Best Limiter Plugin

A limiter plugin is an audio processing tool that limits the volume of an audio signal to a certain level. It can be used for many reasons, but one common use is when you want to make sure your music doesn’t get too loud.

This can help if you are concerned about  damage to speakers and headphones. It also helps preserve the quality of recordings by preventing clipping (when a sound gets louder than it should) to make sure your recordings are spot on and not full of background noise.

Best Limiter Plugin

The best limiter plugins are designed with professional audio engineers in mind. These plugins are often used by recording studios and mastering houses, where they are responsible for making sure that all of their clients’ recordings sound great.

Which Compressor Should You Use? [C...
Which Compressor Should You Use? [Compressor Types Explained]

So if you want to record like a pro read on and find out how a limiter plugin can help. 

ART Pro-VLA II Two Channel Vactrol-Based Compressor

ART Pro-VLA II Two Channel Vactrol-based Compressor

For those who want something better suited for professional audio applications, the ART Pro-VLA II Two Channel Vactrol-based Compressor is ideal. It will also allow you to do some mixing while recording. It is easy to set up and operate and sounds great.

Not only that, but it has XLR inputs and outputs, and you can plug any mic into it and record directly to tape without having to worry about getting a phantom power supply. 

There is a gain reduction meter built into the unit, which makes it easy to see when you are clipping the signal. The ability to turn the volume down to zero and then back up again  allows you to get the best sound possible without having to worry about blowing speakers.

This compressor/limiter has four bands of EQs and a separate preamp section. It also has a variable low pass filter which lets you boost frequencies below 100 Hz.

This is important because many microphones have a tendency to pick up background noise at lower frequencies. When you boost these frequencies, they become easier to remove later in post-production. 

This compressor/limiter also has a stereo input and output so that you can connect multiple mics together. You can also send one channel to an external mixer. 

There are five different modes: normal, soft, hard, smooth, and fast which let you adjust the amount of compression or limitation. You can also set the ratio between compression and limitation. 

The ART Pro-VLA II also has two level meters which show you how much compression or limitation is happening. These meters are very helpful when you are setting up your levels. They also help you keep track of what you are doing during tracking. 

The ART Pro-VLA is a versatile compressor/limiter that works well in all types of situations. It is compact enough to fit easily into small spaces and light enough to carry around. It is perfect for use in studios as well as live performance.

Pros

  • Stereo input and output
  • Variable low pass filter
  • Gain reduction meter
  •  XLR inputs and outputs

Cons

  •  No automation

Also available at

Sweetwater, Reverb

ART Pro-VLA II Two Channel Vactrol-based Compressor
  • VCA-Less Vactrol Opto-Compression Design, Mastering Quality Audio Signal Path with Tube Gain Stage, Variable Threshold, Ratio & Output Controls
  • Enhanced Link Mode - While in stereo link mode, channel 1 level control acts as a master output level and channel 2 becomes a balance control between them, - optimizing the Pro-VLA II for use as a mastering tool
  • LED Backlit VU Input/Output Level Metering Indicates Both Average Level And Peak Hold

Last update on 2022-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor/Limiter

Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor/Limiter

If you have been searching for a compressor/limiter that  allows you to control the amount of distortion as well as the harmonic content, you’ve found it!

The EL8 has an intuitive interface and controls that make it easy to dial in the perfect sound. Use it on vocals or try it on some guitar tracks, and it will do a great job.

This compressor/limiter has three bands of equalization. You can also add a fourth band of high frequency roll off if you need more control over the higher end of the spectrum.

It has eight different modes including Normal, Soft, Hard, Smooth, Fast, Tape, Mono, and Stereo. Each mode has its own unique characteristics. For example, the ‘Tape’ mode reduces the dynamic range by 10 dB and increases the harmonic content by 3dB. 

You can also set the compression ratio and the limiting ratio separately, as well as setting the attack time, release time, and threshold. The EL8’s meter shows you the amount of compression or limitation happening. This is very useful when you’re trying to figure out where to place the threshold. 

The EL8 is a great compressor/limiter that will work well in most situations. It’s got everything you need to create a wide variety of effects. It is compact and portable, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. 

If you are looking for a reliable compressor/limiter that does a good job, this is the one for you.

Pros

  • Intuitive interface
  • Eight different modes
  • Meter
  • Three bands of equalization

Cons

  • No true bypass mode
  • No MIDI control

Also available at

Vintage King, B&H

Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor Compressor/Limiter
  • 1-channel Digitally-controlled Analog Compress/Limiter with 8 Curves Variable Harmonic Disttion

Last update on 2022-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

dbx 560A Compact, Professional Compressor/Limiter

dbx 560A Compact, Professional Compressor/Limiter

If you want more headroom and a little less distortion, this is the limiter for you.  Just put it on your board and turn it up to 11. Wow! You will hear the difference immediately.

