Distortion (music)

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"Fuzzbox" redirects here. Distortion (music)_sentence_0

For other uses, see Fuzzbox (disambiguation). Distortion (music)_sentence_1

This article is about distortion in music. Distortion (music)_sentence_2

For distortion in general, see Distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_3

Distortion (music)_table_infobox_0

Distortion (music)Distortion (music)_table_caption_0

Distortion and overdrive are forms of audio signal processing used to alter the sound of amplified electric musical instruments, usually by increasing their gain, producing a "fuzzy", "growling", or "gritty" tone. Distortion (music)_sentence_4

Distortion is most commonly used with the electric guitar, but may also be used with other electric instruments such as bass guitar, electric piano, and Hammond organ. Distortion (music)_sentence_5

Guitarists playing electric blues originally obtained an overdriven sound by turning up their vacuum tube-powered guitar amplifiers to high volumes, which caused the signal to distort. Distortion (music)_sentence_6

While overdriven tube amps are still used to obtain overdrive, especially in genres like blues and rockabilly, a number of other ways to produce distortion have been developed since the 1960s, such as distortion effect pedals. Distortion (music)_sentence_7

The growling tone of a distorted electric guitar is a key part of many genres, including blues and many rock music genres, notably hard rock, punk rock, hardcore punk, acid rock, and heavy metal music, while the use of distorted bass has been essential in a genre of hip hop music and alternative hip hop known as "SoundCloud rap". Distortion (music)_sentence_8

The effects alter the instrument sound by clipping the signal (pushing it past its maximum, which shears off the peaks and troughs of the signal waves), adding sustain and harmonic and inharmonic overtones and leading to a compressed sound that is often described as "warm" and "dirty", depending on the type and intensity of distortion used. Distortion (music)_sentence_9

The terms distortion and overdrive are often used interchangeably; where a distinction is made, distortion is a more extreme version of the effect than overdrive. Distortion (music)_sentence_10

Fuzz is a particular form of extreme distortion originally created by guitarists using faulty equipment (such as a misaligned valve tube, see below), which has been emulated since the 1960s by a number of "fuzzbox" effects pedals. Distortion (music)_sentence_11

Distortion, overdrive, and fuzz can be produced by effects pedals, rackmounts, pre-amplifiers, power amplifiers (a potentially speaker-blowing approach), speakers and (since the 2000s) by digital amplifier modeling devices and audio software. Distortion (music)_sentence_12

These effects are used with electric guitars, electric basses (fuzz bass), electronic keyboards, and more rarely as a special effect with vocals. Distortion (music)_sentence_13

While distortion is often created intentionally as a musical effect, musicians and sound engineers sometimes take steps to avoid distortion, particularly when using PA systems to amplify vocals or when playing back prerecorded music. Distortion (music)_sentence_14

History Distortion (music)_section_0

Early uses of amplified distortion Distortion (music)_section_1

The first guitar amplifiers were relatively low-fidelity, and would often produce distortion when their volume (gain) was increased beyond their design limit or if they sustained minor damage. Distortion (music)_sentence_15

Around 1945, Western-swing guitarist Junior Barnard began experimenting with a rudimentary humbucker pick-up and a small amplifier to obtain his signature "low-down and dirty" bluesy sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_16

Many electric blues guitarists, including Chicago bluesmen such as Elmore James and Buddy Guy, experimented in order to get a guitar sound that paralleled the rawness of blues singers such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, replacing often their originals with the powerful Valco "Chicagoan" pick-ups, originally created for lap-steel, to obtain a louder and fatter tone. Distortion (music)_sentence_17

In early rock music, Goree Carter's "" (1949) featured an over-driven electric guitar style similar to that of Chuck Berry several years later, as well as Joe Hill Louis' "" (1950). Distortion (music)_sentence_18

In the early 1950s, pioneering rock guitarist Willie Johnson of Howlin' Wolf′s band began deliberately increasing gain beyond its intended levels to produce "warm" distorted sounds. Distortion (music)_sentence_19

Guitar Slim also experimented with distorted overtones, which can be heard in his hit electric blues song "The Things That I Used to Do" (1953). Distortion (music)_sentence_20

