ADClip6

ADClip6Demo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin for loudness maximization. While it can be used for clean peak-clipping, and is great for that, if the words ‘competitive loudness’ make you sad, stop reading now.

Still here? OK. Here’s the deal: ADClip was already one of the most formidable weapons for loudness. The last version, ADClip5, introduced some new ways to monitor what you were doing, and a pesky high frequency bug that bit a few people who were using it on VERY bright content. That bug’s squished, which is one reason the new version’s come out.

Another reason is this: there’s a new monitoring mode that compensates for input gain. So if you’re boosting inside ADClip, you can use that to listen at equal loudness to the results and be sure you’re not getting fooled by simple loudness increase (you should be able to hear where the sound gets smaller as it’s squashed by clipping), plus using that it’s easy to bypass the effect and compare it directly with unclipped, unrestricted output.

But the real reason is this: the sound doesn’t get smaller when you crush it. It gets bigger. ADClip6 under heavy clipping has at least a full octave of deep bass under what ADClip5 could do, which was already more than most loudenators can offer. You can plainly hear this in the demo, and you can dial it in any way you like: exaggerating it, or pulling back the Subs Retain until you have the full scale of the music intact, but at a previously unreachable loudness.

If that wasn’t enough already, the main signal path plus the Subs Retain path also use a feature called Fatten Body, to transition more gracefully between clean audio and the smashy smashy. You can use it to finetune the fullness of the resulting output. To get the cleanest possible output in ‘safety clipping’ situations set it to zero. If you’re mastering for bigness, use it to balance the body and fullness of the track with the loudness and punchiness gained through driving ADClip6 hard.

And there’s a Soften Clips control, which can adjust how much ADClip6 de-glares the clipped highs. All of these work fine at their default settings of 0.5 but you should tune them to the needs of the audio you’re processing! Be careful as ADClip6 doesn’t react like normal clippers, it keeps going and going. Use subwoofers to monitor what it’s doing on the low-end, and compare the volume compensated version with the bypassed, unclipped version. Remember, added punch and openness is good, but ‘twice as loud as anybody else’ is just annoying even if it sounds awesome to you! Please don’t use this tool for evil. <3

ADClip6 declares no latency so you can track with it as part of a zero-latency DAW or live setup, but it will delay the signal by exactly one sample: I figure that’s not going to affect performance timing, and on the 2-buss it won’t affect relative positionings of tracks. We might be able to see better DAW performance when all the plugins used are declaring zero latency, so I’ve made this change. For use in submixes and places where you’re smashing tracks with a clipper to get specific tones, I recommend looking at the Airwindows plugin OneCornerClip, which is more of a waveshaper and delays zero samples. ADClip needs to also soften the exits from clips, so it can’t do that. Or, you could just use it and deal with the one sample internal delay (for instance, on an overall drum buss).

ADClip5 is $50.