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The Press Desk 28th November 2016 04:53 PM

Ten of the best brickwall limiter plug-ins
 
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Ten of the best Brickwall Limiter plug-ins

Limiter plug-ins have become essential tools in today’s productions and that very last insert on the mix bus or mastering chain is a frequent, and very often heated subject of conversation in our community. There are many limiter plug-ins out there these days with many different options to choose from, so in order to help you out we trawled through many of our discussion threads to find out which limiters are getting our members' attention. Here are our findings - in alphabetical order by manufacturer.


 Invisible Limiter

A.O.M. Invisible Limiter


From the land of the rising sun comes A.O.M. and their Invisible Limiter, a plug-in that grabbed the Gearslutz community’s attention and rapidly became a frequent recommendation. Invisible Limiter is a brickwall limiter with automatic attack/release settings, working its magic 'under-the-hood' and presenting the user with a no-frills interface with only three knobs for setting the limit level and input/output gains. It also features an useful “unity gain” monitoring function that automatically compensates the output levels so you’re not fooled by the extra loudness. Invisible Limiter gets many compliments for keeping transparency under very high levels and its overall quality definitely puts this talented Japanese developer on the map.



 Limitless

DMG Audio Limitless


DMG Audio is one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to plug-ins with 'depth'. Their Limitless plug-in is another prime example of their feature-rich approach to digital audio, offering the user an abundance of parameters for comprehensive control over the limiting process. At its core lies a flexible six-band limiter with linear phase crossovers and just like its siblings EQuilibrium, Compassion and Expurgate, Limitless works like a “sandbox” that allows the user to deeply customize this plug-in, both in terms of how it deals with the sound and what will be displayed in the interface. In that regard, it can also be set to display and operate with very streamlined controls if you’re not quite ready for more complex settings. Arguably one of the very best choices if “extremely configurable” is a necessity.



 Pro-L

FabFilter Pro-L


One of the most recommended limiters amongst our community, Pro-L brings FabFilter’s excellence in DSP innovation to the peak-limiting domain. This plug-in provides a feature set capable of handling basically any limiting task, including different limiting modes for more “pumpy” or more transparent action, dedicated attack/release controls, a variable stereo link for transient/release, ISP protection, advanced dithering options and internal oversampling up to 4x. FabFilter is known for its amazing interfaces and it's no different this time 'round with Pro-L - the controls are elegantly arranged for ease of use and all relevant information about the limiting process and output levels are displayed very clearly. Undoubtedly a great choice if you’re looking for a limiter with extensive features that’s masterfully put together.



 Elixir v3 Native

Flux Elixir v3 Native

Our list wouldn’t be complete without a true surround limiter and for such demands the Flux:: Elixir fits the bill perfectly, supporting up to 8 input/output channels to cover basically any traditional surround production setup. This elegant plug-in is quite painless in use with its unobstructed interface and simple controls. Elixir can increase the quality of its processing (at the expense of some CPU) by adding more limiting “stages” for greater transparency, and it also features true-peak limiting for optimal output protection, automatic or variable release and optional automatic make-up gain. It’s also fully compliant with industry standards such as ITU-R BS.1770/EBU R128 and supports a wide range of native (featured) and DSP formats. Needless to say it will also work beautifully on stereo mixes and music production as well as on post-production duty!



 Stealth Limiter

IK Multimedia Stealth Limiter


IK Multimedia’s latest limiter is all about not getting in the way - of either the sound or the user. The Stealth brings a super straightforward set of controls, with two knobs for input level and output ceiling and a handful of options for the operating mode, inter-sample peak management, unity gain monitoring and dithering. Despite its focus on transparency it also can add a bit of colour through a couple of “harmonics” operating modes that add to its versatility. Delivering great and loud sounding music should be quite effortless with the Stealth Limiter - it’s basically foolproof and an excellent choice if ultimate ease-of-use is what you are looking for.



