I understand what DC offset it. It's moving the center of the waveform off of the zero crossing line. Not really sure when you would use it. Is it more of a means to fix things or is it used for other reasons? Is it a common thing to have to use in most people's setups?


Fortunately DC offset is rarely needed, but if occasionally you get files that have been captured on poorly calibrated sound cards, or poor quality recorders then DC offset repair can help, although I haven't had to use it for at least 2 years.

In severe cases the DC offset will shift during the file, then you have to break the signal up into smaller regions before repair, but this is very rare.

In short, if you are using professional maintained equipment then DC offset should be rare, however if you are working with archive material without calibrating the reproduction hardware, then you will use it a lot.

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  • Thanks Ian. Do you know visually or is there a sound quality associated with that sort of problem? – Dave Jul 8 '13 at 17:02
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    Both, if you zoom into the waveform you can usually see the problem. Listening it will often sound over compressed, or in the worst cases distorted. In bad cases I usually use an expander to try and increase the dynamic range after the DC offset repair. – user80 Jul 8 '13 at 17:06
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    DC offset problems are rare, they're basically electrical errors and the DC offset "method" is a fix for that. You don't hear it in other ways than by noting that the headroom is consumed (or the signal may have been distorted), but the sound is fairly quiet. That's because the signal is biased. – Internet Human Jul 8 '13 at 18:05
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    you do hear dc offset when editing - sounds that are quiet and normally wouldnt glitch when edited without fades, DO glitch as there is almost never zero crossing on an edit, even silence will glitch or splat as the zero is offset – user49 Jul 9 '13 at 6:30

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