Sound clipping whilst recording track/mix within guidance?

Hi All,

I’ve been using Audacity for a few months to either record vinyl to a .wav file or to simply record a DJ mix to an .mp3 format. Either way, I keep bumping into the same issue which is that the resultant files contain clipping throughout. The first few times this occurred I acknowledge it was a result of me allowing the signal to broach -6 dB.

However having read the manual, I now keep the signal well below this mark - usually around the -20 dB range - but still the final tracks appear to clip. This is obviously very frustrating, especially since i am so mindful to keep the blue maximum peak bar well below the guidance threshold.

If anyone has any ideas or guidance around what I can do to address, I would be very grateful.


For what its worth, I think its something to do with the proximity of the Current Peak level (green) to the Maximum Peak Level (Blue) - they are practically on top of each other, even at -20 d!!!

Any way I can put some distance between them?


How much clipping in the final file?

You can test by applying Amplify effect and see what it suggests for the entire recorded track. If it’s like -.2 dB then it’s not something to be concerned about. But if it’s like -6 dB or more all I can suggest you record with alternate app like say Garageband set to 24-bit Best Quality. Other than that you’ld just have to reduce gain somehow either through Audacity or the OS sound system.

Just an anecdote for some perspective on being concerned about minor clipping shown in Audacity, an audio production engineer won a Grammy for his work on Flaming Lip’s “At War With The Mystics” CD and quite a lot of those aiff files show brick wall like red clipping indicators viewed in Audacity.

Of course they sound great on both my home and car’s audio system. I can play them really loud with no artifacts.

And here’s another audio mystery about clipping indicators in Audacity on a finished commercial release aiff file off a Thievery Corporation CD. See the screengrab below of clipped and top chopped kick bass notes and what Audacity’s Amplify suggests to do with the waveform which is nothing. But of course this song sounds great and very loud on my all my audio systems.

Listen to all the audio artifacts I’m assuming is caused by the clipping but doesn’t destroy my Polk 6x8’s in my sedan’s backdash…
Screen shot 2017-03-06 at 12.49.06 AM.png

Thanks Tim - I’m simply judging the clipping by how it sounds at the end, where in my instance, it actually skips part of the audio entirely making any mix or recording unusable.

Not sure what you mean by “It skips part of the audio”. Don’t know what this skipping has to do with clipping.

I’m not familiar with your setup and whether you’re feeding audio signal data from your vinyl records onto your computer’s sound card through a stereo line in or USB connection. Not sure how you’re combining this with DJ mixing and whether you’re using Audacity as some kind of live mixing board app.

Also I haven’t recorded audio with my computer since 2003 when I used the line in and an app called Coaster and didn’t get any clipping. I now just use Audacity to edit existing aiff files off commercial CD’s.

Sorry I can’t help you any further.

As Tim said, clipping is nothing to do with skipping. Can you post a few seconds of audio (WAV or AIFF) that you regard as unusable so that we can see and hear what the problem is? Please see how to attach files to forum posts.