When audio becomes too loud, it clips. How can I limit?

1 Answer 1


Avoiding clipping while recording a live event is critical because it can't be fixed in post. The following techniques will help.

  1. If your audio recorder has a built-in limiter function, turn it on.

  2. Record at a 24-bit depth and turn down the gain a little. You will likely be going out to 16 bits in the final production, and the extra bits during recording will give some more headroom without losing audio quality.

  3. Split the audio feed and run it into two different inputs. Set the gain at different levels on those two inputs, one "hot" and one "not". The one with higher gain will have the best audio quality (least noise) but the one with the lower gain is insurance in case the first one clips.

  4. Do a sound check ahead of the event and set the levels so they it doesn't clip at the loudest moments. Then back it off a little from that.

  5. Monitor the recording constantly while the event is on. If you detect clipping, turn down the gain. You may end up with some brief clipping but it's better than the whole thing being clipped.

  6. Know your equipment. You can't always trust the meters. For example, it is easy to overload an audio recorder by putting a line level feed into a mic input. Turning down the gain may look like it's keeping the levels at a good point, but in fact the clipping can happen before the meters see the signal.

  7. If you are taking a feed from a sound board, be aware of the difference between line level and mic level. Set your recorder up appropriately. If you need to adjust the levels to keep them right, change the levels at the source (sound board)

  • really well informed. you an Android hacker?
    – hunterp
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 19:25

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