TL;DW: Minimalist 2-buss safety clipper at -0.2dB with powerful anti-glare processing.
It occurred to me I hadn’t brought any clippers to VST yet. Also, I’ve been getting requests for the latest ADClip in VST format.
Thing is, ADClip is part of the for-pay collection that was formerly sold through Kagi. It’s got up to ADClip6 and grew all kinds of features, like the ability to monitor clips only, to store clipped-off energy and re-introduce it into the sound for added loudness, to monitor those things, and so on.
There’s also an alternate clipper in that collection, OneCornerClip, which makes the leading edge of the wave blend progressively into the clip at a rate you specify. That one can be set to a wide range of tonal effects under heavy clipping, and that too is part of the Kagi collection.
Those are stretch goals on the Patreon. If I start skipping ahead and doing stretch goals for nothing, what good are they? It’s not even fair to run around producing free versions of the Kagi plugins right away: firstly, they can still be bought in Audio Unit form and secondly, people spent money to get sounds you can’t otherwise have. I can’t do ADClip (or OneCornerClip).
However… I had freebie clippers that hadn’t yet seen VST format.
Here’s what I’ve done. I started with Clip2 and the original Clip freebie, and I used the new plugin as a way to experiment with ideas about the recurrence of mathematical constants. For instance, a common value used in reverb allpass filters is 0.618… which can be continued into a mathematical constant, the Golden Ratio (0.618033988749894848204586). It’s common for these things to turn up in disparate situations, so I look for them. And in the code where OneCornerClip rapidly converges onto full clipping with the broadest resulting variation of clip onset tonality, I found it zeroing in on cos(x) == x (0.739085133215160641655312) and selecting that optimal value for the guts of the thing I ended up with ClipOnly.
If you watch the video (one of the least necessary to watch for instructions: it’s a clipper at -0.2dB) you’ll see a lot about the other factors that went into ClipOnly. I show ADClip and its many controls, but then make an impassioned case for designs like ClipOnly, a known quantity with a predictable sound and no controls or adjustments whatsoever. Under normal circumstances there should be nothing you’d want or need to adjust, since the clip level combined with the anti-glare prevents any ‘digital reconstruction overs’ in normal use. It doesn’t do anything tricky to ‘enhance loudness’ beyond what it already is, unlike recent ADClip versions. It does have a very sophisticated enter/exit clip behavior, but to put it bluntly you don’t need to be thinking about that when mixing into a safety clipper (or tracking into such a mix).
In fact, you should not be thinking of that OR me while tracking your music and mixing it, you should be thinking about the sounds you’re making, and any distraction into the lands of ‘oh gee Chris is so clever, ClipOnly was well worth the money, look at all these knobs’ is hurting you even as it rewards me, the plugin developer, with attention.
And THIS is why I program things like ClipOnly, where possible. It might be the most forgiving safety clipper yet, as far as avoiding glare and harshness (I’m measuring extreme highs as much as 12 db down from the max under heavy load, and usually clippers by their nature exaggerate ‘crunch’ even when perfectly implemented). But ClipOnly is also part of a concept that I can run with now that I use Patreon: I get to make stuff that’s not showing off, either with controls or concepts or fancy faceplates, and just delivers the sonic goods.
I hope you like ClipOnly, but I also hope you quickly stop noticing anything about it, so you can focus on your mixing. You should be able to work into it, even hit it with heavy load and severe clipping for effect, without fussing or being distracted. The best silver bullet plugins are not the trickiest :)