What is Distortion?

Distortion is sometimes used deliberately as an effect, but can also be created accidentally within the process of mixing.

If a sound wave is so loud that the top of its wave exceeds the maximum threshold of the recording tool then the top of the wave will be cut off or ‘clipped’.

This means that the smooth pattern of the wave is interrupted, thus affecting the sound that can be played back.

Distorted sounds often appear ‘fuzzy’ or ‘harsh’.

Distortion as a Deliberate effect

Distortion can be used creatively. It will add noise to sounds and can be used to thicken sound textures and make them seem more impressive.

The Distort badge from the Compose with Sounds software.