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Craig’s List – Why We Love Analog Distortion

July 18, 2013
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1 Distortion upsets purists. Just think of the countless number of man-years that have been selflessly devoted to making electronic circuits as clean and distortionless as possible. There’s something deliciously antisocial about totally negating all that effort, and as a bonus, it gets us in touch with our inner Hun!

2 Distortion stands for the joy of excess. Folk songs don’t distort. Kenny G’s sax doesn’t distort. New Age music doesn’t distort, nor does Justin Bieber’s voice. Rock guitars, tonewheel organs, tubes, hardcore techno, and Nine Inch Nails distort. Draw your own conclusions.

3 Sine waves are the Rodney Dangerfield of synthesis. Well, okay, maybe in a moment of weakness you use sine waves in a layer—but let’s face it, sine waves get no respect. Clip the crap out of them, though, and it’s party time!

4 Analog distortion explains why some people don’t like digital audio. Analog distortion gets more distorted at higher levels, while digital audio gets more distorted at lower levels. This is just plain wrong! Like Donald Trump’s hair, it violates natural law, and furthermore, lends credence to the popular conspiracy theory that digital audio is satanic in origin.

5 Distortion conforms to the Spinal Tap “Rule of 11.” Only the truly naïve believe the reason why knobs rotate is so you can select positions within their rotation. Real musicians know they rotate because it’s satisfying to grab the knob and turn it up until it won’t turn any further. That’s where you get distortion. Case closed!

 
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