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Dilla and Digital Clipping Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 30th July 2013
  #1
Dilla and Digital Clipping

The old audio engineering logic goes: analogue clipping = good, or certainly sometimes desirable. Digital clipping = bad, and never desirable under any circumstances.Well i've been listening to some of my favourite Dilla mixes lately, and it appears he threw that idea straight out the window.

One of his elusive beat tapes, I believe it is labelled as #3 or Motown Beat Tape on the web, contains over 40 tracks of hilariously clipping digital audio, and I absolutely love the way it sounds. Take the beat below for example.

Now we can at this point only speculate vaguely as to what he was doing, but i'd like to understand it as best I can. Since this was made long before Donuts, I think it's safe to assume he produced it on his trusty MPC 3000. Not being an MPC user at all I wanted to ask: is it possible in your experience to get this kind of clipping/distortion in your sample chain, and where would you speculate that it's occurring? Based on what I could see from the waveform, it looked like the louder things got in the track, the more it distorted all round, which led me to believe that it was the whole mix that was clipping, rather than certain sampled elements of it. You can even hear in the track below, the kick and snare distort more noticeably the louder the other samples get alongside them. Is it possible to clip the output of the MPC in this manner, before it gets sent to your external converters? Could he have even been literally slamming the inputs on his digital interface to cause this sound? Whatever he did, i'm down with it and would like to understand it as much as possible.

Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated.

Old 30th July 2013
  #2
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Dayl's Avatar
That is not the greatest beat to begin with and the sound quality is TERRIBLE like many of his demo's

......but it's Dilla so it would get a pass in many a circle jerk worldwide..... no doubt, lmao
Old 30th July 2013
  #3
See, I understand completely why you would say that, and although the whole 'mixes sound bad but his beats are so good it doesn't matter' line of thinking makes sense to me, I actually LIKE the way this mix sounds, even from a purely sonic standpoint. That's a personal thing but I'd like to know how he archived this sound.
Old 30th July 2013
  #4
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Dayl's Avatar
It's a demo, people get caught up in the myth that they no longer see the man.

If you want to get a sound like that just disregard levels and gainstaging etc.... just make music ... maybe put a bit cruncher on each channel or whatever to drive it home, but it's less to do with gear and more to do with intent and musical priorities for the beat in question.
Old 30th July 2013
  #5
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Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

Just clip your ****....you're looking for clues when there are none.
Old 30th July 2013
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Can someone show me a positive example of analog clipping?
Old 30th July 2013
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Realigion View Post
Can someone show me a positive example of analog clipping?
The original Ruff Draft, NOT the S/T reissue.
Old 30th July 2013
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayl View Post
It's a demo, people get caught up in the myth that they no longer see the man.

If you want to get a sound like that just disregard levels and gainstaging etc.... just make music ... maybe put a bit cruncher on each channel or whatever to drive it home, but it's less to do with gear and more to do with intent and musical priorities for the beat in question.
Thanks for the help Dayl, but once again I don't think you understand me on one point. I'm not an obsessive fan who's lost all sense of objectivity or understanding of my own preferences. Whether this is a demo or not is unimportant to me, I like this sound, and am inspired by it. It may not fit within the (somewhat limited) purview of what constitutes good engineering, but once again that doesn't matter to me. I'm listening to my ears not my understanding of correct practice, and my ears tell me this sounds good.

That's all I need to know.
Old 30th July 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Digital clipping??Of course contrary to general belief,can be taken advantage of.Anther form of distortion.Dodgy,suspect and totally against the rules.Gotta love it sometimes.Usaually does not sound very good of course.But while smoked and into your music late at night things happen without you knowing it.
Old 30th July 2013
  #10
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Dayl's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MmBuddha View Post
Thanks for the help Dayl, but once again I don't think you understand me on one point. I'm not an obsessive fan who's lost all sense of objectivity or understanding of my own preferences. Whether this is a demo or not is unimportant to me, I like this sound, and am inspired by it. It may not fit within the (somewhat limited) purview of what constitutes good engineering, but once again that doesn't matter to me.
Haha, I won't interupt any further. I just want to clarify that I by know means meant to give the impression that you lost all sense of self when a dilla track played.

I understand you perfectly, even better than you understand me it seems.

Like many other people on this site, I care little about what constitutes good practice when it comes to tone shaping and following my ears.... if it's clipping ... so what! No problem!

The fact that it is a demo is actually quite significant, I didn't point this out to ruin the fun. Still... I think it sounds like ass..... that's me though, if it inspires you, then this is a good thing.

