Analog Peak limiting before look-ahead plug-in Peak Limiting?
Old 11th June 2012
  #1
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Analog Peak limiting before look-ahead plug-in Peak Limiting?

Does anyone ever do analog Peak limiting before look-ahead plug-in Peak Limiting?

Clients often want stuff LOUD and I have a few ways to do it...

however....

I'm currently looking at the Portico II Master Buss Processor.... and I see it can do analog peak limiting.....

Generally speaking - how well might it work (or not) to peak limit at the end of my analog chain (after my analog compressors & analog EQs) then go back into my DAW and peak limit a second time with a good peak limiter plugin like the L2007 ?

Never owned an analog stereo (mix buss worthy) peak limiter - so hard for me to experiment.

thanks


Last edited by mixerguy; 11th June 2012 at 07:55 AM.. Reason: clarification.
Old 11th June 2012
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
Does anyone ever do analog Peak limiting before look-ahead plug-in Peak Limiting?
In a way, yes.

Like many others, I sometimes use the HEDD's ADC as a little bit of a "pre-limiter" before the final plug-in limiter.

I don't have any other experience with analog limiters other than the one in the STC-8 which really isn't that useful.
Old 11th June 2012
  #3
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I use the Forssell ADC or a bit of clipping before using digital limiting when applicable (Ozone 5). I have a Neve MBP, I've used the limiting a couple of times if there are huge transients and not a lot of fast bass movement. It's kind of soft sounding and gets audible quickly. Much better in ff than fb mode, but if the meter is lighting up when it's engaged it's usually too audible. Unless the music doesn't mind a bit of that, sometimes its cool. Nice feature to have, and cool to use in parallel a bit.
I still want to try the Pendulum PL-2. From samples Ive heard it's more transparent.
Old 11th June 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
Does anyone ever do analog Peak limiting before look-ahead plug-in Peak Limiting?

Clients often want stuff LOUD and I have a few ways to do it...

however....

I'm currently looking at the Portico II Master Buss Processor.... and I see it can do analog peak limiting.....

Generally speaking - how well might it work (or not) to peak limit at the end of my analog chain (after my analog compressors & analog EQs) then go back into my DAW and peak limit a second time with a good peak limiter plugin like the L2007 ?

Never owned an analog stereo (mix buss worthy) peak limiter - so hard for me to experiment.

thanks

Yes the Limiter in the MBP is good, if you don't hit it too hard.

I was a little surprised actually just how good it works.

Hutch said he worked out "intelligent" release times for it.

But the feature works as part of the whole system in the MBP.

How the makeup gain is set for instance.

Helps to get masters louder & cleaner than before.

Then I hit the PSP Xenon a dB or so in sB HD.

Best, JT
Old 11th June 2012
  #5
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Never before, always last, because there's no situation in which the output from the PL-2 I use could be "improved" by any other peak limiter, analog nor digital, only worsened. I've tested it so extensively that you just don't wanna know. Even though I knew what to expect.

You may be able to get some louder result using another limiter after proper processing with a proper brick wall peak limiter, but forget about it sounding as transparent and non-fatiguing. The actual perceivable "loudness" gets much worse, but if you like mushy sound, then do it.

In any case, test things yourself, don't fully rely on my or others' findings.
Old 11th June 2012
  #6
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I would also say this about the Neve MBP; though it is very flat for a box with transformers it still has a sound. Whether you like that or not is up to you. Actually if you q clone it, in ff mode it is absolutely flat. Though to my ears it warms up the highest elements of the mix ever so slightly. So in other words, if you are buying it just for its limiting you will get other sound elements as well. Though I really like the sound of the box when it isn't doing anything. It does so much other cool stuff though. The compression sounds great, silk is awesome. I love the stereo eq section (useful for broad ms strokes).
Old 11th June 2012
  #7
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i use a maselec mpl2 since a few month now and i'm very satisfied with it,
i've been prefering to use it, even hard sometimes than clipping the adc.
i have the feeling it retains the punch better then clipping wich is a bit flatening to my ears
when needed i add a little extra db in digital with flux elixir wich is the most transparent digital limiter i have used (own the psp & elephant ).
Old 12th June 2012
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by thermos View Post
I still want to try the Pendulum PL-2. From samples Ive heard it's more transparent.
i tried to get better results with a tick analog limiting (pl-2), but after blind comparing i rejected this solution.
2 different digital limiter in a row or sometime a digital limiter before some other dynamics can help at times
Old 12th June 2012
  #9
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I'm with Livingstone

I had the Pendulum PL 2, but am much happier with the Maselec MPL 2.

