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Anyone here avoiding the L2? Dynamics Plugins
Old 6th September 2007
  #1
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BlakeMcKibben's Avatar
 

Anyone here avoiding the L2?

a lot of the projects I work on I unfortunately have to "master". I usually plop an L2 on at the end to bump the level up to around -14db to -10db rms. But I recently bought an Alan Smart for my mixbus and it allows me to get up to this level w/o the L2. So when going back and forward between the mixes with and w/o the L2 I find I like the openess of the nonL2. Anyone else find they can get reasonable levels in and skip the L2? Why is it so scary for me not to use the L2 even though I like the sound better.
Old 6th September 2007
  #2
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I believe with Smart (recently purchased) you may feel some kind of euphoria (like I did some time ago) of what hardware does comparing to the plugins. Yes and no. L2 is completely different thing, which is not adding so much character to the sound but it just does the maximizing job + take good care of mid frequencies, without distortion. However I would avoid to maximize level with L2 so much. Usually up to -12dB is enough. For higher levels there are other tools like ex. Sony Oxford Inflator which is harder and punchier. If you need character, the Smart is always good.
Old 6th September 2007
  #3
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A good bit ago I found that there are numerous methods for achieving higher average level that to my ear leave less artifacts and produce more satisfying sounding results than the Waves products (both L2 and L3). If things sound better to you with an L2 off than with it on - then by all means, do what sounds best.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 6th September 2007
  #4
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carlsaff's Avatar
 

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There are better-sounding limiters in the software realm.
Old 6th September 2007
  #5
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Thanks for the responses, very helpful.

Cellotron do you get your level with outboard analog, or do you use a software limiter for final level? I like the protection the L2 gives from clipping but even with no gain reduction I swear I hear it smoothing(how it sounds to me)my mix. It seems w/o a software limiter like the L2 you can't have a mix that peaks at full scale but never goes over, and with an L2 you can't have that raw open unsmoothed sound. Personally I really don't care about hitting full scale on every peak, yet for some reason in this day in age I feel insecure about putting out a mix that doesn't top out. What a conundrum.
Old 7th September 2007
  #6
arf
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The new PSP Xenon is the one to watch in the plug-o-sphere.

thumbsup
Old 7th September 2007
  #7
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I got rid of my hardware L2. I just couldn't get any decent volume without it sounding harsh and brittle. It was only good for maybe 1.5dB at the most before the mix would start to break-up.
If I had to go the software route, I really like the sound of the Flux Solera/Epure/PL

Regards,
Bruce
Old 7th September 2007
  #8
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After getting to some other tunes in this session it turns out that just that certain song was suffering from the L2. Some others are sounding pretty good with it...whaddya know
Old 7th September 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSD_Mastering View Post
I got rid of my hardware L2. I just couldn't get any decent volume without it sounding harsh and brittle. It was only good for maybe 1.5dB at the most before the mix would start to break-up.
If I had to go the software route, I really like the sound of the Flux Solera/Epure/PL

Regards,
Bruce
That's exactly how you use the L2, at 1.5, maybe 2.0 once in a while. After that, it's not so good.

The L2 works just fine as a final limiter but you have to do most the work before it.
Old 7th September 2007
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlsaff View Post
There are better-sounding limiters in the software realm.
Aw...COME ON Carl.....Tell us your SECRET!
Old 7th September 2007
  #11
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I use it (hardware) for a db or two and I like it for the slight push. The Soft Clip on the Elysia Alpha perfectly balances the L2's artifacts and allows more L2 than I'd ever thought possible (and more than necessary).

Don't mix with it, that's for sure.
Old 7th September 2007
  #12
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12th & Vine's Avatar
 

Hi ...

Do I 'avoid' the hardware L2?: (unfashionably) 'no'.

FWIW, I make the observation that there's been an awful lot of nice sounding records made over the years with an L2 in the chain.
Old 7th September 2007
  #13
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I have the L2 and the Sonnox Oxford Limiter.

I an very few cases I actually combine them, but never does the L2 win over the Oxford.

Sometimes I add clipping too or just clip, it depends. However the Oxford can yield great results on its own with no need for further limiting or clipping.

I'm getting the Flux limiter too on trial.
Old 7th September 2007
  #14
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I'm avoiding it by using the L3-16, mostly just as a ceiling without any gain
reduction, and the eq section for a bit of low end roll off/high shelf.
I've tried pushing it a little bit too, with much better results/way less artifacts
than any other make it louder plug. I used to use my Sony limiter, but since I got the L3-16, not so much. My latest experiment is going out of a Drawmer 1968 and
into a Neve Portico mic pre for make-up gain (as opposed to pushing the tube
part of the Drawmer), back into a stereo track. Then, after
a little break, into the L3-16 and onto cd. So far, things sound really, really good.
Old 7th September 2007
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

i use the L2 and elephant and I don't use much in gain reduction as i get the majority of the level up through other means.

they sound very diff and depening on what the track needs is what i use. I find that the L2 IMO has a more focused sound, while the elephant sound warmer to my ears
Old 7th September 2007
  #16
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Bob Yordan's Avatar
Yes.

