Limiter plug ins

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Smashh, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Hey all , I downloaded the free goodhertz faraday limiter a few days back and inserted it into a session
    today. I can really hear it working and I like it .
    Anybody else here used it ?
    What do you think ?

    I have been using the Massey 2007 and the tokyo dawn kotelnikov which are a bit bitey and
    smooth . The faraday has a vibe about it that I didnt have before . :)

    Hope I dont sound like a salesman .:cautious:

    I know there are lots of good limiters out there , but I haven't had them :sleep:
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I've not tried that but the FabFilter Pro L is on everything I finish.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    +1 on Fabfilter Pro L ;)
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    There are several very good limiter plugs out there, and there are several different kinds of limiter plugs as well.

    Some are "forensic" and designed to be exact in what they do. Others are more 'classic" in the sense that they provide a certain sound and vibe.

    Fabfilter is a very nice forensic limiter, but both T-Racks and Waves also make emulations of "classic" limiters like the LA2 and the Fairchild 670, which are less forensic in their approach, and used a lot more for tone and vibe.
    (I know for a fact that UAD makes these as well, I'm only commenting on those that I have actually used myself).

    Samplitude's S-Max is another nice one, similar to a Waves L3 in setup and function.
    Smashh likes this.
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I should say, that I like Fabfilter's limiter when I master a track because it get's me there without affecting the sound too much and killing the transients.
    I used to master with T-racks stand alone and found that while having emulations of classic gear is nice specially if you are looking for a vintage sound, I found that I could never push the levels high enough to match today's commercial CDs without ending with distorted unnatural sound. I have nothing against T-Racks but I switched to Ozone for that reason. Funny thing is, Ozone have a level limit too where it gets distorted and never achieve the right levels but I kept it because of the workflow it offers and the nice mid/side tools it has.

    So for now my mastering chain is :
    1. Place each song on a seperate tracks in Sonar,
    2. Ozone on each track's effect bin
    3. Fabfilter limiter on the masterbus.
    When mixing, I may use some emulations like LA2A or 1176 or the PuigChild Compressor, but I never push them hard and risk to make them brake to saturation because having a high level is not a priority at this stage.
    I find that I reach for Fabfilter's plugins more often because I trust them not to mess with the sound so much and they get the job done easily. If I had only one set of plugins to by it would be Fabfilter's total bundle.

    Maybe I go lite on the vintage and emulation plugins because I usually track with gear that has a character already. If I record with an LA-610, I usually don't need to mess with the sound other than minor EQ and volume automation unless I'm going for a special effect on purpose.

    But that's just me, today ! That's why they talk about engineer signature don't they ;)
    Smashh, DonnyThompson and Chris like this.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    As I stated above, I agree that the vintage compressors are used more for vibe than as actual form and function forensic limiters in the modern sense.

    I use the LA2, 1176 and 670 as more of a tonal thing - although I do love the 1176 and the 670 on drums, but again, I like it because of what it does sonically. If I'm using a dedicated limiter on the 2-bus - which I don't really do all that often as I let the M.E. handle that, I use Fabfilter or Samplitude's S-Max limiter for the actual limiting.
    pcrecord and Smashh like this.
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I agree that the M.E. should do the final leveling. But I have many low budget customers who force me to wear that hat. Which I do with great humility and many explanations to the customers about my limits. ;)
    Smashh likes this.
  8. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Yep , I try to level our stuff , but I wouldn't try anybody else's ( actually I only record our own things )
    Heard enough bad results of my own which is great cause I have to wear it ,then move on and get better (y)

    Hey Marco , when you do master yourself , how many days do you take ?
    Do you do it in one session or do you let it sit for a few days and then adjust if need be ?