 Ozone 7

iZotope Ozone 7


iZotope’s Ozone is obviously much more than a limiter, with a whole suite of mastering tools under its umbrella, but the effectiveness of its brickwall limiter has been highly praised over the years and that praise awards it a spot on our list. Known for keeping up its transparency under extreme circumstances this limiter comes equipped with four different modes, true-peak limiting, fully variable stereo/dual-mono link, loudness-compensated bypass and also a slider that enables how much it will react to transients in order to best preserve them (or not!) This limiter offers excellent flexibility and as previously stated it’s part of a bigger mastering toolset with EQ, compression, stereo enhancer and saturation also in the bundle, so you’re getting a whole lot more for your buck.



 Oxford Limiter

Sonnox Oxford Limiter


In the "plugin wars," the Oxford Limiter is what you'd call a veteran. After many years' service it is still a widely respected limiter and has recently received a “V2” upgrade that enhanced the peak detection processes with the latest DSP developments - and provided a much-need visual makeover as well. The core is pretty much unchanged, with its trademark “enhance” button, dedicated attack/release settings, a variable knee, true-peak limiting and dither. Operation is a breeze with a clean (and now much better looking) interface that displays all parameters at the same time, providing concise information about the levels and without any hidden menus or other distractions. It’s also in conformity with the ITU-R BS.1770-4 industry measurement standard and available on basically every current native or DSP format. Surely a great choice for a “definitive” limiter.



 Limiter No6

vladg/sound Limiter No6


The Limiter 6 is probably one of our community's favourite limiter plug-ins, not only because it costs nothing but for many practical reasons as well. This plug-in packs a substantial number of tools - besides the peak limiter it also comes with a fully-configurable compressor, a high-frequency limiter, a clipper, and ISP protection for very precise (and potentially very loud) results. Limiter 6 also been around for awhile and since its introduction Vladg has joined forces with TDR to develop some amazing plug-ins such as the Kotelnikov Compressor and Nova Dynamic Equalizer. Hopefully the duo will bring out a new limiter at some point, and given their past work it’s safe to say that it will be even better than the already awesome Limiter 6. (Currently this one is only available for AU and VST hosts, which adds further expectation for a new release!)



 Elephant

Voxengo Elephant


Elephant has been a consistent nominee in basically all the discussions we’ve read through - it has been around for a while but it manages to stay relevant. Voxengo has done a very good job on keeping that relevance by constantly refining it and adding more features, such as new operating modes, more timing adjustments and a deep limiter mode editor for extensive inner-tweaks. It’s also up-to-date with current plug-in formats and has recently been updated for Pro Tools 11/12 (AAX) compatibility, a long lingering issue that’s now resolved. It also supports 5.1 surround configurations. The sound was great from day one, but all the improvements over the years have definitely contributed to make it even better still and thus a wise choice for a workhorse master limiter.



 L2 Ultramaximizer

Waves Audio L2 Ultramaximizer


Last (but not least) comes the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer plug-in, an emulation of the highly popular hardware limiter that helped Waves to establish itself as a force in the digital domain. The hardware unit had a very “peculiar” sound & good quality converters but more importantly it was known for delivering very loud results! It’s a rather simple-to-use unit that only requires you to pull the threshold for the desired loudness, choose the max peak level and pick automatic release (or set it manually). By many accounts the L2 plug-in sounds extremely close to the hardware (minus the sound of those converters), but it has all the convenience provided by a plug-in - not to mention it costs a whole lot less.


There's the list! It's a competitive field out there and the list was quite a close call, so honourable mentions to PSP Xenon, Brainworx bx_XL V2, Slate Digital FG-X and HOFA IQ-Limiter, which are all great pieces of software and surely worth a spot in your plug-in folder.

For more on limiters please visit: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/mastering-forum/

Fore more on plug-ins please visit: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/

Fendert 10th February 2017 02:19 AM

No Massey L2007? I've used most of these on this list, and the L2007 for sure beats out half of them.

Brent Hahn 12th February 2017 02:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fendert (Post 12436628)
No Massey L2007? I've used most of these on this list, and the L2007 for sure beats out half of them.

