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Limiter for studio use

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by project_c, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    I'm looking for a limiter pedal to keep my gain from going into the red when I dig in when recording in the studio. I already have a compressor (Opto compulator) but I find that it's not the best tool for taming volume spikes, and I don't necessarily want to compress the signal as much as just limit the maximum volume so it doesn't clip.

    I've read good and bad things about the Boss LMB-3 and I don't really need the 'enhance' feature, I really just want to be able to dig in for certain notes / phrases without sending my signal into the red. (Please don't suggest lowering the signal level, it is already relatively low - it only peaks when I really dig in and snap / pop a note).

    Any good suggestions for a pedal that can do this well, and without much signal degradation?
  2. icecycle66


    Feb 4, 2009
    I really love m7y Carl Martin Limiter/Compressor.

    The LED that shows how much compression/limiting is happening is a great touch.
  3. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    This looks like a great pedal, but it seems to be primarily a compressor - I really only want to limit the loudest peaks of my signal, if at all possible, without squashing everything else. I'm not even sure if that is possible in a pedal form. (I know it can be done in a DAW, but that's no good to me if the recorded signal is already clipped).
  4. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Surprised that this link hasn't been posted
    Pretty much the bible for compressor pedals IMO
  5. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Unless I'm working at someone's basement studio, I'd expect the studio to have a number of higher-grade limiters racked than I'm going to carry in on a pedalboard.
  6. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 GAS resistance is utterly futile... Supporting Member

    The LMB-3 is a simple and effective tool, although I haven't used it in studio yet. Tried a few other comps/limiters, always coming back to it.
  7. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    If it doesn't have to be a pedal a used dbx 160 or 166 is great
    For that matter, the Behringer copies sound just fine and I couldn't sell a rack of them for $50 ea.
  8. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    Set your channel gain while you're "digging in".
  9. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    You might want to check out the Demeter Compulator.

    If you aren't already familiar with them, Bongomania's compressor and limiter reviews are very well documented and informative:


    From "My Top Pics" page for limiters: the Rane DC24, Valley People Dynamite, Aphex 661/651, MXR M87 Bass Comp, Maxon CP9 Pro+, Pigtronix Philosopher, Alesis MicroLimiter, Guyatone BL2, Boss LMB-3, various Joemeek models, Markbass, Demeter Compulator, FEA Comp-Limiter and DE-CL, Menatone J.A.C, Ashly DPX/CLX/CL series, Aguilar TLC, and Symetrix 501 all do a pretty good job of cleanly limiting big signal peaks.
  10. Oblique


    May 21, 2012
    Depends on what You're looking for, color or function, but since You said limiting and recording so I'd recommend an Aphex 651 Expressor.
    I've used a few different floor compressors at times but I have the Aphex in My studio rig, it does really well at controlling peaks and is pretty darn transparent at normal settings.
    They can be had used for a pretty good price.
    I'm sure Bongo has a review,
    Good Luck
  11. project_c


    May 8, 2008
    London, UK
    thanks for the replies! already own the compulator, and while its an excellent compressor, it's not that great for cutting peaks without squishing everything else. will check out all the others though and see what happens.
  12. LSMFT6

    LSMFT6 Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Definitely check out the Daring Audio Phat Beam. Separate limiting and compression, unlimited headroom (and that's IME of using other pedals that made that claim and fell short) and studio-quality controls (TONS of tweakability) in a 9V, average-sized pedal.
  13. As mentioned before, no really need for a limiter if you lower the gain just not to clip the input, and don´t worry about signal being to low either, unless you record on tape (real tape). You can limit later in the mix and with more precision.

    If in the studio, I´m sure the studio has some good limiters and not a pedal that in most casses is less efficient.
  14. +1 to setting your level at your most aggressive playing. Generally I find it better to do the most to keep as much stuff off my signal chain while recording...a healthy signal is key too, so if you already have comp on and your just clipping occasionally then just turning down a bit should be way more then fine.

    99% of the time I get the players most aggressive level at around the 3/4 point on the meter. And that usually gives me plenty of room in both directions.
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The big problem with the Compulator in this application is its lack of any visual meter or really usable input-level control. You're absolutely right that it will squash everything, if the signal you feed it is stronger than a typical passive Fender.
  16. boomertech

    boomertech Frank Appleton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 8, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    The MXR M87 compressor has a VERY fast attack and a meter which would be useful for a nice limiter.

  17. Baer


    Jul 8, 2008
    +1 (actually, +1000) When recording digitally, you can set your level low enough to just allow the noise of your signal chain (without you playing) to register on your recording device. That will maximize the dynamic range available to you for your playing. And yes, it may appear that during recording the signal is low and weak, but as noted above, that can be raised during mixing.

    And by "registering" I mean the noise floor can be seen in the waveform when you have zoomed in on waveform. Don't confuse this with registering on whatever level meters you have available because your meters may not show the entire range you are recording. For example, a 24-bit recording device is capable of recording down to about -120 db. Your meters may be showing a range of only -60 db to 0 db. If you have control over the range shown by your recording device meters, increase the range to where you can see the noise floor.

    The same goes for recording vocals, guitars, and everything else.
  18. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Ironically, my passive P-bass puts out a much stronger signal than any of my active basses.