Old 02-24-2008, 10:23 AM   #1
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Default Need Help (Limiter Sweeps)

Okay, I'm trying to code a new killer limiter plug-in and it already is pretty good already. But I need some data for comparison. But since I'm poor I can't affort all the fancy "pro" plug-ins, so it would be cool if everyone that has some high quality pro limiter plug-ins (Waves, etc) could run the following test:
Open this project: https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24894/LimiterSweepTest.RPP and replace the JS:/Limiter with your limiter, and set it to about -6dB gain reduction or whatever, it really shouldn't matter 'cause the sweep has a constant volume anyway. Then hit play and make a screenshot of the graph. Last but not least post it here, thank you.

This isn't a scientifical test or anything I just want to see how clean the sweeps of the socalled professional plug-ins are (so samplerate doesn't matter, as long as it is >44.1kHz, plug-ins should run well at any samplerate anyway).

Okay here are some sweeps that I have done of some two freeware/trial limiters I had laying around:

Pure Sine Sweep:


W1 Limiter: -10dB Thresh, everything else on default:


Barricade Pro: (using the -6dB limiting only preset)


More to come.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:43 AM   #2
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Izotope Ozone
Threshold: -6dB
Mode: Intelligent
Character: 6.0 Transparent
Prevent inter-sample clips enabled
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
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Michael! Excellent! I'm anxious to hear what you come up with. Sorry, but i don't own any decent hardware limiters.

Ummm... hate to show my ignorance here, but i'll do it anyway. What are we looking at in these graphs?


tj
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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Voxengo Elephant2

UltraSmooth +6db preset 4x oversampling


Clip Mode +6db 4x oversampling



EL3 +6db preset 4x oversampling


There's a bunch of different limiting modes, I can do more if you think theres something that can be learned...
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:15 PM   #5
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I knew I'd find a use for that stupid iLok dongle lol.

PSPaudioware Xenon demo oversampling on


Antress Modern Limiter


Crysonic Spectra'Phy


Event Horizon
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:29 PM   #6
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Waves L1


Waves L2


Waves L3 demo
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:43 PM   #7
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Waves L3-16 demo


UAD Precision Limiter demo


^this screen shot was taken on a different computer with a different resolution because my UAD card is in a Reamote slave, and the GUI's don't update with Reamote (...yet).
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teej813 View Post
Ummm... hate to show my ignorance here, but i'll do it anyway. What are we looking at in these graphs?
Those graphs tell you how clean a limiter is. That is how much distortion it adds (at a given frequency). Most important is the middle part it should only show the sweep (the red lines) and no artefacts (other lines or spots). Spots on the left or right usually mean there is distortion in the low frequency, mostly below 50Hz which isn't very important anyway. To illustrate this, here is a sine sweep that's volume was boosted by 6dB and hard clipped at 0dB:


Here you can clearly see the parallel lines (upper harmonics=distortion), which you usally don't want in a transparent limiter. (Though you might add them on purpose for character or to gain extra loudness.)

I basicly wanted to know if this: (My new limiter prototype)


is up there in the pro league, which is up to you to decide.

I also did some more sweeps (with really interesting results):

FLUX Pure Limiter (Demo):


4Front X-Limiter (Demo):
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:51 PM   #9
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4Front Y-Limiter (Demo):


BuzMaxi3 (I know not really a limiter, but here it is):


JB Barricade: (Really interesting to compare to the pro version)


TLs Pocket Limiter:
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:56 PM   #10
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JS:Stillwell/EventHorizon2:


JS:LOSER/MasterLimiter:


JS:LOSER/SP1Limiter:



That's it for now, and thanks to PitchSlap and stringycheesey for contributing.

