Prevent Cliping. Apollo Twin.

Hello. If you hate noob threads, dont continue readinng. Im using Cubase 8.5 on windows 10 with the Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB and a pair of Dynaudio BM5 mkiii. The level meter on my Apollo is peaking / clipping / is red - when i play some loud midi drum kicks or loud bass synthesizers and loud snares and that kind of stuff.

  • First of all, does red clipping means that i risk damage the unit or my speakers or both, or is it only the audio the gets slightly distorted with no else harm? Actually i can’t really hear the clipping i think, i mean the sounds that peaks on the meter are loud but not distorted?

-Is there a way to limit the monitor output to prevent from clipping. Kids and young people are using the studio, so i want to make sure that no one can accidentally damage the system.

-I got some Apollo Controller Software, that could be a solution but i dont now how?

-I know i can kind of solve the problem by, for example turning down the master output inside my Battery 4 drum plugin if thats the tricker. But then, when another track is created or another vst is loaded, the clipping can occur again. If i limit the Master Fader output of Cubase, it would be reset when a new project is created.

  • I like the music to be loud, but i dont want to see the red peaks on the apollo on my desk. My monitors should be able to play very loud and clear, without clipping, not matter how evil VST’s i got.

  • I really dont understand Clipping, Db, Audiometers - please tell me what is going on.

Best Regards Theis.

This clipping will not damage anything. But of course it’s not something you want in a mix.

You don’t mention that Cubase meters are showing clipping so first thing to establish is if everything in Cubase is set OK. So make sure your stereo out is exactly at zero and if you use Control room make sure that the volume control in there is also at zero.

With settings like this theoretically the stereo out meter in Cubase should show a clip at the same level the interface does. In practise there can be small differences so don’t worry if one clips a fraction of a db lower/higher than the other.
You can always check this with a test tone (There’s a plugin for this)

Now as to why these instruments cause clipping: Almost every vsti manufacturer, sample library creator, loop library creator are making their sounds too loud to work in a mix…probably so that they sound impressive when you audition them. Also, as you already discovered combining sounds will increase the levels.
Just turn them down with the vsti output or mixer pre gain (if not way too loud you can just use the channel fader but if you do this too much you tend to end up with all faders too low which can make it harder to fine adjust later in the mix.

There is a lot of information around about DAW gain staging around so maybe worth a google and a read. Although you will see many people telling you that levels MUST be exactly -18dbfs RMS or the sky will fall down, do not get too anal about it…if you just get stuff in the right ballpark you will be fine.

As your mixing skills progress you might also begin experimenting with compression or limiting on the master buss which will stop clipping and let you achieve a louder mix but this is best left off at least until you understand what it is really doing and how it affects your mix (many would argue it’s always best left off but many modern producers do mix into this kind of processing)