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Limiter comparisons (with sound) Dynamics Plugins
Old 14th September 2007
  #31
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MattGray's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
Right, good point.

A nice feature in the Ozone then.

That would explain why I never got similar results when I used it, obviously I only went for pure limiting.

What would lower my opinion of the Ozone regarding pure limiting. However, looking at the waveform is there really that much clipping going on overall?

This is definitely a grey area, and I would urge people to draw their own conclusions.
Yes Alex is right, the 'character' setting is the key to Ozone's limiter. A 0.0 setting is clipping, which can work very well knocking off a couple of db on transients, it can crackle on sustained material as you would expect. As you move it up in 0.1 increments the shape changes to more of a soft saturation until it reaches 1.0 then it moves into more traditional limiter curves. The addition of the 'prevent intersample peaks' feature also shapes the top of the limited wave form to prevent over shoot post D/A (you can check this on an oscilloscope). So that's probably why you won't see too many flat tops with a 0.3 setting & intersample prevention feature switched in.

Matt
Old 14th September 2007
  #32
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
I'm curious as to whether this features is mainly a time saver or a real sonic benefit. I mean, compared to simply limiting with Oxford/Flux and then clipping.
Old 14th September 2007
  #33
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Laurend's Avatar
 

Flux Solera vs Flux Pure Limiter

Quote:
Originally Posted by aivoryuk View Post
fwiw i don't have the flux limiter but have the solera with the clipping mode switched on whcih i think sounds great
Solera compressor with a compression ratio up to 1000/1 can be used as a limiter. But the action is different from the Pure Limiter since, on the Solera a RMS detection is used instead of a peak detection done on the limiter.
Note also the the clipper only modifies the shape of the wave form without any time variant action like look ahead or release control that can be found on the Pure Limiter. Clipping always introduces more distortion than real limiting. This can be pleasant in certain cases depending of the processed material. Both are possible solutions for limiting despite they are based on very different algorithms.
To summarize, Solera may add a particular color if used as limiter and Pure Limiter is designed to produce a transparent processing even for high limiting values.

That was my 2 cents
Old 14th September 2007
  #34
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Flux Pure is indeed quite transparent. I think Flux Pure + post clipping could be a nice solution in some cases.

Any chance of an interface update regarding slider precision? E.g. holding a modifier key for more precision. The +/- option via control is very slow as we're talking 3 digit precision. I was aiming for 1.450 ms look ahead but it took me ages.
Old 14th September 2007
  #35
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MattGray's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
I'm curious as to whether this features is mainly a time saver or a real sonic benefit. I mean, compared to simply limiting with Oxford/Flux and then clipping.
I'd say the latter, remembering that anything above 0.0 is more of a soft saturation with more control then a straight up clipper. I've never been a fan of limiting followed by clipping, if you're going to do that why not just clip up to the whole level? What's the difference?

If you limit first you will be bringing up the sustained material up around the transient levels & then when you clip it will be more likely to crackle anyway...
Old 14th September 2007
  #36
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Sometimes limiting first and then clipping seems to pull up some other details. Some material just don't work with any clipping at all.

The last album I mastered used clip on 1 track out of 22.
Old 14th September 2007
  #37
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Would it be possible to get screenshots or the settings used for the above? For example, was ARC used on the L2? I find that ARC is often the culprit for soft or mushy transients. Each of the limiters has it's own esoteric set of parameters. It's difficult to compare these simply on reduction and RMS values.
Old 15th September 2007
  #38
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
No, ARC was not used in this case. I used a manual release time of .20 ms

In each instance I used my many years of professional experience to get the best possible setting, and in those cases where I received files from other parties I used the best sounding one.

If you feel you can provide an even better sounding version at the same RMS please do.
Old 15th September 2007
  #39
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masteringhouse's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
No, ARC was not used in this case. I used a manual release time of .20 ms

In each instance I used my many years of professional experience to get the best possible setting, and in those cases where I received files from other parties I used the best sounding one.

If you feel you can provide an even better sounding version at the same RMS please do.
Thanks.

My point wasn't to single out the L2 though. When doing comparisons it would be nice to to be able to start with the same settings that were used in the examples and to possibly tweak them one way or another. There are quite a bit of variations in many of these limiters that can make a difference for better or worse, and since it's very subjective, doing A/Bs from these starting points on one's own system with possibly other source material may point out advantages elsewhere of one over another. Even something as parametrically simple as clipping will sound benign to horrible depending on the source material.

