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Using multiple limiters in mastering
Old 13th March 2015
  #1
Gear Head
 

Using multiple limiters in mastering

Hi all

I recently had something mastered by a top guy in Berlin, who told me he used multiple limiters (5 of them actually, digital limiters)

This is the first i'm hearing of this technique, he achieved a great result with this actually and i'd like to know more:

Does anyone else use a similar technique?

Is this common?
Old 13th March 2015
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by sackmeister View Post
Hi all

I recently had something mastered by a top guy in Berlin, who told me he used multiple limiters (5 of them actually, digital limiters)

This is the first i'm hearing of this technique, he achieved a great result with this actually and i'd like to know more:

Does anyone else use a similar technique?

Is this common?
If i had to guess considering he's a top guy as you say, he's messing with you, ya know, pulling your leg. But I suppose anything is possible...
Old 13th March 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Miles Flint's Avatar
 

I wouldn't call the use of 5 limiters "common" but if you liked the result, well, whatever works - works:-)
Personally I've never use more than 2 so far, sometimes A, sometimes B, sometimes A+B together.

It's the same with Compression. In some case you'll prefer several processors in series doing a little over only one tool doing more, and vice versa.
Old 13th March 2015
  #4
Gear Nut
Ha!
Five?
Old 13th March 2015
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by sackmeister View Post
Hi all

I recently had something mastered by a top guy in Berlin, who told me he used multiple limiters (5 of them actually, digital limiters)

This is the first i'm hearing of this technique, he achieved a great result with this actually and i'd like to know more:

Does anyone else use a similar technique?

Is this common?


only 5?

common are 7 - 12 today, followed by some clippers - normaly i make before also some analog limiting and converter clipping...

ok, serious - modern limiters working internal already with many different settings who will permanent compared and blended - this is a very complex process and it's hard to beat with a homespun combination
Old 13th March 2015
  #6
Gear Head
 

strange i know, but his master sounded amazing, actually.


5 limiters taking off 0.5dB each:

What would be the benefit of this compared to one limiter taking off 4.5dB?
Old 13th March 2015
  #7
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Miles Flint's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sackmeister View Post
5 limiters taking off 0.5dB each:

What would be the benefit of this compared to one limiter taking off 4.5dB?
2 dB less of gainreduction
Old 13th March 2015
  #8
Gear Head
 

whoops, please excuse my maths,

Can someone explain the difference between one limiter taking off 2.5dB and 5 limiters taking off 0.5dB each?
Old 15th March 2015
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by sackmeister View Post
Can someone explain the difference between one limiter taking off 2.5dB and 5 limiters taking off 0.5dB each?
The difference = 4 limiters.

But seriously, I expect the sound difference would be fairly subtle. Probably the reason his mastering sounds good lies in the rest of what he did aside from just the limiting.

But I'm curious - does he use 5 of the same limiter, or 5 different limiters?

Personally, I've never used more than 2 limiters in series. UAD Precision Limiter followed by Fabfilter Pro-L sometimes sounds slightly better that just one or the other, but most of the time I just use Pro-L and it works great.
Old 17th March 2015
  #10
Gear Head
 

the same limiter, 5 times, taking off .5dB

I can't get my head around it, why oh why would this be different than one limiter taking off 2.5dB?
Old 17th March 2015
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I'm often using 2 limiters and it works sometimes a little better, sometimes "differently" and sometimes not as well as one. 5 instances of the same limiter seems weird. I can imagine using twice the same with different settings but five times ??? Specially for a total gain reduction of 2.5 dB... 2.5 is not that much. At this level, most limiters give good results. If it was the max GR needed, I think I wouldnt bother trying to use two, I cannot see any benefit from using five...
Old 17th March 2015
  #12
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Miles Flint's Avatar
 

just ask him why..?
Old 26th March 2015
  #13
Here for the gear
 
hdoa's Avatar
 

I think the advantage of layered limiting is that you can control the dynamics easier.

Remember, each limiter is equipped with its own ceiling, gain, and saturation; it's not merely raising the volume.