Chuck Berry's 1955 classic "Maybellene" features a guitar solo with warm overtones created by his small valve amplifier. Distortion (music)_sentence_21

Pat Hare produced heavily distorted power chords on his electric guitar for records such as James Cotton's "" (1954) as well as his own "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" (1954), creating "a grittier, nastier, more ferocious electric guitar sound," accomplished by turning the volume knob on his amplifier "all the way to the right until the speaker was screaming." Distortion (music)_sentence_22

In the mid-1950s, guitar distortion sounds started to evolve based on sounds created earlier in the decade by accidental damage to amps, such as in the popular early recording of the 1951 Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm song "Rocket 88", where guitarist Willie Kizart used a vacuum tube amplifier that had a speaker cone slightly damaged in transport. Distortion (music)_sentence_23

Rock guitarists began intentionally "doctoring" amplifiers and speakers in order to emulate this form of distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_24

In 1956, guitarist Paul Burlison of the Johnny Burnette Trio deliberately dislodged a vacuum tube in his amplifier to record "The Train Kept A-Rollin" after a reviewer raved about the sound Burlison's damaged amplifier produced during a live performance. Distortion (music)_sentence_25

According to other sources Burlison's amp had a partially broken loudspeaker cone. Distortion (music)_sentence_26

Pop-oriented producers were horrified by that eerie "two-tone" sound, quite clean on trebles but strongly distorted on basses, but Burnette insisted to publish the sessions, arguing that "that guitar sounds like a nice horn section". Distortion (music)_sentence_27

In the late 1950s, Guitarist Link Wray began intentionally manipulating his amplifiers' vacuum tubes to create a "noisy" and "dirty" sound for his solos after a similarly accidental discovery. Distortion (music)_sentence_28

Wray also poked holes in his speaker cones with pencils to further distort his tone, used electronic echo chambers (then usually employed by singers), the recent powerful and "fat" Gibson humbucker pickups, and controlled "feedback" (Larsen effect). Distortion (music)_sentence_29

The resultant sound can be heard on his highly influential 1958 instrumental, "Rumble" and Rawhide. Distortion (music)_sentence_30

1960s: fuzz, distortion, and introduction of commercial devices Distortion (music)_section_2

See also: Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone and Boss Corporation Distortion (music)_sentence_31

In 1961, Grady Martin scored a hit with a fuzzy tone caused by a faulty preamplifier that distorted his guitar playing on the Marty Robbins song "Don't Worry". Distortion (music)_sentence_32

Later that year Martin recorded an instrumental tune under his own name, using the same faulty preamp. Distortion (music)_sentence_33

The song, on the Decca label, was called "The Fuzz." Distortion (music)_sentence_34

Martin is generally credited as the discoverer of the "fuzz effect." Distortion (music)_sentence_35

Shortly thereafter, the American instrumental rock band The Ventures asked their friend, session musician and electronics enthusiast Orville "Red" Rhodes for help recreating the Grady Martin "fuzz" sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_36

Rhodes offered The Ventures a fuzzbox he had made, which they used to record "2000 Pound Bee" in 1962. Distortion (music)_sentence_37

The best-known early commercial distortion circuit was the Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone, manufactured by Gibson, released in 1962. Distortion (music)_sentence_38

Also in the early 1960s, surf rock guitarist Dick Dale, who produced hits such as "Let's Go Trippin'" (1961) and "Misirlou" (1962), worked closely with Fender to push the limits of electric amplification technology, producing the first 100-watt guitar amplifier. Distortion (music)_sentence_39

In 1964, a fuzzy and somewhat distorted sound gained widespread popularity after guitarist Dave Davies of The Kinks used a razor blade to slash his speaker cones for the band's single "You Really Got Me". Distortion (music)_sentence_40

In May 1965 Keith Richards used a Gibson Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone to record "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Distortion (music)_sentence_41

The song's success greatly boosted sales of the device, and all available stock sold out by the end of 1965. Distortion (music)_sentence_42

