How do you define clippping?


Dear All,

I’m trying to define clipping. I’ve managed to come up with the mathematical definition (distortion of the wave form in such a way that all amplitudes above a certain value are given the same, maximum value (and the opposite regarding the minimum amplitude)), but I’m still have trouble figuring out when clipping occurs sonically. I think that there’s probably some minimum number of samples in a row X (or maybe X out of Y samples in a row) which then sounds like clipping. Does anybody know how many samples this is? Or a good place to learn more about it? I suppose that it also matters what format/sampling rate you’re working with, so maybe it’s better to define it in terms of milliseconds instead of samples.

Thanks so much,


Keep in mind that sometimes a constant value held for some time may not necessarily be due to clipping.

For example, a square wave may result in some false positive being recognized, even if the wave itself is not clipped.


Yeah, honestly, without some a-priori knowledge about the input stream, separating unwanted clipping from desirable square waves, near impulses, or distortion, would be pretty much impossible.

If you know that your waveform can never go square, then your technique will probably work. Otherwise, you might get further by considering the problem in terms of abrupt frequency changes.