Now, go an clip something..... I think soundforge used to be able to do this to samples, it's been a while.
Old 30th July 2013
  #11
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Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

The quality is definitely a rough mix but when the "SEEEEEE" vocal part of the sample comes in it sounds like a big square fart.
Old 30th July 2013
  #12
Where do you reckon it's clipping? Inside the MPC? The digital interface?
Old 30th July 2013
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MmBuddha View Post
Where do you reckon it's clipping? Inside the MPC? The digital interface?
Just about any limiter will do that when things are taken entirely to far.
I actually like that beat even though I'm definitely not a sample producer, but I'm not sure if I care for the LEVEL of clipping he introduced. But it definitely adds another element to the beat.
Old 30th July 2013
  #14
Gear Addict
 
mrfortune's Avatar
 

Jdillas secret was making real hiphop, as in living it , as in it was his lifestyle as in you use what you got. Really nothing different then what other heads around my way did , make real ****. Obviously his talent speaks for itself
Old 4th December 2013
  #15
I find it interesting that sort of ****ty recordings or taped samples or even vinyl distortion gives some beats a certain emotion and/or nostalgia that our ears love. some of our ears that is ..
Old 4th December 2013
  #16
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Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

I love Dillas ****...the rough mixes on his beat tapes are pure hip hop...

This beat the OP posted is really ****ty tho even by Dillas beat tape standards.
Old 4th December 2013
  #17
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ohsnap's Avatar
 

Quote:
Any thoughts or ideas are appreciated.
That's not the Dilla sound, that's Dilla demos from a time when demos didn't have to sound like finished products.

Listen to his finished stuff from before he died. Pretty well balanced and not clipped to @%#@$%#.
Old 4th December 2013
  #18
if you wanna hear digital clipping check out madlibs solo production (ie non jaylib which is quite smashed too). make a dope beat and turn that main compressor on

loud loud loud............... without the harshness cuz these dudes know how to 1) arrange and 2) choose their samples
Old 4th December 2013
  #19
Gear Nut
 

You gotta buy that plugin called "audio clipper" or something.

Are people seriously lost on how to clip/distort their audio now?
It's not like we have 100's of bit crushing vsts available or anything like that.

You gotta put the bit crusher in the 3rd spot in your sample chain or your **** wont sound "good"

Best of luck!
Old 4th December 2013
  #20
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ohsnap's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by derpydoo View Post
You gotta buy that plugin called "audio clipper" or something.

Are people seriously lost on how to clip/distort their audio now?
It's not like we have 100's of bit crushing vsts available or anything like that.

You gotta put the bit crusher in the 3rd spot in your sample chain or your **** wont sound "good"

Best of luck!
Almost bro, you forgot to..

Go in the red on every channel and plugin, in and out.
Have at least a couple of L2's on the mix buss.

Don't mix into it, slap it on afterwards.
Old 5th December 2013
  #21
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3rd Degree's Avatar
 

In the example posted, to me, it sounds like anything digitally clipping. I haven't used a 3000 but I have used more than a few Akai and other samplers and they clip about the same as Reason. I know people what to find some mysterious technique here but it sounds like anything clipping. If you like it, just let clip, simple as that.
Old 7th December 2013
  #22
Gear Head
 
sketcho's Avatar
 

I know exactly what OP is talking about. Dilla's audio clipping sounds like it's supposed to be there (Madlib's does too). Most other producer's audio clipping just sound like ass. One Dilla track that always has me questioning what is possible is 'My old label' insrumental. The distortion on the drums is so gritty and so fresh all at the same time.. unreal



Unfortunately, there's no real answers as to what the hell Dilla was actually doing.
Old 7th December 2013
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

That beat isn't very good in my opinion, it's boring. Not saying it wouldn't sound good with a rapper on it, but alone it's boring. And when the loud vocal samples come in I wanna put ear muffs on. Some people might take the clipping and bad mixing as something artistic but I like listening to my music LOUD so when I'm blaring my system I don't want to hear some terribly mixed music destroying my hearing.

It can be pulled off and I'm not even saying Dilla can't pull it off, but this song is donks.
Old 10th December 2013
  #24
Gear Addict
 

not that it matters, but thats not an MPC
Old 21st March 2019
  #25
Here for the gear
 

I know this is super old. the distortion on this beat is from the tubes on the korg esx1. just turn up the tubes. He abused this box. All the beat tapes he was doing with those super wild chops is from the slicer. you gotta own a esx to know. here are some beats made with the slicer Freely by Source code | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Mute by Source code | Free Listening on SoundCloud
Old 26th March 2019
  #26
And to readjust here, what you hear is the ADC from the MPC 3000 clipping. In other words, the inputs being smashed hard.
I own both the MPC 3000 and the S3000 ( both same sampling engine ) and thats how an over squashed Kick sound like when you abuse the input.

Have a listen to some of my old samplers here :


You'll hear the S3000 with safe level first (@2:10) then you'll hear the S3000 Squashing the hell out of a drum loop (@2:30).

You'll recognize the sound youre talking about instantly.

P.S. I'm also a very deep lover of the MPC 3000 Distortion when clipping the input so dont worry about people not understanding that feel...its really a genre specific thing . Dont bother explaining yourself. Let them listen to violons recording.
Old 28th March 2019
  #27
Gear Head
If you want that kind of distortion I have 2 suggestions.

Free one:
Take Izotopes free Vinyl Plugin, remove the noise (scratches, dust,...) and just clip the **** out of your track within the plugin. Here is the link:

Vinyl | Free Plug-in

If you want to spend some bucks check out Klanghelms SDRR. Its 23 Euros via PayPal and should get you where you want. Pay attention to proper gain staging with this one and read the manual!

SDRR Overview

Cheers,
.drIX.
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