Spectragram showing what happens when you overdrive a signal

What happens when you overdrive an input stage of a device or a group of devices?

For this measurement I sent a 1k tone from my Metric Halo 2882 into my Midas Venice mixer and returned it to the 2882.

1k tone

Here is what happens when I overdrive the input of the console which also overdrives the input of the 2882.

1K tone half overdriven

It’s pretty to look at but I am most certain that the audio equivalent will not be pretty to listen to.

1K tone overdrive completely

Managing your gain from the first device in your audio chain until the last is really important. If a simple 1k tone has this much harmonic content when clipping, think about what music does.