This article will discuss the best paid and free limiters and loudness maximizes for optimum loudness in 2024.
Limiters are most often used at the end of a typical mastering or mix bus chain to control the dynamic range and prevent clipping or distortion. They help maintain a consistent and controlled audio level by attenuating the peaks in the signal, allowing for a more polished and balanced sound without sacrificing the overall dynamics of the music.
That is how they also increase the loudness. We have curated a list of the best limiter plugins based on their sonic ability, colors and tone, metering and visualizing capabilities, and control over the sound. It’s not just about the loudness but also about preserving the natural dynamics and staying true to the mix and the genre. Let’s dive right into the list now.
9 Best Limiter Plugins For Loudness 2024
1. SSL X-Limit
X-Limit is a loudness maximize and a True Peak brickwall limiter plugin by Solid State Logic.
It offers various limiting and loudness settings that range from clear and transparent limiting to adding color and cohesion to your sounds, making the plugin flexible and versatile. Its True Peak algorithm ensures precise processing while providing insights into the limiter’s impact on your signal’s stereo image.
Through a comprehensive left-to-right waveform display, you can adjust the limiter’s threshold and set a ceiling, the maximum output level based on the incoming signal. This enables you to elevate the loudness while managing peaks effectively.
X-Limit has four preset styles – Transparent, Glue, Punch, and Auto – each tailored to produce distinct responses for different scenarios. For instance, Punch mode suits drum buses, Transparent mode is ideal for vocals and acoustic guitars to control peaks, Glue mode unifies sub-groups, and Auto mode adapts time constants according to your signal’s transients.
The unique Steering and Ducking meters show how the limiting process affects your signal’s stereo image, helping you prevent stereo degradation using the Channel Link control.
X-Limit enhances workflow with features like Gain Lock, I/O difference auditioning, Gain Match, and a Mix control, which is especially useful when adding characters rather than solely managing peaks.
You get various smart controls like Lookahead, Auto Release, and Gain Match that work automatically based on the input received. You can also A/B different limiter settings and monitor what works for you!
SSL X-Limit is available in AU, VST2, VST3, and AAX Native formats and is compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur – macOS 13 Ventura (64-bit only) (M1 Mac supported) and Windows 10 – Windows 11 (64-bit only) operating systems.
2. sonible pure:limit
pure: limit is a simplified and smart limiter without complicated controls and parameters.
Despite its compact interface, this AI-driven plugin effortlessly manages peaks, balances dynamics, and optimizes mix levels with a single click. Ensuring that each mix reaches its optimal level and dynamics, pure limit becomes an essential tool in any creator’s studio. Whether it’s bass-heavy samples, soulful vocals, distorted guitars, or polished podcast voices, this limiter simplifies the workflow by offering automatic parameter adjustments, a wide range of genre-specific presets, and instant replay functionality.
The plugin provides two effective sound-shaping tools: the “style selector” determines the limiter’s impact on the signal, while the “inflate parameter” enriches the sound for a more vibrant output.
With its AI-based presets, pure: limit uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to intelligently adapt its processing algorithms based on different music genres. It analyzes and understands the sonic characteristics and dynamics commonly associated with various musical styles such as pop, rock, electronic, classical, and more.
The user-friendly, minimalist interface design of pure:limit streamlines navigation and functionality, presenting a clean, intuitive layout that prioritizes essential controls.
Available in AU, VST2, VST3, AAX, MultiRack Native plugin formats, sonible pure:limit is compatible with macOS 10.12+ (M1 Apple Silicon supported) (64-bit only) and Windows 10+ (64-bit only) operating systems.
3. FabFilter Pro-L2
Pro-L2 is a user-friendly, high-quality, and feature-rich limiter by FabFilter.
This plugin stands out for its GUI, which displays the limited signal in red and the other in blue. It shows the waveform being limited in real-time. The workflow is simple! The ceiling is set to 0 dB, and you can change the gain settings in the plugin, along with attack and release parameters. If you want, you can also adjust its output level.
You get eight distinct algorithms catering to different audio needs, ranging from transparent, punchy, and dynamic to aggressive and specialized styles like Modern and Safe. Each algorithm offers a unique character without compromising loudness.
You can select algorithms depending on the desired effect—some prioritize transparency, while others add punch or flavor.
FabFilter employs sophisticated algorithms, linear-phase oversampling (up to 32x), top-tier dithering, noise shaping, and expansive surround support (including Dolby Atmos 7.1.2) in the plugin. Intelligent channel linking ensures a complete solution for mixing and mastering tasks.