Note that just cause the sweeps of a limiter dont look that good doesn't mean it isn't good. Though it is a pointer that the limiter isn't very clean and alters the signal, which can be a good thing to know when choosing what limiter to use next time.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:03 PM   #11
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This is my turn :


Acon Studio Limiter
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24978/limit_acon-thr-6.png


blue Cat Audio Dynamics
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24979/l...eCat-thr-6.png


buzroom grancomp (with "loud" mode and "max" enabled)
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24980/l...p-loud-max.png


buzroom buzmaxi ("agressive" mode on, and then "smooth" mode)
FOr this one, as there is no threshold, i have boosted the make up + 6db : is it a good trick to match the others ?
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24982/l...ressive-_6.png

https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24983/l...-smooth-_6.png


Stillwell EventHorizon2 JS
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24984/l...n2-6db-thr.png


Luxonix Lfx1310 peak compressor
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24985/l...10-6db-thr.png


Reacomp
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24986/l...mp-6db-thr.png


Tbt Pocket limiter, "IQ" on, and input boosted +6db (as there is no threshold)
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/24987/l...ter-IQ_6db.png



Btw, Michael, could you tell us how to understand these pictures ?
I guess the less "blurry" are also the cleanest ones (no "coloration" of sound, more transparency, etc), but how to "read" the differences between, for example, Tbt Pocket limiter and Event Horizon 2 ?
And can we say (subjective, personnal tastes apart), that the limiters making the sharpest graphic curve are the best (= the most transparent) ?
And, so, can we also say that a "blurry" limiter is not bad, but adds some coloration, and so can be very good but not transparent ? Am i correct by saying this ?

Cheers
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:04 PM   #12
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edit : 3 pictures limitation


Acon Studio Limiter



blue Cat Audio Dynamics



buzroom grancomp (with "loud" mode and "max" enabled)
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:06 PM   #13
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buzroom buzmaxi ("agressive" mode on, and then "smooth" mode)
FOr this one, as there is no threshold, i have boosted the make up + 6db : is it a good trick to match the others ?





Stillwell EventHorizon2 JS
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:06 PM   #14
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Loser, merely by looking at your graph I'd say its comparable to 'big boy' limiters, maybe try to optimize the low end a bit if possible. Do you use oversampling?


Here's another test with images to compare:
Quick and Dirty Limiting Test
http://home.casema.nl/ajohnston/limiting/

In terms of transparency it appears that Elephant and Ozone are at the top of the pile. Considering Elephant is only $69, and creams the pants off the Waves L-series price and brand name recognition seem to have little impact on sound quality (as if there'd be any doubt of that here).

There's one more limiter I forgot, that has a cult following and is a bit of a forgotten classic, let me go grab the demo and test it...

My guess is that it'll look like shit, but for dense and/or heavy mixes it maintains transients like nothing else.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:07 PM   #15
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Luxonix Lfx1310 peak compressor



Reacomp



Tbt Pocket limiter, "IQ" on, and input boosted +6db (as there is no threshold)
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinkmusic View Post
Btw, Michael, could you tell us how to understand these pictures ?
I guess the less "blurry" are also the cleanest ones (no "coloration" of sound, more transparency, etc), but how to "read" the differences between, for example, Tbt Pocket limiter and Event Horizon 2 ?
And can we say (subjective, personnal tastes apart), that the limiters making the sharpest graphic curve are the best (= the most transparent) ?
And, so, can we also say that a "blurry" limiter is not bad, but adds some coloration, and so can be very good but not transparent ? Am i correct by saying this ?

Cheers
The colors basiclly represent the volume (red=loudest, green=medium loud, blue=quite, black=0) and the up and down position of the graph is the frequency (left and right is the time). And what the sine sweep does is it generates a sine wave thats frequency gets bigger until it reaches 20kHZz and then gets back to 0Hz (the big red lines in the graph). Everything else that is colored apart from that line was added by the limiter (or you can measure any other FX if you want, try a reverb it's fun ) was added by that effect. So if you define transparent and clean as no change to the signal go for a limiter that doesn't add much additional colors to the graph.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:14 PM   #17
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Tbt Pocket limiter is really acting funny... !
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:21 PM   #18
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Kjaerhus Classic master limiter -5dB

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Old 02-24-2008, 03:29 PM   #19
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Sony DX Track compressor (Dx)



Wave Arts FInalPlug (demo)



Buzroom CP-1
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOSER View Post
So if you define transparent and clean as no change to the signal go for a limiter that doesn't add much additional colors to the graph.
I couldn't help but try ReaComp. What I thought was really interesting is that the AA:none gives closest to your ideal setting, and AA:64x deviates more from ideal. Any thoughts on why?

