Posted on 08. Mar, 2016 by Daniel Duskin (Record Producer, Mixing & Mastering Engineer) in Mixing, Ssh!Part of a series on getting a professional snare without samples while mixing.
…finally, let’s discuss mastering the art of clipping.
Most of the time audible clipping is not a desired or professional sound, so care must be applied to avoid making any clipping audible—unless the sound of clipping is your artistic goal.
While analog—or analog modeled—clipping can sometimes add a little extra “crack” to the snare, clipping can also be used to help control how the snare cuts through the mix and how much it interacts with bus compression and limiting further down the mix and mastering chain.
Generally, modern music is loud. To attain these loud levels, lots of bus compression and limiting are often applied. If your snare has a high peak transient, it could cause your bus compressors and/or limiters to react more than necessary, pushing the level of your snare down in the mix, and push the overall master volume down. You can help get this back under control by carefully lightly clipping your snare on it’s primary channel.
Sometimes digital clipping is ideal for this task, because it’s mostly inaudible on heavily transient material until it clips more than just a few samples in a row. If you use digital clipping for this, I highly recommend inserting a low-pass filter after this clipping to round off the square waving, resulting in a more natural and analog sound.
Remember, if you can hear the clipping, you should back it off.
You shouldn’t usually hear clipping, it should only clip the inaudible transient peaks.