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Clipping soundcard inputs on purpose
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author Clipping soundcard inputs on purpose
Johnisfaster
I dig the distortion I can get on my scarlett 18:20 but I’m concerned that clipping them too much might damage them. Is there any legitimacy to that concern?
Sir Ruff
Johnisfaster wrote:
I dig the distortion I can get on my scarlett 18:20 but I’m concerned that clipping them too much might damage them. Is there any legitimacy to that concern?


I know (or at least have heard) that overdriving constantly on analog mixers will shorten their input circuit lifespan... would be curious to know if the same thing happens to ADCs...
Johnisfaster
Sir Ruff wrote:
Johnisfaster wrote:
I dig the distortion I can get on my scarlett 18:20 but I’m concerned that clipping them too much might damage them. Is there any legitimacy to that concern?


I know (or at least have heard) that overdriving constantly on analog mixers will shorten their input circuit lifespan... would be curious to know if the same thing happens to ADCs...


Ive heard that too. I suspect modern gear can handle it but I’m not so confident in that that I’m willing to risk it.
ExtrasensoryPerception
I would think you’re safe. I searched for the same topic years ago on geaslutz and what I gathered is that unless we are talking incredibly highly multiplied levels to purposely destroy them, you’ll be fine. If it sounds good to you, then go ahead and clip away!
sutekina bipu-on
Doubt it, been doing the same with my emu 0404 since uhhh 2005? Also my cheapo little behringer umc22 has held up to a lot of overdriving and still sounds / works great.
calaveras
I only think overdriving mixers shortens the lifespan if you are talking about;
a much older mixer
a cheap craptronic mixer
a mixer with insane amounts of headroom, so to overdrive it you have to hit it with 40volts of signal.

That said, it's kind of painting yourself in a corner when you do things like this. I am not familiar with the model your are talking about, but most soundcards/interfaces are going to be printing full 0dbfs level to your DAW, with no headroom left for mixing or eq. You will have to turn down a ton in the computer just to be listenable. But also, most plugins are not designed to operate this close to 0dbfs. Expecting to be fed a steady diet of -14dbfs give or take a few db.

I kind of know what you mean about the sound of a clipped analog stage followed by digital clipping. It can sound pretty extreme. But I find it easier to clip a multieffects box, or small mixer, then bring that in to the DAW at nominal -14dbfs.

There are also some pretty good clipper plugins out there that can mimic this type of asymetric distortion.
lasesentaysiete
Clipping the ADC is (was?) a common technique used in mastering.
calaveras
The ADCs they use in mastering to do this are much different.
Certain converters are designed to have soft clipping.
SpongeFromTheNorth
Yea, clipping a HEDD192 and a scarlett 18:20 can't be the same thing, right?
lasesentaysiete
calaveras wrote:
The ADCs they use in mastering to do this are much different.
Certain converters are designed to have soft clipping.


Sometimes they are designed for it, and sometimes not. Also, sometimes the ones that were intended to have a "pleasing" digital clipping sound (e.g. some Apogee) do not sound as good as ADCs not intended to be used this way.

My point was that if it sounds good to the user, great!
lasesentaysiete
SpongeFromTheNorth wrote:
Yea, clipping a HEDD192 and a scarlett 18:20 can't be the same thing, right?


They do not sound the same, so I imagine that clipping them would not give the same results, either.

Again, I was referring the the general concept of clipping a converter for a desired sound. I can see it being possible that clipping a lesser converter could have a pleasing sound. It is up to the user (subjectivity).
calaveras
The HEDD is such a converter designed to be clipped.
I am not familiar with the 1820. But similar converters I’ve used tend to be clipping/saturating the analog input stage right before the digital ceiling is hit. So it’s a cumulative thing but maybe not as euphonic as the HEDD though.
Kent
calaveras wrote:
with no headroom left for mixing or eq. You will have to turn down a ton in the computer just to be listenable. But also, most plugins are not designed to operate this close to 0dbfs.


I don’t know where this lore came from. Outside of ProTools, all current DAWs are floating point and have infinite headroom and flexible gain-staging with no destructive loss.
acidbob
Kent wrote:
calaveras wrote:
with no headroom left for mixing or eq. You will have to turn down a ton in the computer just to be listenable. But also, most plugins are not designed to operate this close to 0dbfs.


I don’t know where this lore came from. Outside of ProTools, all current DAWs are floating point and have infinite headroom and flexible gain-staging with no destructive loss.


Not all VST's have that. Some will distort like a day eating bad chicken curry.
sutekina bipu-on
The Zoom UAC-8 has tons of headroom and is NOT a good interface to overdrive!!!!

but it sounds nice otherwise.
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