Vlc Media Player Good For Detecting Excess Bass!?

Hey guys, relatively novice producer here. I found some interesting out the other day. I had thought I had finished mixing a song…had tried it out at really low and high volumes on a few systems and in different formats…I then accidentally used the volume control in vlc media player and all my low end became distorted!! I was like what??? Of course it couldn’t be me, I then tried similar low end heavy tracks with the same setting and they sounded perfect!! My low end was all screwed up!! I had even used a frequency analyser to compare against similar tracks and they basically had the same curve! Even more low end removal and compression solved the problem. Any one know why I wasn’t able to detect this within renoise and other systems but vlc media ? I will reiterate the distortion did not occur with similar tracks at the same volume so the problem is most definitely me.
Thx guys!! :)

The phenomenon you encountered is called “clipping”. Renoise doesn’t clip because it uses 32bit floating point mixing internally. If you want to simulate clipping, there are clipping VSTs out there that let you set a clipping threshold.

Cheers man thx, have patience with me for a sec…is this an actual clipper or something that detects clipping…I was quite suprised as i had limiters across all my tracks including the master track…I thought I had circumvented clipping!! Thx again!! ;)

When you turn up the VLC (I guess beyond half way) it actually amplifies the signal, which introduces clipping which wasn’t there before.

yeah thats what i thought…is that what would happen to my track if it was played on a big system…ie cinema or club? Thx 4 responding!!

Not likely. Unless you play it through VLC with bad volume settings.

thx for response, just came back from turkey so I haven’t been on net…curious, whydon’t you think that clipping would not occur if big sound systems also use amps?

Amplifiers aren’t computers. When VLC amplifies the sound, it’s simply multiplying the amplitude values by the slider value. The clipping results because the soundcard uses integer values to represent the amplitude, and integers only have a certain range of possible values… when you exceed that value, you end up with digital clipping. Analog amps, on the other hand, use either solid state circuits or tubes to “physically” amplify the signal.

I didn’t notice until some time using VLC that the volume control goes farther than 100%, so when you slide the volume up it, distortion and clipping are easy to happen.

Thx guys…byte smasher, for your explanation. One thing I will say, however, is that regardless of the vlc amp being “faulty” pro songs didn’t clip even with the volume way up! So I gotta improve my low end!! :)

Well, then these pro songs are recorded or ripped into low volume mp3’s. Every normalized (being as loud as possible without clipping) song will distort when you increase the volume in VLC over 100% ;)

Thx for response…I appreciate a lot of the info and last comment. The issue is that my vlc media player actually doesn’t go over 100…clipping normally occurs in badly produced songs(mine and other non-pros) when I raise the level over the 50 mark(between 60 and 100). In response to something someone had said, the pro songs I use to compare are actually wave files, not mp3s. To some this may be a trivial issue, I look at this as a litmus test. If every single well produced song passes this test and mine doesn’t, I must be doing something wrong. I don’t clip on the low end anymore with test. I keep all of my levels at around -6db and have virtually no unneccesary bass on my tracks as I hp filter everything. I use limiters on my master and get my rms to peak momentarily around -6db. So if it is the digital amplication of vlc that causes this…why do pro songs pass this test? What does this say about my tracks…how should I improve them? When looking at a pro track in renoise I noticed it actually peaked at -6db and rmsed at -9db!! Should one actually set a ceiling at -6? How they got such a high rms with a -6 ceiling is beyond me!!

Edit: I just compared tracks in renoise and realised all tracks play back at -6db…therefore these tracks actually rms at around -3db! And the the dynamics were still intact…the level meter was jumping all over the place, not shaking around the -3db mark. If this volume war is such a bad thing, why are my tracks clipping at -6 and these pro tracks sound perfect at -3?! Crazy!!

An RMS of -6db is pretty high! I go for more like -11db, and people still sometimes complain that my mixes are too hot.

Yes, I agree that -6db rms is quite loud…the point is, this song I am comparing to hits -3 and sounds CLEANER than mine despite all this talk about ultra-loud mastering causing distortion. (for those tuning in, I hearing clipping in my tracks when I play them in vlc media player with the volume over 50) So there must be a way to improve. For now, for sanity’s sake, I have backed off to around -10 and I can barely hear any clipping in vlc with some other adjustments I made. Does anyone know how to increase rms w/o increasing peak? This song I am comparing to didn’t seem to be saturated in the peak readings between -3 and 0 like mine…yet would peak -3rms!!! I am amazed:)

Lowering peak volume relative to RMS volume is pretty much the definition of “compression”.

duh@myself…thank you… :)

Basically, All I want to know is why do my tracks sometimes clip in vlc…I know why vlc itself can cause songs to clip. I want to know why mine do in comparision to songs which are mastered considerably louder than mine. None of my channels hit near -5db peak, I always cut low end AND excess high end. I limit my tracks and I do not squash them…I notice the clipping(in vlc media) in comparision to songs(wav files as well) at -3db when mine are sometimes only -10db. Is there some secret clipping limit I know nothing about as mine peak well below 0db at -.65db+/-.

I thought keeping my channels well below 0db and limiting was enough to prevent clipping…is there something I am missing?

Maybe you can upload a few short clips in .WAV format so the rest of us can test it?

gr8 idea, will do in a few mins…intro uses your fabulous glitch btw! I will put it on soundcloud.


Ok, here it is…mind you I have fiddled with it so that I sounds much better, however, it still sounds a little nasty when I play it in vlc with the vol over 50 and louder pro songs don’t so I am at a loss…