Soft clipping and hard limiting

As I understand it, with the default wet and residue settings at 1 and 0 respectively, Audacity’s hard limiter functions a brickwall limiter with a ratio of infinity. Pulling the residue up to 1 should have no effect, and pulling the wet to zero should make the residue useless? Please correct me if I’m wrong about any of this as it will make my next question sound that much more silly. So, in practice, is there a good balance of these settings to imitate a soft clip just in case I later decide to use clip fix or are there any specific practical uses for letting some peaks through and back in?

in case I later decide to use clip fix

Have you ever tried ClipFix? It makes me nervous when people start a project depending on the repair tools. ClipFix and Noise Reduction give you an unfortunate false sense of security. Both work well on shows that don’t need them. By the time the show is so bad you realize it needs hospitalization, it’s too late.

So if you’re planning on hitting the limiters during the show, you may want to rethink that. Nothing can ever put your show back together after you messed it up, and clipping is one of the fatal errors.


Yes, the audio will be (hard) clipped at the “dB Limit” level.

With the “Residual” slider set to 1, the audio that is clipped off is stuck back on again, so the net effect is no change to the audio.

The “Wet level” slider can be thought of as a “output level”. It is not a “Wet/Dry mix”. When set to zero there will be no output. (tested on Linux - I am assuming that it’s the same on other platforms).

There is really no going back from clipping. ClipFix is an emergency repair tool that tries to recreate clipped audio, but all it can do is “guess” at what the clipped audio should have been. There is no way that any repair tool can accurately recreate the peaks of clipped audio.

If you think that you may want to go back to unclipped audio, export a backup WAV file of the track before you apply the clipping.

If you want “soft clipping” there is a “soft clipping limiter” plug-in here:
If you want a peak limiter that does not clip the audio, there is a plug-in here:

The four horsemen of audio recording:

– Echoes and room reverberation
– Overload and Clipping
– Compression Damage
– Background Conversations


Personally, I hate the “Hard Limiter” effect and would never use it. By design it introduces distortion. To me it looks like a “programmer’s solution” rather than an “audio engineer’s solution”. Much better to use Steve’s “Limiter” effect (the second link in his post).

But I guess if you’re looking for a soft clipping effect (tape saturation?), the Hard Limiter might be useful.

– Bill

There’s also a “Tape saturation simulator” plug-in: (my comments regarding this plug-in are in that topic).