Other early fuzzboxes include the Mosrite FuzzRITE and Arbiter Group Fuzz Face used by Jimi Hendrix, the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi used by Hendrix and Carlos Santana, and the Vox Tone Bender used by Paul McCartney to play fuzz bass on "Think for Yourself" and other Beatles recordings. Distortion (music)_sentence_43

In 1966, Jim Marshall of the British company Marshall Amplification began modifying the electronic circuitry of his amplifiers so as to achieve a "brighter, louder" sound and fuller distortion capabilities. Distortion (music)_sentence_44

Also in 1966, Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd created the song Interstellar Overdrive, a song made entirely in electric distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_45

It was released a year later in modified form on their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Distortion (music)_sentence_46

In the late 1960s and early 1970s hard rock bands such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath forged what would eventually become the heavy metal sound through a combined use of high volumes and heavy distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_47

Theory and circuits Distortion (music)_section_3

The word distortion refers to any modification of wave form of a signal, but in music it is used to refer to nonlinear distortion (excluding filters) and particularly to the introduction of new frequencies by memoryless nonlinearities. Distortion (music)_sentence_48

In music the different forms of linear distortion have specific names describing them. Distortion (music)_sentence_49

The simplest of these is a distortion process known as "volume adjustment", which involves distorting the amplitude of a sound wave in a proportional (or ‘linear’) way in order to increase or decrease the volume of the sound without affecting the tone quality. Distortion (music)_sentence_50

In the context of music, the most common source of (nonlinear) distortion is clipping in amplifier circuits and is most commonly known as overdrive. Distortion (music)_sentence_51

Clipping is a non-linear process that produces frequencies not originally present in the audio signal. Distortion (music)_sentence_52

These frequencies can be harmonic overtones, meaning they are whole number multiples of one of the signal's original frequencies, or "inharmonic", resulting from general intermodulation distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_53

The same nonlinear device will produce both types of distortion, depending on the input signal. Distortion (music)_sentence_54

Intermodulation occurs whenever the input frequencies are not already harmonically related. Distortion (music)_sentence_55

For instance, playing a power chord through distortion results in intermodulation that produces new subharmonics. Distortion (music)_sentence_56

"Soft clipping" gradually flattens the peaks of a signal which creates a number of higher harmonics which share a harmonic relationship with the original tone. Distortion (music)_sentence_57

"Hard clipping" flattens peaks abruptly, resulting in higher power in higher harmonics. Distortion (music)_sentence_58

As clipping increases, a tone input progressively begins to resemble a square wave which has odd number harmonics. Distortion (music)_sentence_59

This is generally described as sounding "harsh". Distortion (music)_sentence_60

Distortion and overdrive circuits each 'clip' the signal before it reaches the main amplifier (clean boost circuits do not necessarily create 'clipping') as well as boost signals to levels that cause distortion to occur at the main amplifier's front end stage (by exceeding the ordinary input signal amplitude, thus overdriving the amplifier) Note : product names may not accurately reflect type of circuit involved - see above. Distortion (music)_sentence_61

A fuzz box alters an audio signal until it is nearly a square wave and adds complex overtones by way of a frequency multiplier. Distortion (music)_sentence_62

Valve overdrive Distortion (music)_section_4

Vacuum tube or "valve" distortion is achieved by "overdriving" the valves in an amplifier. Distortion (music)_sentence_63

In layman's terms, overdriving is pushing the tubes beyond their normal rated maximum. Distortion (music)_sentence_64

Valve amplifiers—particularly those using class-A triodes—tend to produce asymmetric soft clipping that creates both even and odd harmonics. Distortion (music)_sentence_65

The increase in even harmonics is considered to create "warm"-sounding overdrive effects. Distortion (music)_sentence_66

A basic triode valve (tube) contains a cathode, a plate and a grid. Distortion (music)_sentence_67

When a positive voltage is applied to the plate, a current of negatively charged electrons flows to it from the heated cathode through the grid. Distortion (music)_sentence_68

This increases the voltage of the audio signal, amplifying its volume. Distortion (music)_sentence_69

The grid regulates the extent to which plate voltage is increased. Distortion (music)_sentence_70