I have 3 of the list, plus the Massey. In my 4-limiter list, Massey's tied for first.

DR Music 12th February 2017 09:12 PM

2007 is good

huub 14th February 2017 05:22 PM

"an emulation of the highly popular hardware limiter that helped Waves to establish itself as a force in the digital domain. The hardware unit had a very “peculiar” sound & good quality converters but more importantly it was known for delivering very loud results! It’s a rather simple-to-use unit that only requires you to pull the threshold for the desired loudness, choose the max peak level and pick automatic release (or set it manually). By many accounts the L2 plug-in sounds extremely close to the hardware (minus the sound of those converters)"

Huh, what? emulation? It's exactly the same algorithm.
Wasn't the plug in first anyway?

Brent Hahn 14th February 2017 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by huub (Post 12445176)
Huh, what? emulation? It's exactly the same algorithm.

It's an emulation because a plugin in a box is "hardware."

Everyone know that. :-)

JoleFIN 23rd February 2017 11:52 PM

Wondering if Slate FG-X is not on the list because of it's secondary features that include the compressor too. Chose FGX over Voxengo and Sonnox because it just gave more loudness without the kind of distortion and artefacts the other two had. Just a tip for anyone looking for an awesome master limiter. :)

zarven kara 3rd January 2018 06:34 AM

The slate FG-x is pretty simple to use and effective. The hard and soft settings in the chain are handy. Act just like a fast to very fast attack time on a limiter.

fuzulu 3rd January 2018 12:03 PM

L2 will always be #1

mainstreamdjs 3rd January 2018 05:49 PM

fabfilter pro l2 is a great new option. This is my go to now....

drBill 3rd January 2018 06:19 PM

I used the L2007 for years. It was good for it's time, but IMO, needs a big update if it's going to compete. I had an acoustic project that I just couldn't get "loud" enough to compete with L2007 recently. No matter what I did, the L2007 was just crushing the life out of it - in a bad way. BTW, it was preceded by a hardware Manley Vari-Mu and Silver Bullet shaving transients. So in desperation, I started looking. I got a lot of recommendations to try out the FabFilter ProL. That was it. Simple, easy, transparent, and I got the loudness without collapsing and coloring the mix in a bad way that L2007 was doing. Best plugin money I ever spent. L2007 has been retired. I have not used it since. BTW, the dither on the FabFilter ProL is KILLER as well. I have not yet tried v.2. I'm sure it's even better.....

As for the Slate....no comment. Long gone.

The one on the list that I'd kind of like to try is the DMG Limitless. But for now, I'm perfectly happy with ProL. kfhkh

henge 4th January 2018 05:01 AM

Elevate here. Powerful!

kretzmonster 4th January 2018 05:21 AM

Limit
 
Dmg limitless is the shizz. On almost every mix I do!

Dysanfel 5th January 2018 12:59 AM

Taking the opposite approach, if you are looking for a limiter that colors the sound and gets very nasty quick, the d16 Frontier does the trick. I used it on a drum bus once and it worked great. This is not a tool for transparency and subtle results. It pumps, screams, and goes nuts.

acusticalagos 5th January 2018 01:18 AM

Dear friends! Does anyone know of any software or pluguin that controls the Sound Pressure Level of the LIVE SYSTEM, using a linear microphone integrating a virtual sonometer? Actually, I'm looking for something like Flux Pure Analyzer or ASMG Systune, but I'd like to insert a stereo channel with one audio signal and one with a microphone. The software automatically has to prevent the sound from reaching the dynamic range I set through a microphone calibrated to the system so I can control the sound pressure level of the band or DJ using the PC as an interface between the desk and amplifiers. This is necessary for places where there is a need to keep Live Sound within the dynamic range allowed by law. There are several hardwares that do this, in theory it is something extremely simple and extremely necessary in any live system, but I have already searched and I find nothing. Can someone help me? Thank you!!! kfhkhkfhkhkfhkhkfhkh

RedBaaron 21st January 2018 01:20 AM

Interesting how subjective the preferences are. I own or have used every one on this list except the Flux , and most wouldn't even be in my top 20. If I had to pick the best 3, in no particular order, it would be:
  • For a transparent, single track (non-buss) brickwall, AOM on x16 seems as good as it gets.
  • For louder than loud limiting that somehow adds more punch and sense of dynamics, FG-X all the way (although Stealth is in the running).
  • For high end clarity , tightening up lows , or adding 3-dimensionality, Limitless. Flexible enough to cover all the needs.

