Amp or other strong distortion effects

What is the problem?

The Play would benefit from an Amp effect. The bitcrusher when set to low res can add some nice grit, but it would be nice to be able to add even more.

What do you want to achieve?

Add an Amp effect, providing a distortion with more character than the available overdrive, and with an amount control and if possible a color control. Ideally the controls should be directly accessible from the controls on the Play (no menu diving to tweak the amount like for the delay or reverb). Their modulation should be recordable.

Are there any workarounds?

Processing the audio with an external amp effect, but given that there is no audio out per track, this isn’t a real workaround in most situations.

Any links to related discussions?

Any references to other products?

Amp effects or other types of distortion are usual.
The amp “blues” or boost effect of Ableton are really nice.
The distortion of Vector synth is super nice as well.


This wish is about a new distortion effect, different than the existing Overdrive and Bit Depth, right?

“More character” is subjective. It would be useful if you or anyone else interested could provide links to audio/videos where the desired effect can be heard. Having actual examples of the desired effect also helps double-checking whether they can be achieved with the current effects or not, and how far the current possibilities are.

Should this effect be directly available in the Audio sequencer and in Performance? If so… a problem to resolve is where, in exchange of which existing effect. All knobs in the sequencer and all pads in Performance mode are taken. Anything new must displace something else. The knobs have printed labels, which restricts the flexibility of a product out of the box.

Can you explain this, please? Reverb and Delay have a dedicated knob and there is no menu diving needed to modulate the amount. Selecting the type of delay or reverb does require some menu diving, but that is different.

Thanks a lot for your reply ! Indeed the “more character” is very subjective, sorry for that, I will trty to explain a bit further.

Here is an example of the Amp of Ableton : Ableton Amp - YouTube

The default preset when opening the effect on the blues distortion type in Ableton is already enough, as long as the amount of distortion can be modulated, the other parameters are fine where they are for a wide use case.

The distortion on the Vector Synth has two parameters : amount and colour. I could not find a video pointing at it specifically, but with on ly those two controls, you can get really different saturation/drive flavours.

The current overdrive on the Play is nice to add subtle variations of the sound, but it does not go in the wild harmonic territory.

Currently on the Play, only the sends for Delay and Reverb are available directly from the UI. Time, feedback, etc. are available if you go through a menu, and there is no way to control for example delay time and feedback simultaneously, and you need to do a bit of menu diving to access those parameters (except in performance mode, which could be a workaround if there is the ability to set custom values per pad in performance mode, as well as in grid mode, which is another wish).

A simple implementation of a new distortion effect for the Play could be :
having the possibility to chose the algorithm : current overdrive, distortion, fuzz (yeah, why not have a couple of algos to chose from if there is enough space !)
Once it is chosen, the current overdrive amount sets the amount of the chosen algorithm.
Like it is for Delay and Reverb settings (time, feedback, etc…), a color/tone control and eventual other controls could be editable from the same kind of menu.

Furthermore, in order to make some controls accessible from the UI, a way to implement that would be to chose one parameter to be controled from the UI (for example drive colour, or delay time) in a menu, and then press shift while turning the encoder corresponding to the effect (overdrive amount for drive colour, delay send for delay time). This way, we get 2 additional modulations slots in addition to the already existing 2 slots per knob.

I hope this makes sense !


Thank you, @galak8, this helps. Given that “amp” effects are usual and recognizable, I have added the term to the wish. I mean, these amps effects are usually complex with plenty of configurations that are ok for bigger screens or dedicated hardware but not easy to solve with one knob and a small screen like the Play’s. But the “stronger distortion” case is clear and distortion keeps being a popular effect.


I like it. “Amps” on M8, along with its bitcrusher and other whistles like slicing, allow you to modify sample to unrecognizable state within seconds. Really miss it on Play, “dry” samples aren’t fun and don’t give you that feel that you created something truly by yourself. That’s also the reason I liked PO-33 with its built-in mic, it creates just awesome workflow with nice and immediate results. Maybe will try the new tracker at some point just because of this feature.

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@here Thanks for your wish. We decided to accept this one, but only in terms of improving or expanding current Overdrive effect, by adding more “presets” or “modes” to it. Introducing more sophisticated Amp effects is not possible due to limited performance. Hope this makes it clear for voters in terms of what can be achieved. Thank you for understanding and happy voting!


@galak8 Agreed. I knew exactly what you meant. Love the Play but the basic overdrive is lacking bite / character…or whatever you want to call it :slight_smile:

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Is there any chance to get those master overdrive presets such as Hard/soft clip, overdrive, saturate, drive+ added as a send FX for tracks along with a percentage which can be applied as we can with reverb/delay, to colour/distort individual tracks instead of the overall mix?

Definitely would love to see more sample distortion/destroying options, like Redux from Ableton Live and Bit-8 from Bitwig.
Play+ has more computing power to handle that, I guess?

I’d also like to ask - are we going to see the distortion effects for the synth engines? Currently only reverb and delay can be applied to them.

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