Clipper recreation within the software domain
Old 26th December 2012
  #1
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Clipper recreation within the software domain

Hello good sirs,

I was wondering to learn your thoughts regarding a possibility of recreating a proper a/d clipper within the software domain.

Don't you think it is now quite possible to implement a software project that would include a modeling based or shall we say "advanced algorithm" based approach as a deliverable for creating a clipper plugin for a professional use that would come as close to the existing hardware counterparts as possible ?

I know there are t-racks, gclips and all, but these do not really seem to be filling in the niche sonically per se - what do you say : )

Software developers - please accept this note as an open letter to be considered when planning your future projects.

Cheers!
G.
Old 26th December 2012
  #2
Old 26th December 2012
  #3
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by garry_spectrum View Post
Software developers - please accept this note as an open letter to be considered when planning your future projects.
Yes, and we are working on it: Bifrost Audio - Mastering Quality Digital Processing

Hopefully it will be released in 2013, though it is still in alpha stage.

I am using my self-designed software now, as it has been stable for a couple of months.

Apart from feeling pretty geeky, I am very pleased with the results. I have already used it on hundreds of commercial releases, including a #1 hit and three dance chart top 10 tracks.

Features implemented so far:
  • Threshold
  • Optional auto-gain link
  • Output makeup with 0.01 dB precision
  • Variable knee (soft clip threshold)
  • Variable look-ahead
  • Solo clip (audition function)
  • High resolution I/O meters with clip display

To be implemented:
  • Bypass button for look-ahead/latency compensated internal switching for both auditioning and automation purposes

My goal was to combine high quality sound with a dedicated and mastering oriented workflow - as well as additional flexibility in comparison with most hardware clipping.

Furthermore we are looking into an interesting shaping function, but only time will tell how this turns out, since it has not been done before in software.

I realize some will say, "Just what the world needs... another clipper", but it is a tool like anything else, and I prefer to have the best and most flexible tools available to me. If nothing exists, you must invent it yourself.
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Old 26th December 2012
  #4
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Got to check that out stinky! It's a shame it's not cross-platform though...
Old 26th December 2012
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
First of all, congratulations on starting a new audio software development company with a practicing mastering engineer taking the lead on product design and hopefully providing a non-compromise attitude on quality assurance iterations.

Imho, many engineers are looking forward to having reliable tools at their fingertips, especially in these days of highly competitive DIY project life cycles.

So, best of the luck with this beginning and hopefully enough there will be a private or maybe even a public beta testing activity group down the road, in which I'd love to take part for sure.

Kindly -
Garry
Old 26th December 2012
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
Yes, and we are working on it: Bifrost Audio - Mastering Quality Digital Processing

Hopefully it will be released this year, though it is still in alpha stage.
On paper this sounds like a very useful tool, since limiting is not always ideal.

I'm hopeful that you'll make it as high quality as you can, even at the expense of a flashy GUI, which is just to drum up sales. Things like meter ballistics could also eat up some serious under the hood processing power, do you think it's really necessary? A clip display with readout sounds good, but a general i/o meter seems superfluous when it comes to driving levels above full scale 0dB. Just my unasked for 2 cents.

Good luck with the project, looking forward to hopefully finding it useful enough to pull out the bank card.
Old 26th December 2012
  #7
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Retinal's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by garry_spectrum View Post
Hello good sirs,

I was wondering to learn your thoughts regarding a possibility of recreating a proper a/d clipper within the software domain.

Don't you think it is now quite possible to implement a software project that would include a modeling based or shall we say "advanced algorithm" based approach as a deliverable for creating a clipper plugin for a professional use that would come as close to the existing hardware counterparts as possible ?

I know there are t-racks, gclips and all, but these do not really seem to be filling in the niche sonically per se - what do you say : )

Software developers - please accept this note as an open letter to be considered when planning your future projects.

Cheers!
G.
I think Vladg's Limiter6 sees exactly what
you're describing as its last stage.
I remember reading the manual that the last "module" is suppose
to simulate AD clipping, and that is on top of the clipper module
so is not the same as the other clippers available
Old 27th December 2012
  #8
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ADClip is a very good tool, v3 works very well and imo it is the best version of the plugin.

