1 (edited by Quantizer 2022-07-27 23:23:24)

Topic: Clipping in your DAW

There's a lot of "advice" in the EDM world right now saying to skip the limiter and clipper on your master, and just letting it go into the red. (For the loudest EDM genres, anyway).

Wouldn't that force your D/A to clip? Or does the D/A pass on the audio un-clipped to your speakers? In which case, what % of speakers have built-in limiters/clippers? How many dB before any of that hardware distortion be audible?

(Sorry if this is in the wrong sub-forum, it wouldn't let me post in Tips & Tricks)

Re: Clipping in your DAW

you cannot go digitally above 0dbfs. you can get intersample peaks that go above 0dbfs that get created in the d/a stage. i guess it would depend on how well your users d/a works as to how that distorted d/a conversion sounds. not sure how many speakers have limiters these days, but some do, so why would you risk it? doesn't really make sense.

i cant see how getting +0.1dbfs? (or presumably less) at the risk of your track having harsh clipping on a some systems could be seen as worth the risk.

also note that on any streaming platform that you might be selling your tracks on, a rule of thumb is at least -1db of true peak limiting to prevent distortion during conversion to lossy formats.

Re: Clipping in your DAW

popsicle wrote:

you cannot go digitally above 0dbfs

I was just able to create a Bounce out of Ableton that goes 2-3dB above full scale — are those all intersample peaks?

Getting an extra 1–2 dB on a master can make a big difference, and many say they "like the sound" — but isn't that partially dependent on the sound of the clipping in the DAW (what clipping algorithm is used), and then partially reliant on the D/A converters that have to figure out how to translate those peaks to analog signal (which could be different for every listener's device)?

4 (edited by popsicle 2022-08-01 02:01:08)

Re: Clipping in your DAW

Quantizer wrote:
popsicle wrote:

you cannot go digitally above 0dbfs

I was just able to create a Bounce out of Ableton that goes 2-3dB above full scale — are those all intersample peaks?

Getting an extra 1–2 dB on a master can make a big difference, and many say they "like the sound" — but isn't that partially dependent on the sound of the clipping in the DAW (what clipping algorithm is used), and then partially reliant on the D/A converters that have to figure out how to translate those peaks to analog signal (which could be different for every listener's device)?


im also on Ableton live (11.1.6)

i tried the following experiment:

-load up a drum loop and turn up the gain to +6db on the fader, the master fader goes well into the red on the master fader

-make sure no plugins are on the master fader, limiters compressors etc

-export the loop to wav

-start a new session in Ableton, drag the previously exported loop into Ableton

-look at the waveform and see that a huge ammount peaks are squared off at 0dbfs, and there is really harsh digital clipping

-play the loop and check the peak meter on the master fader

-peaks at a maximum of +0.05dbfs

those +0.05dbfs are intersample peaks

I have no idea how you exported a file that can then be reimported and show a peak of +3dbfs -- it literally shouldn't be possible.

feel free to upload an exported wav file that peaks at +3dbfs, I'd love to see it. smile

regarding a "clipping algorithm" afaik, there isn't one, if a sample is +2dbfs in the daw, it just gets exported as 0dbfs, which results in a squaring off of the wave form.

"and then partially reliant on the D/A converters that have to figure out how to translate those peaks to analog signal" -- yes the d/a needs to handle the intersample peaks, but if you have a load of 0dbfs sample points in a row, its just going to sound like 0dbfs -- really nasty clipping.

I would personally just get a good peak limiter and smash it to 0dbfs and turn off "protect intersample peaks" if you wanted to maximise your output. fab filter pro-l has that option. most clubs have decibel limits and, most dj gear has auto volume correction, so that's something to think about also.

limiters like the pro-l can be pushed into limiting distortion which many people say they "like the sound", but no-one likes the sound of digital clipping.

cheers, pops

5

Re: Clipping in your DAW

With the correct Limiter you get the same digital clipping but without it sounding harsh. So you can raise the level even more. It is no problem to get up to +3 dBFS this way. There exists enough music where you can measure that high ISPs.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Clipping in your DAW

MC wrote:

With the correct Limiter you get the same digital clipping but without it sounding harsh. So you can raise the level even more. It is no problem to get up to +3 dBFS this way. There exists enough music where you can measure that high ISPs.

oh that's interesting MC

would you mind uploading a WAV file that I can see has intersample peaks of +3dbfs?

thanks, pops

7 (edited by Quantizer 2022-08-01 03:49:48)

Re: Clipping in your DAW

Here's a bounce of an impact that I brought back into Ableton, hits 2.7dbFS true peak as you can see in this screenshot: https://ibb.co/6YXQqtL

Here's the audio. Beware: it's loud, so turn down your speakers. http://sndup.net/cqt7

Honestly, it wasn't hard to make this. I could have turned it up way more but I hated the distortion.

