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The top applications to speed up your audio editing, processing and managing of large amounts of audio files. Apps to help sample producers, mixing engineers and/or all-round sound tinkerers to create an efficient workflow.

While DAW:s make it easy to handle arrangements of songs and create complex edits of your recorded audio, they do not handle the editing or processing of large sets of sound files. Anyone who has ever tried to get large amounts of editing done, past simple import based file conversion, a change in bit-depth or sample rate, has probably noticed the lack of functionality. A DAW is simply not built for this purpose. It handles the edit of wave-forms and arrangement of sound recordings, pitch shifting through plugins or even complex manual edits. But what if you had around 2500 sound files that all needed a certain shift in pitch? Just a nudge upwards of about 10 cents, then perhaps a change in pitch formant to counteract the …

Well, now we need a more specific tool, that also handles large sets of files, a batch processing tool, or audio batch processor.

A batch processing tool is usually an application (or a small part of a larger app) that either converts audio formats or lets you apply a number of processes on each audio file. Some just do the conversion, but they may be just as important as the ones that applies plugins or effects to your sound. Certain formats that are needed for certain applications or sampler formats may not be so easy to convert to or from. Also, if a format is supported, the specificity of which parameters apply, like what bit-depth is used, can often be lacking. Here is a list of batch audio editors and tools that do certain pieces of the whole cake, so you can use each tool with maximum rendered quality and efficiency in your work.

Audio Batch Processing and Editing ToolsiZotope RX — Swiss army knife of deep audio editing and batch processing

This app has been around for many years now and is one of the best audio post processing tools around. It has a mixed overlay of waveform and spectral view and makes it a very easy task to localize and delete unwanted sounds. You can select and edit with selection tools much like in Photoshop. It´s a visual app that has a swiss army style set of narrow tools to precisely pin point the type of edit you want to make, exactly in the range of frequencies and time frame of your choice. Completely not like your DAW. The batch processor can be used with all the tools available in single-edit work, plus it has a competent re-naming section and supports plugins as one or more of the processing steps. A must-have for anyone looking to make their work more precise and efficient.

Magix Sound Forge Pro

Sound Forge is both an audio editor, DAW and a batch processing application for lots of different types of audio work. It´s been around for a long time and is loved by many producers, recording and mixing engineers.

Magix Sound Forge Pro, batch converter and processor in action.

Through the “Batch Converter” window you can add multiple files or folders and apply both conversion and plugin-chains to them.

Through Magix´s forensic editing software, SpectraLayers Pro, you can edit your files in much the same way as you would in iZotope´s RX software. These two are the best and most advanced pieces of software when it comes to getting into advanced frequency based work that take on a more CSI:ish form. You know, the black screen in the background with green or blue hacker-style graphics that no-one ever saw in reality, except for iZotope users, that is.

Audio Spectral Analysis View in Magix´s SpectraLayers Pro. Much like Photoshop for sound.

Magix SpectraLayers Pro takes a very deep and advanced approach to audio editing. In this application stairing at waveforms is the last thing you will do. Instead you will be working with spectral analysis graphics (indeed CSI background material :) and looking straight at a sound and all it´s over- and undertones and edit them in much more intuitive ways than you would in any DAW. In SpectraLayers you will see your sound, like in a photo in Photoshop.

Myriad by Aurchitect (formerly Audiofile Engineering)

(Same basic functionality as the now discontinued Sample Manager)

This app is the best addition to audio file batch processing on the market. With a simple interface you can add any number of file edits from the large number of actions available. Anything from audio file conversion to cutting out 2 seconds of the end, to normalizing, compressing and limiting can be done all in one go or in different groups. Also renaming can be done entirely in this app at any stage, also file saving to new versions.

Let´s say that you want to create different versions of the same edits, then rename them and save them to different folders. Given that your work now contains several hundreds or thousands of files, this becomes complicated and time consuming.

With Myriad, you add the files to a folder or group, add your first edit and then add a save to new files action. Then you do the same right after, to another edit and new folder. Press the button and they are all edited in one go. If you have thousands of files, have a coffee brake and come back and listen.

