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Creative Distortion

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Russell Ault:
I debated whether to put this here or the Basement; my apologies if I've picked wrong.

Does anyone have any good resources or suggestions for learning about the intentional use of distortion (transformers, tube preamps, tape saturation, etc.) in live audio?

My impression is that most of the people mixing Bands You've Heard Of are employing distortion as an artistic choice (from plugins all the way up to the three large transformers that live in the doghouse of Scovill's personal S6L) and I'd like to learn more.

(Note: in an effort to head off the inevitable, I want to acknowledge up front that this sort of thing is absolutely the fondant on the icing on the cake. It will not fix a bad mix or bad P.A. or a bad room. Etc.)

Thanks!

-Russ

Scott Helmke:
Well yeah.  Midas has their particular distortion, Digico has their particular distortion, Yamaha finally wised up and licensed some distortion from Rupert Neve.

If you've ever wondered why some techs absolutely must have a particular brand of console, it's often because their microphone choices are based on the kind of distortion that their preferred console imparts on the signal.

John Roberts {JR}:
Slowly back away.......

JR

Riley Casey:
The formative years of modern pop music were the 1950s and early 60s when transformer coupled vacuum tube electronics were the rule. Over driving these devices even slightly created 2nd and 3rd order harmonic distortion which was to some extent ( to a large extent if you're talking Jimi Hendrix and a Marshall stack ) musically "simpatico" with the desired sound of the performance. Modern electronics and particularly digital processing are linear until they aren't and when they go non-linear the distortion products are anything but musically additive. Digital recreations of the harmonic distortions of early tube compressors and even the slight non-linearity of an over driven mic or line transformer simply attempts to recreate the sounds of a Memphis or London recording studio circa 1959-66 - or a complete F ing disaster when used inappropriately . 

JR's life spent building linear electronics senses a disturbance in the force.  ::)

Peter Morris:

--- Quote from: Riley Casey on May 17, 2021, 09:36:03 am ---The formative years of modern pop music were the 1950s and early 60s when transformer coupled vacuum tube electronics were the rule. Over driving these devices even slightly created 2nd and 3rd order harmonic distortion which was to some extent ( to a large extent if you're talking Jimi Hendrix and a Marshall stack ) musically "simpatico" with the desired sound of the performance. Modern electronics and particularly digital processing are linear until they aren't and when they go non-linear the distortion products are anything but musically additive. Digital recreations of the harmonic distortions of early tube compressors and even the slight non-linearity of an over driven mic or line transformer simply attempts to recreate the sounds of a Memphis or London recording studio circa 1959-66 - or a complete F ing disaster when used inappropriately . 

JR's life spent building linear electronics senses a disturbance in the force.  ::)

--- End quote ---

Because there was such a demand for that magic distortion A&H add a valve stage emulation to every channel ...

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