The best explanation of even and odd harmonics I've read so far and...
Old 9th August 2009
  #1
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The best explanation of even and odd harmonics I've read so far and...

...it's from 1997. Written by Jack Endino (where's that damn "I'm not worthy" smiley icon?).
He explains the difference between tube and tape distortion so in-depth and technical and at the same time so understandable (I missed some music theory and electronics classes...), it's almost unbelievable.
It's just about 2 pages long but very complete, check it out here.

Now I understand the difference between AC2 and a kranked Fairchild 670 plugin!

EDIT: Fixed Link
Old 9th August 2009
  #2
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Mike Brown's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF View Post
...it's from 1997. Written by Jack Endino (where's that damn "I'm not worthy" smiley icon?).
He explains the difference between tube and tape distortion so in-depth and technical and at the same time so understandable (I missed some music theory and electronics classes...), it's almost unbelievable.
It's just about 2 pages long but very complete, check it out here.

Now I understand the difference between AC2 and a kranked Fairchild 670 plugin!
You linked to a file on your hard drive.... you have not uploaded it to the internet or linked to a file on a sever accessable by the public.


I think you mean to link to this: Jack Endino Newsletter 2.0 (9/97)
Old 9th August 2009
  #3
Old 9th August 2009
  #4
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Old 9th August 2009
  #5
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It's a widely misunderstood concept, and the article explains the basics pretty nicely. However, the writer's own conclusions are less than convincing.
Like "I submit to you that it is mostly this odd-harmonic distortion that we miss when we listen to a digital recording".
Just try adding distortion to every channel, I'm pretty sure it will just sound worse, although analog recordings probably had some.

"Even harmonics are described as "nicer" distortion, almost like no distortion."
Surely not true, an overdriven tube mic preamp sounds very distorted. Actually, 10% of even harmonics is likely to sound worse than 10% of odd harmonics. This is very easy to test with a plug-in. Also even harmonics produce more intermodulation distortion than odd harmonics of similar degree. The myth probably started from high-feedback devices that produced high-order harmonics, which just happened to be mostly odd order. Hutch talks about this and other related stuff at tube_talk

Also you can't just compare guitar amplifiers as an example of different harmonics, there's so much more to the sound of an amp than that. Also, AC2 wouldn't sound like a Fairchild by just switching from odd harmonics to even.

A waveshaper plug-in like Christortion (vst) lets you create whatever harmonics you want, but it's really hard to get any useful sounds with just distortion. I wish replicating the sound of analog gear was as easy as that!
Old 10th August 2009
  #6
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jdtrbn, thanx for you comments. We cannot have enough information about this topic, because people (like me) seem to mix up tape distortion, tube distortion and tape saturation all the time.
Old 28th January 2013
  #7
Gear nut
 

can someone explain what is the practical uses I can employ from this artical?
I understood everything, but in what way (other than understanding harmonics better, which is very important, obviously) I can use what I just read?

thanks
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