A very nice new limiter!

I recently realised that my favourite mastering limiter, apart from the obvious effects of compression also took away a little bit of definition and detail from the sound. So I did what you and made this alternative topology limiter with the working title 'Profoundly Wonderful Limiter' :)...

The difference between this process and a traditional topology compressor or limiter is in the envelope follower. A traditional envelope follower traces the slow curves of the waveform while trying to ignore the fast wiggles. The output of the envelope follower controls how much the signal gain is reduced by at any given moment. To put it another way, the output of the envelope follower is modulated onto the signal. So any kind of mess or error in the follower is straight-up applied directly to the sound! To produce a beautiful, smooth flowing output from the follower while also usefully representing the shape of the wave without missing any fast, peaky bits is very difficult. Despite any nice graphs of 'gain reduction' your compressor may draw on screen! A different approach is possible though. Imagine working by hand to even out the loudness of a bassline or vocal. You may isolate single notes or words, adjusting the gain on that section. Here you're not following the curves of the wave. Instead you're identifying 'chunks' of sound and setting a single, constant amount of gain reduction (or increase) for that whole chunk. That style of 'envelope following' has the potential to produce a result with no noise or mess and not miss a single peak! Practicalities include identifying the chunks and what to do about the sudden transitions between the levels of gain reduction. The second has an obvious solution - change gain settings as the waveform crosses the zero point. Profoundly Wonderful Limiter takes an approach to the 'chunking' that has proved successful in practice so far and looks set to become my go-to mastering process.

At the moment I only have it as a Reaper JS effect. That does have the advantage that you can see the code if you like. A VST version to follow at some point when I get around to it!...

Update - here's a link to the Reaper JS version. It's a little rough and ready in some ways but capable of some very excellent results. VST version still to follow 'at some point'!...


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