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prevent mp3 clipping on playback

Started by soccerjoe5, April 20, 2006, 02:08:22 AM

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soccerjoe5

hi all. just wanted to help out with some of the things i learned.

clipping not only occurs with the usual: amp gain settings etc. it can also occur with the mp3's you play on your car audio system. see, each mp3 has its own "volume" setting, it's own gain setting (read more below). that's why some mp3's can sound louder than others even with when you haven't touched the system's volume knob.

there are some ways to avoid clipping and to make the mp3's have the same "volume". the usual and more popular one is the type that keeps the volume of the mp3s at the same level during playback a.k.a normalization.  a good example is the "sound check" feature of the ipod and itunes. however, this doesn't really  solve the problem completely.

to do so, you really have to adjust the mp3's gain setting to one that avoids clipping, just like your car's amp. i personally use MP3Gain (http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/). i put all of my mp3s in my whole music library on a gain setting or "normal volume" of 89.0dB, which is the recommended one. it will keep your mp3 a safe distance from clipping. the software uses that gain setting on default.

the software uses a different technique compared to that of normalization. many normalizers use "peak amplitude" as a reference. however, songs can have very different peak amplitudes yet still sound as they're of the same volume to the human ear. MP3Gain uses a "replay gain algorithm" which calculates how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear. this is the "gain" setting used by the program.

(read more at http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/faq.php)

one thing you may notice is that when you have the newly adjusted mp3s is that they may play a bit softer. you might want to put a notch up on your regular volume on your head unit  ;)

mp3s from ripping software usually get a gain setting of 95dB above, and most of them are prone to clipping from the mp3 alone.

anyway, hope this helps people who like listening to mp3s. keep those mp3s sounding they're best ;D

soccerjoe5

i mostly use my ipod for the car and i want it sounding its best. so here are some tips to get the best quality out of your ipod:

1. use the ipod's lineout connection instead of the headphone jack. this is located at the bottom of the unit, so you'll need something to do so. an example is the Sendstation Pocketdock (http://www.sendstation.com/us/products/pocketdock/lineout-usb.html)
this avoids having to use the ipod's built-in amplifier, which doesn't put out the best audio quality.

2. use the line-in connection of your head-unit if you have one. an example is pioneer's IP-bus aux-in. this is for the cleanest signal and best audio quality, compared to that of tape adapter and fm adapters. if you don't have an aux-in, the tape adapter is next in quality.

3. adjust the gain (previous post) to 89.0 dB to avoid clipping.

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