Limiters

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
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progtronic
KVRian
570 posts since 27 Jul, 2010

Post Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:56 pm

I like to use Velo 2 on instrument tracks and an occasional mix bus, along with Ozone on my main mastering bus.

lwj
KVRist
323 posts since 3 Feb, 2018

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:35 am

+1 for clipping. Get kclip! It’s not expensive, it’s not smart. But that’s actually what you want. Use this to shave off any peaks before you even get to the master and you’ll have something very loud before you apply limiting. Now whether it’ll sound any good is another question. Some styles can handle it, some really can’t! But with a combo of clipping and limiting at different stages loudness becomes a creative choice.

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sureno
KVRian
1120 posts since 4 May, 2008 from West London Depot

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:10 am

Wow just wanted to add this topic has been very informative in regards to adding a clipper, something I would never of guessed or done. BIG THANK YOU
codec_spurt wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:30 pm
LeVzi wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:38 pm
Looking for a limiter, that will have to work quite hard.

I have a few limiters, l1, l2, l3, ikm brickwall etc that do the job as I rarely need limiter, more just to catch a few peaks.

But, I'm doing some work that requires very hard limiting, and require a limiter that can handle v hard limiting and is as transparent as it can be. I realise that hard limiting is going to cause distortion but I need a limiter that will handle as much as possible.

Suggestions please. Thanks.


Voxengo Elephant can be very very transparent. It also has a nifty little clipper in it as well. I think there's a sale on at the moment.

Toneboosters Barricade is also up there. You might even be able to source a cheap free version somewhere. I think CM did one basic older version. The very old versions can be found and are free. Whether they are as transparent as the most recent version 4 is another matter.

I think most people would agree these two are up there with the most 'clear' of all limiters. * But the Tokyo Dawn Limiter might be better, depending on your program material. I find myself flitting about through all three of those depending on source. Especially if I'm just after peak control and not smashing. That's probably what most people mean by 'transparent' I assume. Though the thing is you can really smash these and get massive gain reduction (volume boost) before any audible distortion.

* They were a while back anyway and I'm sure a Mastering Engineer knows a lot more about this than me, but still, I do still see them suggesting these when the question comes up.

If you want to try a free limiter that is also known to be able to push massive dB and still be clear, then look at LoudMax - https://loudmax.blogspot.com/

It's almost like a volume knob! Insane levels of gain and peak control.

Again, I assume that this is the kind of thing you are looking for when you say 'hard limiting'. That you have some source material that really needs pushing up in the gain department.

I'd say for my stuff that Voxengo Elephant has the very slight edge. But there isn't much in it really.

I would also seriously consider putting a Clipper in line as well. Maybe you already know this 'trick' and I don't want to teach granny LeVzi to suck eggs, but putting a clipper (usually) at the very end of the mastering chain (after your Limiter) can really tame those errant pesky peaks as well. Sometimes you might put it before and sometimes you might even put it 'before' and 'after', but that's the way I see most people using it.

Many people disagree and many posts have been written on this subject, but really, I think you will know what is working for you. Sometimes using a clipper is totally useless (depending on program material). Just consider it if you haven't already.

Elephant has one built in that may or may not be useful.

Someone had something to say about this over at GS:


Clipping is effectively extremely fast limiting, and often it's the best sounding limiting for certain things - e.g. drums.

Most forms of distortion induce clipping, and are worth trying instead of a limiter.

I generally use Voxengo Elephant as my limiter, and it has a clipping option, and depending on the material, clipping may or may not sound the best.

I would tend to use clipping last, because it's fairly extreme. Further compression after clipping would expose a lot of ugliness.

FWIW - the top mastering engineers in recent years have been pushing the loudness wars by clipping mixes with their high end A/D converters. Not digital algorithmns, but literally abusing the analog front end of their A/D for a clipping effect. That sort of confirms my belief that it's best left last in the chain.

But whatever sounds good, don't knock it. There is plenty of material where clipping must be avoided at all cost.


https://www.gearslutz.com/board/masteri ... osite.html

Most people would agree that clippers work their magic best on drum heavy material, but not so much stuff that is already pea soup thick with lots of distorted guitars where the signal is already mashed.

He also talks about distortion as a method for control as well, so if you still need another tool in your box for this consider a wave-shaper. I have one in my Fruity FX pack (3rd party VST) and it's great. It can sound very dirty or 'do I have this turned on?'.

If you are new to clipping and want a quick try out as proof of concept:

A good free one is made by GVST - https://www.gvst.co.uk/gclip.htm

It's kind of the 'industry standard' of free clippers and has a very nice visual display to see shaved peaks.

