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What is it? How does it happen? How does one avoid it? I dont think I have ever experienced it...or maybe I have but I dont know what it is! :p

Go!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipping_%28audio%29

Avoidance can be found in proper gain staging so that in each stage of your signal chain maintains a prudent amount of headroom. Calibration levels in film, for instance, take all of this into account so that over modulation never occurs. In the end it all comes down to watching and making sure the signal doesn't peak out. Regardless of all the tools etc, baby sitting the signal is still king.

This is a starting point, at least.

I'm sure other SSD'ers will be happy to chime too.

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Ah, thanks, so what you are saying is that over modulation is equivalent to clipping? Lucky for me, I always baby sit the signal and stage my gains accordingly, thats probably why I have not experienced this phenomenon! :P I worked on a doccie in Zimbabwe and in the edit they discovered they needed some pick up sound bites and instead of sending me, the producer borrowed my Zoom H4 and I showed her how to set levels etc, clearly she got it wrong somewhere cos her editor complained of over modulation when she got the files in the edit. –  Andre Feldmann Feb 14 '12 at 18:01
    
The good news is that I am now flying out to Zim on thursday to re-record the pickups properly and then flying home again on friday and getting paid for it all! :) –  Andre Feldmann Feb 14 '12 at 18:01
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