Uneven track display?

Sorry for the stupid question but can’t find a reference to it anywhere. First off I love Audacity (using 3.2.2. on a win-7 pro system). Until today after recording a overly saturated drum track and normalizing it -1.0. That got it “unclipped” but I found that the display showed much longer stems on the bottom halves of both the left-right tracks than normal. Usually there are small deviations between the upper and lower halves (not left/right but each part) but this time the bottom halves are almost twice as long as the top. I’m a hack so don’t really understand RMS, dBs, etc. as I just mess with it till i sounds right but I tried re-normalizing with the “stereo channels independently” checked with no change and left the DC offset checked. That seems to maybe be a clue as the normalize acts like it’s NOT removing the DC offset to center? Thanks for any help.

That’s normal for a drum because the drum head moves strongly in one direction when you hit it. …But there could be something else going-on too.

You might be able to make it “look better” with a high-pass filter. And if you even it out you can normalize it “louder”. If there’s a bass drum in the recording, setting the filter at 20 or 30Hz will preserve the deep bass. For other drums you can set it higher.

Same thing when you pluck a guitar or bass string. (It probably shows-up worse with electric guitar than with acoustic guitar.)

Commercial recordings are mixed, limited, compressed, and processed to death so you’re less likely to see it in a commercial release.

If it’s actually clipped that doesn’t remove the distortion. It only “hides” it from Audacity. When you have Audacity set to "Show Clipping’ it’s just checking the peak levels for potential clipping. It’s not looking at the wave shape and you can get false positives & false negatives.

Thanks for the info all. I have since also found a section in the manual on DC offset but after trying their suggested fix, didn’t do much if anything. I guess what I should worry about instead of the DC offset is how to fix clipping after the fact but that’s another story I’m sure.

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