I use StandardCLIP - https://www.siraudiotools.com/StandardCLIP.php

But you probably don't need to get that fancy if you are going to be using them in Combo. Clipping is really just an aid to the process. But it may be that you don't need it at all. I'm sure you already know all this granny LeVzi, but if not...

I've read far too much on this subject and experimented far more than I really needed to. In 90 percent of cases just about any modern limiter (like the ones mentioned) will do the trick. However, I do see an awful lot of people saying that the FabFilter Limiter is the most transparent one in existence. On most program material.


Elephant.
Barricade.
Tokyo Dawn Limiter.

Maybe a Clipper somewhere in your chain if needed.

Clippers are the most transparent limiters ever and you know pretty sharpish when they are introducing distortion. For example, to my ears anyway, GClip is pretty much invisible, but push (or rather cut) those nasty peaks too much and it is like a distortion unit. Other paid for clippers can go a bit further, but it doesn't take much for them to get in to wave-shaping territory and sound just as bad. I would say that when you really need a clipper as the right tool for the job, the GClip vst will do you proud 80-90 percent of the time. Which is a lot for a 'free' VST. Just my impression.

It's always nice to donate a couple of bucks as well for things like GClip and LoudMax if you get some use. They're essentially 'free' as in beer, but I'm sure any small acknowledgement of their hard work is appreciated. If nothing else it might cover hosting costs...


Not sure what you're looking for or how much you have to spend, but don't forget there's an old but very usable version of Barricade floating around on the net somewhere as well. When you are dealing with very difficult material or just trying to make the best of a bad job, it helps to be able to try out a few different options. If this is just a one-off job and you don't want to spend too much, you might be surprised what you can do with free stuff.

That GS post I quoted is over 12 years old now - has the state of the art of Limiting come that much further in that time span? Yeah, of course, but only exponentially so.


TL;DR:
Voxengo Elephant.
ToneBoosters Barricade.
Tokyo Dawn Limiter.

(in no particular order)

FabFilter if you got that cash!

(is probably the best of all and why it's so expensive)

Izak Synthiemental
KVRian
774 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:33 am

LVC Audio's Limited-Z has various limiting modes, including the hard style of limiting you describe and additionally has clipping section included. Also various oversampling options to minimize unwanted artifacts. And it's on BF sale right now.
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

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Vortifex
KVRAF
1596 posts since 1 Sep, 2016

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:47 am

Izak Synthiemental wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:33 am
LVC Audio's Limited-Z has various limiting modes, including the hard style of limiting you describe and additionally has clipping section included. Also various oversampling options to minimize unwanted artifacts. And it's on BF sale right now.
I own Limited-Z and initially quite liked it, but I absolutely would not recommend it to anyone looking for a limiter that can be pushed hard and still be relatively transparent. It's the least transparent limiter I have, and is the first to break up under pressure. It's useful as a colourful track limiter IMO, but I would not use it on the master bus for loudness duties.

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LeVzi
KVRAF
2178 posts since 8 Jul, 2008 from UK

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:59 am

Thank you for all the replies, and @codec_spurt i'm not that old, "Granny LeVzi" although I am going grey.

But I didn't know about using a clipper after a limiter, not something i've done or thought of doing, but not sure I understand it, to put the clipper after the limiter ? it wouldn't be doing anything then if nothing clips ? I have a clipper from T Racks (Classic Clipper I believe)

The source material is indeed drums, it's a heavily (HEAVILY) distorted kick literally run white hot, and tbh compression isn't helping really, kinda over emphasising the distortion and losing too many transients, and then I want it to be LOUD, but not totally squashed. Tried a few chains on the master, compression , transient booster then limiter, or compression on the punch and just run the channels hot into the limiter which gave the clearest results, but I am getting a more dull / flat lifeless result.

Loudmax has popped up a few times in various searches i've done, i'll have a look at that. I use IKM Brickwall or L2 most of the time for "soft mastering" just there to catch the odd peak. I recently bought the L3 and that's still new to me, so maybe that would offer me something.

