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Waves L2 vs. L3 -- L3 sounds so much better!
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piano
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#1
23rd March 2007
Old 23rd March 2007
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Waves L2 vs. L3 -- L3 sounds so much better!

I recorded some classical piano today. Piano, with it's wide frequency and sharp attack, is notorious for exposing bad processing.

The L3 sounds much better than L2. Something ugly happens to the L2 sound when it is pressed. The L3 responded much better --- still not perfect when it gets spanked at 4-6 DB attenuation but the L3 it is the best I've heard for the Platnuim version.

Why does the L3 sound much better than the L2?
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23rd March 2007
Old 23rd March 2007
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Haven't used the L3 yet. I thought it was a multiband limiter. Does it have a single band mode as well?

I've been using L2 or Maxim for client refs, depending on the source material.

The L2 seems to make things slightly of broad and grainy, and maxim feels a little tighter and more focused to me, but I find it a little thin on some mixes. I just can't rock the L1 anymore for mix refs. Razorblades!

How does the L3 compare sonically?

I'm always willing to try something new.
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24th March 2007
Old 24th March 2007
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When the L2 has to attenuate the loud parts of the signal it sounds --- well, it changes the sound of the signal and not in a good way. Detail is lost and there is some distortion (or something!) introduced.

The L3 does not have this artifact and has a much more transparent signal. Even my clients could tell the difference between the L2 and L3.

Now, if you spank the L3 (as in go more than 4-6DB of attentuation) you can start to hear elements of distortion on the loud parts.

I'm no expert on the L2 or L3.... so someone chime in if they have had more experience.
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24th March 2007
Old 24th March 2007
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Obviously everybody has their own subjective experience. I have to disagree that the L3 sounds better than the L2.

You're substituting one kind of problem with another if you listen carefully. You will quickly grow tired of the L3 artifacts.

The artifacts you're hearing from the L2 when pressing it hard is a type of distortion, which often happens when the lows kick in. This means you're pressing the L2 far too hard, or you should use another type of limiter (and not necessarily the L3). Since the L2 is a broadband limiter, any part of the frequency range exceeding the threshold will result in gain reduction. Remember that getting a loud signal is a sum of many parts - not only the limiter.

I would never or very rarely use more than 2-3 dB of GR in the L2 or any other type of limiter in a mastering situation. It's simply a weak method of getting a loud signal. A lot of people expect the limiter to be the magic bullet that provides all the loudness and don't understand why "it can't take more than 4 dB before it sounds ugly".

As the L3 is multiband it splits up the bands but you will also get distortion - more often audible in the high frequency bands. This is a nasty kind of digital distortion that can sound quite harsh.

On top of this distortion the L3 has a huge problem with the crossovers between the bands which skew the frequency perception and causes another type of distortion which messes with the coherency of the mix. I believe there's a test website that visually shows this problem in the L3 in comparison to a couple of other limiters.

Add the two types of distortion from the L3 and you will get a quite fatiguing sound that might sound slightly louder than the L2 at first but certainly not better.
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#5
24th March 2007
Old 24th March 2007
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I hope you don't limit classical piano by 4dB

L3, being multiband, can take care about peaks more specificaly than L2 and at times it really works better. However UAD Precision limiter seems to retain integrity and roundness, that L2 nor L3 can't most of the time.
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25th March 2007
Old 25th March 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
On top of this distortion the L3 has a huge problem with the crossovers between the bands which skew the frequency perception and causes another type of distortion which messes with the coherency of the mix. I believe there's a test website that visually shows this problem in the L3 in comparison to a couple of other limiters.

This is surprising because the L3's cross-overs are totally phase compensated - hence its very high latency. This is why they've just released an L3LL which is a low latency version of the same plugin but with "minimum phase" crossovers - like the ones in the C4 you would presume.

I'm speculating that the reason the OP was enjoying the L3 more than the L2 on his piano recording was the main reason multiband tools like this can be cool - you can affect portions of the signal while leaving other sections totally untouched. With a phase conpensated tool like this, the benefits should be even more transparent.

Having said that, why do you need to limit a piano performance with 4-6 dB of gain reduction anyway? I'm not being criticial, but actually wondering what application you're doing this for.
#7
25th March 2007
Old 25th March 2007
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Yes it is rather surprising.

I find compression using a sidechain filter can work wonders on piano, actually the SSL works great on piano. Or perhaps Sonalksis SV-315 if you use a plug-in.
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25th March 2007
Old 25th March 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piano View Post
Why does the L3 sound much better than the L2?
I have to agree with most people on this one -- L3 sounds "worse" than L2. Rarely do I see it stated otherwise, but there's always an exception.

