playin guitar since October, you stupid gay fuktards. Oh and I totally just buttsecksed yer mom, haw haw, OMFGROTFLMFAO, haw haw haw...

Zakk Wylde suks.


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#33
^
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#34
all I know, is that I have a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal and a Danelectro Fabtone Overdrive pedal, and I enjoy the overdrive pedal more, dist. gives it some crunch but not enough to please me.
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#35
overdrive - driving a car over the cliff and the sounds that it makes

distortion - when the sound is distorted. e.g. a E becomes a G triple sharp