Bass Clippers — an overview
By Cornelius Gould
Whenever audio is “clipped”, it is literally “distorted”. This distortion is very similar to what is used for that big LOUD rock guitar sound. The key to broadcast processing is to do this without the distortion being audible. Clipping in broadcast audio give the audio more “impact” and in most cases also boosts perceived loudness.
The Bass clippers probably came to prominence with the introduction of Bob Orban’s Optimod 8100 audio processor.
In the 8100, the purpose of the bass clipper in the 8100 is to more-or less allow the bass processor to run at a more natural rate. This rate means that the attack time is somewhat slow. Slow attack times means that you sometimes get large peak excursions that must be dealt with to control modulation. The cleverness of the 8100 is this: The peak is allowed to happen, but it is “chopped” off by the bass clipper. This provides instantaneous compression of the bass audio. Without losing bass “impact”. This is cool, but that’s not all!