How loud to overdrive an SM57 ?


I guess my meter(s) are off on my interface and/or my Sonar software. I'm getting some of that digital sounding clipping when recording. I know that I'm not clipping either set of meters but it's interesting that I have to set Aardvark Q10's preamp down to the "line" group to prevent clipping on it's monitor/display (all is viewed/adjusted via the PC.) Sonar is version 4.

I also have a 4 ch Behringer rack compressor in the Ch 1-4 inserts on the interface. I read about the reliability problems with that brand but the price was too good to resist when I got it. It has always seemed to work fine. It's powered "on" to pass the signal thru the Aardvark’s inserts but all of the compressor's channels are in bypass mode. Maybe I'll try a channel without the compressor in the insert/loop. If that doesn't work I guess I just need to record quieter than the meters imply.

Digital meters clearly running below "0 db" means there should be no clipping, right?


Gold Supporting Member
Unfortunately, all meters, but particularily digital meters can miss short duration spikes above clipping levels. No way to detect them but to cut things down somewhere else in the chain. BTW, the Behringer compresser should be analog, so no digital distortion there, but it could be overloaded and not detecting it. I'd work my way down the signal chain (make sure the mic is good, check the cable, check the preamp, see if the mic direct to pream causes any distortion etc...).

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