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If One Likes A Little Master Limiting...

Ben Logan

Active Member
Hi Everyone,

Is there a plugin included in the UAD-1 Project Pak that I can use to replace my trusty old L1 Ultramaximizer?

I know many of you think this thing is a dog, and I respect that - but the L1 is a workhorse of a dog - how's that for a mixed metaphor!?

Silver Face 1176SE?
LA-2A?
Comparitively-Cheapo Channel Strip Comp?

Would any of these represent a substantial improvement over the L1 for limiting those transients by a couple of db's on the master-channel? I've heard the LA-2A is too slow for the job from some members here.

Am I gonna have to stick with Waves for this job? I'm not crazy enough about master limiting to shell out for the UA Pre Lim. I'd get the black-faced 1176 before that.

Thanks to all you pros for helping this soon to be UA convert. :)
 

Vocalpoint

Active Member
Precision Limiter is available for purchase within the 3.60 software bundle. It will kick the crap out of the L1 with no problem.
 

Henchman

Active Member
Cuzin B said:
Precision Limiter is available for purchase within the 3.60 software bundle. It will kick the crap out of the L1 with no problem.
I'll second that.

I've been mixing with a fairchild on the master bus. Just a hair of compression.

Then, in mastering, my cahin is use the Pultec-Pro, Cambridge (in-case I need it), and then the precision limiter. Which kicks 100% over the L1.
 

Plec

Venerated Member
Yes.. the Precision Limiter is really good. Since I got it, I use it A LOT when mixing. Mastering is still the L2 or L3, mainly because I haven't really compared them yet.
 

toader2

Member
Agreed - the precision limiter is really good! I have the Waves Masters bundle - I still use the L2 as well as the precision limiter - they have a slightly different sound - I think the PL is more open sounding - a little bit less colored - both are very good though.

The PL isn't too expensive - easily worth the price.

toader
 

Dan Duskin

Established Member
I compared the Precision Limiter to the L1, L2, L3, and SonicTimeWorks Mastering Compressor.

I would say that the Precision Limiter is better than the L1 and L2 on virtually everything! The L3 or the SonicTimeWorks Mastering Compressor beat out everything else I tried. The L3 sounded the best on most stuff, but the STW compressor sounded best on loud rock music (and similar stuff).

Best bang for the buck = Timeworks Mastering Compressor (but it might not work well on really clean music if you push it hard)

2nd best bang for the buck = UAD-1 Precision Limiter

Best OVER ALL limiter regardless of price = L3

that's my feeling at the moment.
 

Royal T

Member
Yeah, nice to see that I'm not the only person who likes the L3. This is a very good limiter indeed. Actually haven't tried the SonicTimeworks plug, it's probably very good, Sonic Timeworks is an underestimated developer IMO, the SH1001 synth is one of the best sounding softsynths available.

Dan Duskin, have you tried the TC Brickwall?
 

Wireline

New Member
I went through the decision tree some time back, and decided to get the Timeworks Mastering COmpressor...as stated, it seems best suited for heavy material, and can be a bit touchy on the reduction scale...

But here's a tip: Kjaerhus has a free plug called Mastering Limiter that absolutely KILLS! Superb sound, easy to use, one knob affair that seems to make everything just sit better...
 

Revelation

Active Member
I agree 100% with Toader2. The L2 has a little more color to it (though not bad in any way) and the UAD Limiter a little more open sound. I would say though that the L2 does sound better than the L1 though, and with the 9th harmonic over the 2nd that the L1 uses, is one reason why.

If you have the L2, I would not run out to get the UAD limiter, but if you have the money to spend, and you want a little more open sound for certain things by all means get it. But I strongly disagere that the UAD limiter is sooo much better than the L2. It just has a little more open sound that's all. Both limiter going over -3db kills they dynamics of songs and it sounds overdone in many situations. Using it up to -3db though makes songs sound full and loud for CD's.
 

Ashermusic

Active Member
Revelation said:
I agree 100% with Toader2. The L2 has a little more color to it (though not bad in any way) and the UAD Limiter a little more open sound. I would say though that the L2 does sound better than the L1 though, and with the 9th harmonic over the 2nd that the L1 uses, is one reason why.

If you have the L2, I would not run out to get the UAD limiter, but if you have the money to spend, and you want a little more open sound for certain things by all means get it. But I strongly disagere that the UAD limiter is sooo much better than the L2. It just has a little more open sound that's all. Both limiter going over -3db kills they dynamics of songs and it sounds overdone in many situations. Using it up to -3db though makes songs sound full and loud for CD's.
Yes and vice-versa in that if you have a Precision Limiter you don't need to go out and buy the L2. I cant speak to the L3 as I have not tried it.
 

baikonour

Member
Hum, my first post then..
I've got the Precision limiter and it sounds really good to me, if you're after a limiter as transparent as possible this is the deal but i haven't tried the L3 though. I'm not sure you should get the 1176 LN, as there's not much difference compared to the SE version. The Fairchild and the LA2a sound and behave really differently. I used the fairchild for mastering and it rocks, i also used the LA2a for non percussive material and it is really nice too, the only one i never used as a master comp is the 1176 LN, I think it shines for individual tracks (particulary guitars and bass) but not on a busi mix.
 

baikonour

Member
Hum, my first post then..
I've got the Precision limiter and it sounds really good to me, if you're after a limiter as transparent as possible this is the deal but i haven't tried the L3 though. I'm not sure you should get the 1176 LN, as there's not much difference compared to the SE version. The Fairchild and the LA2a sound and behave really differently. I used the fairchild for mastering and it rocks, i also used the LA2a for non percussive material and it is really nice too, the only one i never used as a master comp is the 1176 LN, I think it shines for individual tracks (particulary guitars and bass) but not on a busy mix.
 