So many options, i'll start ploughing through the suggestions, thank you all, i'll try the clipper in the chain, see how that works, otherwise i'll mess around with it all some more until I find a solution, but I do need a really decent limiter as now my GAS is triggered.
Forward ever, Backward never

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Vortifex
KVRAF
1596 posts since 1 Sep, 2016

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:04 am

You put the clipper before the limiter, to transparently shave off peaks. This way the limiter doesn't have to work as hard, allowing it to behave a little more smoothly and allowing a little more room for transparent loudness. I don't see the point in using one after the limiter. Edit: talking strictly ITB.
Last edited by Vortifex on Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

Izak Synthiemental
KVRian
774 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:08 am

Vortifex wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:47 am

I own Limited-Z and initially quite liked it, but I absolutely would not recommend it to anyone looking for a limiter that can be pushed hard and still be relatively transparent. It's the least transparent limiter I have, and is the first to break up under pressure. It's useful as a colourful track limiter IMO, but I would not use it on the master bus for loudness duties.
I have to disagree. Did you use the commercial version with the oversampling engaged and the freely movable X/Y control to blend different flavors of limiting?

Are we talking about the current 2.0.5 version of Limited-Z or one of the obsolete versions from years ago which still sported the old, slightly uninspiring GUI?

Limited-Z has considerably improved in terms of sound quality, I did not like the old version at all compared to Toneboosters Barricade or Tokyo Dawn's / Vlads Limiter No6. The current Limited-Z is top notch though.
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

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Vortifex
KVRAF
1596 posts since 1 Sep, 2016

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:15 am

Yes, the latest version, with oversampling. I just cannot get it to be as transparent as Limiter 6 or Barricade 4. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

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LeVzi
KVRAF
2178 posts since 8 Jul, 2008 from UK

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:16 am

Vortifex wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:04 am
You put the clipper before the limiter, to transparently shave off peaks. This way the limiter doesn't have to work as hard, allowing it to behave a little more smoothly and allowing a little more room for transparent loudness. I don't see the point in using one after the limiter.
Neither do I, but codec said that some mastering engineers are putting it last in the chain, so i'd assume there is some reason for this. I'd love to learn more about this, or i'm misunderstanding it completely.
Forward ever, Backward never

Izak Synthiemental
KVRian
774 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:16 am

In fact, you can put a clipper in front of the limiter to shave off overshooting transient material, so that the limiter then can act more accurately on the material without being distracted by those transients. But you can also put clipper after the limiter, to shave off the transient overshoots that remain after the limiting. Most limiter / master buss dynamics plugins have a clipper on board anyway these days. Use the clipper wisely, because you don't want to kill off the transients entirely, since this would result in a very undynamic, unnatural and unpleasant distorted sound.
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

perfumer
KVRian
603 posts since 4 Oct, 2018

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:20 am

If the kick you're talking about is THE loudest thing in the mix, then you'd better not use a clipper, as it's already 'white hot' in your own words, and further clipping would likely destroy it. Even limiting may not be of much use in this case. The cleanest/loudest ratio I know about is in DMG Limitless, also it's multiband which might be what you need - to limit just the low frequencies, or just the highs, depending. But it is expensive. Cheap/free/old tools will not give you much.

User avatar
Vortifex
KVRAF
1596 posts since 1 Sep, 2016

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:21 am

LeVzi wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:16 am
Vortifex wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:04 am
You put the clipper before the limiter, to transparently shave off peaks. This way the limiter doesn't have to work as hard, allowing it to behave a little more smoothly and allowing a little more room for transparent loudness. I don't see the point in using one after the limiter.
Neither do I, but codec said that some mastering engineers are putting it last in the chain, so i'd assume there is some reason for this. I'd love to learn more about this, or i'm misunderstanding it completely.

Well I definitely ain't a pro mastering engineer, so it's entirely possible I'm talking complete bollocks. I work entirely ITB and for my purposes I don't see the point in clipping after the limiter. I don't usually clip on the master either, I prefer to do that on drum busses or individual tracks. But I make synthwave/chillwave, so I'm not after maximum LUFS.

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LeVzi
KVRAF
2178 posts since 8 Jul, 2008 from UK

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:30 am

Only way i'm going to find out is to try it on the kicks. I'll put a clipper in, and a limiter, try it the other way around, and see what works, i'll try some of the limiters mentioned here, but I definitely need to limit the kick , it's just out of control otherwise. Multiband compression / limiting might be a good idea, L3 has this option I believe.

I should have said I am not in a position to spend a massive amount on a new limiter atm , or i'd go with DMG Limitless tbh or Fabfilters version. I am eyeing Tokyo Dawns and Barricade atm. Elephant would be the stretch, I did own Elephant many years ago, sold it when I sold most of my plugins, big mistake...
Forward ever, Backward never

perfumer
KVRian
603 posts since 4 Oct, 2018

Re: Limiters

Post Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:35 am

But are you working on a mix or on a finished track? That's a somewhat important bit of info.

At first you sound like you're mastering, then you say 'I'll try it on the kicks' which implies you're working on a mix... That would be a whole different story.

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