How To Make Sounds Louder Without Clipping

Do you want to make your music sound louder? Then audio clipping is something to take care of. This is how you avoid it.

Louder, louder, loudest!

Do you like your music loud? Then there are several ways to make your tracks sound louder.

However, the danger of audio clipping is always lurking. This makes your music sound distorted and ugly.

How do you make your music louder, without audio clipping? Find out in this blog post.

What is audio clipping?

Speakers have physical limitations. You can’t play a sound louder than you technically can. Then it distorts… or blows up your speakers.

When you play sounds too loud, you’ll get distortion. Also known as clipping.

In a DAW, clipping can also occur. If a signal exceeds 0 dB, you see a red light. The sound is too loud.

With clipping, your DAW cuts off the signal that is too loud. This often leads to an ugly, digital distorted sound.

How to get a loud mix without clipping

Unwanted clipping isn’t good for your ears or your DAW. Fortunately, you can do something about it. These are solutions to sound louder without clipping.

Turn up the volume of the audio channel

If you want a sound to sound louder in the mix, try first to increase the volume. How far can you go without clipping?

Did you play a part with a midi-keyboard, then also look at the velocity of notes.

Sometimes a few notes are just too loud. If you lower their velocity, you can increase the volume of the entire part.

Lower the velocity of notes that are too loud in your DAW.
Then you can turn up the overall sound of a channel without clipping.

Make sound louder with a compressor

An audio compressor lowers the dynamic range of sound. Signal above a certain value is pushed down by the compressor. This prevents clipping.

With compression, you can make hard peaks in a sound softer. You reduce the difference between hard and soft. A compressed sound can then be put louder in the mix, without clipping.

With extreme compression you can heavily distort sounds. For example, make EDM, hardstyle or electronic punk. Without clipping.

👉 Read also: How does the Fruity Compressor work?

Automate volume in your DAW

A compressor automatically reduces the dynamic range of audio. This often works well, but you don’t have 100% control over it.

You can also automate volume in a DAW. For example, a peak of a guitar, which sounds just too loud.

Create an automation lane in your DAW and lower the volume where the peak sounds. This is often faster than long tweaking with a compressor. And you can turn up the overall sound again without clipping.

Automate volume in your DAW.

Make your mix sound louder with a limiter

A limiter is a compressor with extreme settings. The device works so fast that clipping is almost impossible.

With a limiter you can make sounds much louder. But it can also makes them sound unnatural.

Be careful when using a limiter and keep listening. Because before you know it you blow all the dynamics out of your track. And it will sound tiring for your ears.

👉 Read also: How Loud Should I Master my Songs for Spotify?

Make your master sound louder with a maximizer

You can also make your music sound louder with a maximizer. This device is very similar to a limiter.

A limiter cuts off peaks as transparently as possible. A maximizer increases the volume of a track and keeps it below the peak level to prevent clipping.

Compare it to an imaginary line. A limiter pushes down the sound that comes above the line. A maximizer, on the other hand, pushes the sound upward so that it is as close to the line as possible.

Both a limiter and your maximizer can be used to make your music sound louder.

The effects are often used in the final or master stage. But of course nobody stops you if you do it while composing. Anything goes as long as it sounds good.

Waves One Knob Louder makes sound louder.
With just one knob.

Edit sounds with EQ

An equalizer is like a mixing desk for individual sounds. It allows you to turn parts of a sound louder or softer.

Can’t turn up a sound in your mix because it has a lot of bass? Then you can turn down the bass frequencies with a parametric EQ.

You can also do it the other way around. With the EQ you can attenuate low frequencies. Or filter them out completely, so that only the low frequencies are left. This signal you can then turn up.

“An equalizer is like a mixing desk for individual sounds. It allows you to turn parts of a sound louder or softer.”

Make your mix sound louder with distortion

Sounds can also be deliberately distorted, so that they sound louder. Use these effects for example:

  • Bitcrusher
  • Distortion
  • Tape saturation

With the effects you can change the character of the sound.

Distortion distorts your sound, from subtle to extreme. This is indispensable if you make hardstyle or hardcore, for example.

A bit crusher or tape crusher is more subtle. They give your sound a ‘raw edge’ and this sounds nice and analog.

💡 Quick tip. Do you use these effects after you’ve mixed them? Then add an extra EQ and possibly subtle compression.

With distortion, you add extra frequencies to a sound. With the extra equalizer you let the ‘new sound’ fall back into the mix better.

With Decapitator from Soundtoys you can distort audio significantly.

Loud mix without clipping? Take small steps

Rushing rarely works when producing music. Instead, take small steps and conscious decisions. Then you’ll reach the desired result faster and better.

Record audio as good as you can and edit with effects such as EQ, compression and distortion.

If you know what you’re doing, you can deliberately make your mix louder. And you don’t have to worry about audio clipping.

Happy producing!


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