Myriad has many tools indeed, but some of the best audio normalizing tools around. For sample producers, the ability to RMS-level normalize as a group or individually is very useful. You can first normalize the files in relation to each other, then right after that set a level for the whole group. Either by RMS, Peak (dbFS) or by LU. Loudness unit defaults can be set in the preferences. The only thing that is lacking from my own perspective is being able to set a certain interval for the RMS analyzation, like the “Meta Normalizer” batch tool in Steinberg WaveLab. That really shines when normalizing peaks that have a large difference in loudness. Peak is sometimes not useful when normalizing certain sample types, like piano notes or Rhodes samples.

Steinberg Wavelab — mastering software with great batch tools

While the main feature in Wavelab is to edit audio in an individual fashion, like you would in any DAW, the application has always been popular with mastering houses as it contains many tools for loudness adjustment.

The finest part of the application for any sample producer is it´s batch processor. With a multitude of normalization and leveling plugins it does most of what other apps do not. And has done this for a long time. I mentioned the “Meta Normalizer” above and it does something most other RMS / Peak normlizer tools don´t, namely to give the user the ability to define an interval from the start of the file from which to calculate the RMS level (the average sound level). This is immensely useful for leveling out the differences between keys, notes or recordings.

While we got the topic close at hand, also have a look at our post regarding the differences between audio compression, normalization and leveling ->

Audacity — Free Audio Editor for PC & Mac

(Honorary mention — the open source cross-platform audio editor)

The above mentioned applications are all professional grade and do cost a bit to buy. For the audio professional on a budget, or at least when it comes to these automatable functions, Audacity (available and developed as open source software for Windows, Linux and MacOS) is a great tool for many jobs. In regards to audio batch processing I put down some good links below to get you started. Normalizing (currently only Peak), compression, limiting, volume/gain changes, fade-in / -out operations can all be done through the application´s functionality of “chains”, where one create a chain of effects or actions, then apply the same chain on multiple files.

Read a detailed description in this post:
https://441k.com/how-to-batch-normalize-audio-with-audacity-5af72aa3505e

.. or watch it in any of the following videos:

Audio Format Conversion ToolsMax — audio file and format conversion

Myriad will take care of the sample rate and bit depth conversion at a highest quality. iZotope RX as well, even a number of DAW:s will do this upon import (like Studio One or Pro Tools, Logic etc). But Max can convert them to instrument specific or platform specific formats. Say you are going to make an instrument that is for MacOS only, for GarageBand or Logic. You could make use of the CAF-format. This format handles AAC streams or ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Compression) both in 16, 24 and 32 bit. Using Max, you could convert 24-bit wav samples to CAF files that Logic and GarageBand would be able to load. For EXS24 formats or native instruments running in GB or Logic. Depending on your instrument size you could save a lot of space. This is the equivalent of using FLAC or any other audio format applying lossless compression. This is the only audio file converter I have ever found that handles lossless compression in .caf and .aif/.aiff files (a.k.a AIF-C).

Twisted Wave (Mac only)

This audio editing tool is a lot like Audacity, or a light version of Wavelab. It has what most audio editing apps need plus a very competent batch processor. It will convert sample rate, bit-rate, apply channel conversions, change pitch and speed, pitch correction, gain, fade-in or out, cut, normalize, apply audio plugins (vst & au) and also manipulate meta data, a less usual option.

Switch — by NHC Software

A well used audio format conversion tool for Windows, Mac, Android and Kindle. While applications like Myriad (Mac only) supports 13 high quality format conversions in a complex myriad (ba-dum-tsss :) of successions, for the mere job of converting from one format to another it may be too expensive and a tad overkill. NCHs Switch will do the job for around 30% of the price of Myriad, not that Myriad is in any way overpriced. On the contrary.

