#1
Can anyone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE explain to this innocent mind of mine, the difference between and overdrive and a distortion? i'm confused which is which. thanks
#2
Overdrive I think is the distorted sound that you hear when valve amps are pushed hard. Not sure exactly what distortion comes from.
#3
distortion is just electronics distorting the signal.
overdrive is when the valves are pushed with a loud signal, it distorts.
its also a smooth "clipping"

i hope u know but this topic has been covered so much on UG.
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#4
Yea Overdrive is the sound your tube amp would make when being pushed to the limit and distortion is just a much more gritty heavier sounding effect

if you listen they sound quite different and its very distinguisable
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#5
overdrive is a cleaner sound thats not so heavy and comes from a tube amp. distortion is just a heavier sound
#6
Distortion originated when people tried to mimic the sound of overdriven tubes...
Overdriven tubes are vaccuum tubes that have warmed up and are allowing more that normal levels of current being pushed through them....

It's difficult to explain... Overdrive is more clean that distortion (if your using class A power tubes that is)

Overdrive sounds warmer, richer and cleaner than distortion...
distortion is just fuzz noise
#7
overdrive is is what it sounds like. It simulates the sound of your power amp section being overdriven, so it is more of a smooth tone. Your power amp is the section of power tubes that break up naturally when pushed hard or turned up. Distortion is simulated overdrive, or a pre amp version of the same thing. So there is more gain, more saturation or buzzier tone. more harsh sounding. over drive should be used for blues jazz rock, sutff that doesn't call for tones of gain. distortion is for metal and saturation. Or a lot of sustain. but you can get that from the right overdrive/amp/guitar combo to.
#8
okay re-reading that made no sense... I apologize...

Overdrive is when tubes are pushed, because of the nature of tubes it produces a more natural distortion that is pleasing to the ear.... Richer and warmer that Distortion....

Distortion is an ADDED fuzz noise on top of what the guitar is already doing...

at high levels of Gain (overdrive) it will kind of begin to sound like distortion, get all "fuzzy" (i can't think of any other word to describe this) and such, and if your using a solid state amp then that is exactly what your getting... but when you are using tubes your ear can detect the difference cause distortion caused by overdriven tubes is naturally pleasing to the human ear

(i work in a guitar store... it's been a long day)
#9
you're all horribly wrong. it has nothing to do with tube vs solid state

it's the same thing. same exact thing. they mean when an audio signal clipps because it's being pushed to hard.

think of tubes/diodes/ any sort of sound producing device as a tube, and the sound as a wave being pushed through that tube. the amplitude of the wave (size) increases with volume. eventually the wave get's to big to fit entirely in the tube so it get's clipped at the ends. that is distortion/overdrive/drive/gain/crunch/ what ever.

but the two terms are used to describe varying levels of signal clipping. for instance overdrive is more commonly used to describe very light signal clipping, where as distortion is used in accordance with more of the signal being clipped.
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#10
and in terms of pedals, and overdrive i just a softer version of distortion, that tends to be a bit more tube-like.
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#11
In addition to what gpderek09 (the only one so far who seems to know what he's talking about) said, overdrive also usually compresses the top of the soundwave after clipping, producing a softer edge that translates to a smoother, more harmonic tone. Tubes do this by nature, and overdrive pedals are designed to emulate it.
Distortion, on the other hand, clips the waveform pretty straight off, so the edges are sharper and the tone is harsher.
Fuzz is simply an extreme version of distortion where the signal is amplified and clipped to the point where it approaches a square wave.
#12
So for an extreme tone such as Slayer or other metal, which uses tube/valve amps for their sound, are they using overdrive or distortion?
I guess this is what gpderek09 is saying.
If you have moderate clipping (tube or otherwise) it's OD, if extreme it's distortion.

As for pedals, ODs try to emulate the sound of a tube amp.
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#13
they are using Overdriven amps, which is emulated with Distortion pedals, even though it wont be an identical reproduction.
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#15
Quote by gpderek09
you're all horribly wrong. it has nothing to do with tube vs solid state

it's the same thing. same exact thing. they mean when an audio signal clipps because it's being pushed to hard.

think of tubes/diodes/ any sort of sound producing device as a tube, and the sound as a wave being pushed through that tube. the amplitude of the wave (size) increases with volume. eventually the wave get's to big to fit entirely in the tube so it get's clipped at the ends. that is distortion/overdrive/drive/gain/crunch/ what ever.

but the two terms are used to describe varying levels of signal clipping. for instance overdrive is more commonly used to describe very light signal clipping, where as distortion is used in accordance with more of the signal being clipped.


+1, nice post.

In technical terms they're the same, but in guitarist speak, overdrive tends to be smoother and less severe, distortion tends to be harsher. Plus, there's overlap.

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