Limiters

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
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LeVzi
KVRAF
2102 posts since 8 Jul, 2008 from UK

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:22 pm

Vortifex wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:34 am
LeVzi wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:42 am
Gutted I missed the Tokyo Dawn sale on BF now.
Still going on Plugin Boutique.
Thanks, but I would have bought that cos it came with a clipper so I'd not have bought the SIR one.
Forward ever, Backward never

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
1157 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Paris

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:32 am

I've tried a lot, regularly trying new ones to see what's the best. A lot of my clients are asking me for things LOUD!!! The one I have found that is the most transparent with high gain reduction settings is DMG Limitless, but it can sometimes take quite a bit of faffing around with the settings to get there. It can be by far the most transparent though. If I need a lot of loudness, I'll usually combine it with Clipping beforehand, with StandardCLIP.

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Vortifex
KVRAF
1533 posts since 1 Sep, 2016

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:57 am

Hermetech Mastering wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:32 am
I've tried a lot, regularly trying new ones to see what's the best. A lot of my clients are asking me for things LOUD!!! The one I have found that is the most transparent with high gain reduction settings is DMG Limitless, but it can sometimes take quite a bit of faffing around with the settings to get there. It can be by far the most transparent though. If I need a lot of loudness, I'll usually combine it with Clipping beforehand, with StandardCLIP.
I suppose it depends on the source material, but generally how much clipping do you feel you can get away with before it's not 'transparent'? I've tried clipping on the master bus but I find there's a very narrow range where it's possible.

Cooker
KVRian
797 posts since 29 Jul, 2008

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:15 am

No Voxengo OVC-128 mentions? :roll:

Izak Synthiemental
KVRian
727 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:27 am

Vortifex wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:57 am
I suppose it depends on the source material, but generally how much clipping do you feel you can get away with before it's not 'transparent'? I've tried clipping on the master bus but I find there's a very narrow range where it's possible.
If you understand what a clipper does, you will understand why it only works in a narrow range before unpleasant distortion becomes audible. As was said before, clipping (= basically static waveshaping) is mainly used in conjunction with limiting (= dynamic gain reduction) .

Both combined will give you the maximum gain reduction possible (maybe add dynamic EQ to get a bit more loudness). Obviously there is only so much gain reduction of your audio material possible before it becomes a squashed mess, regardless of how sophisticated the limiter is (some limiters are designed so that you cannot increase their gain reduction at a certain point, so they will always stay in the transparent range).

With the current loudness standards there is no need for overly compressed masters anyway. If you use clipping, limiting and saturation for artistic / sound design purposes, obviously you could squash the hell out of your (for example) kicks, but as we already determined: that huge kick sound in the examples posted above is not created by simply putting a clipper and limiter on the buss, but by using various sound design techniques, including layering and fine tuning various sounds into one coherent mass (which involves tuning of the various elements to play together well, ADSR of each layer, filtering to avoid frequency overlaps and resonances, phase adjustment, probably even some mono-stereo widening).

People think they can simply put a quality limiter on the buss and that will do the sound design and mixing for them. That's not how it works. The real magic happens before the master buss.

Tip:

You can use the demo version of Tokyo Dawn Slick EQ M and use the smart ops to analyse the frequency spectrum of one of those sounds you are aiming for and then apply that frequency spectrum to one of your own sounds (for example a kick). Also check the stereo correlation, are those kicks narrow and fully mono or are they wide? Use all different analysis tools to examine those kicks and see the characteristics in the frequency, stereo and volume domain.
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
1157 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Paris

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:14 am

Vortifex wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:57 am
Hermetech Mastering wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:32 am
I've tried a lot, regularly trying new ones to see what's the best. A lot of my clients are asking me for things LOUD!!! The one I have found that is the most transparent with high gain reduction settings is DMG Limitless, but it can sometimes take quite a bit of faffing around with the settings to get there. It can be by far the most transparent though. If I need a lot of loudness, I'll usually combine it with Clipping beforehand, with StandardCLIP.
I suppose it depends on the source material, but generally how much clipping do you feel you can get away with before it's not 'transparent'? I've tried clipping on the master bus but I find there's a very narrow range where it's possible.
It 100% depends on the source material. With ambient sub bass drones, it's not often possible to do ANY clipping at all, without it being audible. With well mixed, minimal modern pop/trap/EDM, with loads of spiky short transients, it's often possible to clip 3-5dB on the highest peak, and have it be inaudible, or almost inaudible.

As always, it comes back to experience, listening, and trying out a few things. If the client wants LOUD I'll clip, then limit, spreading the load over both processors.

Another thing I have found is that by up-sampling everything to 96kHz before mastering, and doing all the Clipping at that rate with 32x OverSampling in StandardCLIP, I can get very clean results (Linear Phase, Largest Filter Kernel Size, 100% Cut Off).

