clip AD converters when mastering

angel72bg

Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Location
Bulgaria
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
Angel
Best Regards
 
Last edited:

TheJackAttack

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

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bouldersound

Real guitars are for old people.
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Boulder, Colorado
Do NOT clip the converters. Never clip digital. You will ruin your product. In analog days this was sometimes desirable but not digital.

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?
 

TheJackAttack

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currently Billings
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.

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bouldersound

Real guitars are for old people.
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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.
 

audiokid

Chris
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Nanaimo BC, Canada
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 [="http://www.lavryengineering.com/wiki/index.php/Soft_Saturation"]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.

[="http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun12/articles/lavry-ad11.htm"]Lavry Engineering AD11[/]

For those who like to the excitement of recording without a sensible headroom margin, the AD11 incorporates a soft saturation facility, which can be switched on for each channel individually. This feature is claimed to emulate analog tape saturation, and basically introduces a progressive non-linearity in the transfer curve, to 'squash' the top 3dB of the converter's dynamic range, 'crushing' transients rather than clipping them. Signals below -3dBFS are completely unaffected, but their overall level is raised by 3dB, so the average level ends up being 3dB louder when the soft-saturation mode is engaged.

In Use

As a line-level converter, the AD11 performs extremely well, with a huge dynamic range (the practical equivalent of about 20.5 bits) and an extremely neutral and transparent sound stage. The soft saturation mode is also transparent for signals below -4dBFS, but traps occasional full-level transient peaks very smoothly, and while the process is, obviously, noticeable, it is also quite benign and could be described as 'tape-like'. Personally, I like to maintain a sensible headroom margin when recording and try to avoid transient clipping or crushing, but for those who feel strangely attracted to meters hitting the end stops, the saturation system provided here works well.

Does this help?

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

angel72bg

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Oct 19, 2013
Location
Bulgaria
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.
 

Boswell

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Apr 19, 2006
Location
UK
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.
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?
 

audiokid

Chris
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Location
Nanaimo BC, Canada
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?

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
 

Mo Facta

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

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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 :)
 

Boswell

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UK
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.
 

audiokid

Chris
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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?
 

Boswell

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Location
UK
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).
 

Kurt Foster

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77 Sunset Lane.
Do NOT clip the converters. Never clip digital.

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

LOL!
 

Mo Facta

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Location
JHB, RSA
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.

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.

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.

Exactly.

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.

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 :)
 
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