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Please explain "clipping"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by acapella rapeme, Dec 12, 2005.


  1. acapella rapeme

    acapella rapeme

    Dec 9, 2005
    Can someone tell me what that red "clip" light on my amp actually means? My first instinct is to think, oh no! I'm breaking it! whenever that comes on, but i got to wondering is it just like distortion on a guitar amp? Will clipping harm my amp in any way or does it just sound bad?
    P.S. The amp I'm referring to is a Fender Bassman 150 combo, if it makes any difference
     
  2. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    No offense, but you should start by doing a search; this has been discussed endlessly on this forum. Then, if your questions aren't answered, ask again.
     
  3. I'm no engineer, but as I recall, clipping can do damage to your speakers more than your amp.

    When clipping occurs, the peak of the sine wave is chopped off. Unlike compression which is supposed to squeeze & bend the analog signal to a lower level, clipping chops off everything above a certain amplitude, and part of the signal is lost.

    Because a low watt & cheap amp will clip before a higher watt amp.....a low watt amp can damage high watt rated speakers way more easily than a high watt amp at similar volumes, and, because the low watt amp will hit its distortion threshold long before the high watt amp

    Hope this gives a little light........cheers :)
     
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    This isn't quite true, as has also been explained at great length on this forum ....;)
     
  5. Thanks Richard......I did start my post with "I'm not an engineer", therefore someone who was could easily pick holes.
    Thanks for taking the time to help out......... :meh:
     
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    The clip indicator says there's an overload somewhere. It may be at the input, may be at the output, that you'd have to find out from the manufacturer. Suffice it to say that in either case if it's constantly lit it's not a good thing. Sporadic clipping is nothing to be concerned about.
     
  7. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I *have* taken the time to help out on this very topic, about a thousand times before, as have a lot of people. That's why I suggested a search, right? This has already been talked about ad infinitum. Wouldn't you say it saves everybody time to start with what's already there--to hit the ground running, as it were--and *then* ask if your question still wasn't quite answered? That's why you have FAQs and stickies ... and search.
     
  8. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
  9. In Richards defense, I think he was pretty respectful the first thousand times he answered the question....

    Randy
     
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  11. Interceptor

    Interceptor Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    Picking up from the talented Munji.

    Clipping occurs when a signal being amplified is larger than the amplfier can handle. Basically, and amplifier acts as (scary math mode on) as a multiplier, but a multiplier with a maximum product.

    As an example, if an amplifier has a gain of 10, but can't exceed 100...

    input of 6 x 10 (gain) = 60 (ok, no clipping)

    input of 11 x 10 (gain) = 100 (ran out of steam, ended up clipped)

    Consult your owner's manual regarding your amp, as the clip led may be for the preamp, or for overall level. If it is for the preamp, your end result is likely to be a harshness in tone, if it is overall, turn it down to help avoid equipment damage.

    Peace.
     
  12. The owner's manual for your amp is available here: http://www.fender.com/support/manuals/pdfs/manuals_elec/basspdf/Bassman_150_2005-.pdf

    You have two clipping indicators, one for preamp, and one for power amp. Clipping the power amp is what you most want to avoid. Some amps have an output limiter which lights up an LED when engaged, but I do not see evidence of that in the Bassman 150. It would appear that your clip LED is telling you that you are out of power. Clipping the power amp can be harmful to the speaker.

    Preamp clipping will tend to make your tone sound nasty and overdriven.

    If you see the output clip light flashing a lot, back off on the volume.

    One way to get more volume is to cut the bass, because low frequencies take most of the power. The middle frequencies are what help you cut through the mix.
     
  13. big low end

    big low end

    Dec 19, 2005
    Then he needed to go 1001....with respect due..