Saturation and Distortion in Music: Basic Knowledge (2/2)

Tone shaping

What gear can you employ to get it and the place must you apply it in your workflow? How Saturation Helps Your Mix?

There are loads to unpack right here, however, don’t fear. In this article, I’ll break down each means the time is often used and recommend methods to work with distortion in your music.

What does saturation do to your sound?

When producers discuss saturation, they usually say that it provides harmonics, gentle compression, and EQ adjustments.

Right here’s the way it works. When a sign begins to clip, the tops of the waveform get abruptly shaved off.

Think about a sine wave with its easy curves reduce off. Clip it far sufficient and it begins to appear like an sq. wave!

An sq. wave is a sign with infinite harmonics. Because the spherical, easy-sounding sine wave begins to look extra like an sq., extra harmonic content material will seem within the sign.

The identical introduction of harmonics occurs with advanced indicators too. From there, the sort and depth of clipping determine how harmonics seem within the sound.

At the identical time, clipping causes adjustments to the dynamics and frequency steadiness. I’ll get into these a bit within the subsequent part.

The best way to combine with saturation

Saturation can be utilized as a mixing device similar to EQ or compression.

It’s in its class, however, it overlaps with each within the outcomes it may well produce.

Harmonic enhancement

The additional harmonics that seem with clipping add presence and sparkle to the midrange. Particularly the essential space within the higher mids across the peak sensitivity of the human ear.

Some of the widespread make use of saturation is to boost this essential vary to carry sounds up entrance within the combine.

The additional harmonics that seem with clipping add presence and sparkle to the midrange.

As an alternative to simply growing the extent of this frequency varies within the current sign like EQ, saturation creates new harmonic info that may make it sound richer.

Think about saturation for this function if easy EQ boosts don’t match.

Lo-fi results

Along with harmonics, saturation naturally obscures a number of the sound’s timbre. Despite everything, some info will get misplaced when the waveform begins clipping.

The ensuing change will be nice and used artistically to sculpt how a sound sits within the combine.

At excessive settings, you may get a classy lo-fi impact that transforms the sign.

What Is Lofi? Meaning of Lofi, Nostalgia, Anime & Hip-hop

Delicate compression

Saturation can even produce a compression-like impact.

Relying on the depth of the saturation, the sign’s dynamic range will slim because the peaks are clipped down.

This could work as a type of limiting—with the clipping level as the brink! It additionally implies that the onset of the compression impact from clipping is almost instantaneous. That’s completely in contrast to the acquire discount operate of a standard compressor.

Attempt saturation instead of compression when you can’t get your dynamics proper with different strategies.

Tone shaping

Saturation: Tone shaping

Lastly, saturation has a normal impact on the frequency stability of the sound.

The additional harmonics naturally carry out the higher mids. At the identical time, increased and decrease frequencies subtly roll-off.

Most saturation plugins have LPF/HPF or shelving filters that may assist you to sculpt their output to suit higher within the combine.

The place else, besides saturation, is there distortion in music?

Outdoors of blending, the obvious place you’ll discover distortion is in electrical guitar rigs.

For the reason that earliest days of electrical devices, musicians have been pushing their amplifiers to the restrict to expertise the transformative results of saturation.

The wealthy, sustaining sound of distorted guitar kickstarted the rock revolution within the early 60s and drove the style to the current day.

Guitar distortion initially got here from tube amplifiers which push to their restrict. You may nonetheless achieve by that method. However, right this moment’s gamers usually use stompboxes to outline their distinctive sound.

Right here’s an amazing breakdown of the event of distortion for electrical guitar.

History Of Guitar Distortion

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