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10 Brickwall Limiter Plugins Compared

Below you will find a comparison of 7 10 popular brickwall limiters with similar settings. I’m not comparing which gets loudest, I’m comparing which can cleanly take a few dB off the top.

Which one sounds the best or has the least artifacts?

The source is a MIDI pattern played through Steven Slate Drums. 24 bit, 44.1kHz. A different limiter plugin was applied with both threshold and ceiling set to -6.5dBFS.  Note that Ozone does not allow a ceiling below -5dBFS.

You can download the files. Images can be enlarged.

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/no-limiter-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/l1-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/l2-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/l3-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/l316-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/ozone4-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/tracks-classic-clipper-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/uad-precision-limiter-1[/soundcloud]

ADDED JUNE 7

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/massey-l2007[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/maxim[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]http://soundcloud.com/theaudiogeek/finalplug5[/soundcloud]


13 Comments

  1. Frank Adrian
    Frank Adrian June 3, 2011

    Number 7. The snare was snappy and toms were full. The kick had a really nice sound. And, it seemed fractionally louder.

    Numbers 1, 3, and 5 killed the high end.
    Numbers 2, 4, 6, and 8 were contenders, but the toms didn’t sound as good.

  2. online mastering
    online mastering June 4, 2011

    Very nice comparison, I find I use a different limiter on each track I master, I have 4 limters available and as each has a “tone” associated with it’s use I choice each one based on what I anticipate it will do or not do for any given piece of music. It is almost like applying an EQ as well as an extreme dynamic process. Of coruse the settings on the limiter play a big part in the overall sonic results.

  3. Jon
    Jon June 4, 2011

    If you click info on the soundcloud player you can see what the name of the file playing.

    @Frank, you said the original file killed the high end!

  4. Frank Adrian
    Frank Adrian June 5, 2011

    OK, Jon, I’ll rephrase that… I thought that numbers 2,4,6,7, and 8 all sounded as if the high-end was more present, while items 1, 3, and 5 sounded dull in comparison. Given that I didn’t know which of these were the original file, I guess that this statement more accurately reflected what I heard.

  5. Sam Ada
    Sam Ada June 6, 2011

    I reckon Ozone sounds the most transparent.

    Clipper was a close second for me but i think it did add some flavour.

    And L2 was very nice maybe caus its so familar.

    Not sure but did L1 and L3 make the kick drum sound like a basketball for anybody else?

  6. Wayne Cochrane
    Wayne Cochrane June 7, 2011

    You should have threw the Massey L2007 in the shootout.

    Give it a shot.

  7. Jon
    Jon June 7, 2011

    Added 3 more limiters to the shootout.

    • Jon
      Jon June 8, 2011

      @Matias
      There are always more options. these are just the 10 master limiters I have installed.

      I don’t have that one. If you do, run the first clip through it. Threshold -6.5, ceiling -6.5

  8. Kato
    Kato October 19, 2011

    Any recommendations for a free brickwall limiter?
    No need to squash the mix, just to be sure there is no digital clipping.
    Tks!

    • Jon
      Jon October 19, 2011

      @Kato – The demo of Stillwell Event Horizon would work.

  9. SABOND21
    SABOND21 October 6, 2012

    Comparing their spectrums, I can say that exactly last 3 (which are added after June 7) keeps spectrum structure and in my opinion are the best ones!

  10. pepelastarria
    pepelastarria November 11, 2014

    This is amazing, thanks a lot
    I loved the Ozone!

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