To me it sounds nicer than Prism overkillers or clipping the Orpheus converters, though I've never directly compared ADClip to clipping other brands ADC so I can't really comment on that.
Old 27th December 2012
  #9
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What about Stillwell's Event Horizon. You can use it as a clipper or limiter. Has softclipping implemented and sounded really good to me.
Old 27th December 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engmix View Post
On paper this sounds like a very useful tool, since limiting is not always ideal.

I'm hopeful that you'll make it as high quality as you can, even at the expense of a flashy GUI, which is just to drum up sales. Things like meter ballistics could also eat up some serious under the hood processing power, do you think it's really necessary? A clip display with readout sounds good, but a general i/o meter seems superfluous when it comes to driving levels above full scale 0dB. Just my unasked for 2 cents.

Good luck with the project, looking forward to hopefully finding it useful enough to pull out the bank card.
Thanks for your comments.

It's a no-compromise design in terms of audio quality and I'll personally be doing integrity tests (as well as some very qualified beta testers). As for the meters, we'll keep an eye on the DSP usage.

That said, DSP is not a big issue when it comes to mastering because:

A) Most mastering engineers use hardware as part of the chain and have plenty of available DSP power for plug-ins

B) Mastering projects have a very low track count, and mastering is performed in a separate project from production and mixing

However, we do not want to limit people in how they use the plug-in, so it will be as DSP and RAM efficient as possible. I am fortunate to have a highly skilled, top professional programmer on the job.

I have also met with other programmers in order to discuss their take on some of the more advanced features. It has been a very enlightening process for me.
Old 27th December 2012
  #11
Gear addict
mac version please !
Old 28th December 2012
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
Thanks for your comments.

It's a no-compromise design in terms of audio quality and I'll personally be doing integrity tests (as well as some very qualified beta testers). As for the meters, we'll keep an eye on the DSP usage.
I'm glad to see that...because a plugin of this nature really needs to be of the highest quality possible. I'm sure it will be a great challenge to nail it down, hence there not really being anything out there of uber high quality, so good luck with it.
Old 28th December 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdoelger View Post
What about Stillwell's Event Horizon. You can use it as a clipper or limiter. Has softclipping implemented and sounded really good to me.
Alas I can't confirm that Stillwell's plugin does the trick. It may be well based on the musical material going in, which in my particular case is mainly transient heavy EDM.

In summary, it sort of softens the edges a bit and yet blurs the image a lot which is nowhere near the standard of hardware units. And this is what I am talking about - the cpu power that is available nowadays and the dsp researches have gone deep enough in order to be able to reveil a clipper plugin of high standard.
Old 28th December 2012
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AUDIOBOMBER View Post
mac version please !
The two versions currently under development are AU (Mac) and VST (PC). We'll see about AAX (not likely for various reasons), but a Mac VST version makes sense.
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Old 23rd March 2014
  #15
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Did this ever get finished?
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Old 23rd March 2014
  #16
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Yes, I've been using it for a couple of years now. I love it and it beats everything else I've tried.

Not ready for public release yet, though. The programmer became very ill and unable to finish it, for now at least. Lets just say it's the most expensive plug-in I've bought...

Got another programmer on my next plug-in.
Old 23rd March 2014
  #17
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Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
Yes, I've been using it for a couple of years now. I love it and it beats everything else I've tried.

Not ready for public release yet, though. The programmer became very ill and unable to finish it, for now at least. Lets just say it's the most expensive plug-in I've bought...

Got another programmer on my next plug-in.
How does it treat the high end? Does it get harsh or digital sounding when pushed? I have been using the GClip plug-in as a limiter when I need a transparent limiter but when it's pushed it gets pretty harsh. I really like the concept on the Airwindows clipper but I do not have a MAC.
Old 24th March 2014
  #18
OTA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdoelger View Post
What about Stillwell's Event Horizon. You can use it as a clipper or limiter. Has softclipping implemented and sounded really good to me.
I sometimes really like Event Horizon in use just before two stacked Fab-L's. Mostly on quite peaky waveforms. And I mean just the very tiniest amount possible. However, it can easily bring low-level distortion in on bass heavy material if not paying close attention. I do hear that softening/smearing but sometimes that ain't such a bad thing. I'm a 1-2%'er with it though.

My main gripe with it is the interface though, as its utterly 'un-scientific' with no real metering per se and no markers on the dials of the GUI. So it's hard to tell what effect it is having, or rather how hard you are driving it. I'd be well pleased on a more precise - even boring - interface, instead of the design it uses. A bit more of a 'window' into the plugins actions on the waveform, the way that FabFilter L does it for example. I don't always use or look at the the real time analysers but they are handy to have if you are curious.