I hope you were only testing L3 with 4-6db of limiting and not actually using that for your track, otherwise the piano player would call for your head for killing his dynamics like that.
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25th March 2007
Old 25th March 2007
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I mostly use Voxengo Elephant but when I sometimes try L2 and then L3 , I am always shocked by some obvious distortion L3 makes to the sound ... L2 seems to sound much cleaner
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26th March 2007
Old 26th March 2007
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Hmmm... fasinating opinions guys, Thanks!

I've give it another listen with your comments in mind.
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20th June 2009
Old 20th June 2009
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Can anyone suggest a great non-iLok alternative?

Maybe it's time to give Voxengo Soniformer a try.
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20th June 2009
Old 20th June 2009
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#13
21st June 2009
Old 21st June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyM View Post
Can anyone suggest a great non-iLok alternative?

Maybe it's time to give Voxengo Soniformer a try.
Ozone 4 limiter in Intelligent II mode.
#14
22nd June 2009
Old 22nd June 2009
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electro & JPeters86, thanks a million. I got Ozone setup, nice 10 day trial isn't bad and Voxengo is next.

Hate to bug anyone more, but how do you get to Intelligent II mode in Ozone?
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22nd June 2009
Old 22nd June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyM View Post
electro & JPeters86, thanks a million. I got Ozone setup, nice 10 day trial isn't bad and Voxengo is next.

Hate to bug anyone more, but how do you get to Intelligent II mode in Ozone?


You should be able to click on the thing next to mode to switch between modes. See what you like, I think Intelligent II is the best one for most stuff.
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22nd June 2009
Old 22nd June 2009
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Saweet! Thanks JPeters86, for taking the Monday out of Monday
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22nd June 2009
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np
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22nd June 2009
Old 22nd June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey MTC View Post
This is surprising because the L3's cross-overs are totally phase compensated - hence its very high latency. This is why they've just released an L3LL which is a low latency version of the same plugin but with "minimum phase" crossovers - like the ones in the C4 you would presume.
Well, L3LL might sound better, because Waves' idea of "phase compensated" is atrocious, across the line. I often prefer C4 to LinMB! I'm with Lagerfeldt: the crossovers in L3 are the problem. That's not saying the problem is phase distortion however... Bad sounding LP is often worse than plain ole minimum phase. I'm saying that crossovers and multiband limiting as a final stage go-louder step is the problem.

Since the early 90s, when Bob Ludwig appeared in a Finalizer ad, noobs have assumed that multiband compression, and later multiband limiting, are standard issue mastering processors. The go-too tool to git 'r loud. This just isn't the case historically. In fact, "big name" ME's use MBL even less than MBC, both usually to fix frequency-related problems in a mix. Achieving loudness with a MBL is like commuting in the space shuttle: sure it get you from point A to B in a hurry, with lots of fuss, drama and expense. The dazzling light/sound display may be fun, but at the end of the day it may not be the best way to get to work.

Professionally speaking, if you're seriously tweaking frequency bands in an MBL in the last step, there's a good chance the job was botched at an earlier stage, so may wish to revisit other processing before addressing it in the limiter.

-d-
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23rd June 2009
Old 23rd June 2009
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I'm amazed that no one has mentioned that there are "two" types of L3. - 1. Full-band / 2. Multi-band.

Everyone seems to be comparing the L2 Mono band (only type) to the L3 multi-band. These are two completely different "mastering" tools.

The L3 - mono-band, also has a number of different /\tone/\ curves. 'Extreme analog', etc. Have any of you tried these various [Profiles]? They each do sound quite different! The L2 had none of these profiles.

Personally I'm very happy with the L3-Ultramaximer. It's at the end of the line in my mastering chain. Ahead of this is the LimMB or the new IK-S3 Multi-band. I use this to just tame some of those spots in a song, where some frequency bands build to create a tonal mis-balance in the mix. Using a constant EQ notch would do more harm than good.
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Waves L2 vs. L3 -- L3 sounds so much better!-picture-1.jpg   Waves L2 vs. L3 -- L3 sounds so much better!-picture-2.jpg  

Last edited by Ron Obvious; 23rd June 2009 at 04:36 AM.. Reason: images
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23rd June 2009
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i prefer l2 over l3 soundwise
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23rd June 2009
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Thank-you Ron for pointing that out. IMHO, the L3 is
only fully realized when used in MultiMaximizer mode. Because it
is, by design, a multibanded limiter, I believe that you need the
flexibility to assign the x-over points and the thresholds and
limits per band. Otherwise, the L3 either works really well, kind of
sort of OK, or not at all. With the Multimaximizer, I can almost always
dial it into the material and get something pretty close to
what I'm after. While I think their presets ("Cozy", "Loud and Proud", etc.)
are attempts to set the bands, etc. .. i just have never gotten them to
really work well. That's why I nearly always reach for the multi.

