Clipping

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Jebbers
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Clipping

Post by Jebbers » Tue May 11, 2021 4:54 pm

Good day! I'm not sure I've gotten an answer to my question yet. Probably because I have not asked it correctly.

I'm not sure whether clipping is bad or not. Someone said that it can damage equipment. What if I have some audio that clips 3dB off the tops of the waves. Is it neccessary to fix this, or might I just reduce the volume by 3dB and leave the wave clipped? It seems that, with that treatment, no damage could occur to equipment.

Also, can you recommend a good forum to learn more about processing sound? I want to ask about using different kinds of equipment, like acoustic guitars, and that might be out of the range of this discussion forum.

Thanks

kozikowski
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Re: Clipping

Post by kozikowski » Tue May 11, 2021 5:24 pm

Someone said that it can damage equipment.
Not digital equipment. The digital system just doesn't care. You might run into analog problems. If you play highly clipped music loudly into a good speaker system, the high-pitched, crisp, gritty clipped sound could damage the tweeter.
I'm not sure whether clipping is bad or not.
It's bad. Clipping is a point where the music system stopped following the song. In digital land, the digital system normally assigns numbers to all parts of your song. Clipping is when the song is so loud, the system runs out of numbers. Worse, yet, the system starts making up its own trash.

It's not good. It's not. It's also permanent. You can't start with clipping and get back to the original song.
might I just reduce the volume by 3dB and leave the wave clipped?
It's up to you. The quality of the song will not change and you will have a 3dB quieter sound which is almost inaudible.

Clipping is one of the four horseman of reliable ways to kill your show (#2).

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Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 10.20.07 AM.png (42.99 KiB) Viewed 198 times
can you recommend a good forum to learn more about processing sound?
Maybe one of the other forum elves will post.

Koz

Jebbers
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Re: Clipping

Post by Jebbers » Tue May 11, 2021 5:34 pm

Damn. I think I'm riding all them horses! Well, no, I don't ever use mp3. I always use wav. I'm recording in hotels so I can't do much about street noise and other noise in the hotels. The only thing I have control over is the clipping. For that I always record the base track in Dual mode with a backup at about -6 or -8dB. For overdubs I can't do that, but I do tilt my double mics so that one catches the sound straight on and the other elliptically. I can edit out clipping with the wave from the angled mic.

I'm working with very limited resources.

kozikowski
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Re: Clipping

Post by kozikowski » Tue May 11, 2021 5:58 pm

I'm recording in hotels so I can't do much about street noise and other noise in the hotels.
That can work as long as you're not "pretending" to be in a studio.

https://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/cli ... leClip.mp3
For that I always record the base track in Dual mode with a backup at about -6 or -8dB.
That's the second instance I've heard of someone doing that. Terrific idea. Recording on a what?

Koz

Jebbers
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Re: Clipping

Post by Jebbers » Tue May 11, 2021 6:43 pm

I can only travel lightweight, so I carry a Tascam DR40. That's better than nothing. I'm actually doing pretty well. And no, this is not spose to be studio recording. This is what it is and it's just different. It's alot easier to experiment outside of a studio. But I see that if you pile tracks on top of eachother, the noise does build up. Studio recording does sound a lot better, though, so I have mixed feelings about it. I could treat it as demos to be used for professional treatment later in a studio. But like Springsteen, and his home recording for Nebraska, I am pretty sure that I'll find out that - that's the album. I don't know. McCartney's first album recorded at home in his basement is much better than any of his studio work afterwards. But he had pro equipment, was located on a farm and prbably had the basement soundproofed. Even so some reviewers complained about the production. I think it's a classic album from him. That's the definitive McCartney album for me.

The Tascam recording might be improved by using an external mic, but I can't travel with guitars, and mics and hard drives. Plastic and steel is heavy stuff to be lugging around.

DVDdoug
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Re: Clipping

Post by DVDdoug » Tue May 11, 2021 8:01 pm

I carry a Tascam DR40. That's better than nothing.
Unless you have some special requirements it should be fine and it's probably better than lots of things! There's no fan making noise and compared to a computer there are not as many things to mess-up. It could be GREAT in a soundproof studio!
For that I always record the base track in Dual mode with a backup at about -6 or -8dB.
Your main track can be at the same level. With digital recording there's no need to get close to clipping so you can leave plenty of headroom. You can boost later.

If you are old enough to remember analog tape, you needed a hot signal to overcome tape hiss, plus analog tape is more forgiving and it starts to soft-clip when your go 'into the red". But with digital... No tape noise but it hard-clips at exactly 0dB.

Jebbers
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Re: Clipping

Post by Jebbers » Wed May 12, 2021 3:35 pm

Thanks for the replies. Why I am confused is not only that my writing is unclear and I go off on tangents but that the responses differ significantly. Koz says NO clipping.
It's not good. It's not. It's also permanent. You can't start with clipping and get back to the original song.
OK, so why have clip fix?

Someone (Doug?) in another conversation suggested that light clipping is OK. I'll try to find that quote. But even in this discussion he talks of "soft clipping."
DVDdoug wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 8:01 pm
If you are old enough to remember analog tape, you needed a hot signal to overcome tape hiss, plus analog tape is more forgiving and it starts to soft-clip when your go 'into the red". But with digital... No tape noise but it hard-clips at exactly 0dB.
Yes, I do remember. I always went for the hottest signal I could get. Maybe I am creating some problem by trying that now? But I am trying to mask environmental noises. I spose I'm not accomplishing much. Bringing the volume up or down on the mic is going to affect background noise either way.

Jebbers
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Re: Clipping

Post by Jebbers » Wed May 12, 2021 4:37 pm

Maybe I need to go back and reread those previous thread?
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=113018
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=113879

steve
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Re: Clipping

Post by steve » Wed May 12, 2021 10:28 pm

Jebbers wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 3:35 pm
OK, so why have clip fix?
ClipFix is an attempt to rescue clipped audio that would otherwise be trash. It works by looking for flat topped peaks and guessing what the missing waveform should be. The "guess" is a mathematical algorithm called "cubic interpolation", which in layman's terms means "replacing the flat top with a smooth curve".

As you might imagine, it can produce a reasonable guess if there is only very mild clipping, but if there's a lot of clipping then it really doesn't stand any chance of producing good results because it has no way of knowing what the "missing" (clipped) audio should be like.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Jebbers
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Re: Clipping

Post by Jebbers » Thu May 13, 2021 6:56 pm

OK. Then light clipping is OK but it must be corrected with ClipFix?

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