Exploring Logic Pro Clip Distortion
Blowing stuff up equals fun. The Logic Pro Clip Distortion plugin lets you add warmth/bite and blow up material without having to think about things like threshold, attack, release, and ratio. In many cases, especially where control over transients is not really needed, distortion is a great alternative to compression.
Some of Logic Pro’s stock plugins need a deeper look, and get overlooked in the end. For me, that was the case with Clip Distortion. So, it’s time to put our helmets on and distort stuff.
Using Logic Pro Clip Distortion
Before you use Clip Distortion, you need to understand its signal flow. It is well explained in the Logic Studio Effects manual, but let me quickly give an overview of what happens with the material you put through this baby. Top to bottom, from input to output:
- Drive: Sets the amount of gain applied to the input signal.
- Tone: Sets the cutoff frequency of the highpass filter.
- Clip Filter: Sets the cutoff frequency of the first lowpass filter.
- Mix: For balancing the original signal and the processed signal.
- LP Filter: One more Lowpass filter, to process the mixed signal.
- High Shelving: For equalizing the end result. Nothing but a very limited EQ.
Signal Flow Diagram:
The symmetry slider sets the amount of nonlinear distortion applied to the signal. Let’s pick an oldskool electro drumloop to mess around with. The original sample:
Blowing up the Bottom End
The loop doesn’t sound too bad at all. This probably was recorded straight out of a drum box, without any processing. Let’s see if we can work the low end. To avoid getting lost in the signal flow of this plugin, we’ll set mix to fully wet first. We wouldn’t want to have the (first) high pass filter altering any of the low end in this loop, so we’ll set that one to 20Hz. Next we’ll set the Clip Filter to 100Hz to zoom in on the area we’re working on without being distracted by harsh sounds. I set Drive to 10Db. A ‘broken woofer’ sound is what I’m looking for.
All we have to do is find the right balance between the effect and the original signal by using the Mix slider. Let’s bounce this loop for now and work the top end with a fresh instance of the Clip Distortion plugin.
Blowing up the Top End
Let’s see if we can get some saturated hihats, just like they were recorded on some mixtape that’s been copied ten times. We’ll set Mix to fully wet again, this time setting Tone to around 8000Hz to zoom in on the top end, and the Clip Filter to 20000Hz. Drive is set to 25Db – that’s very bad tape! Keep your monitor levels low while doing this kind of stuff, your ears will thank you.
Result: (careful now!)
Again, use the Mix slider to balance things out. However, if the signal flow of this plugin still confuses you, or it’s just too limiting: set it up for parallel processing. Just put it on an aux bus and send to it. Find the effect your looking for first, then add it to your original signal.