Question about digital limiter gain reduction

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Do digital limiters such as the Waves L2 etc... reduce peaks by
saturating them or reducucing their volume similar to a compressor set
to standard limiter paramters (20:1 fast attack/release). So in
other words do the peaks get ducked down or merely chopped?

Jesse
10 answers Last reply
More about question digital limiter gain reduction
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Jesse,

    > do the peaks get ducked down or merely chopped? <

    A software plug-in compressor works exactly the same as a hardware model. If
    it simply clipped the tops it would be a fuzz-tone, not a compressor!

    --Ethan
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    > Do digital limiters such as the Waves L2 etc... reduce peaks by
    > saturating them or reducucing their volume similar to a compressor set
    > to standard limiter paramters (20:1 fast attack/release). So in
    > other words do the peaks get ducked down or merely chopped?

    A bit of both. It's like a compressor with infinity:1 ratio and virtually
    no attack time, and an extremely short release. It does operate like a
    normal compressor, but with very specific settings only intended to
    attenuate sharp peaks above RMS level.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <5663e814.0409202216.beeab2a@posting.google.com> medway808@hotmail.com writes:

    > Do digital limiters such as the Waves L2 etc... reduce peaks by
    > saturating them or reducucing their volume similar to a compressor set
    > to standard limiter paramters (20:1 fast attack/release). So in
    > other words do the peaks get ducked down or merely chopped?

    A clipper chops peaks. A limiter is a fast-acting gain reducer, but
    doing that still can (and does) make a waveform look distorted when
    you look at more than one cycle. A digital limiter can (if so
    programmed) act on as little as a single cycle since it always has the
    opportunity to look at what's coming in and change it before letting
    it out.


    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Ethan Winer" <ethanw at ethanwiner dot com> wrote in message news:<P9qdnQvBA_Uct83cRVn-ow@giganews.com>...
    > Jesse,
    >
    > > do the peaks get ducked down or merely chopped? <
    >
    > A software plug-in compressor works exactly the same as a hardware model. If
    > it simply clipped the tops it would be a fuzz-tone, not a compressor!
    >
    > --Ethan

    Some come pretty close.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Ethan Winer" <ethanw at ethanwiner dot com> wrote:

    > Jesse,
    >
    >> do the peaks get ducked down or merely chopped? <
    >
    > A software plug-in compressor works exactly the same as a hardware model.
    > If it simply clipped the tops it would be a fuzz-tone, not a compressor!
    >
    > --Ethan

    Except that digital clipping is worse then that as Nyquest bites you and you
    get hash aliased to appear as non harmonically related noise. The same
    thing happens in digital limiters if the gain control signal * the input
    signal has components above the Nyquest limit.

    Doing good digital dynamics is seriously non trivial and usually involves
    upsampling to raise the Nyquest limit then low pass filtering and
    downsampling again.

    The number of people writing dynamics programs that forget the basics
    (filtering the control signal) in the mad rush to "look ahead" processing
    is really quite scary. I had never associated programming with deafness
    before hearing some of these efforts!

    Regards, Dan.
    --
    ** The email address *IS* valid, do NOT remove the spamblock
    And on the evening of the first day the lord said...........
    ..... LX 1, GO!; and there was light.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in message news:<znr1095763514k@trad>...
    > In article <5663e814.0409202216.beeab2a@posting.google.com> medway808@hotmail.com writes:
    >
    > > Do digital limiters such as the Waves L2 etc... reduce peaks by
    > > saturating them or reducucing their volume similar to a compressor set
    > > to standard limiter paramters (20:1 fast attack/release). So in
    > > other words do the peaks get ducked down or merely chopped?
    >
    > A clipper chops peaks. A limiter is a fast-acting gain reducer, but
    > doing that still can (and does) make a waveform look distorted when
    > you look at more than one cycle. A digital limiter can (if so
    > programmed) act on as little as a single cycle since it always has the
    > opportunity to look at what's coming in and change it before letting
    > it out.

    Thanks for the info. The basis for my question was I wanted to know
    what happened to the music "under" the peaks. Meaning that if you
    reduce the gain for that instant at the peak (as in a VCA style
    limiter, virtual or not) then all the other sounds underneath get
    reduced, or in other words you're punching holes in your mix. Where
    as a saturation effect like tape just clips the tops and therefore the
    music underneath (not within the threshold of what is getting clipped)
    would not get reduced. This question itself was raised after reading
    the book Mixing with your Mind. His attitude was that the latter is
    better as it gives better overall density.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <6a0c26d8.0409212308.231a4b09@posting.google.com> jskeens@gmail.com writes:

    > The basis for my question was I wanted to know
    > what happened to the music "under" the peaks. Meaning that if you
    > reduce the gain for that instant at the peak (as in a VCA style
    > limiter, virtual or not) then all the other sounds underneath get
    > reduced, or in other words you're punching holes in your mix.

    It depends on where you use the compressor/limiter. It also depends on
    the program material. If it's on the full mix, then yes, everything
    will go down in level. But if it's really fast-acting and the
    offending peak is very short, you won't notice the chain. Your brain
    doesn't work on changes as short as one sample-time.

    > Where
    > as a saturation effect like tape just clips the tops and therefore the
    > music underneath (not within the threshold of what is getting clipped)
    > would not get reduced.

    No, but everything would become distorted. If that's the sound you
    want, that's the tool you should use.

    > This question itself was raised after reading
    > the book Mixing with your Mind. His attitude was that the latter is
    > better as it gives better overall density.

    The trouble with mixing with your mind (lower case intended) is that
    you can't hear what's happening. If getting better overall density is
    your goal, then perhaps this is the tool to use, up to the point where
    you can't stand the distortion. If preventing digital clipping long
    enough to hear is your goal, then you want to reduce the gain as long
    as necessary. If that "punches a hole in your mix" then you need to
    fix the problem rather than put a Band-Aid on it with a compressor.


    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
  8. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Dan,

    > Except that digital clipping is worse then that as Nyquest bites you and
    you get hash aliased to appear as non harmonically related noise. <

    Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had anything like that with the DAW and
    plug-ins I use. I tossed all my outboard hardware four years ago, and I
    couldn't be happier.

    --Ethan
  9. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Jesse Skeens"

    > Thanks for the info. The basis for my question was I wanted to know
    > what happened to the music "under" the peaks. Meaning that if you
    > reduce the gain for that instant at the peak (as in a VCA style
    > limiter, virtual or not) then all the other sounds underneath get
    > reduced, or in other words you're punching holes in your mix.


    ** With a brief , one off peak, that would not be heard.


    > Where as a saturation effect like tape just clips the tops and therefore
    the
    > music underneath (not within the threshold of what is getting clipped)
    > would not get reduced.


    ** Worse than getting merely reduced it gets * obliterated entirely *
    during peak clipping. Clipping is 100% intermodulation distortion - ie
    while clipping ( or hard saturating ) a device neither reproduces the peak
    nor anything else that is simultaneous.


    ............. Phil
  10. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in message news:<znr1095854934k@trad>...

    > The trouble with mixing with your mind (lower case intended) is that
    > you can't hear what's happening. If getting better overall density is
    > your goal, then perhaps this is the tool to use, up to the point where
    > you can't stand the distortion. If preventing digital clipping long
    > enough to hear is your goal, then you want to reduce the gain as long
    > as necessary. If that "punches a hole in your mix" then you need to
    > fix the problem rather than put a Band-Aid on it with a compressor.

    Thanks Mike, makes a lot of sense.
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