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Why does Mix Control/Focusrite Control show that my song is clipping?

Applies to: Scarlett (6i6, 8i6, 18i6, 18i8, 18i20), Forte, Saffire (whole range), Clarett/Red Range

You may notice when playing back commercial recordings, or even your own recordings that have been mastered, that the meters corresponding to DAW 1 and DAW 2 appear to be clipping during playback (the peak indicator lights up red), even though the signal doesn’t sound as though it’s distorting.

In a digital system, the maximum signal level is 0dBFS. Since digital signals cannot exceed this limit, digital peak indicators are activated by a certain number of consecutive samples being at this level (this is different for each DAW or monitoring application). To clarify, this does not mean that the signal is exceeding this limit (since it can’t), nor does it indicate that the playback level is too high providing that the master output in your DAW is not clipping. 

Many commercial recordings use ‘brick wall limiting’ to increase the perceived loudness of the track by increasing the average volume. This results in more samples at full scale appearing consecutively, which will activate the peak indicator more frequently.

Mix Control and Focusrite Control have very sensitive peak indicators. This is useful because when monitoring inputs it is beneficial to not let the signal peak since this will result in digital clipping distortion, as there are not enough available bits to encode the signal correctly.

While it’s not necessarily indicative of a problem if you notice DAW (software) outputs clipping, you should avoid clipping the inputs by turning down the gain for the corresponding channels on the front of the interface.

If you have any queries please Contact Technical Support

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