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

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
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KVRAF
4304 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Wed May 05, 2021 4:50 pm

MogwaiBoy wrote:
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.
That is a different listening exercise than I was suggesting. Since limters act on the peaks, in order to hear the peaks more clearly one can turn down the volume to bury the bulk of the audio in the noise floor leaving the transient peaks to be audible - then it can easier to hear the effects of the clipping algo in the limiter. This process can also be useful in general to work with transients and its also good training to be able to pick out transients more accurately in a mix without having to drop the over-all volume to evaluate.

Other such listening evaluations including yours can also part of the auditioning processs.
Last edited by plexuss on Wed May 05, 2021 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRAF
15363 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Post Wed May 05, 2021 5:43 pm

Just a heads up, the Stealth Limiter reports a latency of 4995 samples and 104.06 ms.

In comparison Loudmax reports 60 samples and 1.25ms.
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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KVRAF
2068 posts since 8 Dec, 2008 from Global Cowboy

Post Wed May 05, 2021 5:55 pm

Teksonik wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 5:43 pm
Just a heads up, the Stealth Limiter reports a latency of 4995 samples and 104.06 ms.

In comparison Loudmax reports 60 samples and 1.25ms.
So the Stealth limiter is really not so stealthy :wink:
Sorry - I don't use auto-tune....

KVRAF
3070 posts since 25 Mar, 2016 from Seattle

Post Wed May 05, 2021 6:26 pm

It’s the worst for latency, I mentioned it a few pages back.

KVRAF
1736 posts since 28 Sep, 2012

Post Wed May 05, 2021 7:09 pm

FIRComp 2 I’m has a zero latency mode, and less than 2ms with lookahead. Yes, I love it.

KVRAF
1670 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Thu May 06, 2021 1:56 am

Does the current version of Xenon use iLok? I can't figure it out from their website.

KVRAF
3070 posts since 25 Mar, 2016 from Seattle

Post Thu May 06, 2021 7:13 am

perpetual3 wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 7:09 pm
FIRComp 2 I’m has a zero latency mode, and less than 2ms with lookahead. Yes, I love it.
And for good reason!
It’s a work of art, it seems hard to make it sound bad. Genius comp/limiter

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KVRAF
2523 posts since 31 Dec, 2004 from People's Republic of Minnesota

Post Thu May 06, 2021 7:43 am

imrae wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 1:56 am
Does the current version of Xenon use iLok? I can't figure it out from their website.
It doesn’t yet. Still an authorization file. However, psp is migrating their software to Ilok with every new update so it will be eventually.

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KVRian
737 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Thu May 06, 2021 10:39 am

plexuss wrote:
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.
That is the case with standard “true peak” limiters. However, Stealth Limiter has an ISP mode which actually predicts the converted level as it’s processing, so the true peak is actually where you set it and remains stable all the way through to DA conversion. (This is where its higher latency comes from.)

Other than iZotope Ozone, I’m not aware of any other limiters that have this feature. Anyways, that’s specifically what I use it for, rather than using it to inflate the mix.

I keep it turned off unless I’m actually exporting a mixdown. That way, it’s not influencing my mix decisions or being used as a crutch, and the latency isn’t an issue either.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

User avatar
KVRAF
4304 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Thu May 06, 2021 11:02 am

jamcat wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 10:39 am
plexuss wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:44 pm
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.
That is the case with standard “true peak” limiters. However, Stealth Limiter has an ISP mode which actually eliminates them, so the true peak is actually where you set it. (This is where its higher latency comes from.)

Other than iZotope Ozone, I’m not aware of any other limiters that have this feature. Anyways, that’s specifically what I use it for, rather than using it to inflate the mix.

I keep it turned off unless I’m actually exporting a mixdown. That way, it’s not influencing my mix decisions or being used as a crutch, and the latency isn’t an issue either.
I think you misunderstand the concept: ISPs can occur when source audio (eg. the master) is compressed by a CODEC for distribution like streaming. It's not possible for a limiter to know what up-stream processing my occur and then work to mitigate ISPs caused by that processing. This is why some analyzers have settings for different CODECS so the producer can better predict issues due to up-stream processing.

A true-peak limiter should be assumed to be able to capture the actual peak, which requires lookahead. A true-peak limiter won't necessarily prevent ISPs within it's own processing let alone up-stream. A limiter with ISP is typically only mitigating ISPs in it's own processing which is why the master has ben reduced to about 1dB to account for up-stream processing that my cause ISPs. It is know that most lossy 128k CODECs can create peaks as much as 1dB more than the source.

Stealth won't do a better job with this than any other limiter with good anti-ISP processing.

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KVRian
737 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Thu May 06, 2021 12:04 pm

I understood what you are saying, and IK claims that Stealth Limiter predicts the final converted analog waveform, even after mp3 compression.

This is what IK says about it:
And this is all thanks to its smart level-tracking algorithm. It works under the hood to reduce levels below the volume ceiling moment-by-moment instead of applying traditional look-ahead envelope-based fast attack compression. This algorithm doesn’t sound like a compressor, and that’s because it’s not a compressor! T-RackS Stealth Limiter’s algorithm tracks the level and keeps it under control while simultaneously preserving the perceived sense of dynamics.

A new approach
With traditional mastering processes, it’s normal to push the volume level towards a -0.1dB or even 0.0dB ceiling. Spikes above this ceiling are suppressed via the use of hard limiters and clippers. Yet these methods only ensure a stable digital level, they do not guarantee undistorted playback once the music is translated into an analog signal. This is because the process of playback involves a number of conversion processes that, though the digital waveform may be below 0.0dB, can cause the analog waveform to exceed this threshold and introduce unwanted distortion and fuzz.