A small negative voltage applied to the grid causes a large decrease in plate voltage. Distortion (music)_sentence_71

Valve amplification is more or less linear—meaning the parameters (amplitude, frequency, phase) of the amplified signal are proportional to the input signal—so long as the voltage of the input signal does not exceed the valve's "linear region of operation". Distortion (music)_sentence_72

The linear region falls between 1. the saturation region: the voltages at which plate current stops responding to positive increases in grid voltage and 2. the cutoff region: the voltages at which the charge of the grid is too negative for electrons to flow to the plate. Distortion (music)_sentence_73

If a valve is biased within the linear region and the input signal's voltage exceeds this region, overdrive and non-linear clipping will occur. Distortion (music)_sentence_74

Multiple stages of valve gain/clipping can be "cascaded" to produce a thicker and more complex distortion sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_75

In layperson's terms, a musician will plug a fuzz pedal into a tube amp that is being "cranked" to a clipping "overdriven" condition; as such, the musician will get the distortion from the fuzz which is then distorted further by the amp. Distortion (music)_sentence_76

During the 1990s, some Seattle grunge guitarists chained together as many as four fuzz pedals to create a thick "wall of sound" of distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_77

In some modern valve effects, the "dirty" or "gritty" tone is actually achieved not by high voltage, but by running the circuit at voltages that are too low for the circuit components, resulting in greater non-linearity and distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_78

These designs are referred to as "starved plate" configurations, and result in an "amp death" sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_79

Solid-state distortion Distortion (music)_section_5

Solid-state amplifiers incorporating transistors and/or op amps can be made to produce hard clipping. Distortion (music)_sentence_80

When symmetrical, this adds additional high-amplitude odd harmonics, creating a "dirty" or "gritty" tone. Distortion (music)_sentence_81

When asymmetrical, it produces both even and odd harmonics. Distortion (music)_sentence_82

Electronically, this is usually achieved by either amplifying the signal to a point where it is clipped by the DC voltage limitation of the power supply rail, or by clipping the signal with diodes. Distortion (music)_sentence_83

Many solid-state distortion devices attempt to emulate the sound of overdriven vacuum valves using additional solid-state circuitry. Distortion (music)_sentence_84

Some amplifiers (notably the Marshall JCM 900) utilize hybrid designs that employ both valve and solid-state components. Distortion (music)_sentence_85

Approaches Distortion (music)_section_6

Guitar distortion can be produced by many components of the guitar's signal path, including effects pedals, the pre-amplifier, power amplifier, and speakers. Distortion (music)_sentence_86

Many players use a combination of these to obtain their "signature" tone. Distortion (music)_sentence_87

Pre-amplifier distortion Distortion (music)_section_7

The pre-amplifier section of a guitar amplifier serves to amplify a weak instrument signal to a level that can drive the power amplifier. Distortion (music)_sentence_88

It often also contains circuitry to shape the tone of the instrument, including equalization and gain controls. Distortion (music)_sentence_89

Often multiple cascading gain/clipping stages are employed to generate distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_90

Because the first component in a valve amplifier is a valve gain stage, the output level of the preceding elements of the signal chain has a strong influence on the distortion created by that stage. Distortion (music)_sentence_91

The output level of the guitar's pickups, the setting of the guitar's volume knob, how hard the strings are plucked, and the use of volume-boosting effects pedals can drive this stage harder and create more distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_92

During the 1980s and 1990s, most valve amps featured a "master volume" control, an adjustable attenuator between the preamp section and the power amp. Distortion (music)_sentence_93

When the preamp volume is set high to generate high distortion levels, the master volume lowered, keeping the output volume at manageable levels. Distortion (music)_sentence_94

Overdrive/distortion pedals Distortion (music)_section_8

Demo of a Big Muff (help·) Distortion (music)_sentence_95

Analog overdrive/distortion pedals work on similar principles to preamplifier distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_96

Because most effects pedals are designed to operate from battery voltages, using vacuum tubes to generate distortion and overdrive is impractical; instead, most pedals use solid-state transistors, op-amps and diodes. Distortion (music)_sentence_97