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dionenoid
KVRist
487 posts since 3 Jan, 2019 from Holland

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:29 am

Izak Synthiemental wrote: that huge kick sound in the examples posted above is not created by simply putting a clipper and limiter on the buss, but by using various sound design techniques, including layering and fine tuning various sounds into one coherent mass (which involves tuning of the various elements to play together well, ADSR of each layer, filtering to avoid frequency overlaps and resonances, phase adjustment, probably even some mono-stereo widening).

People think they can simply put a quality limiter on the buss and that will do the sound design and mixing for them. That's not how it works. The real magic happens before the master buss.
Exactly that yes.

It's never just a case of putting a limiter on the mix and smashing it to bits. It's the whole process before that : everything from sidechaining and channel clipping/ limiting/saturating to automated frequency cutting and envelope shaping.
More BPM please

V0RT3X
KVRAF
7786 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Alesia

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:10 am

Hermetech Mastering wrote: Another thing I have found is that by up-sampling everything to 96kHz before mastering, and doing all the Clipping at that rate with 32x OverSampling in StandardCLIP, I can get very clean results (Linear Phase, Largest Filter Kernel Size, 100% Cut Off).
I remember a Dev on gearslutz saying that there are lots of mixing and mastering plugins that benefit Internally from Higher resolution signals. So that makes sense!

I’ve never thought to upsample stuff though. I’ve always been against the idea of upsampling from a lower resolution, but hey if it works then why not?

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
1157 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Paris

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:51 am

I've been up-sampling everything I do in mastering to 96k for a number of years now, if it doesn't arrive at that rate. There are loads of good reasons for doing it, which I won't go into here as it's OT, but yes, it definitely works for me!

Izak Synthiemental
KVRian
727 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:11 am

Hermetech Mastering wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:51 am
I've been up-sampling everything I do in mastering to 96k for a number of years now, if it doesn't arrive at that rate. There are loads of good reasons for doing it, which I won't go into here as it's OT, but yes, it definitely works for me!
Clipping in in 96k resolution with 32 x oversampling engaged is technically about the same to clipping in 44.1k with 64 x oversampling engaged. Hence I love sophisticated clippers like the one from LVC-Audio (currently on 50% off sale btw).

I mean, yes: probably sound quality overall can be improved if you do all the tracking / recording in a higher resolution to begin with.

I'm not sure though whether up-sampling stuff that is already recorded in 44.1 k will really do the trick, because up-sampling and then again down-sampling adds additional calculations which are prone to artefacts, especially if you (as I assume) up-sample form 44.1k to 96k (which is up-sampling by an uneven number). If you upsample, it's better to upsample times an even number (less error prone calculation): 2 * 44.1k = 88.2k (which then can be divided / down-sampled again to a perfect even number again).
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

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plexuss
KVRAF
3505 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:45 am

I've used many of the limiters mentioned. The most transparent limiter I've used is NUGEN ISL2. The second most transparent limiter is DMG Limitless. ISL2 is a single band limiter and Limitless is multi-band, hence why I think ISL tends to be more transparent. Give it a whirl.

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
1157 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Paris

Re: Limiters

Post Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:59 am

Like I said before, there are loads of great reasons for doing it, which I won't go into here as it's OT. About half the MEs I know do it, and the other half prefer to work at the client's base rate. It depends a lot on your workflow, and how your converters sound at various rates. Therefore, there is no better or worse, except as it applies to your own chain. I did many protracted tests over many years with my system, and it for sure gives me better results this way. It's a constant process of checking things, trying new stuff, keeping what works, discarding what doesn't, always with the goal of obtaining the best sound quality for one's clients.

Sorry for OT.

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kingozrecords
KVRist
122 posts since 7 Apr, 2019

Re: Limiters

Post Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:18 pm

Maybe try mine:

https://www.kvraudio.com/product/la-sch ... ds/details

It's free, so money back guarantee, and it uses LU :)

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Hermetech Mastering
KVRian
1157 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Paris

Re: Limiters

Post Mon Dec 09, 2019 3:05 am

Cooker wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:15 am
No Voxengo OVC-128 mentions? :roll:
I just tried the demo, getting almost nulls with my StandardCLIP preset, can't tell the difference in sound on this particular track, BUT IT'S MUCH FASTER WHEN RENDERING OFFLINE than StandardCLIP (despite using a bit more CPU, not sure how that works), so I may have to switch. I shall demo a bit longer!

codec_spurt
KVRAF
3898 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Re: Limiters

Post Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:29 am

KClip is very good and very transparent. I use it more for track clipping duties because of its simplicity, but later versions have a lot more features. I like the waveform display in it. I think I have v2 or something.

