Is digital headroom necessary for a clear mix?

Is digital headroom necessary for a clear mix?


they will cancel out since we have terrible intuition

and not all dacs are made alike.


did some digging into the spec of the 32 bit dacs, it seems they sampled over 5000 commercial CDs and found intersample peaks around 2db.

“The DAC2 reduces the signal level of the digital signal by 3.5 dB before it enters the digital interpolation and reconstruction filters”

Looks like they are gaining headroom by reducing the signal… fair enough … but why go through the trouble to implement a solution if its not even an issue… someone somewhere must have done some kind of research (or literally rode a money wave to create a solution)


well, these dacs are designed to be used in all sorts of applications, not just audio. And there are likely plenty of places where intersample distortion is really bad. So if you have that problem solved for another application, it’s probably easier and cheaper to use that solution for all your chips, even if it has no real benefit.


It could be technical research, it could be market research. If manufacturer are asking for dacs that don’t have interample clipping, then you are going to supply it to them if you can. Manufacturers ask for it if they can use it to differentiate themselves in the market. And on down it goes.


had a chat with my mastering engineer, who used to work for Apple and is familiar with some stuff itunes does

As per him, intersample clipping is NOT an issue for most mastering engineers, however it is still an issue for some older CD players or “home-owner” mastered songs (as he calls it) that make their way to itunes without proper headroom. As per him, “intersample clipping cannot be heard by humans” but it can cause a glitch in certain conversions that can be audible in some ear buds or bad speakers.

This is a section of the Apple’s handout for inter-sample clipping


to me as an oCD person, intersample clipping is an error and I would rather not have it, whether heard or not lol


UGH!!! Once I tried to help a person upload a track to iTunes. It wasn’t a pleasant experience haha.

I do remember seeing something about the ‘aggregators’ and something about intersample clipping. Interesting stuff.


Don’t buy into that reverse sexism that serves to distort the original concepts of feminism. We have the same thing, only we call it a gut feeling. Don’t be castrated my fellow friend of life. It’s gone too far the other way, men can be strong and sensitive. We need both.

Ize talkin’ 'but the good ones home dog McGee.


so you ARE the sensitive clown type, I knew it!! hiding all your pain behind the mask @CPF has a heart ! My faith in the world is restored


I was leaning more towards the strong side so that we don’t look like pussies. Hell, you have only been here a month and don’t have access to the @TourBus or the Lounge available to regulars, but hidden to everyone else. You’d see just how heartless I was if you got in there.


your secret is safe with me! and cool, something to look forward to with this tourbus thingy.
was just makin a pun earlier what happened to good ol fashion American sense o humor! (being a UK asshole) ,

truth is I dont believe in gut feel, if it did exist, mine would be super terrible as I am my own devils advocate, I believe only in data. In my line of work (electrical, aero engineer), Cold hard data only. If I have the data, I will make a choice, if not fuck it lol


The lounge is for everyone level three, the TourBus is hidden to all but the creative lunatics. All the obscene stuff goes in there. You cannot possibly imagine.


Just to add my two cents, intersample clipping is not a big deal nowadays since DAC are way better than decades ago.
What I think is more important with this kind of issue is during lossy conversions: MP3 handles datas to remove some and from my experience, it really changes the song on some details (peaks, RMS/LUFS, low/hi end, PLR…) And I think that some kinda clipping isn’t a good idea with this conversion behavior.
Apple gave the ability to see clipping thru AAC conversion using their AU RoundTripAAC plugin.

Broadcast also uses some standards with True Peak algorithm (so looking for intersample clipping) and some of them should not go above than -3 dB TP. I don’t know why exactly but I’m sure it has a reason. :confused:

Again, my two cents on that topic!


I find when mixing and leaving loads of headroom it gives you a much more powerful and dynamic mix at the end