Think of digital sound as a room with a ceiling.
Think of yourself as bouncing around that room on a pogo stick. That's the music.
Think of the audio file you are sending the mastering engineer as a videotape of your pogo stick performance in the room.
As you increase the volume of the music, you make the spring stiffer on the pogo stick, so that you go higher.
At one point, your head hits the ceiling. Ouch. That's clipping.
If the ceiling weren't there, you could have gone higher, but you are limited by the ceiling so you bang it up there.
Imagine now, that the role of the mastering engineer, is to make the videotape of your pogo stick performance look good. He wants to zoom in on the good moments and give wide panning shots of your pogo stick wizardry.
If you are doing a performance for a godawful stupid reality show, go ahead - trash the roof.
If your performance is destined for Cirque du Soleil, however, I'd advise practicing the pogo stick a little more.
Come to think of it, that did not make any sense.
Last edited by esperdiv; 2012-12-02 at 22:39.