Ben Logan

Active Member
baikonour said:
Hum, my first post then..
I've got the Precision limiter and it sounds really good to me, if you're after a limiter as transparent as possible this is the deal but i haven't tried the L3 though. I'm not sure you should get the 1176 LN, as there's not much difference compared to the SE version. The Fairchild and the LA2a sound and behave really differently. I used the fairchild for mastering and it rocks, i also used the LA2a for non percussive material and it is really nice too, the only one i never used as a master comp is the 1176 LN, I think it shines for individual tracks (particulary guitars and bass) but not on a busy mix.
Thanks Baik,

You're the first guy (in my experience with this board) to suggest that th 1176SE is a really close runner-up to the 1176LN. How are they different in your opinion? Seems like others suggest that the LN is more pleasantly colored, and can do deeper, yet darker, "in your face" compression. What's your take?

Also, why doesn't the 1176 work on the master bus for ya as a mastering comp? I haven't used it yet, and I'd like your opinion. How about the LA2A on the master out? Too slow even in limiter mode?

Ben
 

baikonour

Member
Hi Ben,

I really a/b'ed the 1176 SE/LN and to my ears there is really not much difference to talk about (also as i bought my uad-1 a while ago i didn't have to pay for the 1176 LN.. the SE came as an OS update later.) maybe that make a difference! I am using the SE most of the time as it is less CPU angry and behave nearly identicaly as the LN, close enough anyway to be inaudible when used on seperate tracks. I tried to use the LN as Master buss comp. but i found it too harsh really and even on drums mix I much prefer the Fairchild, the palette of sound you can get from it is incredible. but once again, i like the 1176 but for different operations (mainly on guitar and bass where it excels as well as for snare because of the fast response)
The LA2A is great too but if you are looking for a maximizer/hard limiter sound, you can't get that. the limiter mode is actually not really different from the comp mode as this unit is 100% program dependent (you should read the article about it in the Universal Audio online magazine)
My usual mastering chain now is as follow: Pultec Pro/ Fairchild / Precision Limiter but i think the best trick of all for mastering is less is better!
At the opposite for treating individual instruments, you can really push the Fairchild and the LA2A as hard as you want and it still sound wonderful.
To my opinion, there's no other product (particulary digital) which sound as good as the uad-1 EQs and Comps. but don't forget to experiment with the other uad plugs too!
 

Ben Logan

Active Member
Thank you Baik. I appreciate the specifics you provided in your review of the SE vs LN versions of the 1176.

I agree - less is more with limiting. This anti-squashing-all-the-dynamic camp is really picking up steam these last few years with home-recordists. Hopefully the mainstream will follow suit and music will get its dynamics back.

I'm going to give the LA2A a try on the master bus to limit a few of those transients. Thanks for the advice.

Fairchild is in my distant future - very distant at this point!
:)
 

Dan Duskin

Established Member
The 1176LN and 1176SE sound similar under two conditions:
- you don't push it hard
- the material doesn't have much highs

The 1176LN is darker and wamer sounding, while the 1176SE is brighter sounding.

Also, when you push the 1176SE hard (or even somewhat hard) the distortion sounds pretty crappy... but if you push the 1176LN the distortion is nice and warm (not as warm as analog, but pretty warm for a digital plugin).
 

Arys Chien

Active Member
Dan Duskin said:
The 1176LN is darker and wamer sounding, while the 1176SE is brighter sounding.
That's also what my decision would base on. Different color.
 

svs95

Shareholder
Dan Duskin said:
2nd best bang for the buck = UAD-1 Precision Limiter
Best OVER ALL limiter regardless of price = L3
that's my feeling at the moment.
Hi, Dan,

I totally agree with you. L3 "Extreme Analog" mode, is the ONLY digital limiter I have found that can handle heavy limiting of pure synthesizer music really well without pumping or gross IM distortion. It has to be tweaked a good bit to get it right, even so.

Precision Limiter cannot handle that, but to its credit, it handles most everything else well.

svs95
 

Dan Duskin

Established Member
It's one of those things where you just can't use the same tool for every job.

If it's loud rock music (or punk/metal/etc.) I go for the SonicTimeWorks Mastering Compressor every time!

If it's modern pop music (or r&b/hiphop/etc.) I go for the L3.

But sometimes the L3 ends up pulling the low frequencies down too much (after all, it is a multiband limiter)... so, when that happens I try the Precision Limiter and it wins the battle... but that's not always the case.

PS: I usually have 1-3 additional compressors in the chain before the final brickwall limiter. For rock music (and similar) I usually have a LA2A sitting there... for soul-full music (r&b/hiphop) I have a fairchild in there... sometimes I have both... and in some situations I use the Master X5 for the powercore... sometimes all 3. But don't forget EQ, it's the most important tool in getting loud masters!
 

Arys Chien

Active Member
Last time when I was finishing a demo, I send the final 2-track to Manley Vari-Mu and then back to Apogee Trak2. I was too lazy and I just used Trak2's soft limit function to get a 4dB boost. Sounds pretty nice. (It's a vocal + piano only demo though.) Yet I guess it won't sound as good if it's rock or hip hop.
 
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