Classic examples of overdrive/distortion pedals include the Boss OD series (overdrives), the Ibanez Tube Screamer (an overdrive), the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi (a fuzz box) and the Pro Co RAT (a distortion). Distortion (music)_sentence_98

Typically, "overdrive" pedals are designed to produce sounds associated with classic rock or blues, with "distortion" pedals producing the "high gain, scooped mids" sounds associated with heavy metal; fuzz boxes are designed to emulate the distinctive sound of the earliest overdrive pedals such as the Big Muff and the Fuzz Face. Distortion (music)_sentence_99

Most overdrive/distortion pedals can be used in two ways: a pedal can be used as a "boost" with an already overdriven amplifier to drive it further into saturation and "color" the tone, or it can be used with a completely clean amplifier to generate the whole overdrive/distortion effect. Distortion (music)_sentence_100

With care—and with appropriately chosen pedals—it is possible to "stack" multiple overdrive/distortion pedals together, allowing one pedal to act as a 'boost' for another. Distortion (music)_sentence_101

Fuzz boxes and other heavy distortions can produce unwanted dissonances when playing chords. Distortion (music)_sentence_102

To get around this, guitar players (and keyboard players) using these effects may restrict their playing to single notes and simple "power chords" (root, fifth, and octave). Distortion (music)_sentence_103

Indeed, with the most extreme fuzz pedals, players may choose to play mostly single notes, because the fuzz can make even single notes sound very thick and heavy. Distortion (music)_sentence_104

Heavy distortion also tends to limit the player's control of dynamics (loudness and softness)—similar to the limitations imposed on a Hammond organ player (Hammond organ does not produce louder or softer sounds depending on how hard or soft the performer plays the keys; however, the performer can still control the volume with drawbars and the expression pedal). Distortion (music)_sentence_105

Heavy metal music has evolved around these restrictions, using complex rhythms and timing for expression and excitement. Distortion (music)_sentence_106

Lighter distortions and overdrives can be used with triadic chords and seventh chords; as well, lighter overdrive allows more control of dynamics. Distortion (music)_sentence_107

Power amplifier distortion Distortion (music)_section_9

Power valves (tubes) can be overdriven in the same way that pre-amplifier valves can, but because these valves are designed to output more power, the distortion and character they add to the guitar's tone is unique. Distortion (music)_sentence_108

During the 1960s to early 1970s, distortion was primarily created by overdriving the power valves. Distortion (music)_sentence_109

Because they have become accustomed to this sound, many guitar players favour this type of distortion, and thus set their amps to maximum levels in order to drive the power section hard. Distortion (music)_sentence_110

Many valve-based amplifiers in common use have a push-pull output configuration in their power section, with matched pairs of tubes driving the output transformer. Distortion (music)_sentence_111

Power amplifier distortion is normally entirely symmetric, generating predominantly odd-order harmonics. Distortion (music)_sentence_112

Because driving the power valves this hard also means maximum volume, which can be difficult to manage in a small recording or rehearsal space, many solutions have emerged that in some way divert some of this power valve output from the speakers, and allow the player to generate power valve distortion without excessive volume. Distortion (music)_sentence_113

These include built-in or separate power attenuators and power-supply-based power attenuation, such as a VVR, or Variable Voltage Regulator to drop the voltage on the valves' plates, to increase distortion whilst lowering volume. Distortion (music)_sentence_114

Guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen have been known to use variacs before VVR technology was invented. Distortion (music)_sentence_115

Lower-power valve amps (such as a quarter-watt or less), speaker isolation cabinets, and low-efficiency guitar speakers are also used to tame the volume. Distortion (music)_sentence_116

Power-valve distortion can also be produced in a dedicated rackmount valve power amp. Distortion (music)_sentence_117

A modular rackmount setup often involves a rackmount preamp, a rackmount valve power amp, and a rackmount dummy load to attenuate the output to desired volume levels. Distortion (music)_sentence_118

Some effects pedals internally produce power-valve distortion, including an optional dummy load for use as a power-valve distortion pedal. Distortion (music)_sentence_119

