Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
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dangayle
KVRian
1168 posts since 30 Mar, 2014

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:12 pm

I'd love to hear what you think about the built-in Limiter device in Ableton Live. It's so, so basic, but gets a lot of hate. I'd love to know why, whether the hate is well-founded, and in what circumstance you would or would not use it instead of something like Barricade, Limiter 6 or Pro-L2.

roman.i
KVRist
254 posts since 25 Aug, 2019

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:31 pm

I would use it on a master bus to protect my speakers from accidental spikes.
For a "mastering" I'll use a limiter that sounds better.

mholloway
KVRian
1396 posts since 11 Jan, 2009 from Portland, OR, USA

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:52 pm

Anyone who would bother 'hating' a stock Limiter device that exists solely to prevent spikes / clips has some seriously skewed priorities.

It's for preventing Overs...and that's what it does, just like any brick-wall limiter. It's useful to that end. I always have one on my master bus, and sometimes drop one on channels with chains that are getting a bit 'crazy'.

For proper mastering with loudness maximization, just about anyone out there would substitute a product designed, you know, for that purpose. In the meantime, when you want to prevent overs in a channel or on your master, bingo, you drop in limiter.

Bottom line, you might be overthinking this device, and the 'haters' (though it's hard to imagine the sort of dubious zones you spend time in where such 'hate' would be a thing) are quite literally wasting your (and their) time.
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claudedefaren
KVRist
369 posts since 10 Mar, 2013

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:27 pm

It's pretty bad. As the guy above said, to me, it's only useful for stopping accidental clipping on the master. I don't use it for anything else.

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Forgotten
KVRAF
11472 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:45 pm

dangayle wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:12 pm
but gets a lot of hate.
This post is the first time I ever heard anyone say they hated it.

It’s basic, but I can’t think I would ever “hate” it because of that.

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melomood
KVRian
560 posts since 15 Oct, 2017 from U.S.

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:33 pm

Strong words for something I'm always placing in racks somewhere in case things go crazy during knob twiddles

Dombaeb
KVRist
185 posts since 7 Dec, 2018 from Saint-Petersburg

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:55 pm

I tested it in comparison with other non-stock limiters face to face and I agree - it's bad in terms of mastering. A lot of distortion there, not nearly transparent. I think the reason for it's existent - to save your speakers in critical sound-design situations. You can check it by yourself, it's an obvious difference )

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dangayle
KVRian
1168 posts since 30 Mar, 2014

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:52 pm

I guess "hate" is a strong word. A lot of the discussions I've seen about Live's built-in devices put Limiter at the bottom of the heap, compared to the high standards set by the Glue compressor and others.

Reefius
KVRian
978 posts since 7 Dec, 2013 from Earth

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:54 am

Same here, I only use it on the master to prevent accidental clipping. For any decent limiting I use Fabfilter Pro L2 or Ozone 9.

legendCNCD
KVRian
864 posts since 23 Sep, 2004 from there

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:13 am

Limiters have use on other channels, so for example limiting some spikes on a channel/bus where needed. For thouse Live Limiter is ok. Just as usual, dont overdo it :)
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Winstontaneous
KVRAF
1824 posts since 15 Feb, 2006 from Berkeley, CA

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:23 pm

As others have said, it's a fine safety limiter - used as such, doesn't mess up the sound.

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
3792 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:35 pm

I always start with all tracks dialed down to -6 dB, then put this limiter at the end of master to add 6 dB back but not clip. Before rendering pre-master version, I turn it off.
Don't use it for any other purpose. It's just a handy utility.
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Mr. Spock
KVRist
181 posts since 4 May, 2016

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:26 pm

I use it a lot actually. Unlinked mode is very useful and for drums, a bit dirty is great! Not for mastering but on anything else all the time.

s28
KVRist
394 posts since 9 Aug, 2017

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:56 pm

I use it occasionally, it has it's own sound. I prefer airwindows cliponly on my output for preventing any strays or for gently leaning into. Depends on the song of course and I rarely have a dedicated limiter plugin on my master, mainly just Airwindows Monitoring which has a built in clipper.

revvy
KVRian
1025 posts since 15 Feb, 2020

Re: Is Ableton's Limiter device really *that* bad?

Post Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:04 pm

Winstontaneous wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:23 pm
As others have said, it's a fine safety limiter - used as such, doesn't mess up the sound.
My use also, there it sits on the master, protecting my ears.
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