Settings when using a Limiter on a kick drum to reduce transient?

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Liney
KVRist
122 posts since 11 Mar, 2014

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:48 am

Would appreciate some help. I now know my way around a compressor, but I have no experience of using a limiter (but I do own Fabfilter Pro-L 2, because I know that I will need to learn how to use one).

I keep seeing in tutorials that say it can be an idea to limit your kick drum (and snare for that matter), to contain the transients so that they don't hit the limiter during mastering miles before anything else.

So let's say you have a kick with a click-y transient, with the first 10ms-30ms being significantly higher than the body of the kick on the oscilloscope. Can you use a limiter to literally lop this section off down to a level nearer to the rest of the kick? To do this, would you set zero attack, and a very fast release, to just catch the transient, and would this work without any unfortunate side effects (apart from to the transient, which is short and click-y anyway)?

When I tried to research this, I just found a load of stuff on people using Clipping plugins. Is it better just to use a soft or hard clipper plugin for this purpose? If so, why does everyone say that kicks can often benefit from limiting?

Like I say, any help much appreciated!

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andymcbain
KVRist
211 posts since 10 Jan, 2017

Re: Settings when using a Limiter on a kick drum to reduce transient?

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:09 am

Treat a limiter as a compressor with an extremely high or even infinite ratio. Many limiters don't even have attack and release controls - though Pro-L 2 does.

A limiter with a very fast or instant attack could certainly zap the transient on a kick drum or snare. As could a hard clipper (and soft clipper, though the effect may be more obvious). Hard clipping will sound different to hard limiting, and may retain some of the initial "click" - albeit in a distorted fashion - which is probably why there's a trend for using hard clipping on percussive sounds.

My question would be why you'd want to do this. Yes it could result in a louder master, but also in a squashed sound that lacks punch. If that's the sound you're trying to emulate then by all means go ahead, but I'd be more tempted to retain that punch, get the best mix you can and let an experienced mastering engineer do the rest.
Last edited by andymcbain on Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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andymcbain
KVRist
211 posts since 10 Jan, 2017

Re: Settings when using a Limiter on a kick drum to reduce transient?

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 am

deleted x 2
Last edited by andymcbain on Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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andymcbain
KVRist
211 posts since 10 Jan, 2017

Re: Settings when using a Limiter on a kick drum to reduce transient?

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:14 am

deleted

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Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
1716 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: Settings when using a Limiter on a kick drum to reduce transient?

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:55 am

I'd go for transient shaper instead of limiting.

Liney
KVRist
122 posts since 11 Mar, 2014

Re: Settings when using a Limiter on a kick drum to reduce transient?

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:07 am

Many thanks for your replies.

I think in answer to 'why do you want to do this?', it is simply that I want to understand how to do it, so that I know how to if the need arises. I had a brief attempt at using a limiter in this way a few weeks ago and didn't get the desired result.

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