See the full list of Switch´s supported formats here:
https://www.nch.com.au/switch/kb/1405.html

File re-namers and file handlers

To view and handle large sets of files is always a hassle. My computer is a MacBook and the native app for files is the mac Finder application, which is fine, but it doesn´t handle file renaming. I do not know what file handlers are available on Windows, but I know that the Windows Explorer is not easy in regards to efficiency or automating anything. For PC users i´ve made this search instead.

MacOS specific system tools

(Windows / Cross-platform tools below)

Path Finder — advanced file viewing, renaming and management

This application makes browsing files, attributes and meta data a breeze. It has a modular view type of interface that makes you able to view almost any type of info and apply meta tags to large sets of files all at the same time. As an example, I recently used this to be able to tag some 1200 24-bit audio files with a “has pitch edit”, to make it possible to verify whether or not a file (that was later on renamed) has the specific edit I think I applied to it some 2 months ago. An intricate detail perhaps, but being able to apply metadata and later on search for this meta is very useful.

DaisyDisk — Finding large files and folders, fast!

Many times I find myself out of hard drive space. The initial reaction is to go into the movies folder and either delete stuff or just convert them to smaller versions. DaisyDisk makes it easy to find the largest folders and files (ISO, DMG, CDR etc) and let you drag them to a collective delete-button. Hugely time saving.

A better finder rename — rename files with speed and complexity

To rename files is a trivial pursuit, but can often in some apps be limiting, especially when handling sample sets. Sometimes they reside in different folders and a tool that looks at one folder only is tedious to use. A better finder rename is a tool for those occasions. In a jiffy you can take away the last 4 digits, whereupon you add 5 others, then remove the second occurrence of a token that exists multiple times in a file name (like “1”, a.k.a. any letter or number), all within the application and applying the same edits to files from any number of folders (key ingredient). Being able to see how many of the files of the entire list are affected for every batch edit before applying the edit makes it a breeze to use. This app does not handle meta data, for this you could use TwistedWave editor, which has options in the batch processing area. Myriad does as well.

Cross-platform tools for both Windows & MacOSDupeGuru — does this file exist in any of these other folders?

Duplicates of files or folders can be an issue when, say, restoring a folder form a backup manually. It is more often than not best to manually handle restoration of files or folders you deleted by mistake or otherwise. For this reason duplicates will become an issue. DupeGuru can view the files, even after they have been changed by name or anything else. It can look at only file names or only at the actual file in question and analyze whether or not two files are actually the same file. They contain meta data and a specific file size that tell the app what is what. Very useful. For both PC and Mac (and Linux).

Got any tool you use to add to this list? Be sure to send me a message, either here or via a comment or via through KeyPleezer.com!

KeyPleezer is a producer of virtual studio instruments and Soundware for Samplers and DAWs on PC & Mac.

We have a free instrument awaiting your music production studio. The LivingRoom Upright Piano, free version, is ready to download and install on MacOS 10.8+ for all users of GarageBand and Logic Pro X! (EXS24) More formats coming soon.

Get it now for free on KeyPleezer.com!

Other great reads:

10 best applications for Sample Creators, Audio Engineers and Music Producers was originally published in KeyPleezer Music Tech Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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What´s the difference between compression, normalization and leveling? A walk-through of when to use what function, and where to find good applications for the task at hand.

Ever wondered why there are so many tools for treatment of volume and sound dynamics? Well this post aims to shine a light on why and what to use to get the proper job done.

Volume Differences & Treatment

The core concept of audio dynamics treatment is to level out the differences in amplitude in the recording at hand. This is especially important today as we have an audio landscape in media where sound plays a big part in how we perceive information and often the quality of a production, whether it´s a video clip, a movie / series or a song on the ether. The 3 biggest conceptual methods for achieving a sound that is even and loud are called audio compression/limiting, audio leveling and audio normalization.

