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viitalahde

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Jun 5 13 3:21 AM

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I used to clip the converters but I don't do that much anymore. Maybe if there's an insane amount of loudness wanted.

The common wisdom was that you shouldn't slam a digital limiter too hard or everything sounds squashed, but I'm finding this is less true today. A modern limiter such as the Pro-L sounds crazy clean with a lot of limiting. I have no idea how the limiters today are done, but I'm glad they work.

I've ran versions where I used both clipping and digital limiting, and then a clean version with more digital limiting for equal loudness, and the digitally limited version sounds just cleaner and the transients are way better pronounced.

This is a good situation, and also much more future-proof, since the 24bit backups I keep with zero limiting don't have A/D clipping on them. Just good sounding audio.

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bendermasteringstudio

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Posts: 220 Member Since:21/02/2011

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Jun 5 13 4:58 AM

That's one of the reasons I really like ADClip from Airwindows. It clips in a very gentle way, can easily get a one to two dBs of level without making you hit your limiter hard, and you've still captured a clean signal without clipping it in the AD.

Also, if distortion is needed, Inflator or the Enhance section of the Sonnox Limiter may be helpful too. I much prefer using this plugins and ADClip instead of clipping the AD or using more than one or two dB of limiting.

It may be a genre thing, I think most of the music I work with handles distortion better than limiting, but normally a little bit of everything makes the trick,

All this if loudness is an issue, of course.

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morespaceecho

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Posts: 2,300 Member Since:29/01/2011

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Jun 5 13 9:24 AM

haven't clipped my converters in ages either. i've come to prefer a little bit of oversampled clipping ITB before the limiter. just seems more transparent. awhile back i sent an eagle-eared client two versions of a master, one clipped at the a/d (lavry blue) and one clipped ITB, he greatly preferred the ITB, and i agreed.

lots of benefits to this....future proof, as noted. you have an unclipped source for the vinyl version. if you need to do any post-capture eq or whatever, you have a clean file to work with. i like it.

have to give props to the good folks here, DC and others were talking about capturing low, Ruairi explained his process in detail, and that got me thinking about changing my methods. thanks guys!

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

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viitalahde

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Posts: 597 Member Since:04/02/2011

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Jun 6 13 5:20 AM

Yes, I was also inspired by DC and the other good people around to run levels lower and not clip the A/D. About a half a year ago I also installed stepped attenuators at the end of my chain, which have been invaluable.

I've even tried digital clipping. Tried GClip on a few occasions before the Pro-L limiter, taking the load off the Pro-L, but I always preferred it off. Clipping after limiting makes no sense to me, the distortion just gets out of hand.

Keeping things as clean as possible before any level is added seems to be the way to go. I have had my share of distortion. It's still a viable method for some material, but certainly not all the time.

Jaakko Viitalähde Virtalähde Mastering [url]www.virtalahde.com[/url] [url]www.facebook.com/VirtalahdeMastering[/url]

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sbm

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Posts: 121 Member Since:22/02/2011

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Jun 6 13 4:36 PM


have to give props to the good folks here, DC and others were talking about capturing low, Ruairi explained his process in detail, and that got me thinking about changing my methods. thanks guys!

-morespaceecho

Do you remember the thread, by chance?  I think I missed that one.

Cass Anawaty, Mastering Engineer www.sunbreakmusic.com

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cgc

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Posts: 944 Member Since:06/02/2011

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Jun 6 13 5:10 PM

what is oversampled clipping in the box? is that turning up the gain so peaks pass 0dbfs? cheers!

-dcondax

Oversampling moves the aliasing distortion further away from the audible spectrum before folding back down.  The process is:

upsample -> clip -> filter -> downsample

The more non-linear and/or distorted the process the higher the oversampling rate that is needed in my experience.  4x oversampling at 44.1 is too low for hard clipping - 16x is where the aliasing can be reduced to very low levels.  All dynamics and overdrive/saturation plugins need to do this, but a paltry few actually do.  I'm down to one compressor and one peak limiter both made by the same company.

I don't know why hard clipping would need to be used though.  There are plenty of other ways to raise RMS vs peak level without the distortion.

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morespaceecho

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Jun 6 13 5:11 PM


Cass, here's Ruairi's post:



My take was somewhat inspired by an afternoon with DC many years back.  I have found that I much prefer to capture at -6ish and if serious level is needed I clip in the box using the Sony inflator in a rather odd way and then come out of the clipping stage peaking at -4ish and then limit with L2.  I'm not using the Inflator processing, just the gain stages and rather clever metering which basically allows you to meter how far over zero you are going using the input gain.

I like the combo of clip first and then limit, the clipping adds that hard edge and the limiting tends to round things off so there's a bit of yin yang going on. The way I work allows me to tweak the load between clip and limit on a track by track basis right up until I commit at the end of the day.


