Balance's Clip Safe Recording

Uploaded by PropellerheadSW on 15.10.2011

Check, check, test, test 1...2...1...2...1...2
Ta, ta, ta, tss, tss, tss, tss, ta, ti.
Okay. Looks alright, I'm just going to hit record here.
Away we go!
Okay. Today I wanted to talk to you about ClipSafe audio recording.
ClipSafe helps address one of the biggest problems in home recording today.
Thankfully we don't have to worry about losing good takes to distortion anymore.
The new Balance audio interface has a feature called...
Oh, OK oh, sorry about that.
Anyway, as I was saying,
today we're going to be looking at how you can use Balance and its ClipSafe feature
to save performances that would have been perfect if they hadn't distorted.
But why are we so worried about distortion in the first place?
I mean, guitar amps often boast of how much distortion they have.
And in Reason we've even created special distortion effects to help you ADD distortion to your signal.
So why are we now trying to avoid it?
The simple answer is that not all distortion is created equal.
Rock and Roll distortion came about in an era of analog tape recording
when there was practically no such thing as "too much signal."
For engineers at the time, more input volume brought about more tape saturation...
and more tape saturation brought about more awesomeness.
And more awesomeness brought about The Who.
Everyone was winning.
That whole way of thinking ended in the early 1990s with the dawn of digital recording.
In digital recording, once the signal goes above 0db things don't distort awesomely anymore.
Digital distortion is often called "clipping distortion"
because the audio waveform looks like someone took a pair of scissors and clipped the peaks off it.
Much like my haircut.
Musicians are then faced with a problem that's happened to the best of us.
As careful as we are in setting our levels,
once we start recording we close our eyes, lose ourselves in the moment,
and suddenly we're playing a bit louder than we expected.
Or instead, we keep one eye on the input meter and the performance suffers because of it.
It's very, very difficult to be both "performer" and "engineer" at the same time.
That's where ClipSafe comes in.
To activate ClipSafe recording, I simply press the "ClipSafe" button on Balance.
Now I set my recording level like I always have but with ClipSafe on,
the red clipping indicator shown on the input meter actually turns yellow instead.
That's because clipping is now more of a cautionary signal than a deal-breaker.
When my recording level is close to 0db, I'm ready to record.
With ClipSafe by my side... I can close my eyes, get lost in the moment,
and really let loose while recording... my jaw harp!
Okay... maybe I should use something a little more accessible... how about guitar.
OK. The take was good but I did clip a little during the recording.
You can see the spots where I clipped on the audio track. Which show up as red lines above the waveform.
To heal my clipped audio, I click the ClipSafe button in the sequencer
and the distorted portions of my waveform are restored from the ClipSafe backup.
And that's all there is to it.
Now that's really cool.
Just one problem.
If I play back the healed audio...
It may look healed but it still sounds distorted.
So what's up?
Is my guitar playing really just THAT bad?
Fortunately that's not the case.
The truth of the matter is that we're just one more step away from pristine audio.
But first let's review what we know so far.
We have already learned that signals above 0db in the digital realm sound bad.
And we also know our recording exceeded 0db.
That's why we had to use clip safe in the first place.
When we clicked ClipSafe, the portions of our audio waveform that were clipped off got restored.
Now when we playback our healed audio,
we're sending a signal that's above 0db to our master faderÉ
which is sending a signal that is above 0db to our sound card...
which is clipping the output and sounding distorted.
All we have to do is turn things down to hear our perfectly clean audio.
We can do that in a number of ways.
We could turn down the entire song's master fader,
the audio track's channel fader,
or we could just turn down the clip's level in the sequencer.
All three methods work just fine and there's no right or wrong way to work.
But personally, I like to turn down the clip level in the sequencer.
After I heal a clip using ClipSafe,
I switch my waveform zoom mode in the sequencer to the middle position.
Now I can see the parts of my waveform that go above 0db.
I just lower my clip level until everything is visible.
When there's no visible clipping on the screen, there's no audible clipping.
It's that simple.
And that's it.
That's all you need to know about ClipSafe.
When you no longer have to worry about setting perfect levels during recording,
you're free to worry about more important things...
like that impossibly high E above middle C on the chorus.
Good luck.