Best ISP Limiters?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
User avatar
plexuss
KVRAF
4725 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:43 pm

sircuit wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:20 pm
All these technical subtleties that could be a problem (arguably) only on a very expensive audio system while the music ends up on the platform with the crappiest lossy encoder on the market. YMWV indeed
There is an audience for music with a higher quality of audio. Granted small, but it's there. And yes, these people have high-fidelity systems aka audiophile. It takes a lot of care and consideration to push the audio quality envelope and yes every little thing matters, especially in the digital domain.

User avatar
Synthack
KVRian
590 posts since 4 Dec, 2021 from Canada

Post Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:53 pm

Not sure if it's the best but I like TrackLimit for mixing with.
Do you have them all yet?

joku
KVRer
25 posts since 20 Apr, 2016

Post Fri Dec 03, 2021 7:19 pm

Not sure why add these complexities. The way I've always done it, before even knowing about ISPs is to turn it down a hair until it sounds good. Maybe there's some scientific reason I'm not aware of (sampling & limiting signals from a radio telescope?).

User avatar
plexuss
KVRAF
4725 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Fri Dec 03, 2021 7:25 pm

joku wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 7:19 pm
Not sure why add these complexities. The way I've always done it, before even knowing about ISPs is to turn it down a hair until it sounds good. Maybe there's some scientific reason I'm not aware of (sampling & limiting signals from a radio telescope?).
That is a totally valid method and the purest form of "using your ears". However, there are tools that can be used to measure these things and some prefer to use them as well. I am one of those people. I use my ears and I use measurement tools to help arrive at a good balance of comprimises. But it's not entirely necessary however it can help to squeeze more fidelity out of the audio. But, as has been pointed out, there are many different goals and so using empirical methods may not be relevant to your use-case.

michal.ochedowski
KVRist
99 posts since 31 Dec, 2018

Post Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:16 pm

If it wasn't for the meters, I would still hover around -20 LUFS area thinking that my tracks sounded ok. Using specific tools helped me to understand, where I was constantly making the same mistakes. So all the talk online about raising LUFS level was beneficial in a big picture. Still I have my limits and not going to sacrifice quality over loudness.

User avatar
pixel85
KVRian
1498 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:11 am

plexuss wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:43 pm
sircuit wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:20 pm
All these technical subtleties that could be a problem (arguably) only on a very expensive audio system while the music ends up on the platform with the crappiest lossy encoder on the market. YMWV indeed
There is an audience for music with a higher quality of audio. Granted small, but it's there. And yes, these people have high-fidelity systems aka audiophile. It takes a lot of care and consideration to push the audio quality envelope and yes every little thing matters, especially in the digital domain.
Do you also record, mix and master in min. 192kHz 24bit for them? It's a legit question. Don't tell me that you print your tracks in 44.1k 16b because then, ISP is the least problem for such inferior format in audiophiles eyes ;)
Beware! The software discussed in this topic has unacceptable aliasing at -386dBTP but it can be fixed by changing the sample rate to 12Bit

User avatar
plexuss
KVRAF
4725 posts since 8 Jul, 2009

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 11:08 am

pixel85 wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:11 am
plexuss wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:43 pm
sircuit wrote:
Fri Dec 03, 2021 6:20 pm
All these technical subtleties that could be a problem (arguably) only on a very expensive audio system while the music ends up on the platform with the crappiest lossy encoder on the market. YMWV indeed
There is an audience for music with a higher quality of audio. Granted small, but it's there. And yes, these people have high-fidelity systems aka audiophile. It takes a lot of care and consideration to push the audio quality envelope and yes every little thing matters, especially in the digital domain.
Do you also record, mix and master in min. 192kHz 24bit for them? It's a legit question. Don't tell me that you print your tracks in 44.1k 16b because then, ISP is the least problem for such inferior format in audiophiles eyes ;)
No. There is research (Lavry) to suggest that 96/24 is the upper limit of balancing artifacts and quality. When I can I mix/render in 96/24. In some cases this isn't possible due to limitations with plugins. Then, for the purpose of sharing my music for free to everyone, I convert using Myriad and the new Zynaptiq DSP algos, to 44/24 and upload to soundcloud. From there, it's out of my hands.

