I need a limiter and two are on sale: IK Stealth or PSP Xenon?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
KVRAF
12695 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Tue May 04, 2021 6:28 pm

Mind Riot wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 6:19 pm
digitalboytn wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 5:00 pm
And the winner is....TB Barricade 4 :)
Believe it or not, it's too expensive for this matchup. I'm only checking out these two because the prices are so extremely low. Barricade 4 comes up around $44 dollars or so (39 Euros). Xenon is $29, and Stealth is actually only $18 because I can use some Jam Points to take 30% off the sale price. I'll go higher if I feel it's warranted, but I'm not someone who really has room in my budget for new toys. When a potential steal comes along, I'll try to tighten my belt and free up some coin if it will really give me a better tool in an area where my toolbox may be lacking.

And if neither of them is to my liking I'll just keep using Limiter 6, but she's a complicated girl.
I assume that you have loudmax 64? That's the simple choice in the free department.

KVRist

Topic Starter

80 posts since 3 Aug, 2014

Post Tue May 04, 2021 9:27 pm

ghettosynth wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 6:28 pm
I assume that you have loudmax 64? That's the simple choice in the free department.
I do, right alongside the Yohng W1 and Limiter 6. 8)

Banned
254 posts since 14 Oct, 2020

Post Tue May 04, 2021 9:31 pm

I think before buying a limiter its important to set a goal for yourself what is it you it are trying to achieve.

Here is my small observation from ABC comparisons i did couple years ago. My goal was Loudness, maximum loudness. I tested how loud tracks can get before they are unlistenable and reach my desired RMS and Dynamic Range level. Keep in mind i did this couple years ago and some plugins couldve been updated with new algorhytms or renewed, so if it was i cant tell you what the result would be now.

Here are the limiters i have tested against and they just dont cut in my scenario...some just really go far away. BUT it doesnt mean those limiters are bad, they are good/great and can work just as well in certain scenarios.

IK Stealth Limiter
IK One
Ozone Maximiser
Invisible Limiter
IL Maximus
Fabfilter Pro-L2
IK Brickwall
PSP Xenon
Barricade 4 (that one is way overrated in my opinion, but looks pretty and cheap)
U-he Presswerk Limiter
TDR Limiter G6
FL Limiter
Event Horizon
Waves L2/L3

If you need a limiter with clean sound that can go really loud, from my tests Stealth Limiter, Invisible Limiter G2 & Izotope Ozone maximiser (IRC III clipping & IRCIV Modern particulary) are the only ones that can do that without destroying the mix too much. IK Brickwall, Fabfilter Pro-L2 (Punchy algorhytm), IK One worth to mention as they could get not far from the levels i was reaching. IL Maximus is another worth mentioning if it happens to have that you are using FL Studio, BUT you really have to go deep with Maximus, preset and few dial tweaking on Default didnt cut for me.

For me personaly Stealth Is a best limiter out there, but i actually dont use it myself anymore for Loudness. I prefer to set up an individual chain of compressor and a hard clipper (StandartClip is my favourite followed by Oxford inflator).

And for general limiting i use waves l2 mostly, which is believe it or not was probably 2nd worst contestant for loudness after waves l2.

Hope this will be useful for you. Best is to demo and compare and also dont forget your goals.

KVRist
182 posts since 13 May, 2004 from Italy

Post Tue May 04, 2021 10:19 pm

In our mastering studio, equipped with ATC 110 speakers and Maselec, Manley and API stuff, we have tested:
Xenon
Elephant
Stealth
Barricade
Pro L
TDR limiter G6
Waves L2.
The more transparent was the Elephant, after that were, in order, Xenon and Barricade,
And the worst were ik Stealth and Waves L2.
Hope this helps.

KVRist

Topic Starter

80 posts since 3 Aug, 2014

Post Tue May 04, 2021 10:52 pm

Goodness, such conflicting information! I really appreciate everyone sharing, it all helps to round out the picture.

As far as my goals, I'm not looking to push things to the edge. I'll only be going to 1-2db of gain reduction, I don't want any part of the loudness wars. I'm just doing my own stuff, and -12db or -11db RMS is just fine with me.

