Hey everyone, back with another post about music production along with a video recommendation. This time it’s about a topic I don’t hear much about these days and that is the topic of saturation. So before we get to the video, let me quote this article which explains what saturation is in terms that are easy to understand.
“When we talk about “analog warmth” and “saturation” we really begin to enter very subjective waters. Something that is “warm” sounding to one person may not be to another. That being said lets look at the terms basic definition instead for a better idea of the true meaning of saturation.
The term saturation gets it’s origins from the amount of magnetism a magnetic tape could hold. See in the days before digital engineers recorded everything to tape. When recording to tape you could get distortion from the tape’s oxide particles by adding more magnetism (magnetism is a force of attraction that works within a magnetic field and attracts like materials to it). When recording with the gear of that day (tape, tubes, transistors, etc.) you could easily overload them by the levels being too much. Too much meaning that every device had a magnetic capacity limit. When the magnetic particles no longer responded linearly they had reached their limit. This in turn added or changed the sound by adding color or character to it. When that limit was reached or overloaded this color or character is what you could call saturation. Some saturation, some distortion and now you got yourself some good ole added harmonics right there!”-Alex Butler
Thanks Alex! So in this instance, saturation is a form of harmonic distortion that we get when we process audio through devices such as tubes, transistors, tape etc. In this day and age, the end goal for most producers and mix engineers is for their digital audio to sound more and more like it came from vintage analogue gear… and that’s when saturation and the various plugins that emulate vintage gear comes in.
Saturation not only helps get a warm, full sound, it also helps level the crest factor of the audio wave form by reducing peeks but keeping or even enhancing perceived loudness… and that’s what the video I have for you today is mainly about. So without further ado, I’ll let the guy over at MixbusTV educate you on the matter!