Audio compression (as in using an audio compressor, not lossy compression, like MP3) is not to be confused with normalization or leveling. While they are aimed in the same direction, which is to even out the differences in volume and amplitude within an audio recording, they go a bout it in different ways or handle different aspects of the process. Where compression/limiting is mostly aimed at handling the immediate dynamics and peaks, leveling usually does the job of changing the overall parts inside of an audio file to better match each other, producing a whole file that is better internally, as a block/clip. Audio normalization is aimed at raising or lowering the entire file/recording to a certain level. This is either from the Peak Level or the RMS level of the file.

Audio compression & compressors / limiters

So, audio compressors use the peaks or the immediate RMS levels (basically the general perceived volume of sound peaks) to stop sound from getting too loud. The compressor usually stops it in more fine ways, like with the option to set more parameters such as attack, release and knee functions, whereas the limiter does the job of stopping all sound at a given level, usually at 0 dBFS. This is used to stop the sound of a voice recording, a guitar or a whole mix from reaching a level where the sound would create digital clipping, which sounds horrible and flattens the sound peaks, leaving little detail.

Learn more about audio compression and limiting for music, podcasting and video here!

Audio Peak and Loudness Normalization

In contrast to compression, the normalization process does not do any dynamics processing of any sort, not as a general rule. It only raises the volume of the entire sound clip, or recording, to a specified level. The default of most music mixing, recording or mastering applications would be 0 dBFS.

Nowadays, with broadcast media and online streaming, a necessity to normalize sound volume based on a loudness standard, instead of the peak or even RMS levels of recordings or mixes, has given way to new Loudness Normalization standards and recommendations. There are numerous loudness standards for broadcast media and it depends on the geographical market in question and the material at hand whether to adhere to one standard or another. The concept of Normalization can also be split into Loudness Normalization and Peak Normalization, where the first would most avidly be used for broadcasting and video, the latter for music production.

Another important usage of Loudness normalization is while mastering music, where it´s used heavily to even out the perceived volume levels between different masters, so volume does not cloud the perception of the listener. Normally louder sounds sound better to most people.

Another use for it is to treat a large number of MP3 files, to even out the difference in volume throughout the library. It´s a common function included in most format conversion tools that convert wav/aif/caf files into compressed formats for web distribution or streaming, such as MP3, M4A/AAC and OGG.

Volume normalize plugin in Sony Sound Forge for Mac.

Wavelab´s Meta Normalizer can handle normalization in batch as well, which means to handle multiple files at once. The settings allow for skipping certain amounts of peaks, which can help make the loudness more accurate, especially with videos with explosive sounds that only occur rarely. Wavelab has many good tools for loudness manipulation.

Sony Sound Forge has a good normalizer plugin as well. Here showing how choices can be made to either peak or RMS. The “scan settings” allow for bypassing of extreme peaks. The setting “Use equal loudness contour” allows for compensation according to the psycho acoustic phenomenon known as equal loudness curve, or Fletcher-Munson Curve. This refers to the fact that we humans hear differently depending on the frequency. We tend to hear bass and treble less than the upper middle range frequencies. This is why we tend to turn up the volume when we want to hear the bass and presence.

Sound Leveling — the process of leveling out differences in phrases and internal audio parts

While the normalization handles the file in it´s entirety, the leveling process is aimed at evening out the different phrases and parts within an audio file. Your voice recording or podcast has too large differences between sentences or the people in the room is at different distances from the microphone. You would certainly use a compressor for the entire mix to even out the peaks and get the whole recording in check or ready for broadcast, but it would be a good idea to use a leveler to even out the parts first. Many levelers, like the one in iZotope RX, have this ability.

iZotope RX6 Leveler does a good and custom job at leveling audio phrases. Very useful for many sources.

KeyPleezer is a producer of virtual studio instruments and Soundware for Samplers and DAWs on PC & Mac.

We have a free instrument awaiting your music production studio. The LivingRoom Upright Piano, free version, is ready to download and install on MacOS 10.8+ for all users of GarageBand and Logic Pro X! (EXS24) More formats coming soon.

Get it now for free on KeyPleezer.com!

Check out more posts about mixing and mastering music on our main blog index!

