Adding a threshold to the equalizer

being able to set a Threshold so that you could clip certain frequencies without raising them.

It would be very useful for making shaping distortion. the lower the red line is against the blue line the more distortion you would get.

is this easy to understand or should I try and explain it differently? I know sometimes my writing is alittle off.

Personally I think that goes against the purpose of an Equalizer. IMO an Equalizer should be (ideally) free of distortion and adding a clipping control would be confusing to many users.

I’m not against the idea as an effect.
Currently the only distortion effect that Audacity ships with is the Leveller and we don’t even have any listed here:
I’d be in favour of some distortion effects, just not built into the Equalizer. Would it work for you as an effect in its own right rather than as an add-on to the Equalizer? If so, could you describe in more detail what you’d like (ideally) the effect to do?

It would be useful as a Distortion effect. the main purpose would be shaping distortion in a way that would usually take a lot more work.
it works as an equalizer but with a threshold envelope added to it.
it would also be cool if it could emulate a transistor style of distortion; and toggle between types if that makes sense.

Yea I do agree that for most users it would seem confusing as an equalizer.

Transistor sound would need to be complex. It’s hard clipping at the top and crossover/transient intermodulation distortion in the quiet bits. That’s why all the early amplifiers were rated at full output – and isn’t that great? No, it’s not, because at quiet volumes, the amplifiers were terrible.


Could any one make this effect? just if you’re up for the challenge. I have no idea how to program computers.
Doesn’t need transitor distortion.

I’ve had a play with the the idea, using the Equalizer to split a sound into frequency bands and then applying clipping to one of the frequency bands. The effect is perhaps not as expected. Clipping produces a broad range of additional frequencies outside of the frequency range that the distortion is being applied to. The effect is not dissimilar to clipping the full audio band, except that the clipping only happens when a sound has a relatively high level in that particular band, so it produces an intermittent “crunch” when the audio hits that frequency range. It sounds similar to damaged loudspeaker and is not pleasant.

“It sounds similar to damaged loudspeaker and is not pleasant.”
Its not meant to be pleasant.

I’d be using this kind of thing to produce the kind of sound steven wilson (Porcupine tree) has on his voice in some songs.

I think the computer would need to process the frequency’s the hit the threshold first; then run the normal equalization after. its weird because if you boosted the blue line say 2300 to hit the red it would have to do it in reverse. so It would need to do them simultaneously but ensure that the normal equalization has the last say.
the blue line is the Normal equalization.

When Experimenting with distortion we tend not to want a “Pleasant” sound :smiley:

my brother is doing Computer science. Do you think this would be over his head?
I could ask him to give it a try.

No, I mean it really does sound like a damaged car radio speaker. Not at all musical. Steven Wilson would not like it. :smiley:

A good approach is to use the tools in Audacity to manually create the sound that you want.
When you have worked out what processes are required to achieve the desired effect, then it may be possible to program a plug-in to reproduce that effect.

To deliberately clip audio you can use the following code in the “Nyquist Prompt” effect:

(clip s 0.5)

This will clip the selected audio at +/- 0.5. Change the number if you wish to clip at a different level.

The following effects will also create distortion when used at strong settings:
Leveller (Effect menu)
Soft Clipping Limiter
Broadcast Limiter

K thanks. I’ll see what the broadcast limiter is like.