What is clipping?

Snip snip clipping away at your audio ✂️

Clipping is a form of audio distortion that happens when you push an amplifier or recording device beyond its limits, and it goes into overdrive. In digital systems, this limit is 0dB Full Scale (dBFS).

Clipping can happen if the input level of your interface or pre-amp is set too high whilst you’re recording. This could also occur during mixing, if the output of your DAW or recording device exceeds 0dBFS. This pushes the sine wave beyond its maximum limit, chopping off the wave’s peak, so it’ll turn it into a square wave.

Below you can see where the wave’s peaks have been chopped off:

There are two different types of clipping; hard and soft.

Hard clipping happens in digital systems. The parts of the signal that exceed the limit are chopped clean off. This results in a very harsh type of distortion and a loss of low frequencies.

Soft clipping happens in analogue equipment. It’s very similar, although rather than the tops of the wave forms being chopped clean off, they are reduced in a smoother way.

To avoid clipping entirely, make sure none of your meters go into the red!

Listen to some examples of soft and hard clipping in our YouTube video below!

In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns!

See also:
Does my audio meet RouteNote’s quality standards?
Can I accidentally upload duplicated audio on a release?
Can I edit or replace the audio on my release after it has been approved?

Was This Article Helpful?