Audio compression vs. normalization and leveling was originally published in KeyPleezer Music Tech Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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What is audio compression, limiting, leveling and normalization? Learn how make your sound clear and professional!

Ever recorded an audio part, like a guitar recording, a vocal track or a voice over for a podcast or YouTube video? Well it may have happened to you, as to most of us, that the volume varied a bit too much throughout the recording. There were parts that were too low, perhaps someone was too far away from the microphone, the guitar guy swayed a bit during some part or the people in the studio were in different distances from the mic. Then someone raised their voice or slammed on the keys or the strings a bit too much making that part very strong. Basically, the lowest volume level is way too low to meet the highest volume with a nice finish. This is the essence of what we in the audio industry call dynamic range. The dynamic range of volume.

Dynamic range of an audio recording is just that, how dynamic, or big, the differences are from the lowest volume level to the highest. And now we want to minimize that range to suit our production, be it a podcast or a musical masterpiece. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this, but the most common is to use audio compression. An audio compressor is the tool of the trade.

Compressors vs. Limiters

There are many forms of compressors. Some stop the sound very gently as the sound level reaches too high values, some stop it faster and harder. Most compressors can do both. The ones that stop it very fast and harshly (instantly) are called limiters. These are just different types of compressors that are usually used for drums, on mix buses or on outputs of complete projects or songs. This is to stop the sound peaks from reaching too high values which would otherwise result in digital clipping. Limiting is heavily used in mixing and mastering, as it can help raise volumes of entire productions. Through the use of compressors and limiters we can make our song sound as things do on the radio, or just sound more steadier and even. There is always a trade off, using compressors and limiters, as they tend to squash the life out of a natural sound very easily. We must therefore use them in moderation and with the appropriate settings for the sound in question.

Read more about the history and prior usage of compressors in this article, or watch a video right here:

“Basically, the lowest volume level is way too low to meet the highest volume with a nice finish. This is the essence of what we in the audio industry call dynamic range. The dynamic range of volume.”
Basic functionality of an audio compressor

The compressor has an input for the raw signal, a processor of the sound and an output of the processed signal. Some compressors also have the option to mix of the processed and unprocessed signals at the output stage. This functionality is called parallel compression and is a very often used in audio mastering (the last stage in a music or broadcast production) as it maintains some of the audio´s original dynamics.

The “Fat Channel XT” compressor in Presonus Studio One 3.

Taking a look at a standard compressor, it has a couple of controls that are most commonly present on the control surface, whether it be a hardware unit or a software plugin:

Waves´s Renaissance, classic compressor plugin. This one has basic controls along with a “warm” setting for more overtones and a switch between opto/electro.

Threshold — this is the lowest volume level (usually in dBFs, peak values) at which the compressor will start working on lowering the volume, compressing it.

Ratio — this is the ratio, or strength, with which it will decrease the volume, above the threshold value. Values range from 1:1–1:20 usually.

Attack — the time, in ms, until compression starts after the volume reaches the threshold. For example, a low attack time would compress more volume peaks, resulting in less explosive transients.

Release — the time it takes for the compressor to stop working from the moment the volume dips below the threshold value. The higher this value is set, the smoother the transition.

Make-up gain — the volume increase or decrease that you want want to add after compression. Some compressors do not have this. They may have standard volume input & output knobs, which act as the same thing.

Gain Reduction meter (GR) — This is usually a meter showing the amount of volume / gain reduced by the compressor. Important to keep an eye on. If compression is more than 3–5db you will definitely hear the compressor work.

Logic Pro X´s compressor in “Studio VCA” mode, mimicking a Focusrite Red.

Auto-gain / make-up gain — Some compressors, like the built in compressor in Logic Pro X, have an automatic make-up gain function, that controls the gain based on the amount of compression applied. This is generally a function that adds too much gain and often makes you feel like you added something, even though you did not. An increase in volume is very powerful in making us feel like the sound was improved. It´s a seductive thing, as we hear more treble and bass at higher volumes. That´s a psycho acoustic effect of our ears.

