How to Correct Clipping in Logic Pro

By Andrew Tennyson

Signal clipping occurs when the volume of a track or bus becomes too loud, which results in distortion. You know your channel is clipping when its peak level display turns red. Avoid clipping in Logic Pro X by setting up proper gain staging, which is the process of adjusting relative volume levels on tracks so that you have enough headroom overall to avoid clipping. To prevent clipping, start at the source of the sound -- in this case the microphone -- and reduce its level and then that of the track and bus until you have a clean signal. On tracks you've already recorded, you can correct clipping by adding compression or limiter plugins.

Step 1

Adjust the gain level on your audio interface or preamp to reduce the overall signal level coming into Logic. If you're using a dedicated preamp, it may have an output volume knob you can reduce so that the level it sends to Logic is lower.

Step 2

Open your Logic project and adjust the volume on the track or bus that's clipping. Click the "Mixer" button in the control bar to switch to mixer view or click "View" on the main menu and select "Show Mixer."

Step 3

Each track or bus has a dedicated channel volume fader that controls its overall volume -- locate the track or bus that's clipping and pull down its channel volume fader to reduce its volume.

Step 4

Add a compression plugin to the track or bus to tame its peaks. Compression is a tool that reduces the overall dynamic range of a track, bringing up its lower levels and reducing its peaks so that the track does not clip. To add a compression plugin in Logic Pro X, switch to mixer view, click one of the track's empty audio-effect slots and select your desired compression plugin. Logic comes with a selection of native compression plugins.

Step 5

Add a limiter plugin to a track or bus to prevent it from clipping. A limiter is like a wall beyond which volume cannot go. Placing a limiter plugin on a track and setting it at -1db, for example, ensures that the volume of the track can't exceed -1db. Click an empty audio effect slot on the track or bus and select a limiter plugin.

Tips & Warnings

  • Proceed in increments when reducing the volume of a channel that's clipping. The peak level display on the channel strip indicates how much over 0db the channel is clipping. Start by reducing the track's volume by this amount and then play the track again to see if it's still clipping. If it is, continue reducing the volume in 0.5 db increments until the problem is resolved.
  • You can use mixer view either in the main control window or in a separate window. To open the mixer view in a separate window, click "Window" on the main menu and select "Open Mixer." You can also open the mixer view in a separate window by pressing "Command-2" on your Mac's keyboard.
  • Even if all of your tracks are playing cleanly without clipping, a bus or master output can still clip -- this sort of clipping occurs due to summing, which is a term describing the combined volume of multiple tracks playing together through a single channel: the signals add together to create a louder overall volume. Eventually all of the tracks in your project are summed through the master output in Logic. Pay particular attention to the master output to ensure it's not clipping -- bring down the master output's volume faders and then add compression and limiting to prevent clipping.
  • Information in this article applies Logic Pro X. It may differ slightly or significantly with other versions or products.