I have analyed my music in the resulting stream from soundcloud and determined that 16 LUFS is a good target to minimize ISPs. I prefer audio to this level of quality.

MogwaiBoy
KVRAF
4141 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 1:47 pm

Music is so completely subjective. It is true that the average listener won't hear or care about ISP's, moderate clipping, 44 vs 96kHz, 24 vs 16-bit etc, in our music - but that doesn't mean we can't ensure those things are accounted for, even if it seems a bit OCD. Plexus appears to take pride in what he does, and that's cool. I love geeking out about audio quality, even though it does just get in the way of just making more damn music most of the time!

On the subject of subjectivity... This is an old song now from one of my projects. I barely mixed it at all / barely cared at the time. The resonance is awful - I think this mix is truly crap, and it's 16-bit 44kHz all the way without care for ISP's etc. One day I'll remix it (with liberal use of Soothe haha). But anyway... even though the sound quality is very substandard in my opinion.. it still has a positive effect on people on Soundcloud and elsewhere. I've wondered why, and I think it's purely because of the vibe / emotion of the piece that people connect to. Ultimately that's what music is all about, right?

https://soundcloud.com/gangviolins/this ... oy-us-both

Winstontaneous
KVRAF
2168 posts since 15 Feb, 2006 from Berkeley, CA

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 2:59 pm

Question about streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify...do they do their own processing on the uploaded master files so they won't go past 0 dBfs when streamed? Or do they not care and "Mastered for Apple Music" is just marketing bollocks? Reason I ask - a few years ago I downloaded a bunch of EDM/House tracks/albums from Apple Music, including professionally mastered major releases, and ran loudness statistics in Adobe Audition. Every single file had multiple peaks above 0 except for deadmau5 who I believe mastered his own stuff through FabFilter ProL to -0.3 or -0.4 ceiling.

sircuit
KVRian
817 posts since 15 Jul, 2016

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 4:14 pm

Winstontaneous wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 2:59 pm
Every single file had multiple peaks above 0 except for deadmau5 who I believe mastered his own stuff through FabFilter ProL to -0.3 or -0.4 ceiling.
Is not just Apple music. Literally no one (big players) cares about ISP's & TP. Mastering houses that charge $$$$ will deliver mixes that have ISPs because no one hears them anyway. We grow so much accustomed to "see" the music, that we start to forget that just the sound matters.

Off topic (and I recommend this to anyone): I often do when I mix a blind test when I'm in doubt. Close eyes, click the on/off plugin button many times until I can't say anymore that the effect is on or off, then carefully listen and flip the mouse. The amount of times I opened my eyes and the effect was off (but my ears were telling me it sounds better) is insane. The number of plugins I cut from my use because they were just fancy guis is even bigger. If you really want to improve your music listen to it, don't just look at it.

PS: Fun stuff - John Hanes, the partner of Serban Ghenea (20+ Grammys together) has a thread on GS. And I asked him (because their goto eq is MH Channel Strip) how he deals with cramping in the high end. He had to dig up what is cramping and then confirmed that they don't care because they can't hear the difference anyway. I asked him about oversampling - he said he doesn't care about it, if a plugin doesnt sound right he will not turn to oversampling, rather to another plugin. This is the workflow at the highest level in the world in music making while we debate specs. Good read that thread.

User avatar
Hermetech Mastering
KVRAF
1595 posts since 30 May, 2003 from Milan, Italy

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 11:15 pm

I don't let any ISPs through on anything I master, but it's force of habit and following best practise these days, rather than it likely sounding any different. There's a case to be made for it being audible on some systems, especially when you don't know what further processing will be done down the line. But it's one of those things like dither, I think, there are a hundred thousand other things during the track creation process that will determine overall sound quality to a far greater extent. Talking about a few ISP overs here, not absolutely smashing it.