I'd be curious if anyone has any insight to the clipping method that DAWs use. Drums sound punchier when properly clipped (unlike my audio example which audibly distorts), so I can see getting 1-2 extra peak dB easily just by gaining after the limiter/clipper on the master, but I guess it comes down to the clipping sound of the DAW and the D/A handling content above 0?

8 (edited by popsicle 2022-08-01 04:27:31)

Re: Clipping in your DAW

Quantizer wrote:

Here's a bounce of an impact that I brought back into Ableton, hits 2.7dbFS true peak as you can see in this screenshot: https://ibb.co/6YXQqtL

Here's the audio. Beware: it's loud, so turn down your speakers. http://sndup.net/cqt7

Honestly, it wasn't hard to make this. I could have turned it up way more but I hated the distortion.

I'd be curious if anyone has any insight to the clipping method that DAWs use. Drums sound punchier when properly clipped (unlike my audio example which audibly distorts), so I can see getting 1-2 extra peak dB easily just by gaining after the limiter/clipper on the master, but I guess it comes down to the clipping sound of the DAW and the D/A handling content above 0?

that's interesting, when I load the Untitled.wav file into Ableton it shows a peak of 0.0dbfs on my master channel with no limiter on the masterbus. waves true peak meter is showing +2.7dbtp -- I'm still interested how you can get a track above 0dbfs, if MC has some insight into the limiter idea I'd be very interested.

cheers, pops

Re: Clipping in your DAW

Quantizer wrote:

but I guess it comes down to the clipping sound of the DAW and the D/A handling content above 0?

my understanding was that audio above 0dbfs was hard clipped, and the d/a then has to recreate the signal smoothly. so I guess hard clipped drums could be punchier on a certain system, maybe they sound different on a different system? I guess it could be a problem when playing back on cheaper systems with less true peak headroom in the conversion?

this article has an interesting insight into how the oversamples sound different on different systems for a steely dan track
https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/applic … recordings

"On this track, an overloaded interpolator tends to add a false brightness to the snare drum while changing its sound."

cheers, pops

10 (edited by Quantizer 2022-08-01 06:13:59)

Re: Clipping in your DAW

Yes... so I wonder if "clipping the master" hard is a silly fad, or is there possibly something interesting here that will remain in the future in some form?

The article you point out that it gives you extra brightness from 5-22k, and that's true for all clipping in my experience — in EDM this extra presence can be desirable. It's interesting to see Example 4 (BEGIN TO HOPE, FIDELITY, REGINA SPEKTOR) go up to +1.49 dB because of the percussion.

I guess my question to MC is: How do good vs bad DACs handle ISP differently? Enough that consumers on their phones (or using bad DAC) may notice a difference?

Why do people like the sound of it more than just putting a clipper on the master? Just because it's louder? Or is there something else there in addition to loudness.

Re: Clipping in your DAW

Clipping ITB above 0dbfs will always sound terrible. Anyone who claims it sounds good has a serious hearing problem!
I don't know anyone who goes over 0dbfs ITB, even in the EDM world.
Nobody clips above 0dbfs!
The resulting intersample peaks can be caused by many other reasons, but not from clipping above 0dbfs on purpose.

I recommend Luca Pretolesi's channel on Youtube, you get a lot of good information there including inkl. clipping.

UFXII, KH310a, Rokit5, Distressor, KT76, BAE1073, Xpressor, Karacter, Drawmer DL241, SPL Charisma

12 (edited by Quantizer 2022-08-02 00:23:23)

Re: Clipping in your DAW

I'm subbed to Luca's mymixlab and respect him, but it's 100% incorrect that people don't go over 0dBFS. I realize it's not traditional wisdom, I'm talking about something new.

Just go on Spotify (turn off loudness matching) and checkout some loud EDM genres. Here's a quick example, the drop on this: https://open.spotify.com/track/1jtyxVkYi3WDDswiOXulx3

Again, not asking if it's right or wrong (it's neither), or if people do it or not (they do), just the consequences of it so people can make the decision for themselves.