heavenorlasvegas wrote:thanks for all the replies! i'm not against using plugins as some serve as great tools, but i've found distortion plugins in particular lack any kind of depth or dimensionality.
i'm also wondering how mixes that were done pre 2000's for example were able to achieve such pleasant drive, being that dedicated saturation boxes are a relatively new thing.
I have no idea what depth and dimensionality are for distortion.. I mean, the things clip peaks and adds harmonics, and that’s what they do.
You should give a try to the SSL X-Saturator, it’s really good.
But sure hardware works fine, it’s just boring to set up and hard to recall. But of course no probs if there’s a sound you like coming out on the other side.
Generally, driving any gain stage hard enough will introduce clipping and add harmonics. The good ones depend on the material and the stage design as by definition you’re running it outside its expected performance envelope. Transistor stuff may not work fine but then again you never know.
So I guess back in the time, you could try to drive anything that could be driven, from the console gain of course to a compressor input stage or the tape recorder...and really anything. You can also try to add various light colors by multiple stages, which is what might happen with a hardware chain.