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Red Lights (clipping ) in Protools
Old 9th May 2003
  #1
no ssl yet πŸŽ™οΈ
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Red Lights (clipping ) in Protools

After reading e-cue's response to another thread about not fearing seeing red peaks in protools channels I started to think about this. Some of my best sounding mixes had the drums and bass channels in the red. I have recently been avoiding the "red" ceasing all activity that time of the month (ok silly joke).

Anyway, since I have remixed those songs staying out of the red because of things I read about the crumbling headroom in ptools, The mixes dont sound as good.

what do you guys do in practice?

Also McDSP literature says it clips like analog processors (Does this mean it's ok to clip plugs if it sounds good?) I always wondered about this statement because it's pretty hard to have clipping in ptools without red lights. does McDSP mean clipping at the plug in stage or in the channel fader, or both?

Comments please?
Old 9th May 2003
  #2
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littledog's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
No one is saying that digital clipping sounds good (although stealth might...!) I think the issue is that the red lights come on a certain level BEFORE clipping, and also that clipping of super fast transients might not be particulalry audible. That's why if the mix sounds slamming and you are getting occasional red lights most people would agree you shouldn't worry about it too much. If the meters are pinned in the red, though, that's another story. As always - trust your ears!
Old 9th May 2003
  #3
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Re: Red Lights (clipping ) in Protools

Quote:
Originally posted by no ssl yet

Anyway, since I have remixed those songs staying out of the red because of things I read about the crumbling headroom in ptools, The mixes dont sound as good.

what do you guys do in practice?


Comments please?
This probably due to a level change more than anything(and psychological).

What's important is what's(or how you are) hitting the summing buss.

I personally give myself enough headroom when tracking. Also i don't trust the meters in PT(Spectrafoo is much better).
Old 9th May 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
PTs meters are on the conservative side. Let your ears judge if you've got digital clipping going on...you'll know it. As Thrillfactor suggested, using another meter would be a good idea (PAZ, spectrafoo etc.).

HTH.
Old 9th May 2003
  #5
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imacgreg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I dont worry about the red meters when tracking. I've gotten a few and even can see a little flattening in the waveform, but I don't hear any clipping going on. Maybe i have untrained ears, but if it sounds good, it is good, right?

Ian
Old 9th May 2003
  #6
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e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The 1st time I hit red in protools, I was like "That should sound like fingers on a chaulkboard, why doesn't it?". I mean, I was used to working off digital where when you clipped, that was it: game over... After asking a pro tools rep what was up with this, he explained that the "optimized mixer" is the reason it doesn't clip. Now, this is the part that sounded fishey to me, so if anyone (Bombguy, etc) can either confirm or claify this as audio voodoo or not, by all means... He said that the optimized mixer (keep in mind, this was 16 bit pro tools back then) is basically doing math to keep the clipping less audible. The way he worded it, he made it sound as if in order to get a true full 16 bit resolution, you'd HAVE to hit red. True or False?

I've been misinformed about this time of thing in the past so I kinda just schrugged it off and decided to us my ears. I have assistants that freak out all the time when I hit reds... It doesn't bother me in the least unless it sounds bad.

My recomendation, a tip I got when I first started engineering, hide your meters. I literally put cardboard over my meterbridge during tracking for a month. It will force you to use your ears. I still do this from time to time (turn the SSL 9K's meters off for a while during a mix). It might be a little more difficult in protools to hide your metering, but doing a mix without metering then looking at the meters at the end can be a very eye opening experence. I can't tell you how many times I was pegging my mix bus, brought the level down, and it didn't sound as good (in and out of Pro tools).

[sidenote: as bad as the old Mitisubisi Digital Tape Machines sounded, I used to love clipping the inputs with electric guitar, esspecially the older X850... come to think of it, I still got about 10 boxes of 1 inch layin' around here somewhere]
Old 9th May 2003
  #7
Jax
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jan Folkson
PTs meters are on the conservative side. Let your ears judge if you've got digital clipping going on...you'll know it. As Thrillfactor suggested, using another meter would be a good idea (PAZ, spectrafoo etc.).

HTH.
They can be adjusted in PT to freak out easily or barely notice when a snare is thrown at the digital wall.
Old 9th May 2003
  #8
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heinz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
After asking a pro tools rep what was up with this, he explained that the "optimized mixer" is the reason it doesn't clip. Now, this is the part that sounded fishey to me
Just sounds to me like the code would limit the signal.

Quote:

The way he worded it, he made it sound as if in order to get a true full 16 bit resolution, you'd HAVE to hit red. True or False?
That sounds misguided. It's possible he was talking about using the full range of the signal... so in the case of a weaker signal, if gain is brought up to compensate you would have less net headroom?
Old 13th May 2003
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
PPl Try This ...It works in Ptools and may help.

Playback at Half speed ( Space bar + shift Key)

If it sounds like there is noticeable graininess in yr signal then you are prolly over-overdriving the track. If not then you are prolly oK ( When i say graininess I mean aside from the half resolution that half speed will give.)

Note. This is excellent method on printed tracks , Slightly less useful on plug in instantiations but useful none the less.

HTH
Old 14th May 2003
  #10
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I find the clip lights a little 'conservative" its a drag that they go red BEFORE real clipping....

But they are a warning I suppose...

I dont think 'pushing' levels in PT is a good idea overall...

grudge
Old 14th May 2003
  #11
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e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by heinz
Just sounds to me like the code would limit the signal.
So,
Optimized mixer = soft limit

correct?
Old 14th May 2003
  #12
jho
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jho's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I picked up on the DUCs I think that at least in HD, it' ok for the individual tracks to red, but don't let the master fader ride the red...Anyway seems to work for me.
Old 14th May 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 
stealthbalance's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
littledog-
so nice of you to be thinking of me - thanks !
and actually you are correct , i do like digital clipping in about one or two
situations. one of those situations are with mcdsp plugins. they actually
have a type of saturation that i quite like - and i actually try to mess with
overdriving the mcdsp stuff. however , digital mixer clipping and the like
sounds aweful. littledog, its so cool for you to not only contribute your
opinions here as an engineer , but to also offer your brilliant clairvoyance.
Old 14th May 2003
  #14
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littledog's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
thanks s.b.

hoping you might turn out to be one of my old comrades, but who can tell in this crypto-universe? glad to lend you some of my clairvoyance anytime. it'll make your hair look healthy and shiny!
Old 19th June 2003
  #15
no ssl yet πŸŽ™οΈ
Guest
Fellas I think we need to bring in a source from Digi or a 3rd party plug designer (maybe Colin because I'd like to discuss Analogue channel with him) ON this issue


It's phukked up that we are still not clear on this.

I simply know that I have remixed songs with more conservative levels out of the "red" and even if I compare mixes with the levels matched the one in the red bangs harder and has no apparent loss of quality
Old 19th June 2003
  #16
Gear Addict
 
Robotnik's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
I find the clip lights a little 'conservative" its a drag that they go red BEFORE real clipping....
You can adjust how the PT meters respond in your hardware setup. There are 4 settings. I use Brutish. British?
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