From the way it's explained in the manual, it technically would be considered distortion as it's changing the signal by more than a simple amplitude adjustment. From the way it's explained, if frequency X is present in the incoming signal, then the RA will add frequency X/2 to the signal (1 octave lower). That would technically be classified as distortion as it's adding frequencies to the signal that may not have been originally present in the signal. Distortion has a negative connotation as usually "distortion" relates to something that is undesirable, but that's not necessarily the case. In this case, the resulting effect of the added "distortion" are intentional and not necessarily undesirable. All the statement "12db (4x) final gain stage" means that is the RA increases the level of the signal by 12db, which in the world of voltage equates to a four fold increase in voltage between input and output (a 6db increase requires double the voltage, therefore a 12db increase requires the original voltage quadruple). So if you input 1V into the RA, it will output 4V to the amplifier. It would be no different than exchanging a 2V headunit for one that outputs 8V. It simply affects where the gain needs to be set. However, Zed included one feature in the RA to combat the potential issue of driving too much preamp voltage into the amplifier (or out of the RA). And that is the compressor. You set where the compression begins to take effect, at a certain point the compressor will "kick in" and keep the voltage output from increasing any higher*. This means you won't clip the output of the RA, and you won't overdrive the input stage of the amplifier (assuming the compressor threshold is set correctly). *After re-reading the manual, it says: The last control is the VOLUME control and this of course sets the level of the sub woofers. It also controls the “make up gain” required by the compressor so that even though the compressor is set to compress, the gain can still be increased but in a compressed mode. So it sounds as though I might be a little wrong. It sounds like it will still allow the output voltage to increase but it won't increase linearly with the volume control. The amount by which the output voltage increases once the compressor takes affect is reduced, but the output voltage will still increase some as the volume control is increased with the compression engaged. From the way it's described in the manual, it works exactly like the Epicenter, except the Epicenter only had one center frequency (selectable via a knob) and a Q adjustment for the "bass restoration" whereas the RA has 2 center frequencies (32hz and 45hz) without a Q adjustment. If it finds X frequency present in the signal, then it will add frequency X/2 (1 octave lower than the fundamental) to the signal at an amplitude determined by the level adjustment knob for the related frequency. As far as I know, that's pretty much exactly what the Epicenter does as well. The Epicenter as far as I'm aware is basically just a subharmonic synth that they gave a different name to ("bass restoration circuit"). I could be wrong here. But from the way it's described in the manual, I think I'm accurate.