Good thread though.
Old 15th September 2007
  #40
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Right, I'll look into it if I have time.

Here's the Flux Pure Limiter:

Input Gain: 0
Threshold: -4.55 dB
Knee: 0 (no link)
Output Gain: -0.12 dB
Advanced Release Mode: Yes
Max release: 20.67 ms
Min. release: 1.45 ms
Velocity: Min (1%)
Hold: 0.00 ms
HPF: 82 Hz
LPF: 10.000 Hz
Link Channels: No
Look Ahead: 1.450 ms
Old 15th September 2007
  #41
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Interesting comparision. Looks like most of these plugins are trying to do something (not necessarily good) with bass. Some of them loose transients...can't say which one is the best. Waves sound terrific for sure. UAD Limiter is not for this kind of music. The rest is not bad, but each of them is telling different story (than original file).

PS. Lavry Blue AD clipping example contributed.
Old 15th September 2007
  #42
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
I don't think Waves sounds terrific - they sound horrific (perhaps you're mixing up the two words) :-)

The Inflator is not a limiter and shouldn't be included, but please send me a 16 bit dithered version of the Lavry Blue, as long as RMS and length are identical to the other files. Thanks
Old 15th September 2007
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
I don't think Waves sounds terrific - they sound horrific (perhaps you're mixing up the two words) :-)
perhaps... thanks heh
Old 15th September 2007
  #44
Mastering
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yareck View Post
Interesting comparision. Looks like most of these plugins are trying to do something (not necessarily good) with bass. Some of them loose transients...can't say which one is the best. Waves sound terrific for sure. UAD Limiter is not for this kind of music. The rest is not bad, but each of them is telling different story (than original file).
Exactly the point, and one of the reasons that while I respect this thread, I haven't participated. Every time I hear someone rave about the latest limiter and how it doesn't hurt things as much as some other limiter when you're pushing it to insane levels, I just sit back and laugh. When two people are fighting over the last dB of level, there are no winners, only losers.

Maybe different degrees of distortion, maybe different flavors of sound, but in the end, it's all flat as a pancake.

However, if you want to do a nice subtle test with 1 to 2 dB of peak limiting on an acoustic group, the ways in which different limiters react are quite different. Would it be worth doing such a test and would it produce useful results? Maybe. I'm pretty happy at this point, for low and reasonable amounts of limiting, with the brickwall limiter in the TC 6000. I'm interested in auditioning the elephant primarily because of the positive opinions I've heard from others, so it intrigues me, but I'm in no hurry. When I have to make something bleed, the degree of harshness which it bleeds by is not as important to my client as "how loud it apparently sounds at the same position of his volume control". I don't believe this thread answered that critical question, did it?
Old 15th September 2007
  #45
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Cellotron's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Exactly the point, and one of the reasons that while I respect this thread, I haven't participated. Every time I hear someone rave about the latest limiter and how it doesn't hurt things as much as some other limiter when you're pushing it to insane levels, I just sit back and laugh. When two people are fighting over the last dB of level, there are no winners, only losers.

Maybe different degrees of distortion, maybe different flavors of sound, but in the end, it's all flat as a pancake.

However, if you want to do a nice subtle test with 1 to 2 dB of peak limiting on an acoustic group, the ways in which different limiters react are quite different. Would it be worth doing such a test and would it produce useful results? Maybe. I'm pretty happy at this point, for low and reasonable amounts of limiting, with the brickwall limiter in the TC 6000. I'm interested in auditioning the elephant primarily because of the positive opinions I've heard from others, so it intrigues me, but I'm in no hurry. When I have to make something bleed, the degree of harshness which it bleeds by is not as important to my client as "how loud it apparently sounds at the same position of his volume control". I don't believe this thread answered that critical question, did it?
Bob -
Unfortunately it's a hard fact of life for any ME trying to make a living that does not have an already existing large client base of "audiophile" oriented labels (who generally desire natural dynamics) that client requests for completely smashed masters are one of the most common things we have to deal with. In these cases I think it's a vital part of our jobs to find the solution towards this smashing that leaves the least amount of artifacts possible and comes as close to possible to having what artifacts do happen to still be acceptable to the client.

