Limiters are what make great mixes sound loud without distortion, take the unruly crack out of gun shots and punches and are the blade of the transient haircut in a mastering session. In this article and in the accompanying video, we take a look at some wonderful limiter plugins and put them to the test in this Limiter Shootout.
If you’ve never used a limiter in a mix before, you’re in for a treat. Imagine being able to send a super loud signal to your master output
and never have to worry about it going over? Imagine being able to take a sound effect with a giant volume peak (like a body hit) and smooth out the attack without losing the essence of its power? Sound too good to be true? Well, it is when you’re dealing with any other kind of plugin. But limiter does just that: basically a super fast compressor with an unlimited (no pun intended) ability to keep audio from going over a threshold with a ration of infinity-to-one.
There’s also another kind of limiter called a “maximizer” which does the same thing, but focuses on a different application: making things as loud as possible. Although it works the same as a limiter, one raises the input of the plugin to take away more and more of the transients of the sound while raising the output at the same time. The result is crushingly loud sound which will not go over zero – or whatever threshold you set.
We go into how limiters work in the Pro Member Education – and we will be demonstrating limiting basics here on the blog soon. For now, take a look at how several of my favorite post production plugins fare against each other: iZotope’s Ozone 7, Adobe Audition’s Hard Limiter, Waves’ L1 and Yhong’s W1, in a brutal application: orchestral score.
Have a different experience with these plugins? Let us know or Tweet about it!