The dbx 560A is a professional compressor/limiter that offers both compression and limiting. It features a 4 band equalizer, stereo inputs and outputs, and a headphone output. There are three modes: normal, smooth, and fast. In addition, you can choose whether to compress or limit. 

You can also save presets and recall them quickly. The dbx 560A also includes a foot switch which enables you to activate the limiter or compressor remotely. The foot switch can be connected to either channel 1 or 2. 

The dbx 560A comes with a remote control which lets you adjust the settings of the compressor/limiter. You can select the mode (normal, smooth, or fast), the amount of compression or limiting, and the ratio of compression to limiting. You can also adjust the attack, release, and threshold. 

The db560A is a professional compressor that provides excellent results. If you are looking for a limiter that gives you plenty of headroom while maintaining a nice even tone, this is the limiter plugin for you.

Pros

  • Four band equalizer
  • Presets
  • Stereo inputs & outputs
  • Save/recall settings

Cons

  • Remote control only available on channel 1 or 2
  • Foot switch not included

Also available at

gearspace, eBay

dbx 560A Compact, Professional Compressor/Limiter
31 Reviews
dbx 560A Compact, Professional Compressor/Limiter
  • Over Easy or classic hard knee compression with dB's ultra-musical program dependent attack and release times
  • Compression ratio variable from 1:1 through infinity: 1 to -1:1
  • Precise RMS gain reduction and input/output meter displays with calibration control for different operating levels

Last update on 2022-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ART Dual Classic PWM Limiter

ART Dual Classic PWM Limiter, Black (Duallimiter)

This limiter plugin is an absolute pleasure to use.  The tone is great, the attack and release control are easy to adjust, and the hard-wire bypass feature makes it perfect for recording.

But what really sets this limiter apart from other similar products is the fact that it uses dual power supplies. This means that you get two different levels of protection.

One level protects against overloading the circuit, while another level protects against clipping. This allows you to set the limiter just right without causing any unwanted effects. 

The ART Dual Classic PWM Limiter comes with a remote control that lets you adjust the parameters. You can change the attack/release times, the threshold, and even switch off the limiter completely. This is especially useful if you want to record vocals using a microphone. 

The ART dual classic PWM limiter has a lot going for it. It’s got a great sound, a simple interface, and some cool features like the hard-wire bypass. All these things make it a must-have limiter plugin.

Pros

  • Simple interface
  • Easy to use
  • Hardwire bypass feature

Cons

  • No EQ functionality

Also available at

thomann music, Guitar Center

Sale
ART Dual Classic PWM Limiter, Black (Duallimiter)
  • Two channels of dynamics processing
  • XLR balanced inputs and outputs
  • Variable Attack and Release controls

Last update on 2022-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rolls Stereo Program Limiter

rolls Stereo Program Limiter, Black (SL33B)

The Rolls Stereo Program Limiter is a very versatile programmable limiter. It has four bands of equalization, allowing you to shape the signal before applying the limiter. You also get adjustable attack time, release time, and threshold.

The limiter works in conjunction with the EQ so that you don’t need to worry about setting the EQ too high. 

The Rolls Stereo Program Limiter sounds good when used as a compressor, but it also works well as a limiter. It has a ton of features including adjustable attack and release times, adjustable threshold, and a soft knee filter.

It also includes a built-in stereo input and output jack. This gives you the ability to connect external devices such as keyboards, mics, etc. 

The Rolls Stereo Limiter has a remote control that lets users adjust the parameters of the compressor. You can adjust the attack, release time, threshold, and the frequency response. A superb all round limiter. 

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Good sound quality
  • Adjustable attack & release times
  • Soft knee filter

Cons

  • No foot switch

Also available at

B&H, eBay

Sale
rolls Stereo Program Limiter, Black (SL33B)
  • Package Dimensions: 6 L x 5 H x 6 W (inches)
  • Package Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Country Of Origin : China

Last update on 2022-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buyer’s Guide

There are many types of limiter plugins on the market today. Some are more expensive than others, but they all do the same thing. They limit the amount of volume coming out of your amplifier or preamp. 

There are several reasons why you would want to use a limiter. First, it will help reduce distortion caused by amplifiers and speakers. Second, it will increase the overall loudness of your music. Third, it will prevent damage to your speakers and headphones. And finally, it allows you to hear every detail of your music.

