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Distortion as a non-guitar effect...


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Hey all,

 

I was reading about how distortion is used by producers in small amounts to give certain elements more presence. It might be a vocal, a drum, etc.

 

Any thoughts on how you have done this with your own tracks?

 

Any suggestions on plugins? I have my eye on Fabfilter Saturn and perhaps AudioThing's Vinyl Strip (which does more than just distortion).

 

I do a decent amount of electronic music, and the overdrive and distortion plugins with Cubase 6.5 are not fantastic.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Todd

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I've used a touch of distortion during live performances on piano and sax leads (from running my guitar synth thru the guitar amp dirty channel). Very effective at cutting through the mix, but must be used sparingly to avoid listener fatigue. I often blend these with the guitar pickup sound to get a sort of hybrid sound, but just for a lead break. Definitely not continuously...

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Didn't the Aphex Aural Exciter do that to a degree? I've still got one...All I know is it makes most things stand out a bit more.

I seem to remember David Torn being an advocate of the use of distortion on vocal tracks..

 

The Aural Exciter added 2nd harmonic distortion. In its day, it was used on just about every pop record released, just like AutoTune, in its day.

 

Acoustic instruments are designed to blend with other acoustic instruments and - if they're good instruments, arranged and played well - they blend well together and there's no reason to make one artificially stand out. Same with singers. But the sound of James Brown is the sound of Scotch 111 tape being driven into saturation (the tape and the transformers, NOT the toobs).

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Hey all,

 

I was reading about how distortion is used by producers in small amounts to give certain elements more presence. It might be a vocal, a drum, etc.

 

Any thoughts on how you have done this with your own tracks?

 

Any suggestions on plugins? I have my eye on Fabfilter Saturn and perhaps AudioThing's Vinyl Strip (which does more than just distortion).

 

I do a decent amount of electronic music, and the overdrive and distortion plugins with Cubase 6.5 are not fantastic.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Todd

 

These are my top 3 when I need saturation/distortion:

 

1) Soundtoys Decapitator (The decapitator is probably the tastiest of the bunch. Sounds great on bass, drums, and lead vocals.)

 

2) Klanghelm IVGI (This one is FREE so its the best bang for the buck... works nicely on bass, drums, and vocals as well.)

 

3) Preamp-1 (This is a Digital Performer stock plug in which I love. It really can sound nasty, as in, "That`s too much distortion!" but if you put it in the subtle setting, it really sounds good on vocals. I use this a lot on my own vocals. I have a pretty clean voice so to add a little dirt to it, this is my go to.)

 

There are a bunch of other plugs I use as well but those are my first 3 choices.

 

If I`m looking to add some saturation to drums or the mix, I turn to the Waves J37 or the UAD Studer A800.

 

Back in the day, to get some bite on my bass tracks, the ART Tube MP was my go to... the best sounding $50 box I`ve ever used.

Edited by Ernest Buckley
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Not quite related to recording, but when playing the sax, I'll use my larynx to create distortion. It's controllable (with practice) and it's somewhere between a hum and clearing of the throat.

 

Heaver distortion is done with 'flutter tongue' and both can be combined.

 

I'm more of a live performer than a recorder. I let the guys in the fish tank worry about that. (they think I'm in the fish tank).

 

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