DV247 Forums - A Global Community for Music Makers Lowest Price Guaranteed, Free Delivery, Free 3 Year Warranty
Go Back   DV247 Forums - A Global Community for Music Makers > Technique > Recording & Mixing
Forgot Password? Join Us!
Home Register Groups FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Go to DV247.com
New to Forums or just joined? Why not start your journey here?

Recording & Mixing Pimped rig but got no mojo? Learn from the experts here

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 06:54 AM
Costa Del Cool
 
sphelan's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Spain
Posts: 3,134
Default Limiters?

If I understand it correctly, a limiter lets the signals below a threshold level pass through and it reduces the level of signals above that. That means it brings down the overall volume of the signal and gives us more head room.

I have never used a limiter yet and ask if it is something that is regularly called on in music production.
  1. Should I be using a limiter?
  2. When should I use one?
  3. Which one should I use and how do I know?
sphelan is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:58 AM
Furry Filter Phreak
 
Khazul's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 1,130
Default

I use them for live and for final post-mix levelling.

For live - its just there to protect the PA system from anything that might go wrong in the audio chain.

For post mix - it allows you to increase your average level a little such that *some* (not all) stray peaks would be above 0dbFS and the limiter brings stops them overshooting causing clipping.

There are basically two types of limiter - the difference is in there response times and behaviour - limiters that work like a compressor and reduce the overall level when it would exceed a threshold and limiters that brick wall the level and effectively just stop it from exceeeding a threshold, with some processing to soften the resulting edge instead of just clipping them.

The former can result in pumping - just like a compressor if driven too agressively, the latter can result in very audiable distortion if either poor at their job and/or drive to agressively. Some brick wall limiters are actually effectively multi-band limiters under the hood with effectively and soft clip stage to provide the brick wall stage. Adavantage of this type is they can control peaks in specific bands without characteristic pumping and that the clip stage behaviour can be dynamicaly tuned by the limiter stages - end resultt much cleaner resulting sound when over driven.

For Live use - I tend to prefer the former type (which are also generally much simpler) - if something goes wrong, then I want the overall volume reduced and held down. For post mix, then I use the latter type - keep the perceived volume level consistent and appropriate to the material, but I dont want huge level reduction just because a snare and a kick happen to have their transients hitting exactly together and so causing a huge random peak that would otherwise clip. (Related to this, if I know this is a problem at mix time, I *might* sort this out by using a limiter in a drum submix to to stop such random peaks having an unwanted impact upon any other compressors that may be used in the mix).

For the former type - then basically a compressor with fast atttack that can be set to infinate ratio will do.

Just as peak stop or brick wall limiters can be quite compex, then specific live sound limiters can also add a bunch of features aimed at protecting PA systems and audience - a common combination is to add automatic or pre-tuned vvery narrow band feedback limiters/destroyers. These basically look for sustained high energy in the audio signal then apply a narrow notch filter to pull that specific band down. Some are pre-tuned - ie you run a bunch of sound tests before the gig to notch down discovered feedback frequencies. Some are automatic and look for characteristic high energy pure waveforms - the latter tyype are annoying and sometimes latch onto something else - guitar leads parts (good ), keyboard lead parts (bad ) etc...
Khazul is offline Offline
Last edited by Khazul; 16th September 2008 at 08:03 AM. . <
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 03:15 PM
Super Member
 
e-vinyl's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Coimbra
Posts: 249
Default

A limiter (on a mix) is basicly only useful if you have very loud peaks on the mix to avoid clipping, other wise you can "live without one" .
Also when using it you can use it post-mix like khazul said, or use it as an insert in a "uncontrolably" loud instrument.
______________________________
To boldly go where no musician has gone before
e-vinyl is offline Offline
Last edited by e-vinyl; 16th September 2008 at 03:19 PM. . <
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 03:19 PM
Forum Idol
 
sureno's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: west london depot
Posts: 7,873
Default

