What Does A Limiter Do In Music?

Audio limiting is one of the most important tools in music production, especially when mastering a track. 


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It is a type of dynamic range compression that helps to reduce the loudness level of a signal without affecting its dynamics. This can be a great tool for creating a more even mix, as it helps to keep all of the elements in the track at the same volume. Understanding the basics of audio limiting can help you get the best results from your music production



In order to use audio limiting, you first need to understand the concept of dynamic range compression. This is a process that reduces the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of a signal. When used correctly, it can make a track sound louder and more balanced. The most common type of audio limiting is a brick wall limiter, which is designed to prevent any signal from exceeding a certain level. 



A limiter quitens loud signals, and loudens quiet signals, to help create a more balanced track.


When you are using audio limiting, it is important to be aware of the threshold. This is the point at which the limiting will begin to take effect. It is usually set by adjusting the attack and release times, which determine how quickly the limiter reacts to the signal. This is a crucial setting, as it will determine how much of the dynamic range is preserved. 


Another important factor to consider when using audio limiting is the ratio. This is the amount by which the signal is reduced after it has reached the threshold. Generally, a higher ratio will result in a more drastic reduction of the signal, while a lower ratio will lead to a more subtle effect. Because a Limiter's purpose is drastic compression, it has a high ratio, usually infinite:1, which causes Brickwall limiting.


Based on what you want to do with your music, you need to set your parameters properly.


It is also important to consider the type of limiter you are using. Full-band limiters are designed to affect the entire frequency spectrum, while multi-band limiters are intended to be used on specific frequencies. Multi-band limiters are especially useful for taming problematic frequencies that may stand out in your mix. 

Finally, it is important to be aware of the ceiling of your track. The ceiling is the maximum volume you allow your track to be limited up to. You would assume it would be set at 0dB, but Engineers recommend setting the ceiling just below this, at anywhere below -0.3, to avoid artefacts and clipping.

Overall, audio limiting is a powerful tool that can help you get a more balanced and professional-sounding mix. When used correctly, it can help you take your music to the next level.


If you want to learn more about Limiting & Mastering, check out our Collection of Courses.

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