Wicked cool project BTW.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:32 PM   #21
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Oh how could I forget the Classic Limiter :/ ... but I got the

Kjaerhus MPL-1



Quote:
Originally Posted by PitchSlap
Loser, merely by looking at your graph I'd say its comparable to 'big boy' limiters, maybe try to optimize the low end a bit if possible. Do you use oversampling?
No, oversampling is overrated IMO. Plus it won't help much at cleaning up that low end, which is a tough one since this is below 45Hz and it's really hard to deal with such low frequencies and still keep the limiter quick enough to really smash the audio into a block .
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOSER View Post
The colors basiclly represent the volume (red=loudest, green=medium loud, blue=quite, black=0) and the up and down position of the graph is the frequency (left and right is the time). And what the sine sweep does is it generates a sine wave thats frequency gets bigger until it reaches 20kHZz and then gets back to 0Hz (the big red lines in the graph). Everything else that is colored apart from that line was added by the limiter (or you can measure any other FX if you want, try a reverb it's fun ) was added by that effect. So if you define transparent and clean as no change to the signal go for a limiter that doesn't add much additional colors to the graph.

Ok, thank you.
- It means that for surgical limiting, i can trash the Buzmaxi3 and Tbt Pocket limiter, right ?
- I get the main part of it, but how to understand the differences between the SOny (the blue lines are convergent) and the Waves Art (the blue lines are towards the "outside") ?
- What are the "alien" shapes with the Tbt Pocket limiter ?

Last edited by sinkmusic; 02-24-2008 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:41 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the all new rob View Post
I couldn't help but try ReaComp. What I thought was really interesting is that the AA:none gives closest to your ideal setting, and AA:64x deviates more from ideal. Any thoughts on why?

Wicked cool project BTW.
Did you enable limit output? Because then when it is at AA:none nothing happens since the whole level is under 0dB, but when you turn AA on the wave gets interpolated and it get's additional values between each sample. Plus there might be resonance/ripple in the passband of the filter.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:51 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinkmusic View Post
Ok, thank you.
- It means that for surgical limiting, i can trash the Buzmaxi3 and Tbt Pocket limiter, right ?
- I get the main part of it, but how to understand the differences between the SOny (the blue lines are convergent) and the Waves Art (the blue lines are towards the "outside") ?
- What are the "alien" shapes with the Tbt Pocket limiter ?
Well they alter the sound, I'm not gonna say that 'cause of this test any limiter sucks or anything . But yeah IMO those aren't very clean.

The "convergent" lines of the Sony DX Track compressor are parallel lines to the orgininal that means those are harmonics of the original signal can be caused by clipping, distortion, saturation, etc...

On the Wave Arts that means that there is (some sort of) distortion but only in the low frequency areas, (note the lower in the graph the lower the frequency, the higher the frequency) so since the sweep at the outside (left and right) is low in frequency (hence in the graph too) that means that there is only distortion in the low end. This is very common since you need to do an envelope follower and very low frequency has a well very low frequency which makes each wave cycle very long thus the limiter "doesn't know if there will be another wave cycle coming up or not" so he is constantly letting the gain reduction going. This results in an oscilating gain, and this causes the modulation, this causes additional frequency content. Same applies to the TBs Pocket Limiter, though different designes and algorithms can cause different artefacts and some end up looking funny .
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:55 PM   #25
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That BlueCat and Kjaerhus MPL-1 look to be in the top tier for transparency also Reacomp holds up well considering its not yet optimized for limiting.

Sonic Timeworks Mastering Compressor

Hard Mode(fastest release setting)


Soft Mode (fastest release setting)


^This plugin was 64bit back in the '90's. It may not be the most transparent or look the cleanest, but stick in on a mix with a phat kick and snare in hard mode, listen to the punch, and then replace it with another limiter, 'hey what happened to the snare drum?'

