Clipping during multiple track playback

Audacity 2.3.1. macOS High Sierra 10.13.6.
Hi. I’m new to recording so this is a very basic general question about clipping: Each of my tracks, separately have good levels and do not clip. However, when I play all the tracks at once I get clipping, but I hear no distortion. Am I supposed to lower all of the track sliders anyway to remove the clipping even though each track does not clip separately and there is no distortion? Thanks!

When Audacity plays tracks, it just adds them all up.

You can’t have clipping inside Audacity because of it’s super high quality internal format—if it looks like you’re going over, you can use any of the volume tools to bring down the level and no harm done. But you can’t export anything with high volume. The instant you hit any of the normal formats, MP3, WAV, etc, clipping is clipping and it will produce harsh, permanent distortion.

So yes, pay attention to the bouncing sound meter and if you wish, you can create a sample show through Tracks > Mix and Render to a New Track. That new track is what you’re going to produce if you make an MP3 (for example) right now.

You can bring volumes down on individual tracks until you satisfy the format requirements.


If you do render to a new track, you can reduce the volume of that one new track and then select it > File > Export > Export Selected.

Don’t forget to select the track for export or Audacity will try to export your whole production.