To my ear in these cases the limiter or clipper chosen is one of the most major factors (if not the largest) towards an overall coloration in the track - with most veering somewhere in the spectrum of artifacts towards either lost transients (i.e. L2) or to distortion (i.e. straight clipping at the ADC). SO - having a larger choice of limiter and clipper options AND taking the time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each one so that we can quickly make an informed decision as to which one or combination of ones and the best settings of these to use for each track we deal with is vital.

To give a real world case: I had received a track from a client (heavy rock en espan~ol from Mexico City) that had been seriously slammed by their mix engineer already so I knew the ball park that these folks were looking for was a pancake. After getting an uncrushed mix file from them I proceeded to create two files. Any limiter I tried didn't really maintain the integrity of the snare in the track - so I ended using a combination of clipping at the input of the ADC and also further clipping in the DAW using the 4x oversampling option in the Voxengo Elephant. The first file I created was limited to a point just a below truly obvious distortion artifacts and had around a -9.5dB RMS - the other was pushed with a 1.5dB more of clipping to the point where I had to actually use a Declicker/Decrackle plugin on 3 brief points where the clipping caused very obvious artifacts. As many here might have guessed - the client chose the more crushed of the two for their single.

Anyway - my point is that we can provide choices to the client - but ultimately they come to us to be able to get their desires (whether it is for crushed or not) translated as best possible.

Also - I really appreciate the time and effort Lagerfeldt has taken here in setting this test up. Obviously which one processor choice is best for different tracks will vary greatly these types of example do point out different colorations inherent in the limiter choice. While I was definitely thinking of purchasing the Sonnox Limiter soon I wasn't aware of the Flux Pure stuff which also seems to me to be worthy of consideration too.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 15th September 2007
  #46
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Exactly the point, and one of the reasons that while I respect this thread, I haven't participated. Every time I hear someone rave about the latest limiter and how it doesn't hurt things as much as some other limiter
Bob, please don't tell me "all you hear is 'flat as a pancake'". There are so many more nuances to these files, and you know it.

I think you're missing the point: a limiter that can squeeze out more without sounding smashed is usually a better limiter in general IMO. In many tests (music equipment or not) pushing something to its limits is a good way of evaluating capabilities and potential. I think it's a valid way of testing.

In this case Psy Trance is per definition pretty much flat as a pancake, like most other club music of this type.

-
File J Lavry Blue clipping has been included now.
Old 15th September 2007
  #47
Mastering
 

OK, guys, I recognize my blindness here..... I'm willing to be convinced. The fact is that I think I've closed my ears to these discussions because I'm so disgusted with the results of smashing masters to achieve a certain bleed level. I have a hard time justifying or discerning "good ****" from "bad ****" over a certain level when I push a track it just sounds so bad to me I can't discern any meaningful improvement. Maybe it's just me.

I have a hard time saying "oh, it's a little bit better". Usually it's a little bit better to my ears ONLY when I drop the level a dB! All the artifacts above that level are just different colors of distortion that are strictly a matter of taste. Trying different limiters for me has usually been limited to choosing settings in the TC 6000 brickwall, or choosing between the TC and the L2. If the Elephant at a higher level makes my master sound like 1 dB less with the TC, then I begrudgingly would have to say the Elephant is better! Nevertheless, it's still an argument of above a certain level "there's no such thing as good ****".

BK
Old 15th September 2007
  #48
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masteringhouse's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
All the artifacts above that level are just different colors of distortion that are strictly a matter of taste.
Quite true!
Old 15th September 2007
  #49
Audio Alchemist
 
Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
All the artifacts above that level are just different colors of distortion that are strictly a matter of taste.
Then you really should listen again. Try comparing the Oxford file and the L2 file and tell me the transient differences are merely different levels of color or distortion? Of course you might be sacrificing something (e.g. more transients remain but also more pumping, in the case of Oxford).

I'd say that 3-4 of these test files are a matter of taste - and I dare say the rest are obectively worse, for this particular song at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz
If the Elephant at a higher level makes my master sound like 1 dB less with the TC, then I begrudgingly would have to say the Elephant is better! [snip]
Which is exactly my argument in my above post. So we do agree on this.