Banned
254 posts since 14 Oct, 2020

Post Tue May 04, 2021 11:32 pm

Mind Riot wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:52 pm
Goodness, such conflicting information! I really appreciate everyone sharing, it all helps to round out the picture.

As far as my goals, I'm not looking to push things to the edge. I'll only be going to 1-2db of gain reduction, I don't want any part of the loudness wars. I'm just doing my own stuff, and -12db or -11db RMS is just fine with me.
In that case, your DAW limiter might do a good job :) also there has been some limiters/maximisers that were offered some time for free (if i recall well) like Ozone 8/9 elements, they have IRC I & II algorhytms that are fine too if you dont need the max possible loudness. I think IK Brickwall was offered for free? correct me if im wrong :)

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KVRian
961 posts since 3 Jan, 2019 from Holland

Post Wed May 05, 2021 3:33 am

Mind Riot wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:52 pm
Goodness, such conflicting information! I really appreciate everyone sharing, it all helps to round out the picture.

As far as my goals, I'm not looking to push things to the edge. I'll only be going to 1-2db of gain reduction, I don't want any part of the loudness wars. I'm just doing my own stuff, and -12db or -11db RMS is just fine with me.
In all honesty, in your case, you'll be fine by just using Loudmax or TDR Limiter.
More BPM please

KVRAF
1696 posts since 28 Sep, 2012

Post Wed May 05, 2021 5:06 am

dionenoid wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 3:33 am
Mind Riot wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:52 pm
Goodness, such conflicting information! I really appreciate everyone sharing, it all helps to round out the picture.

As far as my goals, I'm not looking to push things to the edge. I'll only be going to 1-2db of gain reduction, I don't want any part of the loudness wars. I'm just doing my own stuff, and -12db or -11db RMS is just fine with me.
In all honesty, in your case, you'll be fine by just using Loudmax or TDR Limiter.
Absolutely check out FIRComp 2. But TDR limiter is also free.

KVRist

Topic Starter

80 posts since 3 Aug, 2014

Post Wed May 05, 2021 12:10 pm

dionenoid wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 3:33 am
In all honesty, in your case, you'll be fine by just using Loudmax or TDR Limiter.
So the quality of the limiter doesn't matter unless it's pushed really hard?

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KVRAF
4243 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Wed May 05, 2021 12:58 pm

Mind Riot wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 12:10 pm
dionenoid wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 3:33 am
In all honesty, in your case, you'll be fine by just using Loudmax or TDR Limiter.
So the quality of the limiter doesn't matter unless it's pushed really hard?
You dont have to push a limiter hard to notice a sound difference. Any processing a limiter does can affect the audio in an audible way. If the signal is never over the threshold and everything else is set flat and 0 there should be no effect. once the signal hits the threshold, the limiter is going to clip the peaks using whatever algo the given limiteruses. if two limiters use the same algo, they will sound the same. the whole point of different devs releasing different limiters is they may have their own unique clipping algo and other features. The effect might become more audible and important the more you push it, but it's also important to have a limiter that gives you the sound you want for delicate things like mastering.

Like most things in audio, it's up to you what the best purchase decision is. You may not notice a difference between Xenon and Stealth so may come down to features only. Every single person hears things differently when you get into minutiae of sonic details. We can also guide each other to hear certain things otherwise missed: for me Xenon is clean but creates a fuller sound, Stealth adds a gritty texture. So far the most transparent limiters I've used, in my opinion, are Nugen ISL2 (single band) and DMG Limitless (multi-band). I use Limitless for mastering. My choice between Xenon and Stealth would be Xenon because it has more control and a wider range of sonic character than Stealth. I could see using Xenon for mastering. I wouldn't use Stealth for mastering frankly but it might be a good track limiter for agressive guitars and drums. As you can, there is rationale for having both and giving you GAS.