    Just thinking how a client would be if you told them it will take a week or 2 to level it
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Interesting take on limiters. I've never experienced much use for a variety of limiters. I need only one and that is one that limits without notice.
    Slightly off topic but I had one on a Crane Song STC-8 and that just seemed like a complete waste of time. (n)
    Digital limiters are the only way to go. After having the Pro L, it was easy to sell that $5000 analog dead space and pay some bills. I try and like other digital limiters but nothing rivals the Pro L. Stellar code. Makes mastering less complicated imho.
    pcrecord likes this.
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    When offering a service or a product, the most important thing is to offer it at a price the Customer can pay and that you can live with.
    I never work more than 3 hours at the time for mixing and/or mastering. So small budget projects can be mastered in 1 session and larger ones will depend on how much time the band want to invest. In general, I put more effort on mixes which ends up with easier mastering jobs in the end. One thing I do to help me get there is to place a limiter on the masterbus which I active once in a while when mixing. This gives me an idea how the mastering may affect the mix and I can rectify mistakes right away.

    Since I'm not a Mastering Engineer, I make sure the Customer knows and I rarely put more than an hour per song for the mastering part.

    We sometime forget that mastering firms are not all equal. On project I did went to a mastering facilty and I also made a pseudo mastering. In the end the band liked mine better because it was not compressed as much. No no, I'm not saying I'm better... just that for them, they liked having more dynamics.
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    So true.

    By the time I'm done mixing, mastering is really just a matter of volume vs transient loss and a bit of an overall EQ. "The guilt of crushing beautiful freq". ....
    Granted, there are sometimes an overall tone that a surgical EQ will find via notch and sweep. I hate to make mastering sound simple but its about 10 mins with the Pro L.
    Mastering/ "finishing" a track used to take me forever. I always thought mastering was so complicated. What's complicated is mixing. If a mix is at a point where it takes days to master it "finish it", its because the mix is wrong. No returning back to the old days for me. Mixing into a master is the only way I work now.
    pcrecord likes this.
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    @Chris @pcrecord @Smashh

    Absolutely. IMO, it's always best to mix into the gain reduction, as opposed to adding it after the fact. Chris taught me this.
    ( See? This is one of the reasons that RO is so cool, even an old dog like me can still learn new tricks. ;) )

    I found that it gives me a much more accurate representation of the final mix, and, has the added advantages of allowing me to hear the final mix in a more finished, mastered capacity... it also goes a long way in helping to prevent over-compression, which I will admit, I've been guilty of in the past.

    What many people don't know, is that inserting a limiter on the 2-bus was a common old-school method that engineers would use to give their clients the ability to hear what the song would sound like after mastering.
    Most of these guys didn't leave the limiter on the 2-bus for the final mix down that would be sent out for mastering, knowing that the M.E. would take care of that part for them. It was pretty much used only as an esoteric listening aid.

    It wasn't until these same engineers started hearing obvious sonic differences ( sometimes very pleasing, sometimes not so much, depending on " the what and the how" ) that occurred because of the way that certain gain reduction models reacted to a mix - like the 1176, LA2A, Focusrite Red, and the Fairchild 670... It's where the term "glue" was first used - to describe what these models (and others, like the SSL Bus Compressor) did to the overall sound.
    Prior to that, the only reason they inserted GR on the Master Bus was to let their clients hear their music in a way that was more similar to what it would sound like after it was mastered and cut to vinyl.

    So, we can refer to these as signal "processors", and they are certainly that, but don't think that they also weren't used as an effect as well.

    I still think these classic models are great for character and texture - I use them all the time for that - but IMO, they aren't as valid anymore as "functional" 2-bus limiters for digital, because music and technology has evolved so much - along with what people are now used to hearing; and in that regard, one of the more forensic-based limiting processors - like the FabFilter, or Waves L3, or Samplitudes S-Max, serves the newer trends, technology - and expectations - in a more useful and accurate way.

    As Marco mentioned previously, it's more difficult these days to use these "classic" limiters to do this type of gain work; in order for them to reach the extended levels of what people are now accustomed to hearing, you'd have to use them in a manner that would be far too heavy.

    IMHO of course. ;)

    Smashh likes this.
  13. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Thanks for that insight Donny (y), Ive started to put 2 limiters on the master bus and back them off so I dont have to double back as
    much down the line . Also Im starting to get the gist of how they are affecting the tones and transients of each instrument in a different way .
    Wish I had more time on my hands for experimenting , although next month something else is gonna appear and they just get better and better :rolleyes:
    I guess that not having used the real hardware , I dont know what Im missing and get happily surprised easily .
  14. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    imho, at the very end of your song, one digital limiter is all you need.
    pcrecord likes this.
  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Honestly, all the new gizmo on sale don't even mather if we don't ear and understand the difference.
    We need to get better in ourself ! That's far more important than which plugins we use ;)
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think that this rule of thumb starts with just before you even hit the "R" button on the keyboard.