They are essential imo if your messing around with a new synth and going through some of the presets especially if the synth has a "RANDOM" button just in case you create a monster sound that might blow your speakers it actually happened to me when i was being Dizzy
______________________________
Im a Mac and Windows 7 was not my idea
WWW.SURENO.CO.UK
www.myspace.com/djsureno
http://twitter.com/djsureno
sureno is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 03:24 PM
Super Member
 
e-vinyl's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Coimbra
Posts: 249
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sureno View Post
They are essential imo if your messing around with a new synth and going through some of the presets especially if the synth has a "RANDOM" button just in case you create a monster sound that might blow your speakers it actually happened to me when i was being Dizzy
LOL, well i suppose in that case they can be essential. But i'm not sure that sphelan is a monster sound by accident maker
______________________________
To boldly go where no musician has gone before
e-vinyl is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 03:47 PM
Costa Del Cool
 
sphelan's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Spain
Posts: 3,134
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by e-vinyl View Post
LOL, well i suppose in that case they can be essential. But i'm not sure that sphelan is a monster sound by accident maker
Thanks for the vote of confidence e-vinyl You've earned a special place in my heart...and not by accident neither!
sphelan is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 06:37 PM
Super Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 326
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphelan View Post
If I understand it correctly, a limiter lets the signals below a threshold level pass through and it reduces the level of signals above that. That means it brings down the overall volume of the signal and gives us more head room.

I have never used a limiter yet and ask if it is something that is regularly called on in music production.
  1. Should I be using a limiter?
  2. When should I use one?
  3. Which one should I use and how do I know?
Eh...limiting can come in handy for mixing if you have a an inconsistent snare, kick or bass guitar, but it has to be a good one. It'll level the peaks and allow you to bring up the quiet stuff a bit. Don't put it on the mix-buss though, not during mixing anyway...that's a recipe for disaster. I almost always mix into a compressor though, usually outboard...I like my ProVLA for that.

Limiting is useful when finalizing a mix, but that's just part of an overall strategy. Again, it should be a good one...my two favorites are the Precision Limiter by UAD (almost perfectly transparent) and Voxengo's Elepant (when you want more character).

Go to i-Tunes a listen to Metallica's new album if you'd like a lesson on how NOT to use a limiter.

Frank
______________________________
Frank Oesterheld
GIK Acoustics
GIK Bradford Now Open!
www.gikacoustics.com
(+44) 020 7558 8976 (UK)
FrankGIK is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:08 PM
Costa Del Cool
 
sphelan's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Spain
Posts: 3,134
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankGIK View Post

Go to i-Tunes a listen to Metallica's new album if you'd like a lesson on how NOT to use a limiter.

Frank
I haven't heard the album and don't fancy buying it just to hear something badly done - even thought on second thoughts that might be a useful exercise.

But how is it that successful groups who presumeably can chose the producer of their choice would release something that is flawed technically? Or is it flawed technically? Can you expand Frank?
sphelan is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:17 PM
Super Member
 
mrfracas's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somerset, UK
Posts: 321
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by e-vinyl View Post
LOL, well i suppose in that case they can be essential. But i'm not sure that sphelan is a monster sound by accident maker
They sometimes occur; and not necessarily through fault of the user. But a limiter is essential for those moments when a little careless noise rises (slowly or quickly) on your signal path.
______________________________
MacBook Pro: NI Audio Kontrol 1; Logic Studio 8; Ableton Live; Sibelius 5; NI Komplete 5; various other plugs. Fostex PM1 MkII; Yamaha AN1x; Novation 25SL MkII; Audio Technica ATH-M50; Roland SH32
mrfracas is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:20 PM
Super Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 326
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphelan View Post
I haven't heard the album and don't fancy buying it just to hear something badly done - even thought on second thoughts that might be a useful exercise.

But how is it that successful groups who presumeably can chose the producer of their choice would release something that is flawed technically? Or is it flawed technically? Can you expand Frank?
It is as flawed technically as can be. When I say "terrible" I mean total failure terrible. I think part of the problem is the usual race to make the loudest album in recorded history, and this time it went way too far. The other problem is that the story is, for some unknowable reason, that the record was mixed through a limiter for volume on the mix-buss. I couldn't tell you why. The results are predictable. You've already ripped half the peaks off and induced a haze of distortion before it ever *thinks* about entering the building for mastering, where it will be further abused.

