Distortion comes in a vast range of slightly different forms, from acute analog warmth to extreme metal fuzz, mild digital imprecision to eardrum-bursting clipping(Music, 2012). It describes any change made to a waveform: even a fundamental change to the amplitude is technically a form of distortion. As an effect, it is any process that modifies the sound in the harmonic (tone, timbre) domain. In analog gear, distortion normally arises when circuits are overloaded. Obvious distortion is something to be avoided if you want to make precise recordings of acoustic instruments, but it has many innovative uses in popular music that extend far beyond making the electric guitar sing the blues(White, 2010).
Distortion is a technological alteration in technology which is used in popular music. The emergence of electronic distortion is as old as rock music itself. Popular music in the late twentieth century eliminated the stigma that marked distortion, with fans praising and artists craving their use in recordings and also electronic distortion dominated many recordings during the 6os(Edmondson, 2013).
When recording, it is better not to add more distortion than you will finally need. You can always add more during the mixing stage if you need to, but there are very few practical ways to reduce distortion in a recorded piece of audio(White, 2010). The universal perception of distortion is that it makes audio sound less clear. However, if the distortion is confined to a specific part of the frequency spectrum, it can actually strengthen the sense of clarity.
Edmondson, J. (2013). Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs Styles Stars and Stories That Shaped Our Culture (1st ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group.
Music, F. (2012). Distortion, saturation and bitcrushing explained. MusicRadar. Retrieved 23 March 2017, from http://www.musicradar.com/tuition/tech/distortion-saturation-and-bitcrushing-explained-549516
White, P. (2010). Distortion In The Studio |. Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 23 March 2017, from http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/distortion-studio