I actually use it 1st in the analog chain instead of at the end (usually in M/S)

It has such a unbelievably smooth quality to it.

Then in digital it's Fabfilter Pro-L
Old 13th June 2012
  #10
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I'm interested in the MPL-2, can't demo it unfortunately
so I'm asking you guys since we have owners here.

Speaking of pure loudness: does it help?
Meaning, does it allow you to get the master louder (or let's say as loud) with less artifacts/bad side effects?
How about its attack time?
Old 13th June 2012
  #11
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In a word: YES

The trick is to send an M/S signal into it.

Seems counter-intuitive with only one set of controls, but, it unleashes the beast.

Also, since the De-esser circuit is built into the Limiter, it automatically kicks in when you decide to drive the limiter harder. (The M/S knob on the de-esser gives you another palette. This is not an encoder/decoder. It simply pays more attention to the mid information)

It is a gorgeous piece of equipment
Old 13th June 2012
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parisminzer View Post
I'm with Livingstone

I had the Pendulum PL 2, but am much happier with the Maselec MPL 2.

I actually use it 1st in the analog chain instead of at the end (usually in M/S)

It has such a unbelievably smooth quality to it.

Then in digital it's Fabfilter Pro-L
So you're hitting your EQs and Comps after peak-limiting? Sounds counter productive to me.

I've always used mine last in the chain before AD but what you're suggesting, while intriguing, I can't imagine doing.

Curious to hear more of why you're doing it that way.
Old 13th June 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grandmasters View Post
So you're hitting your EQs and Comps after peak-limiting? Sounds counter productive to me.

I've always used mine last in the chain before AD but what you're suggesting, while intriguing, I can't imagine doing.

Curious to hear more of why you're doing it that way.
+1

Me to.
Old 14th June 2012
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parisminzer View Post
In a word: YES

The trick is to send an M/S signal into it.

Seems counter-intuitive with only one set of controls, but, it unleashes the beast.

Also, since the De-esser circuit is built into the Limiter, it automatically kicks in when you decide to drive the limiter harder. (The M/S knob on the de-esser gives you another palette. This is not an encoder/decoder. It simply pays more attention to the mid information)

It is a gorgeous piece of equipment
Thanks for the feedback
So you feed your mix to it in M/S instead of L/R, let the MPL-2 process it and decode back the M/S mix to L/R?
I'm still confused how does it actually handle/stops peaks having AN attack time.
I read the manual, it appears the shortest attack time that you get is 1msec

I get the feeling I should really test the unit,
it sounds like a hit or miss to me.
IF it works as I picture it to, I could definitely love it tho'
Old 15th June 2012
  #15
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It handles attack times very well.

I would say the unit is 'punchy, but not crunchy'

It will not give you overs, but not quite in the brick wall way of the PL2 or hardware L2.

At the same time, there are no side effects like with those other boxes.

P.S.
Here's a cool trick for PL 2 owners:

Disable both the Link and I/O Gain.
Then Crank the Input and Output Controls to Maximum.

Lovely saturation! I want to get another PL2 eventually just to do this. Sounds awesome
Old 15th June 2012
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parisminzer View Post
It handles attack times very well.

I would say the unit is 'punchy, but not crunchy'

It will not give you overs, but not quite in the brick wall way of the PL2 or hardware L2.

At the same time, there are no side effects like with those other boxes.

P.S.
Here's a cool trick for PL 2 owners:

Disable both the Link and I/O Gain.
Then Crank the Input and Output Controls to Maximum.