Garageband, iMovie & Podcasting appsGarageband´s dynamics instance, with simple compressor/limiter controls.

Where the music production applications and DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) shines in terms of complexity these easier entry-level applications usually try to simplify the controls, with preset functions for ease of use. You might be lucky enough to be handed a great compressor, or you might not. Luckily, you can usually get a third party plugin program that will be recognized by your application. There are many options to choose from. See further down for some common models.

Audacity´s compressor plugin. This one has an option for auto make-up gain.

Recording audio for podcasts can be done with almost any software, but for the editing and enhancements you´ll want to have a good audio editor. You don´t have to do both the recording and editing in one single application, but many do prefer this. An audio production platform or multi-track recording software such as Garageband or Logic Pro X (both on mac osx only) or Adobe Audition (both PC and Mac) or any wave editor around all have the necessary tools. A free tool many prefer is Audacity, both for PC and Mac and even Linux.

Video podcasting and screen-casting applications usually have fewer settings for compression and limiting. But some, like ScreenFlow app for mac, do have settings for adding compression via adding an audio units plugin. Adding a plugin gives you a simple but full view of the settings and values. The image shows Apple´s AUDynamicsProcessor, a simple plug-in included with MacOS.

Other controls frequently found on compressors

Knee — a curve that controls the compressors initial reduction curve. Every compressor has a knee setting built in, and it is tied to the ratio functionality, but some have the option of adjusting it.

Sidechain filter (input filter) — a filter, or an equalizer that changes the sound that the compressor looks at or reacts to, so you can make it react to specific sounds or frequencies, such as the range of only the snare drum, or transients in speech, like the consonants or treble-rich sounds.

Input sidechain — Sidechain in this regard, pertains to the input of the whole unit. Some compressors have the option of “reading from” or using the source of another sound, that the unit reacts to, while compressing the sound channel it is on. For example, having a compressor on a bass, that only listens to the channel/output of the bass drum track. This is heavily used in dance music. You might have heard it in Eric Prytz´s “Call on me”, where the entire sound of the track is bouncing as the bass drum hits.

A little side note on Ratio. As you see in the picture above, of the Waves Renaissance Compressor, it has a big control in the middle of the plugin window that is controlling the Ratio of the compression. It is turned downwards, at the level of 3.89, which is usually expressed as “a ratio of 1:3.89”. This whole use of compression is called downward compression and does the job of compressing volume higher than the threshold level. The opposite of downward compression is called upward compression. This refers to turning the Ratio control up, above the 0 line, to instead boost any signal that is lower than the value of the Threshold. This is often used with voice and I personally use it with bass, as it can boost the lowest parts of the tones. This makes for a professionally sounding recording and can defeat the purpose of compressing certain peaks. Upwards compression also boosts the ugly parts, unfortunately, if used too much. A bit of both can save too dynamic parts and clips. To counter act the effects of boosting also the lowest rumbles in the recording, you can use a noise gate as a first plugin effect, to eliminate the worst noise in the background.

Watch Winksounds´s entry-level video on compression:

Here´s a more detailed video on advanced compression from SonicSenseProAudio:

Equalizers and compressors — in which order?

There is an advantage of using an equalizer plugin / effect before putting on a compressor. Sometimes the sound needs some filtering before it can be compressed. There are parts that does not need to be so present or even present at all in the sound and that actually “steal energy” from the other frequencies. Therefore the track can benefit from some filtering beforehand, so the compressor does not have to work on things that will not be in the mix at all. However, the bigger changes to the tonality of your track, such as changes that are broader and bigger, can often be better to do after the compression. Otherwise the equalizer used for these changes (often added to blend the sound into the mix) may cause ugly effects in the compression. So as a rule of thumb — always filter unnecessary details first, then compress, then at last do the broad tonality changes with another instance of an equalizer.

Why does my compressor boost my signal?

Do compressors add or remove volume?

