Limited-MAX by LVC Audio is a fully featured mastering limiter that provides a loud and transparent sound. To accomplish this, MAX dynamically selects from three different algorithms — Clean, ClipShifter (fast transients), and Peak Saturation (sustained loudness). The dynamic decision is made via the flashy dynamic algorithm, which can be easily overridden by sliding around on the X/Y pad. MAX is truly invisible — it limits the peaks and enables the average level to be raised and prevents clipping without adding any color, harmonic tint, distortion, or pumping. When mastering, increasing the perceived volume of an entire track is usually desired. However, as is true with any powerful limiter, if pushed too hard the dynamics get flattened to death. MAX is more than capable of gently reducing the odd waveform peaks by a few dB without causing any harm. The end result is a smoother mastered stereo track that has all of the perceived dynamics. Back in the day, analog clipping wasn't always bad. In fact, sometimes levels were intentionally pushed to their limits to maximize sound quality, but in the digital world clipping can easily become digital distortion, which is nasty (in a bad way). Audio is often set at -3dB of lower to prevent such nastiness. MAX has look-ahead and therefor can be thought of as a true brickwall limiter; yet, with the right settings, the track will not crash into the wall and die. My favorite features:
Slick interface. .. lots of parameters, but not overwhelming.
Powerful and flexible — lots of control to shape the sound.
Dynamic EQ for reducing or enhancing lows or highs — nice bass gain.
Style knob enables easy customizing.
Enthusiastic, innovative, responsive developer.
The selectable output metering features a color scheme of gold against the white background with red indicating the reduction. It took a little getting used to, but it grew on me; The factory presets are really good and work well as is and/or can be used as a starting point to adjust from; however, it would be nice to have more presets to choose from.
When mastering, I believe it's vital to use a limiter that protects the track and doesn't add anything unwanted — the only "character" I want in room while mastering is me! A limiter is the cleanest way to boost average level without clipping, and MAX does this very, very well. MAX can be strapped across the master buss as one of the last processes with the goal of total transparency and no added coloration. This plugin is extremely precise and won't allow anything over their upper limit, once set. MAX will undoubtedly become my mastering safety net. I highly recommend this fine mastering limiter to anyone working with digital audio who is looking for a clean, transparent, and natural sound. I give Limited-MAX two transparent thumbs up.