what happens with your soundcard when you go way above 0db digitally ?

Apr 13, 2012

  1. FlatFaced

    FlatFaced
    832 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    do you give it a hot signal actually or just virtually...? I mean is it dangerous for her...

    I've tested Reaktor enses and forgot to put a limiter on the master(for a first time) and it went to +24db,,,

    am asking cuz i know nothing about D/A and I/O when it comes to PC->audio interface

    is the term "hot signal" even valid with digital..?
  2. Krazyjuice

    Krazyjuice
    595 posts
    Since Feb 22, 2006
    it simply clips the top

    no

    and no
  3. valis

    valis
    1,675 posts
    Since Aug 20, 2001
    1, If you exceed 0dBf (in the digital realm) you clip. When this is converted to a continuous waveform by the DA several things can occur:

    - Intersample peaks: even if the waveform doesn't "appear" to clip when a DA converts it back to a continuous signal you can have small overages that occur between the sample 'points' due to the nature of the way the conversion works. You can search these forums and elsewhere to read more, there are oversampling meters to help avoid intersample peaks now, or leave a small amount of headroom

    - Distortion on clipping: with material that does a hard clip at 0dBf the DA will actually NOT hard clip as the digital waveform does, but will instead distort (many cheap players will even distort as they approach 0dBf due to lack of ample headroom). Bob Katz & Digital Domain has done some documenting of this, as did TC Electronics in the following whitepaper: http://www.tcelectronic.com/media/level_paper_aes109.pdf **note that clipping is not always objectionable, several Q&A's on these forums have mentioned the positive side of clipping samples in an Emu/Akai sampler & inputs on a desk...note that this is being done selectively and during the production process rather than a byproduct of shitty mastering***

    - For more information refer to the discussion in the 'loudness war', there's a very well known youtube clip that serves as a good introduction to this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ
  4. FlatFaced

    FlatFaced
    832 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    am talking +24db here(master channel), not only intersample peaks or waveform distortion and am actually concerned about my audio interface, not the waveform - it didnt happened when recording - it did by accident and it was a short burst when the device loaded(i wasnt clear enough as always),,,

    but yeah maybe am too paranoid about my gear...

    i thought it could blow a capacitor or something because i dont know where in the chain the conversion occurs...

    thanks for the answers
    that video is great, i've watched it when i was inspecting Charles Dye's posts thru the internet :teeth:
  5. Rogue Trooper Giant Smurf

    Rogue Trooper
    1,513 posts
    Since Jan 22, 2004
    It opens a wormhole into an alternative dimension, horrible monsters rush out and dismember everyone. It also wakes up Cthulhu. True story.
  6. Kizza

    Kizza
    612 posts
    Since Oct 21, 2010
    This is a great question, I once had a project where i just threw stems in and accidentally hit play, it played all the tracks at once and almost blew my head off.

    Now seriously, if you did this for say a minute, surely something bad will happen? Or no? And why not?
  7. Full Clip Audio www.EricRacy.com

    Full Clip Audio
    11,747 posts
    Since Jun 5, 2003
    There are analog components in your converters but you are much more likely to blow them by slamming too much voltage into them at the A/Ds. We actually blew an Apogee AD16X when testing initial designs of our preamp that had WAY too much gain. The people at Apogee jokingly asked us if we plugged an outlet directly into them. :teeth:
  8. SafeandSound Mastering Engineer

    SafeandSound
    514 posts
    Since Apr 25, 2009
    Digital distortion and probably some analogue DAC chip / op amp distortion. Neither are normally regarded as desirable. The maths in your DAW's output bus no longer represents the audio signal accurately. (in essence it is a form of limiting)

    At +24dB above 0dBFS if I read that right... the digital will be a bunch of horrid inharmonic artifacts across the spectrum and the DAC chip / analogue output opamp will just be outputting it's maximum signal. Probably limited by the voltage rails the opamp is running on.
    Or possibly, depending on the DAC design (digital max vs analogue headroom in the design) there may be no distortion added to the already massively clipped digital signal by the analogue stage.

    To be avoided, lol.
  9. Kizza

    Kizza
    612 posts
    Since Oct 21, 2010
    So just to clarify; :teeth:

    If I have my master bus clipping to the shit for hours (which i don't do of coarse but just for shits lets say), absolutely nothing will fuck up in the box?

    Because I put a limiter on my master bus just in case of blow outs, would love to know if it's completely unnecessary. :teef:
  10. Full Clip Audio www.EricRacy.com

    Full Clip Audio
    11,747 posts
    Since Jun 5, 2003
    It is unnecessary if your concern is your converters but you can shred your speakers pretty easily. That is a MUCH bigger concern.
  11. Kizza

    Kizza
    612 posts
    Since Oct 21, 2010
    Excellent! Thanks FullClip
  12. FlatFaced

    FlatFaced
    832 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    very much merci...

    i also often have a limiter on my master channel because sometimes the vsts have that initial click when you load and bypass on/off them...i just forgot here...

    too good am listening at really soft volume and it wasnt badly loud for the speakers...my audio interface is pretty much always somewhere round 9 o'clock at most and amp at 10-11
  13. SafeandSound Mastering Engineer

    SafeandSound
    514 posts
    Since Apr 25, 2009
    The signal level between clipping and heavily limited will almost be no different.

    Instead read this article:

    Gain Structure

    Working with no headroom is not advantageous in any way. (and has some down sides)

    cheers

    SafeandSound Mastering
  14. FlatFaced

    FlatFaced
    832 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    i use the limiter just in case there are buggy blows...nowhere near kissing it when am doing my loops...

    edit : actually am trying the technique of working into a 1-2db compression with ~2:1 ratio but that happens at ~-4/-5db and the limiter is still there at the end
  15. Full Clip Audio www.EricRacy.com

    Full Clip Audio
    11,747 posts
    Since Jun 5, 2003
    The most dangerous spikes in level are usually from tweaking the resonance on filters. They can do serious damage to speakers.
  16. imPray

    imPray
    192 posts
    Since Dec 26, 2010
    Can a limiter prevent all damage to your speakers? I've had some horrendous accidental feedback loops that couldn't have been good even with a limiter on the master.