Ploki
KVRAF
5255 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:21 am

sircuit wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 4:14 pm
Is not just Apple music. Literally no one (big players) cares about ISP's & TP. Mastering houses that charge $$$$ will deliver mixes that have ISPs because no one hears them anyway. We grow so much accustomed to "see" the music, that we start to forget that just the sound matters.

Off topic (and I recommend this to anyone): I often do when I mix a blind test when I'm in doubt. Close eyes, click the on/off plugin button many times until I can't say anymore that the effect is on or off, then carefully listen and flip the mouse. The amount of times I opened my eyes and the effect was off (but my ears were telling me it sounds better) is insane. The number of plugins I cut from my use because they were just fancy guis is even bigger. If you really want to improve your music listen to it, don't just look at it.

PS: Fun stuff - John Hanes, the partner of Serban Ghenea (20+ Grammys together) has a thread on GS. And I asked him (because their goto eq is MH Channel Strip) how he deals with cramping in the high end. He had to dig up what is cramping and then confirmed that they don't care because they can't hear the difference anyway. I asked him about oversampling - he said he doesn't care about it, if a plugin doesnt sound right he will not turn to oversampling, rather to another plugin. This is the workflow at the highest level in the world in music making while we debate specs. Good read that thread.
oh man i love your posts

Here's an open question, i'm an apple digital masters certified engineer which means i can get the "Apple Digital Masters" badge on releases under my name. One of the requirements is "no ISPs after conversion to AAC."
as you can imagine that means ceilings with oversampled limiters low as -1.1 sometimes.

If I listen to commercial stuff (like billie eilish) they all got that badge, but they all ISP like a motherf**ker after conversion - up to +2dB sometimes.

I've not yet pushed a song that ISPd under Apple Digital Masters so i'm not sure if the system is automated or they just don't give a shit and you're a dumbass if you follow it.
Image

legendCNCD
KVRian
1232 posts since 23 Sep, 2004 from Kocmoc

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 6:07 am

sircuit wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 4:14 pm
PS: Fun stuff - John Hanes, the partner of Serban Ghenea (20+ Grammys together) has a thread on GS. And I asked him (because their goto eq is MH Channel Strip) how he deals with cramping in the high end. He had to dig up what is cramping and then confirmed that they don't care because they can't hear the difference anyway. I asked him about oversampling - he said he doesn't care about it, if a plugin doesnt sound right he will not turn to oversampling, rather to another plugin. This is the workflow at the highest level in the world in music making while we debate specs. Good read that thread.
This, I laughed so much when I read that thread and hit that part, because some of people I know are very anal about all these... and I've mostly been "if you cant really hear it in the mix context, then why are you bothering?"
They ditch plugins if they alias a bit even they cannot hear it etc. Then they praise plugins which clearly have aliasing etc. Now the latest thing is to measure everything with plugindoctor :pray:
Soft Knees - Demoscene - Live 10 - Diva - Omnisphere - Slate Digital VSX - TDR - Kush Audio - Fabfilter - PA - Valhalla - Fuse - Pulsar - NI - OekSound etc...

sircuit
KVRian
817 posts since 15 Jul, 2016

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 7:42 am

legendCNCD wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 6:07 am
This, I laughed so much when I read that thread and hit that part, because some of people I know are very anal about all these... and I've mostly been "if you cant really hear it in the mix context, then why are you bothering?"
Advice coming from people at the top of the game and without anything to endorse is absolutely priceless. They don’t talk about how things should theoretically be, they talk about how things actually are. Major F-in difference.

There was also that time when they were asked to make a signature plugin and they said all the bases are covered and there’s no plugin they’ll specially need (and therefore promote).

I still can’t believe John answered so many questions there and in the process demolished pretty much all the myths there are. Life on a forum and actually making music are sooo different at times :)

sircuit
KVRian
817 posts since 15 Jul, 2016

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 2:00 pm

Ploki wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:21 am
If I listen to commercial stuff (like billie eilish) they all got that badge, but they all ISP like a motherf**ker after conversion - up to +2dB sometimes.
There you have it

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