My take is that it is exceedingly difficult to amplify and pass an audio signal flawlessly, in a manner that preserves every possible nuance of the original signal, without adding anything. It is much easier to NOT pass it with fidelity. The entire domain of "distortion" is an exercise in the myriad of ways there are to not pass a signal without altering it.
Consider the number of ways there are to botch a grilled-cheese sandwich. You could burn it. You could stick compromising ingredients in it. You could try and make it sideways. You could try and boil it. All of those are ways to ruin a grilled-cheese sandwich. The same is true of distortion. Diodes and misbiasing transistors are certainly some of the ways, but they aren't the only ones. So there will inevitably be ways of producing musically interesting distortion that have not been used before. Ultimately it becomes a matter of whether the means of producing it is:
bulky, power-consuming, or otherwise inconvenient for the user or retailer
consistent in a manner that allows for predictable application
available at a pricepoint that can sustain a market and profit for the maker
If you can hit those marks, then any means of producing it is fair game. Now, whether the tonal product is audibly different enough from whatever else is out there - and there is a LOT "out there" over the past 50 years - is a whole other thing.
....inside you'll find a galvanized nail connecting the in and out jacks, then the pedal is filled with concrete to forever seal the secrets.... .
...power supply runs straight to the light tube and provides a mesmerizing and distracting glow.... .
..footswtich does nothing but provide comfort because we aren't used to seeing pedals without one....
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