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Tool to find clipped songs?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Not too long ago, I purchased an album on bandcamp and found that most of the songs sounded/looked like this:





But the thing is... I don't want to have to "hear for" such things but be able to scan whatever I get and be able to see whether it's crap or not (at least regarding clipping) immediately. Plus, it would be nice to scan my whole music library for songs where I maybe haven't noticed this so far or have always wondered that they do sound pretty awful but blamed it on recording quality or the quality of my gear.



Even just some plugin for foobar to scan single songs would be fine though. Doesn't have to be some magic solution that scans my whole library automatically.


Edited by notthere - 12/22/12 at 10:05am
post #2 of 7

Most utilities will only detect clipping that occurs at the max volume that the music is released at. They cannot detect clipping that occurred at the recording session then later reduced in level during mixdown which is just as damaging to the sound. When this happens even though the level has been reduced the waveform remains clipped but the clipping is hidden by the other sounds that are now somewhat louder than the clipped sound but the sound tells you it's been clipped even though another waveform has been overlaid on top of it thus partially hiding the flat topped nature of the clipped waveform.

post #3 of 7
Platinum Notes will identify and smooth clipped audio files. It asking expands overly compressed audio and levels track output. At the moment Platinum Notes doesn't support lossless files, but version 4 apparently will according to the developer.

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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for your explanations/suggestions.

Platinum Notes sounds like it might be worthwhile to try. But as there is no option to try and it's $100... even if it would work, just for fixing some clipped songs, it's quite a bit too steep for my taste.

post #5 of 7

You can load almost any kind of file into Audacity to look for clipping / 0 dB recordings.


Also, foobar has a "waveform seekbar" plugin which shows the waveform as you listen. The major knock being that you can't zoom in or otherwise enlarge it much, unless you want to dedicate a lot of your screen to it.


Sadly, I have started to both "see" and also hear the clipping on my HE-400s. Mainly, it sounds a little garbled / piercing / compressed. Because it was recorded that way, there is nothing you can do about it. I tried comparing CD to mp3 and playing with levels and EQ, but it doesn't matter. Its too bad, because Florence and the Machine have some great albums, but her voice is so hot at times (clipped), that the CD can't not sound a little crappy.


The upside is, you won't freak out and buy new equipment when you know the source is to blame!

post #6 of 7

Much clipping occures at less than max volume due to the multitracked nature of most recordings. Especially on vocals which are recorded at excessive levels then reduced in the final mix but the clipping remains & sound harsh as a result. One would have to go through & look for evidence of this & correct the waveform manually, a daunting task if there is a lot of clipping of this type. There may be programs that would help with max volume clipping but this is somewhat harder to fix than maxed out clipping as it will have other wave forms riding on it already but be rest assured it is still quite audible & someone with good software engineering skills should be able to correct this even. I even know of software that can alter a wrong note played on a piano to make it correct even if it is part on a musical chord. A studio friend of mine showed me.

post #7 of 7

MrMateoHead and germanium are dead right.  

Clipping can happen at max volumes but most of the ones I've found are not in peak volume areas.  I was worried when I first heard clipping from my CDs, including Florence and the Machines, but as time wore on, I just learned to accept them and to hope that the next album I get doesn't have as much.  

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