If it doesn't work .. then I go to the Massey L2007 or the McDSP ML4000 (which
can be super aggressive if need be).

jeff
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23rd June 2009
Old 23rd June 2009
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I have to mention that the Waves L series is very important...... when sending in mixes to the A&R at labels and artist managers!!!!

For artists and for mastering, I give the 'real mix' which has a bit of headroom and hardly compressed on the 2-buss.

For those who are more interested in marketing and loudness, specifically label people and managers, a squashed version is given thanks to the L2.
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23rd June 2009
Old 23rd June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Obvious View Post
I'm amazed that no one has mentioned that there are "two" types of L3. - 1. Full-band / 2. Multi-band.

Everyone seems to be comparing the L2 Mono band (only type) to the L3 multi-band. These are two completely different "mastering" tools.

The L3 - mono-band, also has a number of different /\tone/\ curves. 'Extreme analog', etc. Have any of you tried these various [Profiles]? They each do sound quite different! The L2 had none of these profiles.
I think the above is wrong.
The L3 "ultra" version is not actually a single band processor. It's the same multi-band engine as the "multi" version but without all the controls. They did this to provide the same interface that L1 and L2 users are used to but it's the same algorithm as the multi version.
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23rd June 2009
Old 23rd June 2009
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Well sorry all. I do stand to be corrected. If I had read the PDF manual, I would have seen on page 4 of the manual, that the simple L3 window with "profiles", is just the folded down multi-band with "pre-sets". I had been using the [Extreme Analog] preset, for my noisy rok mixes. It just seemed to balance best with the modern, b___s to the wall, CD's.

I've been around long enough, NOT TO LIKE DOING this. But what are you to do until the big ME & mastering houses, stop the madness! Listened to "Misty Mountain Hop" (Zep) on the radio yesterday, right after that was "Know your Enemy". Other than "Know... was a bit sparklier, it sounded quieter, round and lumpy compared to Misty. A wall of guitars just really doesn't make things sound louder.

Mastered with L3 - It seems to match the modern world?
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23rd June 2009
Old 23rd June 2009
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Arrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by electro View Post
There is a version 3 of Elephant that beats everything else,

Audio mastering limiter (maximizer) plugin - Elephant - Voxengo
to me, crysonic spectrphy is much more transparent in hard digital modes. also i like the clipper t-racks plugin.
psp xeon is too loud but...
i like transparency.
voxengo sounds wamth similar to kjaerhusaudio GPP-1,
also i liked arboretum hyperprism limiter, was verry analog like.
also i like ozone soft sat.
sonictimeworks mastering compressor also was LOUD. but.. can make square waves.
anyway...
Found: Precision Limiter vs. Stillwell Eventhorizon plus

Quote:
Originally Posted by piano View Post
Something ugly happens to the L2 sound when it is pressed.
Why does the L3 sound much better than the L2?
The L2 compresses the mid range, similar to UAD Precision Limiter in 1 of the settings.
cant rememeber L1 or L3 sound.
also allmost all limiters distorts the lows, download the Kjaerhusaudio MPL-1 limiter audio file comparation, vs. few others.
Found: Kjaerhusaudio MPL-1 Limiter Test vs. others
#26
28th September 2010
Old 28th September 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey MTC View Post
I think the above is wrong.
The L3 "ultra" version is not actually a single band processor. It's the same multi-band engine as the "multi" version but without all the controls. They did this to provide the same interface that L1 and L2 users are used to but it's the same algorithm as the multi version.
true!thumbsup
#27
13th October 2010
Old 13th October 2010
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I'd use Voxengo Elephant or UAD Precision Limiter before I'd use L2 or L3. I'm just happier with the sound - and I ONLY use them to tame odd peaks here and there - no more than 1-2db.

Maybe you should try transient designer tool - bring your transients where they're musical to you, without affecting the audio level much.
#28
18th November 2011
Old 18th November 2011
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i perfer the l3 over the l2. the punch of the bass comes in some much harder on the l3. but again, it depends on your ears
#29
18th November 2011
Old 18th November 2011
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with 5-6db gain reduction i find l2 sounding better. l2 doesn't let transients that nicely as l3 but it doesn't affect mix levels that much and doesn't distorts so ugly.
#30
19th November 2011
Old 19th November 2011
  #30
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i like L2 over L3 but i guess it depends on the track
and i think Logic's adaptive limiter does fine too..
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