Such effects units can use a preamp valve such as the 12AX7 in a power-valve circuit configuration (as in the Stephenson's Stage Hog), or use a conventional power valve, such as the EL84 (as in the H&K Crunch Master compact tabletop unit). Distortion (music)_sentence_120

However, because these are usually placed before the pre-amplifier in the signal chain, they contribute to the overall tone in a different way. Distortion (music)_sentence_121

Power amplifier distortion may damage speakers. Distortion (music)_sentence_122

A Direct Inject signal can capture the power-tube distortion sound without the direct coloration of a guitar speaker and microphone. Distortion (music)_sentence_123

This DI signal can be blended with a miked guitar speaker, with the DI providing a more present, immediate, bright sound, and the miked guitar speaker providing a colored, remote, darker sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_124

The DI signal can be obtained from a DI jack on the guitar amp, or from the Line Out jack of a power attenuator. Distortion (music)_sentence_125

Output transformer distortion Distortion (music)_section_10

The output transformer sits between the power valves and the speaker, serving to match impedance. Distortion (music)_sentence_126

When a transformer's ferromagnetic core becomes electromagnetically saturated a loss of inductance takes place, since the back E.M.F. Distortion (music)_sentence_127

is reliant on a change in flux in the core. Distortion (music)_sentence_128

As the core reaches saturation, the flux levels off and cannot increase any further. Distortion (music)_sentence_129

With no change in flux there is no back E.M.F. Distortion (music)_sentence_130

and hence no reflected impedance. Distortion (music)_sentence_131

The transformer and valve combination then generate large 3rd order harmonics. Distortion (music)_sentence_132

So long as the core does not go into saturation, the valves will clip naturally as they drop the available voltage across them. Distortion (music)_sentence_133

In single ended systems the output harmonics will be largely even ordered due to the valve's relatively non linear characteristics at large signal swings. Distortion (music)_sentence_134

This is only true however if the magnetic core does NOT saturate. Distortion (music)_sentence_135

Power supply "sag" Distortion (music)_section_11

Early valve amplifiers used unregulated power supplies. Distortion (music)_sentence_136

This was due to the high cost associated with high-quality high-voltage power supplies. Distortion (music)_sentence_137

The typical anode (plate) supply was simply a rectifier, an inductor and a capacitor. Distortion (music)_sentence_138

When the valve amplifier was operated at high volume, the power supply voltage would dip, reducing power output and causing signal attenuation and compression. Distortion (music)_sentence_139

This dipping effect is known as "sag", and is sought-after by some electric guitarists. Distortion (music)_sentence_140

Sag only occurs in class-AB amplifiers. Distortion (music)_sentence_141

This is because, technically, sag results from more current being drawn from the power supply, causing a greater voltage drop over the rectifier valve. Distortion (music)_sentence_142

In a class-A amplifier, current draw is constant, so sag does not occur. Distortion (music)_sentence_143

As this effect is more pronounced with higher input signals, the harder "attack" of a note will be compressed more heavily than the lower-voltage "decay", making the latter seem louder and thereby improving sustain. Distortion (music)_sentence_144

Additionally, because the level of compression is affected by input volume, the player can control it via their playing intensity: playing harder results in more compression or "sag". Distortion (music)_sentence_145

In contrast, modern amplifiers often use high-quality, well-regulated power supplies. Distortion (music)_sentence_146

Speaker distortion Distortion (music)_section_12

Guitar loudspeakers are designed differently from high fidelity stereo speakers or public address system speakers. Distortion (music)_sentence_147

While hi-fi and public address speakers are designed to reproduce the sound with as little distortion as possible, guitar speakers are usually designed so that they will shape or color the tone of the guitar, either by enhancing some frequencies or attenuating unwanted frequencies. Distortion (music)_sentence_148

When the power delivered to a guitar speaker approaches its maximum rated power, the speaker's performance degrades, causing the speaker to "break up", adding further distortion and colouration to the signal. Distortion (music)_sentence_149

Some speakers are designed to have much clean headroom, while others are designed to break up early to deliver grit and growl. Distortion (music)_sentence_150

