Clipping (signal processing)

Clipping (Signal Processing)

Clipping (signal processing)

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Description:
Clipping is a form of distortion that limits a signal once it exceeds a threshold. Clipping may occur when a signal is recorded by a sensor that has constraints on the range of data it can measure, it can occur when a signal is digitized, or it can occur any other time an analog or digital signal is transformed, particularly in the presence of gain or overshoot and undershoot.

Clipping may be described as hard, in cases where the signal is strictly limited at the threshold, producing a flat cutoff; or it may be described as soft, in cases where the clipped signal continues to follow the original at a reduced gain. Hard clipping results in many high frequency harmonics; soft clipping results in fewer higher order harmonics and intermodulation distortion components.

Audio





In the audio domain, clipping may be heard as general distortion or as pops.

Because the clipped waveform has more area underneath it than the smaller unclipped waveform, the amplifier produces more power than its rated (sine wave) output when it is clipping. This extra power can damage any part of the loudspeaker, including the woofer, or the tweeter, by causing over-excursion, or by overheating the voice coil. It may cause damage to the amplifier's power supply or simply blow a fuse.

In the frequency domain, clipping produces strong harmonics in the high frequency range (as the clipped waveform comes closer to a squarewave). The extra high frequency weighting of the signal could make tweeter damage more...
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