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CuteStudio Ltd.


De-clipping

SeeDeClip4 has a couple of unique features specially designed for today's modern digital music. With vinyl and the early CD the studio sound was merely digitized and put onto the CD. Since then however there's been huge progress in making everyone's music sound much louder than everyone elses. To do this the record industry uses a clever mechanism that works like this:

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You can see your own copies of this process by examining a track from your music collection with the Audacity program or with SeeDeClip4.
While this process is excellent for making the music much louder, it also has the rather undesirable side effect of removing all the dynamics from the music and rendering HiFi redundant, which is why no one buys it these days.

The only widely available exception to this process is the special 'Mastered For iTunes' releases where Apple has stepped in and demanded a reasonable standard for it's premium customers.

For the listener who is interested in good sound and hasn't re-bought all their digital music in this format SeeDeClip4 offers the first two points below which improve smoothness, listenability and the dynamics of such music.

  1. Each track is analysed and marked for mastering quality so you can select the best mastered track.
    Look at the text colours in the tracklist in the screenshot above for an example (there are 3 different selectable quality indicators).
    When you look down the list of songs for an artist; at a glance one can avoid the dodgy remasters and their ruined, clipped waveforms and pick the earlier copies that are generally much higher quality. This makes a big difference to the quality of the sound, SeeDeClip4 will help you find an original, clip free sound if you have it. So SeeDeClip4 gives you two ways to avoid the scourge of clipping, 1) selection and 2) repair.

    jamie.png

    This information is useful because you can't just assume earlier recording is better and all things are equal, there can be huge variation even in the same album. Grading take account of dynamic range, degree of clipping, the largest clip and the peak levels.

    Grading Basis Other conditions
    ACE Dynamic range > 15 dB and PPM < 40
    Additionally it must have a peak level >= -4 dB
    GOOD Dynamic range > 13.7 dB and PPM < 500
    or a demoted ACE with a peak level < -4 dB
    FAIR Dynamic range > 12.3 dB and PPM < 1500
    or a demoted ACE with a peak level < -8 dB
    or a demoted GOOD with a peak level < -4 dB
    POOR Dynamic range > 11 dB and PPM < 2500
    or a demoted FAIR with a max clip > 100 samples
    AWFUL PPM < 3500
    or a demoted POOR with a max clip > 100 samples
    DIRE PPM >= 3500


    These ratings are based on the examination of several thousand different digital tracks through the decades.

    Terms:
    • Dynamic range: peak magnitude - RMS
    • PPM: Parts per million of the song in a clip. I.e. a measure of the missing data while pinned at full magnitude.
    • Max clip: The length of a clip.

    Note: this is a measure of mastering quality which like any link in the audio chain influences audio quality. Like those other links however it cannot improve the original recording quality, i.e. it won't fix a dodgy piano.

  2. The music is declipped (Lite + Pro edition)

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    The Loudness War has become endemic and ruins the quality and sound of most music tracks these days. Here at cutestudio the damage became so audible and sad that we developed SeeDeClip4 so that each time we listen to any of our music, the damage can be repaired to the best standard we could. Because it's declipped just before we listen, any updates in the declipping technology are then immediately beneficial.

    Smoothness and dynamics are enhanced because replacing the sharp clip edges with rounded waveforms reduces the HF contribution from the clip and adds area to the waveform - which must of course be louder. Reduction of the HF harmonic distortion is especially useful because waveforms with a 'squarish' shape tend to be high in odd-order harmonics that sound unpleasant.


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