Lovely saturation! I want to get another PL2 eventually just to do this. Sounds awesome
Ah, the Pendulum.. another very tempting unit
gotta find a way to demo these two, I've been looking at them
for way too long lol
thanks again for the feedback
Old 15th June 2012
  #17
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I´d like to Demo the maselec & compare it to my PL-2 too.
I like my PL-2 but sometimes it distorts even when it is not or nearly not limiting (1-2Db).
lowering the input level does not help.
Mostly audible on lower mids or when there is stereo content. switching channel link off
did not help. Anyone have experience with that ?
Like to compare the maselec against it.

greetings

Andreas
Old 18th June 2012
  #18
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Quote:
I like my PL-2 but sometimes it distorts even when it is not or nearly not limiting (1-2Db).
lowering the input level does not help.
++


MPL-2 is very soft sounding limiter probably good for jazz

Mpl-2 soft <----> PL-2 hard & does distort like crazy

just use different Digital limiters or even buy L2
Old 19th June 2012
  #19
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What "++"? Don't you know when/on what to use a brick wall peak limiter of that type? MPL-2 IS indeed "soft", which means it will ruin your transients like hell, compared to a PL-2, in many cases, not to mention "pump"/"pulse" whereas PL-2 has absolutely none of that. But in some cases using a brick wall limiter like PL-2 is not an option because the mix is just full of content without enough harmonics, which reaches the same peak loudness as transient parts which have lots of harmonics. Not enough content to mask the distortion. It strongly depends on the type of mix whether you'd get noticeable distortion or not.
Old 19th June 2012
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy View Post
Does anyone ever do analog Peak limiting before look-ahead plug-in Peak Limiting?

...
I have used the Limiter section on my ISA 430s on a client's project which was kind of a Dirty South genre, and I was very surprised how well it worked. This says a lot to anyone who knows my aversion to limiting in the first place.

Interestingly, the ISA's limiter is a 3-band multi-band! However the the bands are fixed, meaning you can't define the frequencies of the bands. But it is analog and does have different limiting properties for each band. I honestly couldn't believe it worked so well.

I later finalized the master with the limiter in Ozone. I do think the earlier analog stage helped. I've used analog limiters in various applications, but I always steered away from it when my intent was to finalize ITB. So I was kinda experimenting at this point, and found it fascinating the differences between the two approaches.

FWIW, I let the client review a few preliminary versions, some of which were processed without the ISAs. All the guys in his band preferred the ISAs in the chain even though they didn't know any specifics of my setup. It's worth noting, I was also using the eq and compressor sections in the ISA versions.


-SD
Old 5th August 2012
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parisminzer View Post
I'm with Livingstone

I had the Pendulum PL 2, but am much happier with the Maselec MPL 2.

I actually use it 1st in the analog chain instead of at the end (usually in M/S)

It has such a unbelievably smooth quality to it.

Then in digital it's Fabfilter Pro-L
I can understand why you might use the de-esser 1st in your chain, but do you also use the limiter as well?

If you do, doesn't this deteriorate the signal feeding the rest of your chain? I thought limiters should always be at the end of the chain?
Old 5th August 2012
  #22
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If limiting 1st, we're talking very light limiting. And typically, with the highest possible ceiling.
Old 5th August 2012
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livingstone View Post
i use a maselec mpl2 since a few month now and i'm very satisfied with it,
i've been prefering to use it, even hard sometimes than clipping the adc.
i have the feeling it retains the punch better then clipping wich is a bit flatening to my ears
when needed i add a little extra db in digital with flux elixir wich is the most transparent digital limiter i have used (own the psp & elephant ).
Whereabouts do you use the MPL2 in your chain? This could be worth looking into if it sounds better than clipping the ADC.

What kind of music are you mastering out of interest?
Old 6th August 2012
  #24
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I used to clip the crap out of the ADC.

I rarely come close now. Maybe an occasional flash of red here and there.

Using the Gain Controls on the Mastering Console is much more effective than trying to make up gain on an outboard Limiter.

Compressors with invisibly clean gain, also (Foote Control P3S ME is some of the best pure gain in the galaxy)
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