(Soft) Clippers vs Compressors?

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by depijp_HSK, Dec 24, 2020.

  1. depijp_HSK

    depijp_HSK Ultrasonic

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    Hi guys,

    I recently found out I prefer the sound of clipping (mostly drum) sounds in SIR Audio Tools standardCLIP & Cytomic the Glue compressor with only its ‘peak clip’ functionality activated over traditional compression. Now my question is:

    do I still need to compress?

    if not pls explain
    if yes pls explain how and when to use it in addition to this clipping sound I like.

    also would you guys say that the clipping sound is really night & day between diff plugs or is it something more subtle in general? Because I recently came across this Submission Audio Flatline plugin which supposedly is the sound of pushing/clipping e.g (ultra-)expensive Lavry Gold converters from what I believe I read which is supposedly ‘crème de la crème’.. Would it be wise to invest in this plugin and/or other different ‘flavours’ of clipping or is it not really worth it for the ‘ROI’ soundwise?

    Thanks experts :mates:
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
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  3. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    No. No one needs to compress anything. Compression should primarily be used to shape a sound.
    While a clipper works on principle like a limiter means 0 attack time, a compresor with an attack time produces a completely different sound. Addidtionally there are several different compressors (opto, VCA, FET ,...) which again all produce different sounds, even the different emulations of one kind do.
    So, if you need to use an additional compressor depends on the source and your goal.
    Also, some sources don't sound well with a clipper at all.

    Oh, and yes, like compressors, clipper do sound differently, depending on the knee and added harmonics.
    But I can't say anything about Submission Audio Flatline.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
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  4. Matheus Oliveira

    Matheus Oliveira Newbie

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    Hmm... There's no fixed "DOs and DON`Ts" in audio processing. I'd recommend to try and understand what the processors are doing, instead of looking for little recipes of 'when to use' them. That being said, you can experiment with parallel compression, which, a lot of the times, is not supposed to "sound" much like anything, and can just be a technique for "beefing-up" the sound (read: adding RMS energy without increasing peak level).
    But, yeah... I'd say to try and understand exactly where these processes are helping you out. Dynamic control (especially clipping) serves mostly as a ˜big picture˜ kinda thing, in my mixing workflow. It can and will be used in sound design, of course, but I find it very important to understand how to use it subtly and understand the good consequences of this practice.

    Give this lil' video (and his whole channel) a go:
     
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  5. Hazen

    Hazen Kapellmeister

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    A compressor acts dynamically, hence it can respond to the characteristics of the signal. A clipper is static, it will have a more immediate effect, but it cannot really interact with the material you will feed into it. Usually clippers are used to get a few extra dbs at the end of a signal chain, once the overall mixing is done. It's not a substitute to mix bus compression, but rather an addition, eg to flatten percussive transient outliers taking up too much headroom. Sure, there are no absolute rules in audio engineering, but that's the general best practice of using them.
     
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  6. Retrolize77

    Retrolize77 Audiosexual

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    Actually interested in clippers too, here‘s an interesting article also about what clipping can do and some plugin recommendations.
    Think standartclip & k-clip are very good 1‘s.
    https://resoundsound.com/clipping-limiting/
     
  7. Kwissbeats

    Kwissbeats Audiosexual

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    well yeah. that's 1 use case.

    I use standard clip and k-clip (that Retrolize77 mentioned) in that order on most of the 808 stuff I come across.
    not for nipping the tip, but rather for the distortion above the main freq.

    This was demonstrated not so long ago by Luca Pretolesi, in his Mixing Hip Hop Kick & 808s video tutorial.
     
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  8. Hazen

    Hazen Kapellmeister

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    Unlike compression, clipping is not a very sophisticated process. Hence, any flexible clipper that allows you to set the transfer curve (from soft to hard) will output the same sound. Only difference is in oversampling and additional functions such as dynamic waveshaping, which you can find in some clippers. VClip, Standard Clip and LVC Clipped-Max are the best currently available when it comes to extended clipping functionality.
     
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  9. Hazen

    Hazen Kapellmeister

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    Sure, thats using the saturation created by clipping for sound design purposes. I do this all the time for chromatic 808s. But its not a usage scenario where you would think about using a compressor, so its not a question of preference of clipping VS compression. Compression is simply the wrong approach to saturating 808s (unless you have a compressor with a saturation / drive stage that does the job, but then you are really using a clipper embedded into a compression plugin).
     
  10. depijp_HSK

    depijp_HSK Ultrasonic

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I use the glue’s internal peak clipping also sometimes
     
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  11. ADiSH

    ADiSH Ultrasonic

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  12. Joe_sleaze

    Joe_sleaze Kapellmeister

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    On many occasions, certainly on separate drum channels, I rather chose to use a transient shaper than a compressor or a clipper, what's your view on this approach?
     
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