KVRist

Topic Starter

80 posts since 3 Aug, 2014

Post Wed May 05, 2021 1:25 pm

Well put. I messed around with Stealth a tad yesterday and for some reason whenever I bring up the UI it's huge and the window only shows half of it or so. Scalable UIs are great, but not if I have to manually widen the window anytime I want to make an adjustment. :dog:

I'll be rendering out the same song with Limiter 6, Stealth and Xenon and see what differences, if any, my ears can pickup. If I'm such a rank amateur that I can't even tell the different between freeware and paid plugs I might as well save my money. :phones:

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KVRAF
4243 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Wed May 05, 2021 1:34 pm

Mind Riot wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:25 pm
Well put. I messed around with Stealth a tad yesterday and for some reason whenever I bring up the UI it's huge and the window only shows half of it or so. Scalable UIs are great, but not if I have to manually widen the window anytime I want to make an adjustment. :dog:

I'll be rendering out the same song with Limiter 6, Stealth and Xenon and see what differences, if any, my ears can pickup. If I'm such a rank amateur that I can't even tell the different between freeware and paid plugs I might as well save my money. :phones:
It takes time to learn to hear the details. What I do is focus on some tiny detail and cognitively try and block out everything else. Since limiters work on peak, and transients create peaks, listen for the details of transients as you lower the threshold and the limiter starts to work. Keep in mind some limiters will start working before their metering shows anything. One technique to work with transients is to lower the volume of your monitors, down really low, so low that all you can really hear at the peaks. then when you work with a limiter it will be easier to focus on what its doing to the transients.

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KVRian
698 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Wed May 05, 2021 1:35 pm

Mind Riot wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:52 pm
Goodness, such conflicting information! I really appreciate everyone sharing, it all helps to round out the picture.

As far as my goals, I'm not looking to push things to the edge. I'll only be going to 1-2db of gain reduction, I don't want any part of the loudness wars. I'm just doing my own stuff, and -12db or -11db RMS is just fine with me.
I use Stealth Limiter as the last processor on my master buss to stop intersample clipping. I leave it at the default limit of -0.1. I don't hear any difference in the output at all. But the clip light on my DAW master meter stops lighting up.

I've never tried to squash a mix with it (why would I want to?), so I can't tell you how transparent it is in extreme settings.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

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KVRAF
4243 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Wed May 05, 2021 1:44 pm

jamcat wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:35 pm
Mind Riot wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 10:52 pm
Goodness, such conflicting information! I really appreciate everyone sharing, it all helps to round out the picture.

As far as my goals, I'm not looking to push things to the edge. I'll only be going to 1-2db of gain reduction, I don't want any part of the loudness wars. I'm just doing my own stuff, and -12db or -11db RMS is just fine with me.
I use Stealth Limiter as the last processor on my master buss to stop intersample clipping. I leave it at the default limit of -0.1. I don't hear any difference in the output at all. But the clip light on my DAW master meter stops lighting up.

I've never tried to squash a mix with it (why would I want to?), so I can't tell you how transparent it is in extreme settings.
Just a little note about intra-sample-peaks (ISPs) - it's true that if you set a limiter to -0.1dB ceiling and you have over-sampling on 2x or higher, a true-peak limiter will prevent ISPs... in the rendered audio. However when that audio is compressed using a CODEC, such as streamed audio, this will likely introduce ISPs in the resulting audio on the listeners end. To prevernt these "up stream" ISPs its generally advised to use a -1dB ceiling for the master rendered audio. I've done extensiving experiments with this and for my audio goals I've choosen -0.8dB ceiling with a target of -16 LUFS. The louder you go, the more ceiling you need. I target -16 LUFS because I find it's the best balance of loudness, up-stream ISP mitigation, PLR and over-all audio quality.

KVRAF
3736 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Post Wed May 05, 2021 3:31 pm

plexuss wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:34 pm
It takes time to learn to hear the details. What I do is focus on some tiny detail and cognitively try and block out everything else. S
I do the opposite - I close my eyes during the A/B test and try to zone out enough to hear "the bigger picture" rather than trying not to focus on individual details too much. This gives me a more rounded view of which one is better, not just in one detail at a time.

The general question I ask myself is which one sounds "more natural / more real" in a soundstage sense - which is a combination of so many subjective things... width, depth (3D), transient/dynamics retention, clarity (frequencies), THD etc. It's then usually very easy for me to hear the differences between limiters.

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