I've never done it, but in theaory, layering limiters would better let you control the "punch" of your signal.
Old 24th April 2015
  #14
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Friedemann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Personally, I've never used more than 2 limiters in series. UAD Precision Limiter followed by Fabfilter Pro-L sometimes sounds slightly better that just one or the other, but most of the time I just use Pro-L and it works great.
This is EXACTLY what I did for the last three months. Are you my clone?
Old 24th April 2015
  #15
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Analogue Mastering's Avatar
For me there is only 1 being still Toneboosters Barricade
I never shave off more than 1dB though, gain staging and density happens in the analogue chain and AD
Getting denser mixes with higher crest factor than ITB Only up to -6RMS easily.
if you want the Beatport top 100 EDM sound just slap on Ozone on every track and mixbus before mixdown, no need to send it to mastering afterwards heh

For me the secret is multiple analogue compressors carefully tweaked and gainstaged
Sqeezes out dense saugases just fine, still dynamic though and no collapsed drop artifacts.
CharterOak SCL-1 is king of raising RMS transparenty as well

Last edited by Analogue Mastering; 24th April 2015 at 02:01 PM..
Old 21st May 2015
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Dina Mastering's Avatar
 

As somebody said, it might be true the use of 5 limiters, but it has to be a slight difference, maybe 5 % of the sound you hear at most. What you hear and like is probably the rest of the process with the included gears pleasing harmonic distortion.
Old 12th August 2016
  #17
when using multiple limiters, is it a good idea to dither to 24 bits the last lmiter in the chain or use the dither function on each one of them ?
Same question for the 4x oversampling


I'M using FabFilter Pro-L and it got the oversampling and 24 bit dithering function

and

I'm rendering my projects to 44 khz 16 bit
Old 13th August 2016
  #18
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WilfredoFernando View Post
when using multiple limiters, is it a good idea to dither to 24 bits the last lmiter in the chain or use the dither function on each one of them ?
Same question for the 4x oversampling


I'M using FabFilter Pro-L and it got the oversampling and 24 bit dithering function

and

I'm rendering my projects to 44 khz 16 bit
I would not dither in the first limiter at all, keep it turned off. Then dither to 16-bit in the 2nd limiter or with a dedicated dither plugin very last in the chain after the 2nd limiter.
Old 13th August 2016
  #19
Gear Addict
 
Hardsinc_'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sackmeister View Post
the same limiter, 5 times, taking off .5dB

I can't get my head around it, why oh why would this be different than one limiter taking off 2.5dB?
Because they may well and probably had different release and delay (and more) times.

Not much different to using 2 compressors in serial in theory. 5 does sound like a lot though.
Old 18th December 2019
  #20
Here for the gear
 

I've been sent mixes where I'm provided a second "reference" version that has an L2 limiter slapped on, and it's where the mix engineer and artist have worked out where they roughly like the loudness set at. The choruses are usually hitting around -7 LUFS and have pretty audible pumping and distortion.

Once I get to work on the mix, EQ and a couple compressors certainly help a lot, but to squeeze out those high levels transparently, I've been pleased with the result from stacking 3 limiters in Ozone. I still flip around to the other IRC modes and always adjust the character and threshold to what I think works, but this is where I start:

1 —IRC Mode IV, Transient with the character set around the middle—between fast and slow. This is mainly limiting the kick and snare peaks.
2 — IRC Mode IV, Modern with a faster character than the first one. This is more for limiting the "meat" of the song if necessary.
3— IRC Mode III, Clipping with Peak Mode enabled. This is mainly to catch the intersample peaks, but I'll let it sometimes clip up to -0.5 dB on the loudest parts.
Old 18th December 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sackmeister View Post
Hi all

I recently had something mastered by a top guy in Berlin, who told me he used multiple limiters (5 of them actually, digital limiters)

This is the first i'm hearing of this technique, he achieved a great result with this actually and i'd like to know more:

Does anyone else use a similar technique?

Is this common?
I think he means he used a 5 band limiter.

AKA a multiband compressor/limiter, very common in mastering.

The frequencies of the song are broken down into 5 bands, and each one gets it's own compression/limiting.
Old 21st December 2019
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue Mastering View Post
CharterOak SCL-1 is king of raising RMS transparenty as well
I had an scl1 and had headroom issues with it and noise issues. Do you mind me asking at what levels you run your analog chain and if you ever had any of those issues?
Old 22nd December 2019
  #23
Quote:
I had an SCL1 and had headroom issues with it and noise issues. Do you mind me asking at what levels you run your analog chain and if you ever had any of those issues?
Every mix will be different? The levels you set in your signal chain and gain stage is ultimately 100% dependent on that specif mix you are running through it.
Old 12th January 2020
  #24
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Conundra's Avatar
 

Maybe he inserts eq before one of the limiters to focus limiting on a specific frequency range and an eq afterwards with inverse settings to correct for the first? Maybe these limiters are at different points in the chain? Perhaps one to reduce a few peaks before a compressor etc..

Without knowing if they were spread out to achieve certain goals, or just stacked last in the chain, there’s not much we can guess about the reasoning behind his approach. Bottom line though is he got you a master you’re really happy with so all good!

Last edited by Conundra; 12th January 2020 at 10:14 AM.. Reason: Typo
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