The hardness or softness of the clipping matters. Hard clipping results when the output wave equals the input up/down to a certain level, then stays at the clipping level until the input drops below the clipping level again, giving perfectly flat tops and bottoms to the clipped output. Soft clipping has no abrupt clipping level, but gently rounds the top/bottom of the output wave so the waveform is "softly" rounded on top/bottom, not flat-topped. Some solid state devices actually flat top, then invert, producing a hollow topped output waveform at hard clipping. There is a continuum of clipping hardness, depending on the circuitry used to clip. Soft clipping emphasizes the lower- order harmonics, the third and fifth, etc. Hard clipping has a mix slewed to the higher order seventh and up harmonics, which are harsher sounding.
Intermodulation distortion, the production of sum and difference frequencies from frequencies in the input waveform, varies with the amount and hardness of clipping. Intermodulation sounds harsh and ugly. The amount of intermodulation is a characteristic of the circuit that produces the distortion.
Tubes in general produce asymmetrical distortion unless the circuitry is set up to remove them, as happens in push-pull.
The comments on intermodulation apply here.
Examples : Mosrite Fuzz-rite ('68), Early Maestro Fuzz tones ('64-'70s)
Examples : Foxx tone machine, Tycobrahe and R.M. octavias, Super Fuzz. ('70s)
Example : the tone control on your guitar.
Examples : Dan Armstrong purple peaker, Vox treble booster. ('72)
Examples : Tech 21 Sans Amp (new)
Example : Boss SP-1 Spectrum ('79)
Example : Crybaby ('60s to present)
Example : Electro Harmonix Doctor Q ('76), MXR envelope filter ('76)
Example : Boss Auto Wah AW-2 (80s to present)
Examples : Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble ('77)
About the first phaser was the Maestro PS-1 designed by Oberheim in about 1970. The MXR Phase-90 and very inexpensive but good sounding Electro Harmonix "Small Stone" were used on too many pop songs in the 1970s.
Examples : Boss PH-2 Super phaser (new), MXR phase-45 90 and 100 ('70s)
Some kind of filtering is usually provided to tame the sharp buzz of the square waves. The simple dividers like this get very confused when fed more than one tone at once, so single note runs are all that is really practical - unless you like confused effects.
About the first lower octaver was the Maestro OB-1 octaver, which tracked quite poorly, but the note was not too fuzzy. The mid 1970s Electro Harmonix "octave multiplexor" (1 octave down) and MXR "Blue box" (2 octaves down) were more successful but the lower octave is pure fuzz.
There is a new (1996) Boss pedal harmonizer now available which allows selecting the key in which you are playing, and calculates and plays the desired harmonic (3rd, 5th, etc). It is not cheap but several times cheaper than an Eventide.
Sounds kind of like a computer playing harmony with you.
The outputs are usually square wave or filtered square wave, and sound kind of synthesizer-y. Modern all-digital MIDI-fied effects do something like this in their computer processors, and may not be as limited in output waveform.
Filtered low frequencies can add a growling quality.
One of the first talk boxes was "The Bag" by Kustom Electronics (not the amp company). This came in a psychodelic upholstered wine flask shaped bag, and was used by Jeff Beck. Peter Frampton popularized the talk box in the mid 1970s with "Do you feel like I do".
Examples : Heil sound talk box (new), Electro Harmonix Golden Throat ('70s)
Example : Roland vocoder
Example : Maestro Rover ('75), RMI Roto Phaser ('76)
R.G. Keen email@example.comBack to GEO Entry Page