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Audacity

Sound Track Basics: Correcting Clipping Problems

This document will provide you with an overview of clipping and solutions for clipping. Clipping occurs when the volume of the audio being recorded or played frequently goes beyond the capacity of Audacity as measured by the Vertical Ruler and Meter toolbar. The audio that goes beyond the capacity will be missing from the track. Depending on the file, the result can distort the audio output by leaving small gaps in the playback.

Clipping during playback is remedied using the Gain slider on the Track Control Panel. Clipping during recording is remedied using the Input volume slider on the Mixer toolbar. If a file has been recorded with clipping, you cannot remedy it without re-recording. However, you can minimize the distortion using the Amplify effect. For more information on the Amplify effect, refer to Basic Effects: An Overview.

EXAMPLE: In the following image every part of the Waveform that goes beyond 1.0 and -1.0 was not recorded.
Example of Clipping

return to topCorrecting Output Clipping

Output clipping occurs during playback. It is an indication that the output level, not the volume level, is too high for Audacity to accommodate. Lowering the output volume or the device volume will have no effect on output clipping. Using the Output meter located on the Meter toolbar, you can determine whether or not clipping occurs.

When the bar on the Output meter is frequently all the way to the right, you have playback clipping. If at any point in your track clipping has occurred, even if only once, the vertical slot at the right of the meter will turn red.
Output clipping

Remedy this by lowering the gain on the Track Control panel.

  1. Open a track in Audacity

  2. Start playback on the track by clicking PLAYPlay button

  3. Identify that clipping is occurring by monitoring the Output meter

  4. To lower the gain, on the Control Panel, move the Gain slider until clipping no longer occurs
    NOTE: Moving the Gain slider to the positive (+) increases the output level. Moving the Gain slider to the negative (-) decreases the output level.
    Gain slider

return to topCorrecting Input Clipping

Input clipping occurs during recording. It is an indication that the audio you are attempting to record is too loud for Audacity to accommodate. Using the Input meter on the Meter toolbar, you can determine whether or not clipping occurs. In many situations you will find that you lose quality when you lower the volume of your audio source (e.g. talk quieter, turn down the volume on an amplifier). Instead, you want to lower the volume at which Audacity records the audio.

When the bar on the Input meter is frequently all the way to the right, you have input clipping. If at any point in your recording clipping has occurred, even if only once, the vertical slot at the right of the meter will turn red.
Input clipping

Remedy this by lowering the input volume on the Mixer Toolbar.

  1. Click the Input meter pull-down menuInput pull-down menu

  2. Select Monitor input

  3. Input audio
    EXAMPLE: Talk into the microphone.
    The red bar on the Input meter moves.

  4. Identify that clipping is occurring by observing the Input meter

  5. To lower the input volume, on the Mixer toolbar, move the slider until clipping no longer occurs
    NOTE: Moving the slider to the positive (+) increases the input volume. Moving the slider to the negative (-) decreases the input volume.
    Input Mixer toolbar

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