Peak level display and signal clipping

The peak level display is a numerical display located above the level meter. It updates during playback to show the peak level reached, after the entire signal has been played through to the end, and provides a guide that should be used to set the Volume fader.

Figure. Showing signal clipping in the peak level display.

Signal clipping occurs when a signal that is too loud is fed through the output channel strip, thereby exceeding the limit of what can be accurately reproduced, resulting in distorted sound. The value shown in the peak level display lights red when the signal clips. This part of the peak level display is called the clipping indicator.

Note: It’s not an issue if individual channel strips show evidence of clipping, as long as the output channel strip—the summed level of all channel strips in the signal flow—does not indicate clipping.

To avoid clipping, you need to bring down the Volume fader by the same value that is shown in red in the peak level display. For more information, see Set channel strip volume levels.

Avoid clipping

  1. Observe the value shown in the peak level display.

    Figure. Showing signal clipping in the peak level display.

    In the figure, 1.7 dB is shown in the peak level display when the Volume fader is set to 2.2 dB.

  2. Drag the Volume fader down to a value of 0.5 or so.

Tip: You may find, however, that a Volume fader value of −1.2 sounds best in the context of the overall mix, and clips only once (by 0.3 dB) during playback. If this is the case, it’s nothing to worry about. Use your ears rather than your eyes as a guide.

Reset all clipping indicators

  • Click any clipping indicator (or use the Clear Overload Flag in Audio Channel Display key command).