Understanding DC Offset


What is DC Offset and why is it important?

DC Offset is the offsetting of a signal from zero. This problem began way back in the analog only era. I won't take up your time explaining how it worked back then or how they resolved it, but is this still a concern for today's producer? The short answer is "yes". Today's producer may mainly be working in digital, but DC Offsets are still an issue even when dealing with a digital signals. Analog samples and many other things may introduce DC Offsets to your track and ultimately this can affect headroom. DC Offets take up some of the headroom in your mix and can cause your tracks to be lower in volume because of it.

How do you fix this problem?

Here are TWO quick and easy ways to correct DC Offsets.

1. Most DAWs have a DC Offset correction or removal tool of some sort in them. Make sure it is "On"

2. Use a high pass filter that cuts out everything below 20 hz. Your speakers can't hear it anyway so it is good practice and will take care of any DC Offset issues.

DC offsets may not seem like a big deal to learn about, however it will clean up your signals and in turn, your mixes. Oh, a bit of advice when using the automatic DC Offset removal tools found within your DAW....the tool will try to correct the complete wave file to get it to a true zero. Always go back and look at the wave file yourself to make sure the silent parts of the wave file were not moved as well...that is pretty common.


Old and dirty...
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Dope info...I will attempt that at my beat, and when I win next month's competition, I will have you to thank......that and my undeniable talent and overall sexiness.


Some softsynths can output DC offset, they are often the culprit.

Either this or a faulty ADC when recording.

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or a badly designed mixer, or a faulty op amp, or a faulty capacitor. (or a few other things)

One of the primary functions of capacitors in Analog audio equipment is to prevent DC offsets. Lots of op-amps have a natural DC offset (newer precision ones not so much so) this DC offset can be multiplied through later op-amps in the signal path, hence each op-amp stage is normally coupled using electrolytic capacitors.


*** ill o.g. ***
word.... i knew it effected headroom, but i dint know that shit about analogue ccapacitors.... love this guy already

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