Does clipping warning mean my speakers are at risk?


I’ve just bought a Ps Audio DSJ which outputs a low level signal in the RCA connections, considering that it’s connected to a valve amplifier.

Therefore, i thought about using roon to boost +3db on the signal.

Just to be sure: the clipping warning isn’t about the possibility to damage the amplifier/speakers, but only to warning about possible problems in the sound quality, right?

So, even with the clipping light blinking, i should not be worried about damage my amplier/speaker, correct?

Thanks for the attention.

Don’t boost in digital domain - it will clip given that the peaks in source audio data are often already at or very close the maximum possible peak level or in some cases at the maximum peak level.

While DSP in Roon effectively has infinite headroom, the processed data still has to be converted back into a format acceptable to the DAC (ie what you know of as 16 or 24 bit etc) and at this point and overly boosted signal will clip.


Thanks for the answer.

Do you consider +3db an overly boosted signal?

That’s the point, as the clipping indicator is so sensitive, it’s hard to know what’s really going to harm the system.

The important variable of this equation, for me, it’s the possibility to damage my speakers/amplifier.

Maybe roon should focus on that when applying the clipping indicator, instead of using it to show possible loss on sound quality.

Best regards

Roon’s pipeline information and peak indicator are about informing the user about the audio quality of the digital processing pipeline which on many system can be quite opaque.

The peak indicator is not too sensitive and I believe it represents a modern industry standard behavior of such peak/over indicators (also known as ‘true peak’).

It is not an indicator of amp clipping of course as it cant know what the output level of the amp is. The problem with a clipped source is if you already have clipping, then as you turn the amp up, you may not notice the onset of clipping (as it is already there) and so you get no audible warning that you are exceeding the amps capability.

A clipped single has more RMS energy than typical music program material, and so an amp’s max RMS output level can be higher than RMS rated which makes it more likely that speaker coils overheat (depending on speaker rating).

I think you need to have a look at the manual of your DAC:

Output rating appears to be as follows:

Output level (Low)
170mV (-15.5dBV) Single Ended 
340mV (-9.5dbV) Balanced
Output level (Normal)
1.3 Vrms(+2.25dBV) Single Ended
2.6V (+8.25dbV) Balanced

It appears that two output levels are possible, so I assume there must be a setting somewhere.

1 Like

Speaker damage is not thing that Roon is able to reason about. It would depend on your amp, speakers, how levels are set, etc. Non-clipped signals can break speakers too–I blew up some speakers with a badly designed filter I was working on once because it dumped all of the energy into the tweeter, which promptly overheated.

The clipping indicator is there to inform you that Roon was forced to do something potentially nasty to your sound quality. It is not really about system harm at all.

1 Like