Hit Hard or Go Home: An Exploration of Distortion on the Perceived Impact Of Sound in The Context Of A Mix

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Distortion is a powerful tool used by mix engineers to enhance the presentation of audio through enhancement of an existing sound. Distortion can take on many forms, with common distortion tools either emulating an existing hardware tool or providing new interfaces for the enhancement of audio, adding new material to manipulate the energy delivery of a chosen sound. This enhancement has the potential to not only draw attention to the listener of particular components of a sound, but also changes the fundamental delivery energy of a sound. Energy manipulation also takes place through other processing techniques including compression, which in the manipulation of the envelope of morphology of the sound may also contribute distortion subject to the wavelength of the sound being compressed, the nature of the gain reduction cell or the nature of the gain makeup amplifier. Dynamic processing will not be considered as part of this paper, instead focusing on the impact and application of distortion on the delivery of sound. In his work Zagorski-Thomas (2014) explores concepts of sonic cartoons, with his continuing work exploring the relationships between actions and energy on the perceived delivery of a sound. A range of experiments, measurements and listening examples will be presented, exploring the potential for manipulating the perceived action on a sound using distortion as the primary process. Examples from drum kit processing through to bowed stings and vocals will be processed, with a focus on exploring specific distortion footprints and application techniques. The impact of the application of distortion directly onto the sound, as a parallel to a single sound in mono and stereo, and upon multiple sounds in parallel will be measured and presented with reference to the manipulation of the perceived action of the sound.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th Art of Record Production Conference
EditorsJan-Olof Gullö
Place of PublicationStockholm
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event12th Art of Record Production Conference: Mono: Stereo: Multi - Royal College of Music, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 1 Dec 20173 Dec 2017
Conference number: 12
https://artofrecordproduction.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=265:arp-2017-program&catid=30:arp-2017 (Link to Conference Details )


Conference12th Art of Record Production Conference
Internet address


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