When choosing a limiter, there are several factors that you should consider. These include the type of limiter plugin and the main features that you will need in order to get the best from your limiter. 

Types Of Limiters

There are three main types of limiters: analog, digital, and hybrid. Analog limiters work by cutting off the partials of an electrical signal. Digital limiters work by reducing the amplitude of the signal. Hybrid limiters combine both analog and digital technology.

Analog Limiters

Analog limiters are the oldest form of limiting. Their advantage over other types of limiters is their simplicity. They are easy to set up and use, but  they lack flexibility because they only cut off certain frequencies. In addition, they tend to distort at higher volumes.

Digital Limiters

Digital limiters are becoming increasingly popular. They offer better sound quality and greater versatility compared to analog limiters. However, they require a lot of space and power. They also cost more than analog limiters.

Hybrid Limiters

A hybrid limiter combines the best qualities of both analog and digital limiters. It offers great sound quality and versatility. It also requires less space and power than analog limiters. However, it costs more than digital limiters.

Features

Once you have decided on a type of limiter, you need to look for some specific features. These include:

Frequency Response

The frequency range covered by the limiter plugin determines how much bass and treble it cuts off. This means that if the limiter covers low frequencies, then it will cut off high frequencies. This can make your music sound muddy.

On the other hand, if the limiter covers high frequencies, then it will also cut off low frequencies. This is not ideal either because it will cause harshness in your music.

Attack Time

The attack time refers to how long it takes for the limiter to start working. You can choose between fast (less than 1ms) and slow (more than 10ms).

Fast attack times are ideal for recording vocals. Slow attacks are useful when playing live, and they give you more control over the level of the signal.

Decay Time

The decay time refers to how long the limiter plugin keeps its effect after the input has been turned down. You can choose from fast (less than 0.5 seconds), medium (0.5-1 second), and slow (over 1 second).

Fast decays are ideal for mixing. Medium decays are suitable for live performances. Slow decays are used for studio recordings.

Noise Reduction

You may want to buy a limiter plugin with noise reduction. Noise reduction reduces background hiss and hum. It does this by removing the parts of the signal that contain these unwanted sounds. The result is cleaner audio.

Sound Quality

You should always try to get a limiter that gives you the best sound quality. The sound quality of a limiter depends on the type of material it is made out of. Some materials produce clearer sounds, while others create muddier ones.

Input/Output Jacks

A limiter needs at least two inputs and outputs. An output jack allows you to connect the limiter to another device such as a mixer or PA system. Input jacks allow you to connect external devices like microphones or instruments.

True Peak

A true peak limiter will not compress the signal below its threshold. It will simply clip any signal above the threshold. The result is an extremely flat frequency response with no audible artifacts.

However, if the threshold is set too low, the limiter will start clipping the signal before it reaches the threshold. As a result, there will be an audible hiss.

Input Signal

An input signal limiter clips the input signal as soon as it exceeds the threshold. An output signal limiter does not clip the input signal until it reaches the threshold. Therefore, an output signal limiter has less chance of causing an audible hiss than an input signal limiter.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should I Use A Limiter?

There are many situations where you would benefit from using a limiter. For example:

  • When you are trying to record vocals, a limiter helps you keep the volume constant so that you can hear the singer clearly.
  • When playing guitar solos. By limiting the amount of gain applied to your instrument, you can prevent feedback.
  • When you want to limit the maximum loudness of a song to prevent damage to speakers and headphones.
  • When you need to make sure that the volume doesn’t exceed some specified value. For instance, you may want to ensure that your microphone doesn’t pick up too much ambient noise.
  • When you have a very high-quality mic, and you want to boost the level of the recording.
  • When you want to add reverb to a track. Limiting the signal ensures that the reverb effect remains consistent throughout the entire mix.
  • When you don’t want to distort the sound, limiting the input signal keeps the distortion at a minimum.

What Is The Difference Between A Limiter And A Compressor?

The main difference between a limiter and a compressor is that a limiter reduces the dynamic range of the audio signal whereas a compressor expands it. In other words, a limiter limits the peak levels of the signal, whereas a compressor compresses the peaks.

Here are some examples of when you would use a limiter versus a compressor:

  • If you want the overall volume of a song to remain constant.
  • To reduce the volume of background noises.
  • When you are mixing multiple tracks together, and you want them to blend seamlessly.
  •  In order to control the volume of a vocalist.
  •  If you wish to increase the volume of a drum kit.
  •  When you want to create a more natural sounding kick drum.

We hope you find this guide useful in finding the best limiter plugin for your needs.

Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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