    An understanding of mic technique, gain structure, signal flow, is all more important than which compressor you use.

    And on that note, having a clear understanding of what processor you are using, and why you are using it, is crucial, and unfortunately, so often overlooked.

    You guys would be amazed by what I see some of my clients doing - using GR, EQ, etc., without even knowing what those do, and, just as bad, without knowing why they are using them.

    I've come to the conclusion that there are a vast majority of recording hobbyists who use these plugs simply because they have them. They feel that they need to process the hell out of every single track, yet they pay little-to-no attention to fundamentals like mic placement and gain structure. Most feel that simply getting the signal into their DAW is "the easy part", because they have 100 different processors to choose from, in which to make the tracks sound "better" afterwards... even though most of the time, they don't really understand what these processors do, or even what their purpose is.

    I can't even count the number of times I've seen these home recording hobbyists jacking 60Hz up through the roof on a vocal track, in order to "get more low end".

    I had one new client, last year, it was the first consultation I had with him - and when I asked him why he had a limiter on every single track - he told me that he wanted to "widen the stereo sound" of the mix.
    He was convinced that having a limiter on every track could accomplished this, and all he wanted to know was which settings he needed to use on the limiters to accomplish this.

    When I tried to explain to him that he was trying to fix a flat tire with a garden rake, he looked at me like I was nuts. He was convinced that his way was the right way, "because he had read it online somewhere".
    When I informed him that there was a lot of myths and inaccuracies with online information, he scoffed at me and said something like "Yeah, like you know better than the experts on the internet." I couldn't keep from laughing out loud.
    (He never did hire me back, apparently because he already had all the answers - LOL ).

    And while that's a funny story, unfortunately, it's also true too much of the time.
  17. Smashh

    Smashh Active Member

    Bet you guys have all got some cracker stories of clients , gotta take my hat off to you all with the expectations you must have to deal with ,
    along with the lack of understanding of the techniques of recording from the expectees .:eek:
    Luckily there are places like here for us to learn, and at least get the gist of some concepts and approaches through the threads;)

    There are always considerations you guys talk about that I wouldn't have figured in.
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Oh... you mean like the client who can't quite grasp the concept that it takes more than three minutes to record a three minute song? Because "that's the way I've seen it done in music videos!!".

    Or, the client who wonders what you've done to "screw up their voice" - because they normally sound a lot better than that... they're great, and they're sure of it, too - because that's what all their friends tell them on Karaoke night down at the corner bar.
    So obviously, it must be your fault as an engineer. You've done something wrong. You've made them suck on purpose.

    Or, the band that shows up and the drummer has a 25 piece kit, and he wants absolutely every single piece of the kit miked up. Yup... "and don't forget the 3" china splash that I hit one time during the guitar solo."
    This is the same drummer who shows up with dented and pitted heads, because he hasn't changed them since October of '74. These same toms, I might add, have 2" carpet padding duct-taped to the inside of each tom be more specific, each chrome shell.

    Or, the two guitar players sitting in the control room during the mix, and they each have the "more me" disease... every thirty seconds, one of them says, "Can I hear more me?" Even though they were both playing the exact same uber-overdrived crunched guitar parts.

    Or, the client who showed up dressed for the stage - full costume - spandex, bandannas, makeup, the whole sha-bang, and who also brings a full length mirror with him, so he can watch himself sing?

    Yeah... I've had the privilege of working these people over the years. Not these days though. These days I work with one client at a time, usually producing, and I'm very selective of who I do that with.

    Oh...and if you think I'm joking ? ... I'm not. All true stories.


  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hey Smash, lets keep chatting about limiters. Where have you been using it?
  20. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    I like the Sonnox Limiter. Really clean, but with an overdrive function, that adds nice saturation and level.

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