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This is the first of a series of bite-sized tutorials aimed at users of u-he's latest synthesizer, Diva. Let's get straight to the nitty-gritty i.e. the fascinating subject of distortion.

Act I: Diva doesn't have a dedicated distortion module. Hardware analogue synths naturally distort at several points within the signal path, and because Diva is a close emulation, it doesn't need a dedicated distortion module either. Like in analogue mixers etc., "gain-staging" is rather important in Diva.

In search of the best distortion you don't always need to turn everything (oscillator levels and filter resonance) up to eleven! The first example here shows that turning oscillator levels DOWN is best for the typical "acid" distortion for which e.g. the Roland TB303 and MS-20 were justly famous.

Act II - beef: On the other hand, Diva's mixer (pre-filter) and amplifier will only distort if you give them plenty of signal. Here, the oscilloscope is left open to show the subtle waveshaping that can lead to a more beefy sound.

Act III: Not really distortion, but ring modulation between the two notes of a duophonic patch is a very characterful effect that also delivers enough grit to cut through a mix.

Act IV: OK, Diva DOES actually have a distortion effect! It's not "dedicated", but built into the Rotary (Leslie effect) module...

So - happy tweaking!

Devs, Prods & Tags: u-heDivaDistortionSynthesizer