My hobby studies in DIY electronics over the years leads me to thinking that there's nothing to be gained by straining an analogue stage before the conversion if clipping is desired.  You can also be asking a lot of the output stage of the last gear in the chain.


As ever great mixes go loud with ease and bad mixes fall apart when stepped on...

from this thread:


http://prorecordingworkshop.lefora.com/2011/02/05/digital-clipping-for-loudness-itb-tools/


ignore my post on the first page. i changed my mind! there's another thread on here too, but i can't find it right now.



www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

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ruairi

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Posts: 2,622 Member Since:10/02/2011

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Jun 6 13 9:20 PM

the net's been around long enough that lots of us contradict ourselves, haha.

-sbm

Extra points if you manage to do it in one post!

To be clear - the above description is not my default, it's only done when things need to be really loud.  It's probably been 20 masters since I've had to clip although I'm just sitting down to one that may need it.




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zmix

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Posts: 4,060 Member Since:20/01/2011

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Jun 6 13 9:43 PM

I'm glad that Ruari brought up the fact that "Clipping the Converters" is usually clipping the input circuit rather than the "converter", but in either case the harmonics generated will produce aliasing, and ultimately contribute to that "digital" sound.

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dcollins

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Jun 6 13 10:23 PM

I'm glad that Ruari brought up the fact that "Clipping the Converters" is usually clipping the input circuit rather than the "converter", but in either case the harmonics generated will produce aliasing, and ultimately contribute to that "digital" sound.

-zmix

If the clipping is before the Nyquist filter, the illegal harmonics will obviously be filtered out.

Although aliasing is the next thing to eliminate, as it's a huge problem and lots of plugs make it.

I can't think of the guys name, but this:

http://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-feedback-compressor/

looked interesting.  He posted on that "other" board and clearly knew his stuff wrt DSP.  He didn't exactly say what technic he used, but he had zip aliasing without massive oversampling.


DC

 davecollinsmastering.com


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zmix

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Posts: 4,060 Member Since:20/01/2011

#16 [url]

Jun 7 13 12:13 AM

Certainly, eliminating aliasing is the next frontier... It's funny that in the DSP world "8x" is remarkable oversampling, but in A/D converters it's laughable.  

I've been doing some interesting experiments with aliasing in digital photography.  The inherent limitations in the technology and consumer demand for solutions to nonexistent (but widely and alarmingly reported on the interwebs) problems parallels the audio world.  For now the solutions are the same: "Don't whack that beehive with a stick if you don't want to get stung".

When I read about ME's using the Oxford Inflator or the L2, L3, etc  I cringe as they all produce horrendous aliasing..



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cgc

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Jun 7 13 12:48 AM

ADC oversampling isn't at full bit depth so it's not really equivalent.  It is understandable that early DSP like the 56k would not have much oversampled code due to the limitations of the processor, but it's kind of embarrassing to not have it done for the sake of CPU efficiency on 20+Ghz x86 monsters.

I've been seeing good results at 16x oversampling (768k) with at least 8th order filtering for both signal generation and processing.  My ultra-sophisticated saturation device (i.e. tanh()) sounds totally 'analog', man.  Thankfully, I don't make plugins.

I agree about the plugs you mention, but he list is much more comprehensive, unfortunately, and those damned analog modeling plugs are the prime offenders.  The irony of seeking 'analog warmth' and getting the worst possible digital distortion in return is not lost here.  It might be 5-10 years before properly written dynamics processing becomes the norm.

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viitalahde

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Posts: 597 Member Since:04/02/2011

#18 [url]

Jun 7 13 12:55 AM

Hello Jaakko,
Have you ever tried using Pro-L as clipper? I use Pro-L as my main limiter and have used it many times as a clipper with good success.

-mmarra

I think I pretty much always use some amount of lookahead, which to my understanding takes it away from true clipping aread. But I've been close.

Oversampling: I find it's really strange how oversampling modes can sound so different. I can't use any oversampling on the Voxengo Elephant anymore, it just does something very odd to my ears. The Pro-L oversampling modes sound better - they still do something but they also make the process so much better sounding I often use them.

Jaakko Viitalähde Virtalähde Mastering [url]www.virtalahde.com[/url] [url]www.facebook.com/VirtalahdeMastering[/url]

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ShawnJHatfield

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Posts: 187 Member Since:19/05/2011

#19 [url]

Jun 7 13 1:11 AM

Late to the party but I'm in the camp that never clips the A/D stage and prefers to have captures with good clean peak information. So many great options once you're back in the DAW and having a version with peaks intact gives you some options down the road. Glad to read others are of similar mind.

Jaakko, could you describe what you hear in Voxengo a little more? That's been my goto lately.

Shawn Hatfield www.audibleoddities.com

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dcollins

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Jun 7 13 1:13 AM

  My ultra-sophisticated saturation device (i.e. tanh()) sounds totally 'analog', man.  

-cgc

He said without hyperbole.


DC

 davecollinsmastering.com


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