Sonic Timeworks Mastering Compressor appreciation
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/maste...reciation.html

Got these comparison mp3s from the GS thread:

Metal
Timeworks
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/25007/beast_timeworks.mp3

Waves L3
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/25009/beast_l3.mp3[

Hip Hop
Timeworks
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/25003/t...7-partial-.mp3

Waves L3
https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/25005/L...7-partial-.mp3
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:07 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOSER View Post
Did you enable limit output? Because then when it is at AA:none nothing happens since the whole level is under 0dB, but when you turn AA on the wave gets interpolated and it get's additional values between each sample. Plus there might be resonance/ripple in the passband of the filter.
Yes I did. Thanks for the explanation.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:19 PM   #27
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Mmmh...
The Ableton Live compressor, using the "limiter" preset...
SOme more weirdness.




(to get that, i rendered the Reaper project, then played it in Live, then converted it to disk)
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:38 PM   #28
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Quote:
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Mmmh...
The Ableton Live compressor, using the "limiter" preset...
SOme more weirdness.


(to get that, i rendered the Reaper project, then played it in Live, then converted it to disk)
That seems that there are several things involved first of all conversion to a interger file format (or does Ableton Live support 32/64bit floating point files) and maybe SRC too(?). Anyway, you can try this see how the REAPER render -> ableton render -> REAPER file looks like (without the limiter) and see if it has already some of these artefacts in it. If not then the Ableton compressor might have caused them.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:38 PM   #29
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Sony Oxford Limiter Demo
Clean no enhance preset + 6db
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:44 PM   #30
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The last ones for me...

Trifex Buzrizer (not a limiter, but i was curious to see how this spectral multiband compressor could react to this test)




Sony XpressFX Dynamics (DirectX )

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Old 04-10-2008, 11:54 AM   #31
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So tell me please which compressor was cleanest regarding this test. I'm looking for Blue cat Dynamic. Is it good thing? Thnx.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:16 PM   #32
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So tell me please which compressor was cleanest regarding this test. I'm looking for Blue cat Dynamic. Is it good thing? Thnx.
The Blue Cat Dynamics is a very good compressor : i am always amazed how versatile it is, both for clean compression or for distorting the signal, smashing it and make it pump.
If you can't fill your needs with freeware, go for it.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:36 PM   #33
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Thank you very much sinkmusic, seems like i will buy it very soon!
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Old 04-11-2008, 12:14 AM   #34
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If it possible, please test Voxengo Marquis also( in clean mod or better all three mode) It is something i really interesting too. Thnx.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:09 AM   #35
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Bump.pls
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:08 PM   #36
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Hey, looks like when Sink did ReaComp, he left the RMS value at the default of 5. Shouldn't that be set at zero for an accurate test?


tj
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:45 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teej813 View Post
Hey, looks like when Sink did ReaComp, he left the RMS value at the default of 5. Shouldn't that be set at zero for an accurate test?
tj
Yes, that is indeed possible.
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Old 04-12-2008, 04:33 AM   #38
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hey, Sink.

I'm not savvy enough to know whether RMS value affects this test, but thought i'd mention it.

I should have time later today to download this project and run the test using ReaComp. I'll upload the result when i do.


[EDIT]
Here's ReaComp with an RMS value of 0:

[/EDIT]


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Old 04-12-2008, 09:56 AM   #39
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Teej, the RMS value affects how quickly the compressor reacts, so it, along with the attack and release settings has a big effect on the results when using sine wave input as in this test. For example, a 5 khz signal goes through a cycle every 20 ms. So with low RMS and attack values, your release time of 100 ms pretty much makes the compressor a volume control for the upper half of the audible range since it will never release. You’ll see little to no distortion at the higher frequencies.

Another item people should take into consideration when running this test is the effectiveness of the limiter. It would be good to put the JS: Analysis/gfxscope (or some other volume checking tool) in front of the spectrograph to check that the limiter/compressor is holding the volume at the desired -6 db level. Do this with the Kjearhus Classic Master Limiter, for example, and you’ll understand why you get a very clean spectrograph at any setting of the limiter.
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Old 04-12-2008, 04:08 PM   #40
Baer
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 335
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I guess math is not my strong suit on Saturday morning. A 5 khz signal goes through a full cycle in 0.2 msec, not 20. The point remains the same.
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