I only use UAD PL, Sonnox Limiter & my own plugs in different combinations together with OTBs.

Old 8th September 2007
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arf View Post
The new PSP Xenon is the one to watch in the plug-o-sphere.

thumbsup
Now you've pricked my ears Alan, I presume you are beta testing for them. So should we expect an announcement at AES?

What can you tell us about the character of this newbie. If it's as transparent as the Mastercomp then we are in for a treat.

Back on topic, I can't remember the last time I've used any Waves limiters on my masters. The L2 even with no threshold, sounds harsh in the upper mids to me.

Matt
Old 8th September 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
I have the L2 and the Sonnox Oxford Limiter.

I an very few cases I actually combine them, but never does the L2 win over the Oxford.

Sometimes I add clipping too or just clip, it depends. However the Oxford can yield great results on its own with no need for further limiting or clipping.

I'm getting the Flux limiter too on trial.
just got the oxford limiter & trans mod....very nice tools. in the past i would use the l2 just to set the output ceiling.
Ed
Old 8th September 2007
  #19
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Been leaving my L2 hardware ~On~ for many years. Just a dB or two does the trick.

Bringing up a track's level with the Manley VM and hittin' the Lavry ADC with authority is the ticket.

Tried many other software limiters, they may sound a little different... not necessarily any better.

JT
Old 8th September 2007
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Been leaving my L2 hardware ~On~ for many years. Just a dB or two does the trick.

Bringing up a track's level with the Manley VM and hittin' the Lavry ADC with authority is the ticket.

Tried many other software limiters, they may sound a little different... not necessarily any better.

JT
As usual, the voice of reason!
Old 8th September 2007
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Tried many other software limiters, they may sound a little different... not necessarily any better.

JT
Unless the limiter isn't actually doing traditional downward limiting, then it becomes more like hitting your Lavry but in the software domain & less like the sound of a limiter.
Old 9th September 2007
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Tried many other software limiters, they may sound a little different... not necessarily any better.
Same experience here. It's just real easy to get excited about something different.
Old 9th September 2007
  #23
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Same experience here. It's just real easy to get excited about something different.
Especially when you're on the threshold of that clamping effect from the release time. At that point it's just a matter of which artifacts you notice and which you aren't yet trained to notice. You can't beat the laws of physics, and most of the flat (one band) peak limiters out there are simply trying different methods of determining an auto-release time that will not expose itself under a given piece of music. Or they are employing a little bit of clipping distotion to increase apparent loudness and make you think you are getting more than you are getting. There's nothing new under the sun, just different packaging. The skills and listening set of the mastering engineer count more than anything.
Old 9th September 2007
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Vosgien View Post
Aw...COME ON Carl.....Tell us your SECRET!
No secrets! Used to use the L2 plugin, but it seemed, to me, that UAD's Precision Limiter and Voxengo's Elephant 2 limiter could do the job a bit more nicely, leaving the low end and transients a bit more as they were in the original.

Most of my tests were such that the limiters were being pushed. I don't usually push them that hard in reality. As others here have pointed out, the work in front of the limiter usually ensures it won't need to be pushed. But how one holds up under abuse can be telling.

I'm not going to say that the L2 hardware sounds like the L2 software, because I don't have any evidence of that (and I've seen those arguments get out of control!). But in the plugin limiter world, where the OP is operating, I liked those other two limiters a bit more.
Old 9th September 2007
  #25
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any love for the Massey limiter? I think its quite nice and have been using it in place of my waves stuff.
Old 9th September 2007
  #26
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I master hiphop - big transients. I found nothing actually works better than the L2/L3. Sonnox limiter just didn't cut it at all. I thought i was setting it wrong, but after a few hours of a/b comparisons, waves won out. Can't wait for PSP to release something better...

I only push the L2/3 to get no more than 3db of reduction, only a fraction over if i'm really 'going for it'. I throw a load of comps before it anyways.
Old 9th September 2007
  #27
Gear Nut
 

there is alot of talk about the L2 on here but not so much the L3 do people find the L2 better?
Old 9th September 2007
  #28
After an extremely brief honeymoon with L3, I came to the conclusion that L2 does an overall better job. I think you'll find similar opinions here and on other boards.
Old 9th September 2007
  #29
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frankie c's Avatar
 

L2

I like the L2 4 dance music!!!...

I definatley think the hardware sounds better than the plug!!

u can hit the L2 Hardware like 9db, for the same sound u get with a 3db squash in the plug...

just my 2 pence!
Old 9th September 2007
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakeMcKibben View Post
Thanks for the responses, very helpful.

Cellotron do you get your level with outboard analog,
I use analog compressors often, but I apply them in order to smooth out transients or "glue" back elements from popping out over the mix, and usually don't apply them just to make things "louder." Of course compression does allow for a higher average level though.

If called for I'll hard clip the higher transients at the input of my Mytek Stereo96 ADC, and have gotten good mileage out of doing this.

Quote:
or do you use a software limiter for final level?
I have about 5 different digital limiters / clippers available to me and will apply them as appropritate - each one has a fairly different sound so what works best for one track might not for the next. I've been heavily favoring the Voxengo Elephant 2.6 recently though.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
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