It's been discussed here before, but alternatives?
Old 24th March 2014
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by OTA View Post
It's been discussed here before, but alternatives?
LVC-Audio ClipShifter: lvcaudio.com/plugins/clipshifter

Absolutely, positively the most comprehensive, feature rich, sonically pleasing clipper (OTB or ITB) available! A “must have” for clipping aficionados!
Old 24th March 2014
  #20
OTA
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Ah yes, that's the one! (came across it some time ago but forgot his name)

Thanks Simon
Old 24th March 2014
  #21
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...the next big thing will be modelling converters
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Old 24th March 2014
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Morrison View Post
LVC-Audio ClipShifter: lvcaudio.com/plugins/clipshifter

Absolutely, positively the most comprehensive, feature rich, sonically pleasing clipper (OTB or ITB) available! A “must have” for clipping aficionados!
the good news:
Quote:
Originally Posted by random_id View Post
I don't want to give any timelines, but Avid has granted LVC-Audio access to RTAS/AAX SDK and developer copies of ProTools. It took a while, but I now have them.
Old 24th March 2014
  #23
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Is this plugin REALLY designed to clip even the nowhere-near-zero parts?
Just gave it a spin, thought it sounded harsh, but maybe I am using it wrong?
Old 24th March 2014
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Morrison View Post
Absolutely, positively the most comprehensive, feature rich, sonically pleasing clipper (OTB or ITB) available! A “must have” for clipping aficionados!
I really appreciate Simon's endorsement. I do want to be honest and say that ClipShifter is a dynamic clipper, and not necessarily a model of some A/D convertor. ClipShifter "takes off" the peaks. I have not researched it too much, but I would imagine that an A/D modeller might involve some things like jitter, noise, truncation errors, etc. (especially if the purpose if for a more lo-fi effect).

I would also recommend asking Simon more about his use of ClipShifter. He is probably a better user than I am. That being said, I personally like to set the initial threshold very close to -1 dB. For the ending threshold, I like the level to be around -3 dB. I then use the input gain, attack timing, and release timing to make the clipping level dynamically float between the two thresholds. To me, this is the way to get louder without obvious artifacts. Of course, if the incoming signal already has a lot of compression, ClipShifter might not be able to do too much without obvious distortion.
Old 24th March 2014
  #25
I tried Clipshifter some time ago. I found it to be more of a record production effect verses mastering. I suppose under certain circumstances one could get it to work in mastering. For me when I'm clipping a converter I do so to the point of where one can't hear the artifacts, even though I'm gaining a lot of loudness. I found clipshifter really wasn't the same thing, again more of an audible effect type of plugin. And by no means bad, just is what it is.
Old 25th March 2014
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by random_id View Post
I really appreciate Simon's endorsement. I do want to be honest and say that ClipShifter is a dynamic clipper, and not necessarily a model of some A/D convertor. ClipShifter "takes off" the peaks. I have not researched it too much, but I would imagine that an A/D modeller might involve some things like jitter, noise, truncation errors, etc. (especially if the purpose if for a more lo-fi effect).

I would also recommend asking Simon more about his use of ClipShifter. He is probably a better user than I am. That being said, I personally like to set the initial threshold very close to -1 dB. For the ending threshold, I like the level to be around -3 dB. I then use the input gain, attack timing, and release timing to make the clipping level dynamically float between the two thresholds. To me, this is the way to get louder without obvious artifacts. Of course, if the incoming signal already has a lot of compression, ClipShifter might not be able to do too much without obvious distortion.
Using it almost exactly like that, with the multiband in side chain mode. I'm not
relying on it as the sole loudness provider, it's part of a chain that includes
a Summit DCL-200 compressor, Equilibrium, ClipShifter and Ozone 5's limiter.
I find it to be really clean when you set it right.
Old 25th March 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpusOfTrolls View Post
Is this plugin REALLY designed to clip even the nowhere-near-zero parts?
Just gave it a spin, thought it sounded harsh, but maybe I am using it wrong?
1. Un-link the Initial and End threshold controls
2 a. If the End threshold is set to a lower value than the Initial threshold, reduce the Release time to reduce artifacts
2 b. If the End threshold is set to a higher value than the Initial threshold, increase the Release time to reduce artifacts
3. Enable Oversample and Double to reduce alias artifacts and prevent overruns
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