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  • limiting-- how much is too much

    Generally for an orchestral piece how much multiband limiting would be reasonable? Is 6 db's way too much? 3 db's?


  • I am sure Dietz and others will have a lot more to say on the subject than I but MB limiting to me very much 'depends'. (the worse kind of answer, I know [*-)] )

    For the cues that are 'in your face' (think Elfman's Planet of the Apes), one can really crank the limiting. But for those quiet gentle cues / pieces, MB tends to 'limit' the expression and dynamics.

    I think of MB like 'salting' my food. Depends on the meal, day, my taste buds, etc. - it is a 'salt to taste' perscription.

    Be interested to see what other's comments are.


  • I think a general rule of thumb might be:

    - Less is better when you want to preserve dynamic range.

    - More is better when you might need to make a phrase work within a mix of a composition so that it doesn't peak and cause distortion.

    The other part of the picture is if you are using it for effect purposes - to create more impact with the phrase. Some times limiting, whether single or multiband gives you more impact and other times it sucks the vitality out of the phrase. Experimentation is often necessary.

    Different compressor/limiters sound entirely different. In my MIDI DAW I mostly use Sonalksis for subltle compression/limiting and Elemental Audio's Neodymiun for what you would call multiband limiting and impact. I think Neodymiun is now called Dyam-izer & is distributed by Roger Nichols Digital. Both of these are very clean effects and have little intended colorization of the signal.

    In my audio & mixing DAW, Pro Tools, I have a large assortment of compressor/limiters and they are mostly used for coloration as opposed to dynamic range considerations.

  • I hardly use multiband-limiting on single tracks, if I don't have to "save" a signal suffering from bad flaws (heavy de-essing, de-popping and the like) - and even then I prefer multiband-compression. Also for creative sound-sculpturing a Waves C1 in split-mode or the Dynamic EQ of the TC-Powercore is much more what seems to fit my needs than brickwall-MB-limiting.

    For the mix-bus its a different story, although here compression is something I need more than limiting, too. 6 db of final MB-limiting may be too much in my setup (as most of the sharp transients are already tamed), but if you still have sharp attacks and strong impulses in different frequency ranges, the 6db you mentioned may just be what the doctor ordered [:)]

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • My smug answer: too much is when you hear the limiter when you don't want to.

  • I agree with Nick. I use a limiter to take care of big hits that just clip slightly. As long as I don't hear the effect I'm fine with that.


  • I prefer to do some "mastering" steps in an audio editor (SoundForge) and not in my DAW. I find it much easier to verify EQ-ing, multiband compression and limiting in a dedicated application that also provides perfect visualization of the recording.