Re: bass distortion
I always run at least two basses.
One (almost) clean sine wave in the bottom and then another, distorted and high-passed copy on top of it. I occasionally add a bit of room to the high-passed one, depending on the mix.
Definitely not saying I am one of them, but this is standard practice from a lot of the best mixing engineers in electronic music, so not something I just made up.
Have a listen: on a lot of songs you can actually tell that the definition and clarity is sitting on top of the actual bass frequencies, as they are separated.