T-RackS Stealth Limiter features an inter-sample peak-limiting algorithm that gets around this issue by predicting the converted analog waveform of the digital source. Through this process it’s able to limit the sound in a way that ensures the final converted audio will very rarely exceed the set ceiling. This is useful in the modern era where music is often heard on different devices and via different services that all deliver their music via compressed formats, like MP3 or AAC.
https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/trstealthlimiter/
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

User avatar
KVRAF
2325 posts since 31 Jan, 2020

Post Thu May 06, 2021 12:33 pm

jamcat wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 10:39 am
plexuss wrote:
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.
That is the case with standard “true peak” limiters. However, Stealth Limiter has an ISP mode which actually predicts the converted level as it’s processing, so the true peak is actually where you set it and remains stable all the way through to DA conversion. (This is where its higher latency comes from.)

Other than iZotope Ozone, I’m not aware of any other limiters that have this feature. Anyways, that’s specifically what I use it for, rather than using it to inflate the mix.

I keep it turned off unless I’m actually exporting a mixdown. That way, it’s not influencing my mix decisions or being used as a crutch, and the latency isn’t an issue either.
TDR Limiter 6, & freeware Thomas Mundt Loudmax, have this feature.

KVRist

Topic Starter

97 posts since 3 Aug, 2014

Post Thu May 06, 2021 1:09 pm

Stealth's latency shouldn't be too much of an issue. My mixing and 'mastering' are two different stages, and the mastering stage only has a few plugs before the limiter and a loudness meter after it.

I loaded up Xenon last night and I literally cannot read any of the controls. Even if I lean in close to my monitor and squint, I can barely make out the back lit ones, and the bypassed (and thus darkened) ones, forget it. It is a complete no go from the start. If PSP make a bigger interface then we'll talk. I suppose I could memorize what everything is if I spent enough time with it, but there's too many alternatives readily available to make that kind of commitment. I'm really disappointed, because I like PSP and, well...this is probably immature, but...I kinda would have preferred to end up using a PSP plug over an IK one. Is that stupid? Probably.

I can get Stealth for $18 right now using Jam Points, and it seems like it will handle my needs with ease. The only other limiter in my price range I'm interested in (aside from FIRComp 2, which I should also consider, I know) is the Gentleman's Edition of TDR Limiter 6. It's available used only a few bucks more than Stealth. I'm curious if people regard it as a real professional tool, because its versatility and the level of control it gives you seems really outstanding.

I'll probably just end up getting Stealth. At the price I can get it for now it's kind of a no brainer. But I've still got a few days before the sale ends, I'll do some reading on TDR Limiter 6 while I've got time.

Any opinions on TDR Limiter 6 GE are also welcome. Maybe I'll start another thread for that. Thank you all very much for your contributions to this discussion, I really appreciate being able to tap into all of your experience and expertise. It's an invaluable resource for topics like this.
Last edited by Mind Riot on Thu May 06, 2021 1:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
KVRAF
4304 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Thu May 06, 2021 1:09 pm

jamcat wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 12:04 pm
This is what IK says about it:
And this is all thanks to its smart level-tracking algorithm. It works under the hood to reduce levels below the volume ceiling moment-by-moment instead of applying traditional look-ahead envelope-based fast attack compression. This algorithm doesn’t sound like a compressor, and that’s because it’s not a compressor! T-RackS Stealth Limiter’s algorithm tracks the level and keeps it under control while simultaneously preserving the perceived sense of dynamics.

A new approach
With traditional mastering processes, it’s normal to push the volume level towards a -0.1dB or even 0.0dB ceiling. Spikes above this ceiling are suppressed via the use of hard limiters and clippers. Yet these methods only ensure a stable digital level, they do not guarantee undistorted playback once the music is translated into an analog signal. This is because the process of playback involves a number of conversion processes that, though the digital waveform may be below 0.0dB, can cause the analog waveform to exceed this threshold and introduce unwanted distortion and fuzz.

T-RackS Stealth Limiter features an inter-sample peak-limiting algorithm that gets around this issue by predicting the converted analog waveform of the digital source. Through this process it’s able to limit the sound in a way that ensures the final converted audio will very rarely exceed the set ceiling. This is useful in the modern era where music is often heard on different devices and via different services that all deliver their music via compressed formats, like MP3 or AAC.
https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/trstealthlimiter/

I understood what you are saying, and IK claims that Stealth Limiter predicts the final converted analog waveform, even after mp3 compression. [statement moved and highlighted from the original]
I think what Stealth does is what any other ISP limiter does and that is over-sample enough to catch ISP's and mitigate them. The marketing from IK that you posted effectively says this. But later they talk about how this is useful for audio that will go through further compression such as mp3 aac etc but it doesn't specifically say Stealth somehow analyzes the effect of compression in it's algorythm. They just say their ISP approach is useful for mitigating issues in up-stream processing. Perhaps you were experiencing confirmation bias when you read this and connected the two ideas together because you want it to be that way? In any case, there is no evidence to suggest Stealth is doing anything different than any other ISP limiter. Don't fall for the marketing hype...

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Banned
2290 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Post Thu May 06, 2021 1:12 pm

I have and use IKM Stealth Limiter a lot. Its pretty good but to be honest, its just a brickwall limiter with a fancier GUI. I fail to see what it does that is better than the brickwall limiter that comes included in my DAW. Save your money and use the one thats bundled in your DAW.
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