How did it clear A/R QC? I don't know...how did Jar-Jar Binks clear George Lucas' daily's? How did Feist's last album ever make it out of the mix stage? How did Vista ever make it's way onto retail shelves all over the world? I've been around long enough to know that record companies exist to sell advertising on the radio. They make much, much more money that way. They couldn't care less about how a record sounds. It's loud, it sounds like Metallica, let's go out and get a beer. Done.

Frank
______________________________
Frank Oesterheld
GIK Acoustics
GIK Bradford Now Open!
www.gikacoustics.com
(+44) 020 7558 8976 (UK)
FrankGIK is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:24 PM
Super Member
 
mrfracas's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somerset, UK
Posts: 321
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphelan View Post
I haven't heard the album and don't fancy buying it just to hear something badly done - even thought on second thoughts that might be a useful exercise.

But how is it that successful groups who presumeably can chose the producer of their choice would release something that is flawed technically? Or is it flawed technically? Can you expand Frank?
I've just listened to the samples on iTunes, and it does sound a tiny bit like a bit like a squished blacmange, if I could use such an invalid term. But I guess it's a matter of opinion. It doesn't sound bad; but the drums could be a lot better.

I reckon, what's a real shame is that a band that sounded awesome in the '80s, sound really pap today. That's not just because of their new songs (sorry modern Metallica fans), but it's also to do with the flat sound. I guess it's just down to their producers getting with the digital age, and having little respect for classic analogue equipment; which is precisely what a band like Metallica need.
______________________________
MacBook Pro: NI Audio Kontrol 1; Logic Studio 8; Ableton Live; Sibelius 5; NI Komplete 5; various other plugs. Fostex PM1 MkII; Yamaha AN1x; Novation 25SL MkII; Audio Technica ATH-M50; Roland SH32
mrfracas is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:27 PM
Costa Del Cool
 
sphelan's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Spain
Posts: 3,134
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankGIK View Post

How did it clear A/R QC? I don't know...how did Jar-Jar Binks clear George Lucas' daily's? How did Feist's last album ever make it out of the mix stage? How did Vista ever make it's way onto retail shelves all over the world? I've been around long enough to know that record companies exist to sell advertising on the radio. They make much, much more money that way. They couldn't care less about how a record sounds. It's loud, it sounds like Metallica, let's go out and get a beer. Done.

Frank
Fair points.

But is this a general trend or is it just with music that by definition has to be loud, i.e. metal, heavy rock etc?
sphelan is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:32 PM
Super Member
 
e-vinyl's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Coimbra
Posts: 249
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfracas View Post
They sometimes occur; and not necessarily through fault of the user. But a limiter is essential for those moments when a little careless noise rises (slowly or quickly) on your signal path.
i know i was just playing around
______________________________
To boldly go where no musician has gone before
e-vinyl is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:32 PM
Costa Del Cool
 
sphelan's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Spain
Posts: 3,134
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfracas View Post
I've just listened to the samples on iTunes, and it does sound a tiny bit like a bit like a squished blacmange, if I could use such an invalid term. But I guess it's a matter of opinion. It doesn't sound bad; but the drums could be a lot better.
I've just had a listen to Suicide & Redemption too. It is particularly "muddy" in the low end and I don't like the bass at all - maybe that's the sound they wanted but it sounds overcooked to me.
sphelan is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 16th September 2008 , 07:40 PM
Super Member
 
mrfracas's Avatar
          
           
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somerset, UK
Posts: 321
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by e-vinyl View Post
i know i was just playing around
LOL, I know. I could tell by the big grin.
______________________________
MacBook Pro: NI Audio Kontrol 1; Logic Studio 8; Ableton Live; Sibelius 5; NI Komplete 5; various other plugs. Fostex PM1 MkII; Yamaha AN1x; Novation 25SL MkII; Audio Technica ATH-M50; Roland SH32
mrfracas is offline Offline
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT. The time now is 12:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.0
1999-2017 DV247 Ltd. All rights reserved.