Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

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wtbauer20
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Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by wtbauer20 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:45 pm

So I have never heard or seen this before. I bought a copy of Ableton 8.2 (not suite) about a month ago. Just recently nearly every effect that I throw on an audio or midi track is causing clipping!! The prime examples are EQ 8, EQ 3, auto filter, flanger, phaser, etc.

Now this even happens on a midi track with simpler loaded?

In more detail...the input to the effect is normal, no clipping, yet the output is spiked through the roof! I am talking full on red bars, as if the signal is twice as loud!?

Any help would be appreciated. I have even noticed that this is happening with some VST plug-ins such as PSP Neon EQ.

Thanks,
Will

ark
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by ark » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:05 am

Can you create a very simple example and post a screen shot?

Meanwhile, I'll just observe that Live uses floating-point computation internally, which means that every channel can go well into the red (60 dB, IIRC) without causing clipping. It's only the master output level that you have to watch.

Of course that doesn't explain why it's happening, which is why I think it would be useful to take a closer look.

doghouse
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by doghouse » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:22 am

All the effects have input and output meters. Look at the effects chain to see where the clipping is happening. Then lower the output levels of the effect where needed.

Most effects boost the track volume, even delay and reverb (think about it). Compression, distortion and EQ boosting are the usually the worst offenders.

wtbauer20
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by wtbauer20 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:44 am

Doghouse, this is abnormal behavior. If I am high passing a track with EQ 8, typically it will decrease the volume, yes? Well in this case it is increasing the volume and sending the channel output into the red.

wtbauer20
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by wtbauer20 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:44 am

ark wrote:Can you create a very simple example and post a screen shot?

Meanwhile, I'll just observe that Live uses floating-point computation internally, which means that every channel can go well into the red (60 dB, IIRC) without causing clipping. It's only the master output level that you have to watch.

Of course that doesn't explain why it's happening, which is why I think it would be useful to take a closer look.
I will get on the screen shot asap.

wtbauer20
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by wtbauer20 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:57 am

Here are pictures of the problem. First is no effects added. Second, third and fourth are the problems with the flanger,EQ 8 (note the increase in volume when it is being cut), and autofilter.

Image

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bicarbone
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by bicarbone » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:59 am

disable that vintage warmer cause it seems to be acting as a vintage clipper.
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ark
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by ark » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:03 am

My first observation is that you have feedback of 0.90 in the flanger. It's no surprise that the output is louder than the input under such circumstances: 90% of the output is being fed back into (i.e. added to) the input!

wtbauer20
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by wtbauer20 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:17 am

Ugh, you guys aren't reading carefully. The vintage warmer has nothing to do with this. Notice how the output of everything is fine until the effect is in place. Is there anyone with actual experience that could chime in?

As for ark, can you explain why an auto-filter that is CUTTING away frequencies has a higher output than its input?

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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by ark » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:31 am

wtbauer20 wrote:As for ark, can you explain why an auto-filter that is CUTTING away frequencies has a higher output than its input?
No, because I wasn't talking about auto-filter -- I was talking about the phaser. I haven't looked into the behavior of auto-filter yet.

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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by shuutobi » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:03 am

I never clip the input of an effect in live, unless the clipping is the goal...

The channels are OK to clip, but not the effects or the master output.
Last edited by shuutobi on Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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rbmonosylabik
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by rbmonosylabik » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:44 am

+1 on turning down the Massive or Vintage Warmer output, you're leaving no headroom for further processing.
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wtbauer20
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by wtbauer20 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:11 pm

scutheotaku wrote:
wtbauer20 wrote: As for ark, can you explain why an auto-filter that is CUTTING away frequencies has a higher output than its input?
Resonance (aka "Q"). In both your screenshot of EQ Eight and of Auto Filter, you are cutting away frequencies, but you also are putting in some resonance which is actually increasing the volume right at the top of that filter. So, in your Auto Filter example - you're cutting away frequencies under 26 hz, but also boosting 26 hz a little. Granted you're not boosting them much, but the output of your Sub Bass rack is already at about 0.0 dBFS, so any little boost will push it over.

I'd recommend either lowering the output volume inside Massive or inside VintageWarmer -or- placing a Utility effect after your Sub Bass rack, then lower the Gain knob a little. In fact, if you lower the Gain knob a good amount, you should be able to raise the Track Volume slider (in the Mixer) up higher, thus giving you more volume without clipping.

As for your Flanger - yes this does raise the volume a little (again - you're already at 0 dBFS before placing the Flanger), and the Feedback setting will raise it a lot (like ark said). Just like with the filters, I'd either lower the output volume of one of your plugins in the Sub Bass rack, or place an Utility effect before the Flanger and adjust the volume there.

EDIT: In case you're not familiar with the term, dBFS means decibels relative to full scale. This isn't an actual measurement of physical units of decibels, but instead it is a number relative to full scale, and full scale represents (as Wikipedia puts it) "the maximum amplitude a system can present." While audio software rarely uses the full abbreviation "dBFS," this is what (almost?) all audio software is referring to when it says "dB." So when it says -6dB, it doesn't mean -6 decibels (which wouldn't make any sense), but instead means "6 decibels below full scale" and would officially be abbreviated as "-6dBFS." As a side note - dBFS is only really used in regards to digital stuff. Analog levels are never measured by dBFS.
Thank you. So far you have been the most help. What is confusing me is that this started happening out of the blue. I used to be able to slap on an autofilter, cut away some frequencies and be fine. Now, it will clip no matter what. I just need to find out why all of the sudden there has been such a huge change.

wtbauer20
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by wtbauer20 » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:04 pm

This is getting ridiculous! I can't eq anything and my mix sounds awful because of it!

kev herb
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Re: Help! Nearly all Ableton's native effects causing clipping!?

Post by kev herb » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:13 pm

I have both Massive and VW and im guessing you have the brick wall enabled on VW which is limiting the signal to 0db? i dont know the science why but this happens with all limiters if you place an effect afterwards in the chain it kind of re opens the dynamic range a bit thus sending you over 0db in places and into the red. now this is why anybody would tell you to place the limiter last in the chain.

My advise would be to 1st turn Massive down you have no need to have it that high three quarters of the way up the meter is fine. 2nd turn off the brick wall on the VW making it just a compressor/saturator and get the sound you want like that and adjust the VW output so again the meter is three quarters then place whatever you want after that as you will have headromm now. use your souncard volume to compensate if it now seems quiet.

also limiting like you are at pre mastering stage is not good anyway as all your doing is taking away the amount of maximizing the mastering engineer can do (if you dont fuck it for him he can get more loudness than you ever can)
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