Difference Between Distortion And Overdrive: Briefly Introduction

A distortion is the alteration of the shape of a signal when passing through a system that acts differently on the components of the signal while an overdrive is the controlled distortion of the sound of some of the instruments in music to give them a sound. particular.

Difference between distortion and overdrive:

  • Overdrive today is controlled with a pedal to emulate the sound of an overdrive produced by a tube amplifier at maximum volume which produces a distortion popular in rock. With an amplifier at full power, the signal exceeds the capacity of the tubes and distorts the sound wave.
  • Distortion has a more saturated sound and is used to achieve direct sounds. The signal has less feedback and is less natural. It is used in rock, metal, and grunge for its aggressiveness, precision, and intensity.


It is the alteration of the shape of a signal as it passes through a system. This acts differently on the signal components, changing the phase, amplitude and frequency in unequal proportions.

It may or may not be linear. If distortion occurs in an optical system, it is known as aberration.

The distortions caused in an amplifier can be of three types. A sine wave has three parameters: amplitude, frequency and phase. In addition to this, any wave can be decomposed into a sum of several sine waves. When the signal entering a system is different from the one leaving it, it is called distortion.


It is used to refer to the controlled distortion of sound in electric guitars. Overdrive is said to have been popularized by the Kinks and others by The Who, due to the broken sound produced by amplifiers smashed by hits.

Overdrive cuts the sine wave and converts it into an almost square signal. Tube amplifiers created even harmonics with a not-so-square wave and transistor amplifiers created odd harmonics with a square wave.


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