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Clipping

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Definition Edit

Clipping is a form of audio distortion that occurs when a signal is too high for the equipment it is being fed into, such as loudspeakers.

Overview Edit

Clipping ranges from severe and potentially damaging speaker driver-side clipping, to psychoacoustically pleasing and harmonious soft clipping; a desired characteristic of valve/tube amplifiers.

Generally, digital clipping (hardclipping) sounds harsh, while analog clipping (which also involves waveshaping distortion and even-order harmonic distortion) is "warmer" and less damaging. In general, clipping needs to be avoided in the signal processing chain until its endpoint; clipping on top of clipping leads to intermodulation distortion, which in most cases (outside of intentionally abrasive sounds) is undesirable.

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