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First off, I run Fruity Loops (I figured this was a more general question so I made a new topic)

Okay, I always seem to have a problem with clipping in my songs and I was curious why it does this-- are there too many voices, too high velocities, what? And are there ways of eliminating it or at least can I get some tips to help stop it from happening...

Thanks for any advice! :)

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Compression.Limiting. Normalizing. Parametric equalization. Master volume if all else fails , which is almost never the case. It's all in the way you tweak your levels. Insted of boosting frequencies you want , you can cut the ones you don't want , then bring everything back to unity gain. Tweak each channel seperately. Give each instrument it's own effects channel. Never , ever , ever let that bar thing flash red.

*Summons Xelebes/Compyfox or equivalent in hopes that they can offer more extensive help*

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The fruity compressor will limit an FX channel, but if you use the equalizer or volume/panning knobs built-in to the mixer, clipping can occur. Those are applied after your FX chain, so the fruity compressor wouldn't catch any clipping caused by that.

Also remember that the FX plugins are chained, so if you have a compressor first and then some crazy distortion plugin, it'll play out in that order. So always put your compressor/limiter/whatever thing that you're using at the very end (bottom) of your chain.

Edit: and check your levels for everything and use your ear. some stuff shouldn't be loud. if you did hard limiting where clipping occured, you might run into distortion, so adjust your levels accordingly.

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If I could hear a specific sample that's clipping, I could probably offer some specific advice.

But otherwise...

Compress things with excessive peaks, like drums, basslines, odd FX, stuff like that. Don't OVER-compress it (unless you like the sound you get out of it), but you should be able to buy yourself a bit more breathing room simply with some light compression on certain areas of the track.

If your bassline is causing problems, EQ it a bit. I almost always completely cut off everything below 50 Hz unless I have a very good reason for doing otherwise. That's a level that a lot of woofers can't accurately project, and you can make up for it by boosting around 150-300 Hz if it really needs it. ;)

Actually, doing a hard cut 30-50Hz and below off your ENTIRE track isn't such a bad idea either. It's usually wasted, and it takes up frequency room.

You can't do this in FruityLoops, but Normalization will help out too. It's something that's in most sound editing/mastering software, like Sound Forge or T-Racks. It'll make your track louder without clipping.

There's other things you could try, but you have to start somewhere...

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I'm curious, alot of times I get clipping when making music (mainly because I start with a volume pretty loud on the first instruments; so I have to keep making the volumes of each newly introduced instrument loud to get the desired blend ratio)... but I never hear anything wrong with the song. I have alot of different earphones - some really good ones and some really cheap ones. Does clipping depend on the frequency range of your speakers/earphones? That's what I'm assuming, but I never read anything on the matter... so I was just looking for a second opinion - and why it was so important to stay below the red line (especially when there's nothing noticably wrong in the song)?

Here's a little example I just made, where the red line is practically ALWAYS there (but I can't even notice any clipping):

http://www.angelfire.com/id/choksta/music/test.flp

Was this an interesting question at all? lol. :)

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Compression is used to even out tracks volume wise, and if you apply it too heavily, it will start pumping the music. I made this mistake when using it all the time.

Heavy compression is a form of distortion and use it sparingly for certain effects. Moderate compression is advised when it comes to drum tracks and incredibly loud sources. Light compression is useful for just about everything else, except on orchestral pieces as the compressor does eliminate the dynamic range of the piece. Also, I might wanna raise the point that louder does not mean better, it just appears better. Having it louder will just make it obnoxious over time, and probably one of the biggest reasons why people tire themselves out of hard trance and such. Remember to have peaks in your sound but not too prominent or you can actually record a piece at -1.5 dB as being the highest peak and it will actually sound a lot cleaner.

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Yeah, I hardly ever use compression. It seems to take away from the overall effect of the song (sometimes even with light compression) - so I'd rather just let it go over the line and clip. Not sure if that's a good suggestion, since no one explained the relevance of removing un-noticable clipping anyways. ;)

Remember to have peaks in your sound but not too prominent or you can actually record a piece at -1.5 dB as being the highest peak and it will actually sound a lot cleaner.

Thanks for the tips. Not sure if this is essentially what compression does, but I'll look into adjusting the dB peaks and see what happends. Louder may not be better, but sometimes people have speakers/earphones that can only go so loud - so it's nice to get the music as close to the peak as possible when going out for a jog with your walkman on or something; so you can experience the full effect of the song when desired.

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Yeah, I hardly ever use compression. It seems to take away from the overall effect of the song (sometimes even with light compression) - so I'd rather just let it go over the line and clip. Not sure if that's a good suggestion, since no one explained the relevance of removing un-noticable clipping anyways. ;)
Remember to have peaks in your sound but not too prominent or you can actually record a piece at -1.5 dB as being the highest peak and it will actually sound a lot cleaner.

Thanks for the tips. Not sure if this is essentially what compression does, but I'll look into adjusting the dB peaks and see what happends. Louder may not be better, but sometimes people have speakers/earphones that can only go so loud - so it's nice to get the music as close to the peak as possible when going out for a jog with your walkman on or something; so you can experience the full effect of the song when desired.

There are people who like their music, and then there are people who like their music A LOT. You're obviously just somebody who just likes his music.

Clipping can make the piece actually sound lo-fi. Unless the clipping occurs in less than 40 ms (when maximising sound through a compressor), clipping at all is discouraged because it degrades the piece's quality.

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Also remember that the FX plugins are chained, so if you have a compressor first and then some crazy distortion plugin, it'll play out in that order. So always put your compressor/limiter/whatever thing that you're using at the very end (bottom) of your chain.

I use FX plugins a lot and I didn't know that. Thanks, that's good to know. I have a question about panning. When you set an instrument's note's panning in FL Studio's piano roll, are the FX plugin effects affected by how you set the panning?

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Quick note: I suggested the fruity compressor because it is actually a limiter as well. If you just slapped it on and didn't touch it, it wouldn't let anything before it clip.

And yoshi, I'm not sure what you mean. The notes are obviously before the FX, so things might sound differently depending on what the effect is...

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Quick note: I suggested the fruity compressor because it is actually a limiter as well. If you just slapped it on and didn't touch it, it wouldn't let anything before it clip.

And yoshi, I'm not sure what you mean. The notes are obviously before the FX, so things might sound differently depending on what the effect is...

How do you know what all the things the Fruity Compressor affects?

Yeah, it's kinda hard to explain what I'm trying to say. Let me try this again. If you set the panning of the notes in the piano roll, will the panning also affect the effects tacked onto the instrument?

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Ok

(let's say 50:50 is balanced

Channel pan is at 60:40

Piano Roll is at 60:40 -> 70:30

Say you use a compressor, the compression is gonna sound different from either side as the compressor distorts the sound of the left channel more than the right channel.

Now the mixer pan will pan it more which ever way.

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