Amp modeling for distortion emulation Distortion (music)_section_13

Guitar amp modeling devices and software can reproduce various guitar-specific distortion qualities that are associated with a range of popular "stomp box" pedals and amplifiers. Distortion (music)_sentence_151

Amp modeling devices typically use digital signal processing to recreate the sound of plugging into analogue pedals and overdriven valve amplifiers. Distortion (music)_sentence_152

The most sophisticated devices allow the user to customize the simulated results of using different preamp, power-tube, speaker distortion, speaker cabinet, and microphone placement combinations. Distortion (music)_sentence_153

For example, a guitarist using a small amp modeling pedal could simulate the sound of plugging their electric guitar into a heavy vintage valve amplifier and a stack of 8 X 10" speaker cabinets. Distortion (music)_sentence_154

Voicing with equalization Distortion (music)_section_14

Guitar distortion is obtained and shaped at various points in the signal processing chain, including multiple stages of preamp distortion, power valve distortion, output and power transformer distortion, and guitar speaker distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_155

Much of the distortion character or voicing is controlled by the frequency response before and after each distortion stage. Distortion (music)_sentence_156

This dependency of distortion voicing on frequency response can be heard in the effect that a wah pedal has on the subsequent distortion stage, or by using tone controls built into the guitar, the preamp or an EQ pedal to favor the bass or treble components of the guitar pickup signal prior to the first distortion stage. Distortion (music)_sentence_157

Some guitarists place an equalizer pedal after the distortion effect, to emphasize or de-emphasize different frequencies in the distorted signal. Distortion (music)_sentence_158

Increasing the bass and treble while reducing or eliminating the centre midrange (750 Hz) results in what is popularly known as a "scooped" sound (since the midrange frequencies are "scooped" out). Distortion (music)_sentence_159

Conversely, decreasing the bass while increasing the midrange and treble creates a punchy, harsher sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_160

Rolling off all of the treble produces a dark, heavy sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_161

Avoiding distortion Distortion (music)_section_15

While musicians intentionally create or add distortion to electric instrument signals or vocals to create a musical effect, there are some musical styles and musical applications where as little distortion as possible is sought. Distortion (music)_sentence_162

When DJs are playing recorded music in a nightclub, they typically seek to reproduce the recordings with little or no distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_163

In many musical styles, including pop music, country music and even genres where the electric guitars are almost always distorted, such as metal and hard rock, sound engineers usually take a number of steps to ensure that the vocals sounding through the sound reinforcement system are undistorted (the exception is the rare cases where distortion is purposely added to vocals in a song as a special effect). Distortion (music)_sentence_164

Sound engineers prevent unwanted, unintended distortion and clipping using a number of methods. Distortion (music)_sentence_165

They may reduce the gain on microphone preamplifiers on the audio console; use attenuation "pads" (a button on audio console channel strips, DI unit and some bass amplifiers); and use electronic audio compressor effects and limiters to prevent sudden volume peaks from vocal mics from causing unwanted distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_166

Though some bass guitar players in metal and punk bands intentionally use fuzz bass to distort their bass sound, in other genres of music, such as pop, big band jazz and traditional country music, bass players typically seek an undistorted bass sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_167

To obtain a clear, undistorted bass sound, professional bass players in these genres use high-powered amplifiers with a lot of "headroom" and they may also use audio compressors to prevent sudden volume peaks from causing distortion. Distortion (music)_sentence_168

In many cases, musicians playing stage pianos or synthesizers use keyboard amplifiers that are designed to reproduce the audio signal with as little distortion as possible. Distortion (music)_sentence_169

The exceptions with keyboards are the Hammond organ as used in blues and the Fender Rhodes as used in rock music; with these instruments and genres, keyboardists often purposely overdrive a tube amplifier to get a natural overdrive sound. Distortion (music)_sentence_170

Another example of instrument amplification where as little distortion as possible is sought is with acoustic instrument amplifiers, designed for musicians playing instruments such as the mandolin or fiddle in a folk or bluegrass style. Distortion (music)_sentence_171

See also Distortion (music)_section_16

Distortion (music)_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distortion (music).