Getting Rid of Distortion in Home Recordings - dummies

By Jeff Strong

Even if you are extremely diligent in making sure that you didn’t get any distortion or digital clipping in your recording, one note may have snuck through anyway. Well, it may not be the end of the world.

If you have a system that allows you to adjust the individual waves of a waveform, just reduce the level of the single clipped note. You do this by zooming in as close as you can to the distorted note and choosing only that one note to quieten.

(Your system’s manual should clearly explain this procedure.) If you can’t adjust the waveform, you need to replace that note with a good, undistorted one (if you can find one) or reduce the level of that note until the distortion is hidden.

If this is the lead vocal, you probably don’t have the option to reduce the level, and replacing a bad note in a vocal part generally sounds unnatural. If you can replace the section with another phrase from the song, this is your best bet.

If you don’t have that option and you can’t rerecord the part, you can mask the distortion by adding a little distortion as an effect to the entire vocal track — a procedure that’s performed more often than you may expect.

If the performance is top-notch and if messing with it will take away some of the magic, you can always leave well enough alone and leave in the clipped note (distortion). After all, the performance is the most important part of any song.