Limiter – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Microphones and Audio Hardware Glossary

What is a limiter?

A limiter is an audio processing tool used to prevent audio signals from exceeding a certain level, known as the threshold. It is commonly used in sound systems to control the dynamic range of audio signals, ensuring that they do not distort or clip. Limiters are often used in conjunction with compressors to manage the overall volume of audio signals.

How does a limiter work?

A limiter works by automatically reducing the level of audio signals that exceed the set threshold. When an audio signal reaches the threshold, the limiter kicks in and applies gain reduction to prevent the signal from going over the limit. This helps to maintain a consistent and controlled volume level, preventing distortion and clipping.

When should a limiter be used?

A limiter should be used in situations where audio signals need to be controlled and prevented from exceeding a certain level. This is particularly important in live sound reinforcement, recording studios, and broadcast environments where maintaining a clean and distortion-free audio signal is crucial. Limiters are also commonly used in mastering to ensure that the final audio mix is balanced and free from clipping.

What are the benefits of using a limiter?

Using a limiter offers several benefits, including:
– Preventing audio signals from distorting or clipping
– Maintaining a consistent volume level
– Protecting speakers and other audio equipment from damage
– Improving the overall sound quality of audio signals
– Controlling the dynamic range of audio signals

What are some popular limiter models?

There are several popular limiter models available on the market, each offering unique features and capabilities. Some popular limiter models include:
– Waves L2 Ultramaximizer
– FabFilter Pro-L
– Universal Audio Precision Limiter
– TC Electronic Finalizer
– Sonnox Oxford Limiter

How to set up a limiter in a sound system?

Setting up a limiter in a sound system involves the following steps:
1. Connect the limiter to the audio signal chain, either in-line or as an insert effect.
2. Set the threshold level on the limiter to the desired maximum level that you want the audio signals to reach.
3. Adjust the attack and release times on the limiter to control how quickly the gain reduction is applied and released.
4. Monitor the audio signals and adjust the output gain on the limiter to ensure that the desired level is maintained without distortion.
5. Test the limiter by sending audio signals through it and adjusting the settings as needed to achieve the desired sound quality.

In conclusion, a limiter is a valuable tool for controlling audio signals and preventing distortion and clipping. By understanding how limiters work and when to use them, audio professionals can ensure that their sound systems deliver clean and consistent audio quality. With the right setup and proper use of limiters, audio signals can be effectively managed and protected, resulting in a better listening experience for audiences.