23rd International AES Conference
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SESSION 1: SIGNAL CONVERSION AND PERCEPTUAL EFFECTS


Overload in Signal Conversion
Søren H. Nielsen and Thomas Lund
TC Electronic A/S, Risskov, Denmark


Digital audio material is often mastered at such hot levels that frequent clipping in the digital domain occurs. While this in itself can cause listener fatigue, the sound is often severely distorted in the digital-to-analog conversion process at the listener end due to lack of headroom in the reproduction. Purely digital processing such as sample rate conversion may exhibit the same problem. This paper describes measurements to quantify the problem and new listening tests performed on commercial recordings to demonstrate the phenomena. Furthermore, methods to avoid the distortion are discussed and demonstrated.