# Clipping Detector Circuit Design

• Engineering
• swuster
In summary, the conversation discusses the implementation of a clipping detector for an audio equalizer project. The project already consists of a summing amplifier with variable gain for bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, and the option to include a clipping detector. The student is unsure of how to implement the detector using a transistor and is seeking guidance on calculating the values for current switching. The expert suggests using a comparator or op-amp to detect clipping and discusses the likelihood of the signal exceeding the supply rails and how to adjust the voltage threshold for the detector. The student confirms that a voltage divider can be used for this purpose. The expert mentions that more advanced circuits can also be used for noise rejection and dynamic threshold setting.
swuster

## Homework Statement

I am building an audio equalizer as a project for class, consisting of a summing amplifier with variable gain for the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. I also have the option to include a clipping/overload detector, though I have already chosen parameters that will not allow the output to go over 2 volts, given a maximum 3V input.

 To clarify, I've already built the equalizer; I'm just trying to implement the clipping detector.

n/a

## The Attempt at a Solution

Could I implement this with a transistor, and if so, how? One of the stipulations of the assignment is also to use as few and as simple components as possible, so is there a solution comprised of solely R(L)C components?

I'm not really sure how to calculate the values at which current in a transistor are switched, so if I could get some pointers that would be helpful. Thanks!

Last edited:
Well, since this is homework, I'll just give you a hint: what is the definition of clipping (relative to your power rails) and how might you use, say, a comparator or op-amp to detect this?

Ah...wonder why I didn't see that before...

Thanks!

swuster said:
Ah...wonder why I didn't see that before...

Thanks!

Experience. Also, TA'ing a senior, build-yourself-some-electronics lab. Actually, I forgot a point. What's the likelihood that your signal will exceed your supply rails? How would you go about getting the comparator / op-amp to trigger at a voltage a little less (maybe a lot less, depending on your expected maximum output voltage) than your supply rail?

Since the output is never more than around 2V, very little chance, as my rails are set to 12 and -12 Vcc. If it did, I could just make a voltage divider by running a resistor with an appropriate value to ground, right?

swuster said:
Since the output is never more than around 2V, very little chance, as my rails are set to 12 and -12 Vcc. If it did, I could just make a voltage divider by running a resistor with an appropriate value to ground, right?

That's correct, and is basically how most of these circuits works. They get fancier by doing things like noise rejection, triggering only if it clips for a certain interval, dynamic threshold setting, etc.

## 1. What is a clipping detector circuit?

A clipping detector circuit is an electronic circuit designed to detect and measure the amount of clipping or distortion in an audio signal. It is commonly used in audio equipment to protect speakers from damage caused by excessive signal levels.

## 2. How does a clipping detector circuit work?

A clipping detector circuit works by comparing the input voltage of an audio signal to a predetermined threshold. If the input voltage exceeds the threshold, the circuit will activate and indicate that clipping has occurred. This can be done using various methods such as diodes, op-amps, or transistors.

## 3. Why is a clipping detector circuit important?

A clipping detector circuit is important because it helps prevent damage to speakers and other audio equipment. When an audio signal is amplified beyond a certain point, it can cause distortion and clipping, which can damage the equipment or result in poor sound quality. By detecting and indicating when clipping occurs, the circuit allows for adjustments to be made to prevent damage.

## 4. Can a clipping detector circuit be used for other purposes?

Yes, a clipping detector circuit can also be used in other applications such as in power supply circuits to monitor and prevent voltage overload. It can also be used in communication systems to detect and reduce signal distortion.

## 5. How can I build a clipping detector circuit?

Building a clipping detector circuit requires knowledge of electronic components and circuitry. It is recommended to use a schematic or consult a professional for guidance. There are also many online resources and tutorials available for building a clipping detector circuit. It is important to follow safety precautions and double check the circuit design before building it.

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