Analog Drive for parallel distortion using mixer sends? Would this work?

I am looking for a way to use parallel distortion with my mixer for industrial and techno styles of music. I really like the range of character the AD would offer. I would set it up on an FX send/return from my mixer and mix the wet, distorted signal with the dry signal of a drum machine, synth, or master mix.

I know the Heat would be ideal for this without needing the mixer configuration, but the price difference is substantial.

Lastly, I know the Analog Drive has a high input impedance, but I couldn’t find anything on the pedal’s input signal level or how it handles line-level signals. Does anyone have experience using line level signals with the AD?

Thanks in advance for any input.

AD : no problem as fx send, I already used a Boss MT2 guitar distorsion for this, it would be better with AD.
Mixer : Aux send with PRE if possible.
Buy 2 for stereo (I think I will, it’s quite big though ).

I have AH and AD. Tried them in serial, I prefered AD after AH. They can be really complementary.

Much more distortion with AD. Much better filter on AH, mix control, envelope follower, lfo, self oscillation…

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Thanks for the info. I might have to go for it.

When you say “Aux send with PRE,” what do you mean?

Also, when you use a mono distortion pedal as a send for stereo sources, and your return is coming back in mono, does it produce any kind of odd stereo image?

Which mixer are you using?

here’s something that elektron support had sent me about a similar question with the heat (thanks elektron!)

I do not recommend using it as a send effect. The problem is that sends are fine to use for time based effects such as delay or reverb - they already move the signals time around, and the effect signal an be applied on top or mixed with the source without issue.

However, with a non-time effect such as distortion or filter, it of course deals with timbre/tone rather than time (frequency domain vs. time domain), if you layer the source with the effect, you will get phasing issues since they will not line up properly. (even just routing a signal on a mixing desk will shift the phase)

So I think you would want the heat after the mixer outputs? as for the drive idk, I believe it’s mono so…

Your’e doing Industrial and Techno send the sounds straight through the AD as for the master you’d have to come up with something or just record the distorted signal and mix it that way…

Line level signals work well in my experience, sounds ace on my Rytm and Ms-20.

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Of course it’s better with stereo send / return, a mono send reduce stereo image.
Mixers can have PRE / POST fader sends.
With PRE the signal is sent independently from fader so you can have 100% wet, adjust the fader to taste.
Whatever people say, just trust your ears.

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In Sonic State video CENK recommends OT’s CUE out use, which is like a PRE send. :wink:

Thanks for passing that along. I had wondered if phasing would be an issue. Now that has me wondering how it’s possible to use parallel distortion or parallel compression in a hardware setup at all. Is it only possible on gear with a wet/dry knob?

I’m just recently getting into processing beyond reverb/delay sends. I have some research and weekend experimenting to do…

Thanks again for your input. I might just have to pick up a cheap distortion pedal locally first and see what kind of results I get with different routings.

I’ll post back here with my results in case anyone is interested.


Glad to hear it works well on line-level sources. Distorted MS-20 resonance is a thing of beauty.

I could definitely go straight through the pedal on single sources. Ideally, I was trying to come up with a situation where I wouldn’t have to be re-routing things constantly to put distortion on different sources. Also, I heard some audio examples of parallel distortion and found it to be quite different from straight-through distortion, especially when applied to a whole mix.


I just got a Mackie CR 1604. I have yet to try overdriving the channels, if that was going to be your suggestion, but I never cared for the character of that on my former VLZ 3. Regardless, I’ll try it out.



Most pleasing sounding on the full mix when just mixed in a bit for sure, can bring some serious weight to a mix.

Good luck with whatever you decide on.

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CR 1604 is this one ? :

Doesn’t seem to have PRE. (Monitor switch maybe?)
Several busses could be useful but you have only Alt (maybe workarounds with it). You can try with regular post send aux anyway, if you don’t want a 100% wet fx.
How strong do you want your distortion?
Audio examples ?

I have 1604 VLZ PRO. :wink:
Possible to have 100% wet and adjust dry.

Phasing can be interesting with distortion, not with compression, which I wouldn’t use with post aux send / return, but with insert, serial.

But a lot of hip hop Producer use parallel compression with send and return

With PRE ? :slight_smile:
I wouldn’t use POST for comp, I didn’t say it was forbidden.
And if the sound is good, wtf? :content:
I even used mics in line inputs and line outs in mic inputs because I hadn’t the choice, but it’s forbidden. :wink:

That was the impression I got as well; it adds weight and also a richness to the upper harmonics. How do you personally go about it? Are you using hardware or software distortion?

Yep, that’s the one. The monitor switch might make Aux 1 a PRE send to the monitor output. I’ll look into it. Thanks for pointing that out. I wouldn’t have had the thought otherwise.
I came across this technique first when I was watching videos of the incredible Thermionic Culture Vulture. That unit has a mix control right on the front though. It’s also $2000+, which far exceeds the funds set aside for distorting my dumb little songs.

Regardless, for anyone who is interested, I’m going to try some things out within the next week, record some audio, and I’ll post my results for anyone now, or in the future, who is interested.



I’m using software and hardware but Analog Heat is usually what I use on my master, I did try running a full mix through the Analog Drive the other day and recording it to audio. It sounded real nice when mixed in at low volume.

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To update,

I tried out parallel distortion on a mixer send (both pre and post). Phasing is indeed a considerable issue. I got significant volume drops when adding the distorted signal, along with a generally decreased definition to the sounds.

I did find some interesting tones once I highpassed or bandpassed the distorted signal, which helped avoid phasing issues, but that moved the sound into something other than just parallel distortion.

So, in hardware form, it seems that gear with a wet/dry knob is really the way to go for parallel distortion. I decided to pick up an Electro-Harmonix Operation Overlord stereo overdrive pedal. It can get quite dirty and has a lot of tone shaping potential. It’s nowhere near the Heat on a number of fronts, but for my needs and budget, it works really well. Sounds great on synths and percussion. Generally though, it seems that parallel processing is much easier to manage in a DAW.


So you could use your mixer PRE with Monitor send? 100% wet ?
I’ll check EHX too, OTO Boum would be released in March 2018 (annonced 2 years ago).

Even with the PRE monitor send, routing it back in to the mixer created phasing once I introduce the non-distorted signal.

The EHX pedal takes line level (input level is adjustable), has a wet/dry blend, EQ, and is $150 new. It’s a keeper for my purposes.