When you love a LIMITER

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losthighway
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When you love a LIMITER

Post by losthighway » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:18 pm

Hi folks. Doing one of my periodic 'what's up with that?' TOMB, informal, group education questions.

I compress often, lots of different stuff. Usually gently, and in stages, with some things I know I want some squeeze on (vocals, snare, bass drum) as it goes in at a cautious 2 or 3:1 with 1-6 db reduction, hanging out more in the 2 or 3 db for the majority of the notes above the threshold. This is not thinking like someone who's using a limiter.

*BUT*

Once in a while I get a drummer who drops a lead foot occasionally out of nowhere, scattered throughout a song, where the general tone and level is close to where it needs to be except for the random loud hits.

This is where I think, 'hmmmm, maybe a fast limiter set just to grab those hits'. It usually does something, and kind of helps, but not the slam dunk my theoretical imagination would imagine. And yes, I know, mixing digitally I can use volume automation, and I often do-

* but that would be the "When you love VOLUME AUTOMATION" thread, this is the LIMITER thread.

So when is a limiter, not a compressor, what you really love?

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:57 pm

almost never.

i kinda hate them.

even in mastering i'm rarely doing more than 2db GR with the limiter. and usually less.

generally get where i want to be with compression, saturation and volume automation.

all that said:
1. DMG limitless is super great.
2. dessers could be considered a kind of limiter, i guess, and i love me some dessers.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by drumsound » Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:10 pm

Speaking specifically to your BD mention, I usually compress BD during tracking. When I'm mixing, I usually have a parallel compressor on the drum set, so if there's still an issue I might compress the BD at its channel or as its own parallel. Prob (as you brought up) I'd target those random guys with clip gain.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by Burnt Ernie » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:19 pm

for instrument tracking with occasional spazzy delivery-dbx 263 into one side of a valley people dynamite. just tickling the former,staying out of compression-just limiting with the latter. Usually heavier handed on the de esser,avoiding overs with the latter.
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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by TapeOpLarry » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:30 pm

iZotope RX. Go in and even out the actual frequencies that get too big, not just the whole hit. Or track initially to tape!
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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by losthighway » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:43 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:57 pm
2. dessers could be considered a kind of limiter, i guess, and i love me some dessers.
Side note: what's your favorite desser, hardware or plugin?

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by losthighway » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:44 pm

TapeOpLarry wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:30 pm
iZotope RX. Go in and even out the actual frequencies that get too big, not just the whole hit. Or track initially to tape!
That's a cool idea. Usually the kick drum problem I describe is a hot transient with more treble than the rest of the kick hits. It's like you get just enough click for a modern rock sound, and then the stray hit makes too much of the same.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:05 pm

losthighway wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:43 pm
Side note: what's your favorite desser, hardware or plugin?
the venerable spitfish still rules all. probably my favorite plugin of all time. i love that little guy so much. made about a billion songs a little nicer to listen to.

i also use the DMG essence, which is totally amazing and can do a bunch of stuff spitfish can't. i default to spitfish cause i'm lightning fast with it (as you'd hope after 15 years) and it sounds great, but sometimes it's not right for the task at hand, so then i'll go to essence. but what i mostly use essence for is reigning in boomy subs, it works really great for that.

and i also really like the brainworx dyn-eq, which, like essence, can do tons of stuff, but what i mainly use that for is grabbing painful hi-mid peaks betwixt 2-4k. it's really quick to set it up to just grab the offenders and not touch anything else.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by losthighway » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:20 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:05 pm
losthighway wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:43 pm
Side note: what's your favorite desser, hardware or plugin?
the venerable spitfish still rules all. probably my favorite plugin of all time. i love that little guy so much. made about a billion songs a little nicer to listen to.
Oh, and it's FREE!

Guess I better try it.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:52 pm

you'll need jbridge to run it on a 64-bit DAW. and if you're on mac i think you're out of luck.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by losthighway » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:15 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:52 pm
you'll need jbridge to run it on a 64-bit DAW. and if you're on mac i think you're out of luck.
I think I just discovered you are in the same minority I am: I am defiantly non-mac in my studio.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:24 pm

hahahaha, i love that you're "defiantly" non-mac. we could take this even further off topic and talk about the monumentally stupid magnetized power cable on the macbook.....

*seethes with rage*

ok anyway, get the spitfish and his brother the blockfish. put him on drum room mics, these settings:
opto
complex
hi pass in
saturation all the way up
speed all the way fast
output probably all the way down, maybe 9:00
compression to taste. pile it on.

see if that doesn't get you smiling.

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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by vvv » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:29 am

I love me transparent limiting, what I get in Cool Edit,

I use it on nearly everything, typically getting 2-4 db reduction.

It's part of my workflow and I use it as a gainstage, recording tracks at -6 to -12 peak, then adjusting gain so that, after 2-4db reduction I'm peaking at, say -3db.

When all 4 rhythm guitar tracks (2 close, 2 room) are near the same relative level, it's easier to get a balanced mix.

When yer bass trax, after all processing, is peaking at -3db, it's easy to predict where in the mix to start their level (I mix at -6 to -9 peak, so bass is usually between -24 and -18 when I use my usual parallel bass trax,)

If my processed lead vocal is -12db, I know that I want my processed stereo BV's coming in between -10 and -14 ...

Same with a standard drum-kit two-mix, running between -6 to -10 ...

Makes it a lot faster to set up the initial, and fold-back, mixes.
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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:09 am

I do like the Waves SSL emulation's limiters. Close enough to the console's ones.

Makes mixing drums actually possible.

Other limiters? The 1176 in the fastest mode possible, for some crazy guitar parts.

Like a few here, I only have limiters work more in the loudest parts of the performance.

I do not really use multiband thingies, except on this album I am working on, the guitarist got recorded in a way that
the BOOMINESS completely overtakes the softer higher notes. Why can't recording studios actually teach their house engineers
to fucking record things in a frequency neutral or balanced manner? The last 8 or so albums I have mixed, always have one
genius who absolutely has to record MUDDY SHITE. STOP THAT!!! What is it? The monitors? The microphones? The consoles?
Their EARS??? Fortunately some of my clients warn me before recording a new project. So I can help them get better recordings.
Some don't. Oh well.

I may think about teaching a clinic some day. But it will take throwing money at me, and twisting my right arm until it pops off
the socket. I'm a lefty so I can do without that arm for a day. ;)
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Re: When you love a LIMITER

Post by Magnetic Services » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:13 am

I do love me some limiters, but I rarely ever want to hear them working the way I want to hear other compressors working.

The ReaComp compressor in Reaper lets you set an "RMS time" (in addition to attack, release, etc.). The default is 5ms, but if you move it down to 0ms it's basically seeing every single peak as purely as possible. When I do that and set attack to 0ms, release ~10ms, 10:1 ratio, and threshold -1dB, I get the most transparent limiting I've ever heard (as long as I don't push it too hard).

I love dirty compression, clean compression, and clean limiting, but never found much use for "dirty limiting," if that's even a thing. But I guess that just means I need to try it!
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