What exactly is "clipping"

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mike2626
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What exactly is "clipping"

Post by mike2626 » 03 Jun 2013 15:49

Hello all,,
Pretty new to all this but REALLY enjoying listening to my vinyl,, bringing me "back to the day"
Can someone explain what clipping is, what it sounds like, and exactly what causes it..... Am I in any danger of it or damaging my speakers,, I just bought a nice pair of dynaco a-25. And I would hate to loose them...I am powering them with a Kenwood Kr-6030,,,and technics 1700 mk2. Any advice,, or info is well appreciated.
Thanks. Mike

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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by mike2626 » 03 Jun 2013 15:50

Sorry,, I posted this in the wrong place

cats squirrel
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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by cats squirrel » 03 Jun 2013 16:15

Hi Mike,

clipping is usually the inability of the amplifier to provide the voltage necessary to deliver the power demanded by the 'speakers and music signal.

I believe your amplifier is rated as 80 watts into 8 ohms. As power can be expressed as IxIxR (current squared x resistance (impedance)), we can calculate the current needed for 80 watts into 8 ohms, which is the square root of ten, or just over pi. Using Ohm's Law, voltage is current x resistance, which is pi x 8, which is 25 volts. [Lets forget about whether it is RMS or peak music power, and the voltage drop across output transistors, etc, keep it simple].

So as long as your amplifier can supply 25 volts across your loudspeakers, you are not going to clip it.

When the power supply for the power amplifiers cannot supply enough voltage, then clipping occurs. This turns a sine wave (for example) into more of a square wave, which then contains a high proportion of harmonics (harmonic distortion) which can (and will) harm your tweeters.

The sound of clipping, if mild, is very gritty distortion. IMHO, it is a lot more common than is usually thought.

I don't think you need to worry about it, mike, with your set-up. :D

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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by josephazannieri » 03 Jun 2013 16:22

Yo mike2626:

"Clipping"is a form of distortion that occures when an amplifier is driven to the point that it cannot produce sufficent power to meet demands. It describes a deformation to the test sine wave so that the curves on the top and the bottom are flattened, or "clipped" off. Clipping is hard to get unless you are using really loud volume. You can usually hear it in a general loss of clarity and a "crunched" sound.

Clipping will overheat the tweeter voice coil, causing burnout if it continues for a great length of time. Sometimes with grossly inefficient speakers, you will clip continuously, but this is generally very rate. Occasionally, when really playing loud, you will get some clipping on peaks. This is usually not a problem. How many watts is your amp? If it is over 40 watts a channel or so, you will probably not hurt your A-25's unless you are blasting it so loud that your neighbors complain.

And good luck from that reassuring old guy,

Joe Z.

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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by mike2626 » 04 Jun 2013 14:28

Thanks Joseph, and Cat Squirrel,,,,,I can always count on the "vinyl community" for a wealth of knowledge!!
Mike

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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by Rega Dude » 01 Jul 2013 03:02

josephazannieri wrote:Yo mike2626:

"Clipping"is a form of distortion that occures when an amplifier is driven to the point that it cannot produce sufficent power to meet demands. It describes a deformation to the test sine wave so that the curves on the top and the bottom are flattened, or "clipped" off. Clipping is hard to get unless you are using really loud volume. You can usually hear it in a general loss of clarity and a "crunched" sound.

Clipping will overheat the tweeter voice coil, causing burnout if it continues for a great length of time. Sometimes with grossly inefficient speakers, you will clip continuously, but this is generally very rate. Occasionally, when really playing loud, you will get some clipping on peaks. This is usually not a problem. How many watts is your amp? If it is over 40 watts a channel or so, you will probably not hurt your A-25's unless you are blasting it so loud that your neighbors complain.

And good luck from that reassuring old guy,

Joe Z.
OK I'm not claiming to be a Very Knowledgeable Dude, but I always thought clipping is what occurs when your amplifier deliberately cuts out in advance, in order to _prevent_ damage to your components. It results in an audible clicking, or worse, because some clever engineer planned for when a guy kile you might build a mismatched system that would ask your amplifier to produce more than it could deliver. I experienced clipping when I hooked up a Marantz 2385 to B&W 803D speakers that were designed to drop their impedance too low for the amplifier's ability to provide the necessary current. It broke my heart, because I had to retire the unit. But nothing was damaged. The sound was horrible.

Someone who is an electronic engineer, or such, is welcome to comment here ... thanks.

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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by josephazannieri » 01 Jul 2013 13:00

Yo Rega Dude:

The phenomenon I describe as "clipping" caused by pushing the amplifier beyond its power producing capability. In that situation, a sine wave produced by the amp has the formerly rounded top and bottom cut off and replaced with a flat line. Like the language of love, which is the same in all countries, the phenomenon I describe is pretty much the same with all amps, and the lower the amp power, the more likely it is to happen.

The phenomenon you describe is different, and occurs differently on diffferent amps. I hear it called "going into protection," and it occurs when there is a huge current draw from amp, caused either by a very low impedance speaker, or by really playing loud. The purpose is to protect the amp output transistors from overheating or otherwise being injured from way low impedance load or from other bad conduct by the user of amp, like parallelling too may speakers or just turning the bass up and pounding it. Some amps have speaker fuses that blow to protect amp.

The protection was originated because early solid state amps would fail instantly without warning and cost bazillions to repair. Speaker impedance varies with frequenccy and some speakers present erratic loads, so transistor wmps were designed to give warning before they failed either by sounding bad, or by blowing a fuse. "Clipping" is something amp should not do. "Protection" is a designed-in feature to protect amp output transistors. It is designed in and amp is supposed to do it.

And good luck from that well-protected old distortion monger himself, now crawling into bunker and donning Kevlar to protect against blasts from those who disagree with his description,

Joe Z.

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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by cats squirrel » 01 Jul 2013 13:50

you can come out of your bunker, Joe, there is no battle! :D

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Re: What exactly is "clipping"

Post by pivot » 01 Jul 2013 14:51

I think you nailed it Joe. It is called clipping because the tops and bottoms of the waveforms are "clipped" off.

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