How to know if you’re clipping

April 29, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

10 comments on “How to know if you’re clipping”

  1. Bring back VU meters!! I know you guys that listen to The Carpenters say there’s no use for them, but for those of us that like to rock they come in handy. And look cool!

    1. I know there’s some humour here, but actually VU meters are not what we need. VU meters display average signal level. Normally, the averaging is done using the mechanical inertia of the meter. If we want to avoid clipping, we should use a peak-reading meter.

  2. Generally when the volume control passes 12 noon depending on how loud the recording was recorded, the amount of gain from your source components and preamp and the amplifiers input sensitivity you will have to be careful. Lower gain from the recording source components and preamplifier means you can go perhaps to the 3 o’clock position. Anything after that you are risking clipping. So start worrying after the 12 noon position if the preamp source gain is high.

  3. I think it’s relatively easy to drive an amplifier (up to, say, 100 W per channel) into clipping without realising it. Particularly when the rest of the family is out.

    Suppose we listen to music at average 90 dBA with a crest factor of 20 dB. The peaks are at 110 dBA. For speakers with sensitivity 87 dBA/m, we need about 200 W peaks.

    Clipping on a few peaks does not sound horrendous, but of course it’s not ideal.

Leave a Reply

Stop by for a tour:
Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm MST

4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301
1-800-PSAUDIO

Join the hi-fi family

Stop by for a tour:
4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram