[LAD] (Modular) Synth and Clipping

Aurélien Leblond blablack at gmail.com
Sat Jun 15 13:56:13 UTC 2013

Hi all,

In a tentative of giving more personality to the modular synth modules
of the avw.lv2 set, I have been looking at clipping.
I would like here to discuss here a few assumptions, the fruit of my
research and get a few feedback/comments to decide what direction to

- in some cases (or let say modules of a synth), clipping is
implemented more to copie what an analogue system would do than a
mandatory part of the algorithm... Let's take an example: 2 sin waves
mixed together of amplitude -1/1 will just have an amplitude of -2/2
(as long as they are in phase)... A digital mixer without clipping
would be able to cope with that, but an analogue one wouldn't... and
that's why the analogue system would clip the signal......right?
- What method of clipping is used will give a "personality" to the
module: hard clipping, soft clipping, the method used for soft
clipping, etc...right?
- Hard clipping is something of the digital world - it doesn't exist
in the analogue world... right?
- Soft clipping will deform any waves of amplitude -1/1 even if it
doesn't exceed the accepted threshold, because just before reaching
the threshold  the algorithm will take over and softly make the signal
reach the maximum amplitude and keep it there until the original
signal goes back under a set threshold.....right?
- Is there a preferred stage for clipping? In the case of a filter,
should we clip before filtering, after or both? Or are all these
options valid and that's what will give an additional personality to
the filter?

Thanks in advance for any comments!


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