Some units have a make-up gain, previously mentioned, that automatically adds volume as you lower the compression threshold value. This boost is not often not proportional and boosts the signal unnecessarily much, resulting in you liking the sound better, thus liking the compressor model. But the compressor did not naturally do a good job. Beware of this fact. So when people say that compression boosts a sound, that´s a false statement, or rather, a bit skewed. It´s a result of this feature. Compression always reduces a signal. If it does anything else as a main feature, it´s not a compressor. It´s either a Maximizer (like a limiter with a gain input, like the Waves L1, L2 or L3) or an upward compressor. An upward compressor boosts a signal below a certain threshold value, instead of reducing gain above it. Useful indeed, but in complete contrast to compression, by default. It does however contribute to the evenness of your sound, which is always the main function of compression. Other uses are to set a certain sound of say, the 80s, through the use of a special unit, or to add bite to a drum set.

While we got the topic close at hand, also have a look at our post regarding the differences between audio compression, normalization and leveling ->

Some of the best compressors around

While there is an ocean of great compressors out there there are a few that I think stand the test of most musical pieces and also does the job easily, with great musicality and sonic quality.

Logic Pro X — built-in compressor - Logic Pro´s own compressor is one of the most versatile and feature-rich units of any DAW. With 7 different models of compressors, modelling FET, VCA, Vintage and Opto (optical), every conceivable control and a great sound, it will handle most types of tasks.

Presonus FatChannel XT — Great all-round EQ and compression/limiting unit, new to Studio One 3.5, which has good sound quality and great features, such as being able to swap the places of the parts. If you want to put the EQ before the compression, just move it, within the plugin itself. Many plugins have this feature, but few that are built into a DAW.

FabFilter Pro C2 — Very versatile and transparent (adds no EQ character) but has almost everything a compressor can have, including variable knee setting, sidechain / input filter, parallel compression and a very usable graphical view that shows you a the gain reduction and output strength with a waveform overview.

Waves Renaissance Compressor — The best and most versatile compressor I have ever used and the compressor that gets any job done, with minimum cpu impact.

Waves -> Compressors — Waves is one of the oldest producers of plugins for music production and have a lot of compressors. Have a look in their shop.

Plugin Alliance compressors — Through the store of Plugin Alliance you can get the products of several high-end compressor producers. Brainworx, Elysia, Lindell Audio and SPL have great models based on real hardware originals.

My favorite Limiters

Waves L3 / L2 / L1 — classic limiters that do great work on most music and voice, whether it be a single track or the entire mix. L2 has dithering built in. L3 has dithering as well and also has a version called L3 Multimaximizer, a multi-band limiter that can control different ranges of frequencies separately.

FabFilter Pro L (v1 and v2) — has many features that are lacking in most alternatives, such as attack/release settings for transient /peak control, programs for different types of music and TPL/ISPL (true peak/inter-sample peak limiting). Also a multitude of visual aids and metering types for absolute control. Highly recommended for anyone looking for one single limiter. Easy to use as well.

Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer — Fantastic limiter for all kinds of music. Especially good in keeping your transients in shape, not squashing the life out of the top dynamics of your material. This is important in many music styles, but in particular in singer- songwriter material and less compressed material, that still needs a good deal of volume. The “texture” and “knee” settings help you maintain your top transient´s (the sharpest volume peaks) inherent shape and dynamics.

iZotope Ozone Maximizer — All-round great limiter and maximizer for mastering and mixing. Has several algorithms for different material and you are bound to find a good one for yours. Ozone is a concept plugin, a collection of mixing and mastering tools with both flavoring (like vintage tape units) and completely transparent mastering tools.

KeyPleezer is a producer of virtual studio instruments and Soundware for Samplers and DAWs on PC & Mac.

We have a free instrument awaiting your music production studio. The LivingRoom Upright Piano, free version, is ready to download and install on MacOS 10.8+ for all users of GarageBand and Logic Pro X! (EXS24) More formats coming soon.

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Check out more posts about mixing and mastering music on our main blog index!

How to use an audio compressor or limiter in music, podcasts and video was originally published in KeyPleezer Music Tech Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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