But try separating the two things: I'm not advocating smashing or louder levels - not at all - but this is a viable method of testing. I don't agree with your "there's no such thing as good ****", if a client insisted on max squash I'd prefer being able to choose the lesser of two evils.

You're a bit too black & white here I think ;-)
Old 16th September 2007
  #50
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I have to say thank you very much for doing this test!!!
really opened up my eyes. Im not a mastering engeneer not even a sound engeneer but i've always felt that waves l2 or l3 was squashing transients and making things sound way worse than other Limiters or even compressors I even tryed using Antares Tube to get louder levels and even though it adds a whole lot of distortion it still maintains its transients
unfortunately i dont have any other limiters except L3 and Ozone and i've found that ozone wich is also CHEAPER does much much better job than waves L3.
Again thank you for the test.
Old 16th September 2007
  #51
Gear Head
 

thanks for the test ,i like ozone and sony the best (both limiter and inflator) , i m gonna try to do a test with elephant.on the oxford limiter the lowend sound different than the ozone one but you can get the same sound with the dc filter , maybe a dc filter have been used on the oxford limiter?
Old 16th September 2007
  #52
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
The Inflator isn't a limiter though, it's basically a distortion effect.
Old 16th September 2007
  #53
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
The Inflator isn't a limiter though, it's basically a distortion effect.
isn't that what clipping is though to some extent??

i think you should include it, i for one have been wanting to try the inflator for ages but never got round to it, it would be interesting to hear
Old 16th September 2007
  #54
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MattGray's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
Sometimes limiting first and then clipping seems to pull up some other details. Some material just don't work with any clipping at all.

The last album I mastered used clip on 1 track out of 22.
So does compression if used sparingly in the right way & it's generally easier on the transients then a limiter would be. Normally I manage to get the levels up without the aid of limiting, Ozone's 'soft sat' only needed to do the last few db. You're right about clipping it certainly doesn't work on everything, especially when you're clipping more then just transient peaks.

Matt
Old 16th September 2007
  #55
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Right, I'm not saying a limiter should be used for that, but as opposed to straight clipping it can sometimes sound better for that, especially with the Oxford.
Old 16th September 2007
  #56
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Bob Yordan's Avatar
Hiya

I just want to post a version of how not to miss use the UAD precision Limiter. The clip has RMS average power at
approx -7.3 and absolutely no dynamics and distortion all over the place. Please do not pay any attention to it as being serious.

http://www.byd-media.net/Warning.wav

Sorry for the trolling.

Old 16th September 2007
  #57
Gear Head
 

did a quick try with elephant but not really satisfied...i used elephant for dithering too :
Send big files the easy way. Files too large for email attachments? No problem!
Old 17th September 2007
  #58
Registered User
 

I'm a die hard UAD fan and love my Precision Limiter - but for this application the Sony / Sonnex Oxford sounds the best - at least on my daw.

Thanks for all the effort into this.

-Andrew
Old 18th September 2007
  #59
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If you bypass all bands in Waves LinMB and push the input level in front (with FreeG or any level plugin), it will start some sort of clipping or limiting that can sound pretty good sometimes. Can anyone try to explain whats really happening when you do that?
Old 19th September 2007
  #60
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MattGray's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackcom View Post
If you bypass all bands in Waves LinMB and push the input level in front (with FreeG or any level plugin), it will start some sort of clipping or limiting that can sound pretty good sometimes. Can anyone try to explain whats really happening when you do that?
With the RTAS or TDM version in ProTools the Waves LinMB can only handle 24bit in & out even though the internal headroom is raised to double precision for it's DSP calculations. What you would be hearing when raising the gain on the plugin before it is digital clipping on the input side of the Waves LinMB.

Most 32bit floating point plugins can accept levels higher then 0.0dbfs without audible clipping because they have a floating 8 bit mantissa which shifts the bits to allow for roughly 54db of additional headroom above a 24bit fixed signal on input & output. A small minority of 32bit floating point plug-ins have a 24bit fixed ceiling on input & output so they will clip if the signal entering or exiting the plugin exceeds 0.0dbfs. Waves LinMB is one of those minority plug-ins that have a 24bit fixed input & output ceiling.

As for the sound of this clipping being any different to or better then other digital clippers is highly unlikely.

Matt
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