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Is distortion a compression? (Thoughts on b3k and zing)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Malafaia, Dec 3, 2018.


  1. Malafaia

    Malafaia

    Jan 30, 2018
    First post here! If I write some baloney, please blame my poor english, not my bass noobiness (who is even worse than my english).

    While I was drinking a beer, an hypothesis came into my mind: distortion is compression. (Ok, I read some stuff about it but hypothesis doesn't need to be new, just need to be tested)

    One of the arguments that can sustain this hypothesis, is that distortion easily kills attack like some compressors. Hearing clips of big muff, tube screamer, aguilar agro and others, at high saturation it is evident, but even mild saturation, it seems that independent on the way strings are played, just volume changes a little bit. Thinking this way, distortions act quick, with an "imaginary attack knob" setted at minimum time, with quick release like some comps.

    That said I think that a piece of darkglass b3k mojo is due this "imaginary attack knob" that is not setted at minimum time. It gives some miliseconds for the sound of initial attack appears so then distortion acts. Even at high saturation darkglass seems to behave this way. I think this initial sound is what some people "zing" or "clang".

    Did I drink too much or can it be right?! If so, what other distortion/overdrive "respects" attack? Why if using an expander (like steel leather, well I don't know if there are other expanders) in front of any distortion can it enhances this initial attack?

    Many thanks for your attention!!
     
  2. Northfear

    Northfear

    Mar 15, 2017
    Distortion acts like a compressor. Or more like a limiter.. kind of.
    Compressor with super fast attack and release can distort the signal too.
    Zing or clank in b3k is due to enhanced harmonic content in higher mids, not slow attack.
    You probably won't be able to enhance attack of the signal that goes into the distortion in therms of dynamics. But you can enhance attack in audible way, placing EQ in front of it or compressor with slow attack for example (Compressors with slow attack can increase dynamic range. So it would distort more on the initial attack).
    To increase dynamics you can use compressor with slow attack after the distortion.
     
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