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Old 24th February 2004, 10:33 PM   #1
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Default What is clipping?

Hey, I was just wondering what clipping in an amp really is, besides somthing that damages speakers. I think i read somthin about square waves.. I dunno. Is it audiable or just somthin you can see with an 0-scope? Just curious I guess.. And what causes it? Thanks
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Old 24th February 2004, 11:16 PM   #2
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When you try to jump higher in a room than the ceiling is you smash your head.

Clipping is the same for the signal in an amplifier.

When the amplitude exceeds the rail voltage the signal is limited, i.e. clipped. So a sine wave gets flat on top and bottom. The higher you drive the signal the more it looks like a square wave.

And yes, this can be seen on an oscilloscope.
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Old 24th February 2004, 11:17 PM   #3
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Yes, it's both audible and visible with a scope. If your amp is asked to produce a 50v peak to peak sine wave and your amps rails are only +/-20v, the top and bottom of the wave will be cut off, or clipped. This is supposed to be the most damaging to tweeters although it's not good for woofers either.
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Old 25th February 2004, 04:06 AM   #4
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Look here http://sound.westhost.com/amp-sound.htm ,scroll down about 1/4 the page to Clipping Distortion
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Old 25th February 2004, 06:46 AM   #5
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http://www.bcae1.com/2ltlpwr.htm
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Old 25th February 2004, 08:24 PM   #6
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Hi Guitargully!

Yes you can see this clipping on the scope.
As the other always have described, the signal will
be cut above a certain limit. Transistor amplifiers show
a very sharp limit and it is easy to see this on the scope.

You can also hear it.
If normal Music is played you will notice more and more agressive
distorsion and sometimes even missing dynamics.

Rule of thumb for a party:
How much clipping your speakers will have survive, depends
very much on the number of beers you may give to the DJ.
Or on how proper you have adjusted a limiter...

During clipping the average power is quite high, because:
- The large signals are more rectangular (cut the of a sine wave).
- During the more silent sequences of the song the amplifier may not clip, but the power is still quite high (compared to what they would be during proper operation)
This causes a lot of heat in the speaker.
Please note. Not only the Woofer is in danger, but also the tweeter.
The spectrum of rectangular signal shows a lot of components with higher frequencies.


Cheers
Markus
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