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My question is: has anybody tried to restore clipped audio successfully? Is there a method behind this, or processing tool to help restore this that i'm unaware?

I have tried using compressor tools to minimize this, but never truly restores it somewhat...

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Download a demo of Izotope RX2 and have a go on that. It's pretty impressive what it can do :) I've had great success before de-clipping audio signals.

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And the compressor is a preventative remedy, not a curative one (if you are trying to avoid clipping).

You need to put the compressor before the distortion to avoid the clipping from happening.

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+1 on Izotope RX2

I use it really often. The denoiser is fantastic, with impressive results and very little artifacts.

The declipper works well on most clipped audio, and the decracle can help a bit on analog distortion.

And then there's spectral repair, which kind of makes the impossible possible.

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iZotope is good if you find the right threshold - too much and it makes loud clicks. I'd also highly recommend Sony Oxford's declicker - my go-to for distortion.

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I have found in my experiences that there isn't one good plug-in for every type of distortion. You kind of have to try through a variety and choose the one which does the best job.

I'd check out Izotope RX for sure, next I'd check Waves X-Crackle, next the Oxford's de-clipper, then possibly Adobe Audition.

But check this article out:

http://www.sonic-terrain.com/2010/12/buyers-guide-sound-restoration-software/

That gives you more information on what types of plug-ins are available for this sort of thing so you get more reality on what is out there and can make better judgements thereby because you have more knowledge about them, thus being able to control your sound better.

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Either iZotope RX or you draw out the clips in the waveform using the pencil tool in Pro Tools manually if you don't have the budget for iZotope RX (but only if the budget is paying you enough to do it, otherwise you need to get someone to pay you more).

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A big thing to bear in mind is that most people can't/don't hear distortion the way us sound geeks do. The only time they really do notice is when it draws attention to itself. That is, most people won't notice unless it's really pervasive (present throughout the entire spectrum) or particularly sharp (in the upper end of the spectrum). So your problem isn't getting rid of all of the distortion, just the annoying bits.

If you don't have access to any noise reduction software (expensive) I find a great trick is to take a filter that can do a 24dB/8va cut (EQ3 1-band in PT), set it to low pass and roll it down as far as you can go. Chances are you'll get down to about 7-7.5kHz before stuff starts to get too dull to be conscionable. If you need to go further, try lightening up the curve to 18 or 12dB/8va.

Alternatively, if your distortion is more localized, take a band in a paragraphic EQ and set the Q to about 5-7 and sweep through the spectrum. Generally speaking, most of the annoying stuff in distortion occurs up above 2.5-3kHz. For me it's usually somewhere around 8-10k. When you find it, just dip it out. You'd be amazed how much you can push before things start sounding really dull/bad.

If this isn't a recurring problem I would second the idea of d/l-ing a demo of the iZotope stuff. It really is fantastic.

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