StandardCLIP has been my go to for a while and it's probably all anyone needs and more! Plus you can change the colours! :party:

Talking of changing the colours, I bought LVC-Audio Clipped-MAX (still on 50 percent off sale) - http://lvcaudio.com/plugins/clipped-max/

How can you not love a plugin that looks like this?

Image

I made up about a dozen or so presets for it, so if you fancy some new colours for your Clipped-MAX, that one is in there somewhere. I was just messing about and I plan to do a few more, but you might as well have these - they make things a bit easier on the eye (at least to my eye).

http://www.mediafire.com/file/xrmjczehr ... S.rar/file


As I said in my first post about the whole 'Pre' or 'Post' argument with putting a Clipper before or after the Limiter, well, many more talented and experienced than me have argued this to death. It may even be that people do tend to put them before the Limiter and not after. Maybe that would make more sense, and I do tend to use it more like that myself actually thinking about it.

Really, as has been stated, you want to get that Clipper put to use before you reach the mastering or mixing stage. Nothing clips worse than errant peaks of drums, at least not that I've found. And you can't hear them unless you are looking for them because as anyone who knows their psychoacoustics will know, the brain can not perceive very short spikes in amplitude in an average signal. That is why if you just shave off the bits you already can't hear, then there is absolutely no auditory difference between material that has been clipped and that which has not.

And you soon know when you are pushing things too far with clipping, it just degrades to a not very pleasant distortion. Clipping is probably one of the few audio adjustments that you make that is probably better done with your eyes instead of your ears. That is why GClip and KClip are so good because you can see the peaks getting a haircut. That's for basic stuff of course, but that's what you should be after most the time.

Using clipping at the mastering stage is a purely surgical endeavour. I mean, so is EQ and Compression as well, but these things can be used to enhance in a creative way sometimes - clipping just helps tidy up the mess. This is all in my very limited understanding of course. I'm not a mastering engineer.

And yes, oversampling the signal if you are going to be clipping it seems to really make a difference. The more the better. That's another thing that people should remember if they are doing a final render also. I hadn't noticed that Voxengo clipper before, but I'm going to download it. It's times like these that I'm happy I bought the Voxengo 'everything' bundle - the Premium Membership - where you can just download the full collection of every single plugin he's done.

Anyway, I'm really impressed with Clipped-MAX. I've got some massive gain reduction out of it and it's still super transparent. It's also very easy to use if you just ignore the myriad of options it provides. Literally load it up and just slide the 'Initial' slider to the left. All on the main 'default' preset which you can set to load by default! It gives a nice visual representation of the peaks getting shaved, but really as with all these things, your ears are the final arbiter. It doesn't disappoint.

Once the whole clipper thing clicks with you, you'll know when to use it before or after the limiter, when to use it on which kind of tracks, etc. - it will just be obvious. No right or wrong way. Or rather, when it is wrong, it will really sound wrong.

I'd say if you did a really good mix that was up to snuff, a mastering engineer shouldn't have to use a Clipper at all, except for maybe the odd dB or so if you really want to push the loudness thing. But then again, you are still ultimately pushing ever forth in to square wave territory when you go beyond 'surgical' use!

A track can still be very dynamic without having nasty peaks, and just because you are able to push things that little bit further and gain that extra dB or two, doesn't mean you should. I guess it's down to the client and what they want, and the skills of the mastering engineer to make that happen whilst subscribing to the ethos of 'do no harm'.


I find it very useful to get feedback (visual) when using a clipper to actually see those pesky peaks. A good free one is s(M)exoscope -

Image

http://armandomontanez.com/smexoscope/

Now for MacOS and PC and 64 bit as well as 32 bit. It can really help a lot.


Then there is also Schope - https://www.stillwellaudio.com/plugins/schope/

Image

That costs a few quid but is free to evaluate.


And recently I just upgraded to VolumeShaper 6 -

Image

https://www.cableguys.com/volumeshaper.html

That provides a very nice display for getting feedback on the waveform in real time. It comes in the ShaperBox container that has been recently updated. It's very impressive and the best bit is that even though I only own VolumeShaper, the other shapers such as pan, time, filter etc. are all fully usable and freely available to you as well. You just can't save presets. That's a nice touch and will probably entice me in to buy the other shapers eventually.


Plugins like StandardCLIP and Clipped-MAX provide visual feedback of course, but can be confusing when you just want to see the very endpoint of the signal you are effecting.

I'm also digging out my old Image-Line Maximus as well, which provides probably one of the best visual displays in a plugin out of all of them.

Image

But it's about £150 to buy and Clipped-MAX is about £20 to buy right now in the sale. It's a beautiful bit of kit from a very under-rated developer. Here's another colour theme I made up for it:

Image

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