Limiters explained

As an audio engineer, one of the most important tools in your toolbox is a limiter.

A limiter is an audio processor that is designed to prevent the amplitude of a signal from exceeding a predetermined threshold. In other words, it puts a ceiling on how loud a signal can get.


Limiters are essential for any audio production, including music and podcasting, and will help you keep your loudness target levels within the desired range.


There are many different types of limiters available, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Choosing the right limiter for a particular application can be a challenge. In this guide, we will take a look at some of the most popular limiters used in music production and podcasting.

Hardware Limiters

Hardware limiters are physical devices that are used to process audio signals. They typically have a few basic controls, such as threshold, release, and gain.


Hardware limiters can be very effective at controlling the levels of a signal, but they can also be quite expensive. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider using a software limiter instead.

Software Limiters

Software limiters are digital plugins that are designed to imitate the behavior of hardware limiters. They can be used in any digital audio workstation, and they offer a wide range of features and settings.


One of the most popular software limiters is the Waves L1 Limiter. This plugin is modeled after the classic dbx 160A hardware limiter. It features a simple interface with just two controls: threshold and output.

Another popular software limiter is the FabFilter Pro-L. This plugin is packed with features, including automatic makeup gain, lookahead, dithering, and more.


No matter which type of limiter you choose, be sure to experiment with the various settings to find what sounds best for your particular project.


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