Flux Alchemist was the first ITB comp I remember being really impressed by--maybe I'll have to see what they've been up to these days.

henge 21st January 2018 04:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RedBaaron (Post 13085396)
Interesting how subjective the preferences are. I own or have used every one on this list except the Flux , and most wouldn't even be in my top 20. If I had to pick the best 3, in no particular order, it would be:
  • For a transparent, single track (non-buss) brickwall, AOM on x16 seems as good as it gets.
  • For louder than loud limiting that somehow adds more punch and sense of dynamics, FG-X all the way (although Stealth is in the running).
  • For high end clarity , tightening up lows , or adding 3-dimensionality, Limitless. Flexible enough to cover all the needs.

Flux Alchemist was the first ITB comp I remember being really impressed by--maybe I'll have to see what they've been up to these days.

Have you tried Elevate?

RedBaaron 21st January 2018 07:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by henge (Post 13085655)
Have you tried Elevate?

Also an amazing tool, and deserves to be near the top (and at the very least on) this list. There is a lot of fine-grained control for controlling the transients with Elevate that the others lack. Perhaps the reason neither it or FG-X are included is that they both are as much Transmods as they are limiters, and with Elevate it's as much a clipper also (if you choose to make it so).

arnoldorodeo 21st January 2018 11:54 PM

Just my personal tastes but I recently had very nice results with SIR2 Standard Clip

Orcel 22nd January 2018 12:19 AM

Limited MAX... LVC Audio kfhkh

bcgood 22nd January 2018 04:41 AM

Fab Filter Pro L2 is my current favorite limiter.

In the past I used AOM Invisible Limiter at 2x oversampling which I liked the sound of but it doesn't have true peak limiting.

I also have used Ozone 7 Advanced which can give good results.

the_mixer 22nd January 2018 11:30 PM

1. Sonnox
2. FG-X
3. Fabfilter Pro-L 2

Orcel 22nd January 2018 11:50 PM

I own Limitless, Fab Pro L2 , Elevate, ans some others...but I always go back to Limited Max. Am I the only one to find it so punchy and clean ?

blackcom 22nd January 2018 11:58 PM

Newfangled Audio Elevate kfhkh

druhms 24th January 2018 06:50 AM

I leave this subject to the Mastering Engineer that I've built a relationship with over the years in order to achieve the results I'm needing.

.....ok, yeah, I get it, there's not always room in the budget to make your mix "Loud". I understand that, and when faced with this issue more and more, I'm an "old school" Waves guy, but have recently found my friends at IK to make excellent stuff as well as Izotope. Izotope is actually amazing.
JJ
Boogie Tracks — Boogie Tracks Recording Studio

theothermarkwilliams 25th January 2018 05:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drBill (Post 13048661)

The one on the list that I'd kind of like to try is the DMG Limitless. But for now, I'm perfectly happy with ProL. kfhkh

Limitless is extremely badass.
But I love everything I own by Fabfilter, too. Both great companies.

Deleted 86c3d96 28th January 2018 08:58 AM

That's a mighty mighty list...letting it all hang out...

Sniperschool 29th January 2018 01:33 AM

I have most on the list but Sonnox still works for me every time kfhkh

Rapollo 29th January 2018 03:17 AM

Pro-L 2 covers all my ground ^_^ Used to use Ozone 7 or PSP Xenon but now exclusively Pro-L 2. A marvel in tech just like their Pro-Q 2.

Blast9 4th March 2018 11:06 PM

The VLADG TDR version of the Limiter 6 is a really great update, especially with the EBU R128 LUFS Meter