Audio Clipping Indicator

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

This circuit was intended to be used as a separate, portable unit, to signal by means of a LED when the output wave form of a particular audio stage is `clipping` i. e. is reaching the onset of its maximum permitted peak-to-peak voltage value before an overload is occurring. This will help the operator in preventing severe, audible distortion to be

Audio Clipping Indicator
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generated through the audio equipment chain. This unit is particularly useful in signaling overload of the input stages in mixers, PA or musical instruments amplification chains, but is also suited to power amplifiers. A careful setting of Trimmer R5 will allow triggering of the LED with a wide range of peak-to-peak input voltages, in order to suit different requirements. Unfortunately, an oscilloscope and a sine wave frequency generator are required to accurately setup this circuit. Obviously, the unit can be embedded into an existing mixer, preamp or power amplifier, and powered by the internal supply rails in the 9 - 30V range. The power supply can also be obtained from higher voltage rails provided suitable R/C cells are inserted. SW1 and B1 must obviously be omitted. The heart of the circuit is a window comparator formed by two op-amps packaged into IC1. This technique allows to detect precisely and symmetrically either the positive or negative peak value reached by the monitored signal. The op-amps outputs are mixed by D1 and D2, smoothed by C4, R7 and R8, and feed the LED driver Q1 with a positive pulse. C5 adds a small output delay in order to allow detection of very short peaks. With the values shown, the circuit can be easily set up to detect sine wave clipping from less than 1V to 30V peak-to-peak (i. e. 15W into 8 Ohms). If you need to detect higher output peak-to-peak voltages, R1 value must be raised. On the...

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