1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

clip AD converters when mastering

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by angel72bg, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. angel72bg

    angel72bg Active Member

    Hi,my name is Angel.
    I have small studio for mixing and mastering.
    I was read so many of the post here and in gearslutz also from "audiokid"
    I like all post,You share so many good things from your big experience.
    And now I want to ask some question to help me in my work.
    First is,I want to clip my AD converters like the big mastering boys.You have Lavry AD11,is it posisble to clip them on capture my analog summing than analog EQ and compresion than last AD.My point is to get 3 db louder to help my plugin limiter not to work so hard.
    My chain is that:
    Pro tools 10-Antelope Orion32-SPL Mixdream XP_summing)-SSL G bus comp MYNX-Thermionic culture Phoenix Master comp-Dangerous BAX Eq-Charter Oak PEQ 1-and AD Antelope Orion 32 and Pro tools again .
    I know that you use second DAW to capture the finale mix and master.
    I do not have Lavry AD11,but i read that this AD have soft cliper on the inputs or Saturation function.
    Please give me some advise.You know for the loudnes war.I hate that war also,but all my clients want louder master.I try to explain them ,but no оne listen to me,they do not care,they like louder music.
    Thank you
    Best Regards
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Do NOT clip the converters. Never clip digital. You will ruin your product. In analog days this was sometimes desirable but not digital.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I've been looking very closely at reference tracks I've been given and it seems that there is significant analog and digital clipping going on in these commercial releases. There are clear flat tops, some that are dead flat all the way across (digital clipping) and others with various rippled and slanted shapes (analog clipping). It seems to be standard operating procedure. It doesn't sound especially good to me but it also doesn't sound obviously bad.

    By the way, are there any A/D converters that don't clip the analog stages before they run out of ones and zeros?
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Limiting to 0dB is not the same as clipping. I don't think brick wall limiting sounds good either. Digital clipping produces a god awful sound especially on consumer equipment.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The edges of the flat tops are sharp corners and the tops are dead flat. It's definitely digital clipping, and it didn't sound catastrophically bad.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The last 4 remixes I did all had (arrived with) digital clip and it sounded HORRIBLE!
    I don't think it is intended, I think its the byproduct of the loudness war and really bad third generation mastering. I'm hoping this isn't becoming another trend. I'd much rather use bit distortion as an effect over clip any day. In fact, that can sound pretty cool.

    Angel, nice to see you here. Is your English meaning "clip" as in audible digital distortion or are you wanting to make a song the loudest possible but still sound good?
    You don't need to clip the AD to get loud, not to my knowledge. Not with your set-up!
    Also, brickwall limiting is going to be a very bad effect in the near future if Bob Katz and itunes gets it sorted out. See http://recording.org/mastering-engineers-forum/55058-loudness-war-has-been-won-press.html

    I'm assuming you want to sound good but LOUD?
    Lavry's AD11 has a Soft Saturation Mode and I believe there are a few others like Prism Orpheus that will limit the AD but I do not use this. There is no need to push an analog signal into your converter to gain volume. I use the FabFilter Pro L or similar digital limiter on the Capture DAW to do this. You can easily get 5/10/15db gain with this. But, its starts to brick wall and sound horrible too. DEAD.

    Set the capture DAW to record 44.1/16bit, record at -18. Master your track and then use the Pro L Stereo to drive that baby home. That's what I do.

    Lavry Engineering AD11

    Does this help?

    Do you have an example of a track we could hear? We would all be happy to help you further.
  7. angel72bg

    angel72bg Active Member

    Set the capture DAW to record 44.1/16bit, record at -18. Master your track and then use the Pro L Stereo to drive that baby home. That's what I do.

    Thank you for the advise people.
    By the way "audiokid" mean record at -18db RMS,right?
    But in my case Antelope Orion32 with max input and output of 20 dbu-I can record -16 RMS-right?
    Also,at that point i can not post free examlpes of my work(you know copy right)
    Also,can you share your opinion for your analog comp like Crane song STC8 and the rest one.
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Chris, I can't believe you capture your hybrid mix at 16-bit. Do you not capture at 24-bit for mastering and then truncate+dither the mastered 2-track down to 16-bit?
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    or 24bit but I don't want to dither. Let me re phrase that, do what sounds best to you. If I was sending it off to be mastered, or asked for a specific value, I would capture it as requested.

    I have been 44.1 / 24 and 88.2/ 24 for years and recently just switched to 16bit. I cannot tell the difference enough to even worry about it. Not online, thats for sure. When I'm going straight through like most of us are now, 16bit sound just fine. No dithering and the online version sounds close enough to what I upload.

    But, should I be? Maybe my ears are shot lol. I don't worry as much about a lot of things lately.

    Pro Tools 10 Hard Drive Requirements
  10. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    Technically you would be clipping the analog stage of the converter. How that sounds depends on the converter. Digital clipping is difficult to do when there is an analog stage involved. The max input level, say +24dBu would correspond to 0dBfs in the digital domain. If the analog front end of a converter distorts badly, THAT will be the source of the clipping distortion, not DIGITAL, per say. Depending on the converter, it may be a combination of both.

    In any case, the guy is well informed that mastering engineers have been clipping masters for a while now. They just happen to use high quality converters that don't impart a lot of distortion at clip point. Use an analog processor with greater headroom than your converters, and you'll get a clean signal all the way til clip point resulting in lopped off peaks. It's no secret.

    Try it. I challenge anyone here to clip a waveform 100% digitally. The only way you can do it effectively is if you push the gain digitally in a fixed point environment and then bounce the track down.

    Cheers :)
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    You have to distinguish between saturation and clipping. Analogue stages (including the input sections of an A-D converter) saturate if overloaded. This is not a sudden process as the input amplitude is increased, but has a curve that over a small range flattens off to horizontal if the overload is too great.

    By contrast, the clipping of an A-D converter is sudden and precise action where the converter runs out of digital values to represent the input. Good quality A-D converters have analog drive circuits that do not go into the saturation region until well over the clipping level.

    Many mix engineers do indeed deliberately go into digital clipping on some tracks. It's a way of increasing the average level of the track at the expense of some distortion on peaks without having to suffer the artifacts of brickwall limiters.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Nicely explained guys but it seems like an odd way of increasing level. Out of sheer interest, I'd participate or love to hear two example in a loudness war to see if a song actually benefits from this.

    Mo or Bos, would you do this for us or can I get some coaching and I'll try it?
  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Yes, it sounds odd to describe it on its own, but it's used as another weapon in the battle.

    Sorry to say I stay back from the loudness wars in my mixing. However, I do make sure I keep in touch so I know where my no-go territory starts (and it's not at 0dB).
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Screenshot from 2013-10-23 10:44:20.jpg

  15. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    This has been part of my argument in analog vs digital clipping as well. Saturation and eventually clipping is gradual but there is indeed an overload (voltage) limit at which time the waveform gets lopped off. Between the onset of saturation and overload there is also harmonic distortion introduced, which results in a jagged sort of squarewave.


    I would say this is more of a mastering practice. Clipping a high end converter will lop off the peak cleanly. The momentary square waves are often too short to hear so it gives the impression of a truly infinite brickwall limter.

    Cheers :)

Share This Page