The plugin incorporates signature FabFilter elements such as finely calibrated knobs, MIDI Learn functionality, seamless Smart Parameter Interpolation for smooth transitions, an extensive and interactive help file, SSE optimization, GPU-powered graphics acceleration, and more.
You get Channel Linking Control that ensures consistent stereo image during limiting by adjusting how channels are processed. You can customize channel linking using the Transient and Release knobs. Transient manages linking for short peaks, while Release handles overall channel linking. Fine-tune settings based on limiting levels and audio characteristics. For surround sound, additional controls cater to immersive audio processing.
Pro-L2 offers accurate peak-level meters and comprehensive loudness metering complying with ITU-R BS.1770-4, EBU R128, and ATSC A/85 standards. The real-time level display provides vital information for optimal outcomes.
Pro-L2 is available in VST3, AU, AAX Native, and VST2 plugin formats and is compatible with macOS 10.12 or higher (Intel or M1 Apple Silicon processor) (64-bit only) and Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Vista (32 or 64-bit) operating systems.
4. Mastering The Mix LIMITER
LIMITER by Mastering The Mix is primarily a smart mastering limiter that examines your audio material and offers tailored recommendations, ensuring the optimal settings for your music.
Here’s how it works! You simply set up LIMITER on your master channel, pick your desired mastering preset (e.g., Loud, Club, Spotify, Vinyl, Apple Music, etc.), and loop it on the loudest part of your track to assess it and activate the analysis.
The input gain slider will display a target range, guiding you toward the necessary gain adjustments for your objective. Additionally, other controls in the plugin aid in refining your sound.
You get an NRG slider in LIMITER that allows you to dial in rich harmonic distortion, adding depth and warmth to your audio. On the other hand, the PCH slider is designed to enhance transients, those sharp, impactful moments in your audio.
Using the PCH slider, you can boost these transients’ perceived loudness and punchiness, allowing your tracks to maintain their dynamics and energy, even after applying limiting.
LIMITER incorporates essential parameters like Attack, Link, and Ceiling for greater control over the limiting process. The Attack knob manages how quickly the limiter responds to incoming signals, influencing the shaping of transients.
The Link knob determines the degree to which both channels are processed, maintaining stereo integrity. Meanwhile, the Ceiling knob sets the maximum output level, preventing distortion while preserving the dynamics of your audio.
The plugin is easy to use and has an attractive and intuitive user interface. Its analysis of the audio is quite on-point, and the presets do half the work for you! As an engineer/producer, you need to tweak 3-4 controls to get your desired sound.
LIMITER is available in VST 2/3, AU, or AAX plugin formats and is compatible with MacOS X 10.10 or higher, Apple Silicon Native (64-bit only), and Windows 7/8/10 operating systems.
5. Brainworx bx_limiter True Peak
bx_limiter by Braindowrx eliminates artifacts, stabilizes the low end, and preserves stereo imaging, offering unparalleled performance and sound quality.
It’s one of the most expansive limiters with many controls and customizations. With Classic and Modern modes, Gain, Ceiling, and Release controls, you can set the limiter to your taste and link the Ceiling and Gain parameters.
You also get a switchable knob called XL for Brainworx’s XL saturation for enhanced loudness and cohesion. In addition, there are Tone controls, multiple meters, channel links, limiter mix, and output controls.
The plugin provides comprehensive metering options, including short-term and long-term LUFS metering. It displays the loudness for left and right channels, gain reduction, dynamic range, and RMS and Peak ratings/values. This is great for mastering!
You can operate it in classic or modern mode. Classic Mode encapsulates the timeless characteristics of traditional limiters, delivering a tried-and-true approach to peak limiting.
On the other hand, the modern mode embodies a contemporary approach to limiting, designed to meet the demands of modern mastering practices. It’s engineered to provide precise, transparent limiting, ensuring the highest level of clarity and fidelity in the master.
Developed over two years, bx_limiter TP incorporates “Selective Oversampling” (SOS), a pioneering technology. Applying oversampling intelligently enhances signal quality without compromising sonic integrity, delivering tighter low-end precision, improved stereo imaging, and exceptional transient preservation even at extreme settings.
For better stereo imaging, the plugin has a correlation meter that gives you a negative value when your left and right channels are out of phase. You can also solo Left, Right, Mid, Side, and S.I.P. channels for better processing and monitoring capabilities.
Beyond peak limiting, bx_limiter TP empowers you with tools for final sonic refinements. High and low pass filters control extremes, while the proprietary “XL” saturation and “Foundation” filters add weight, clarity, or tightness nuances to fine-tune the master’s sound. Additional features like the output dim function and a negative gain control provide efficient mix correction and specific output level adjustments.
bx_limiter is available in AU, AAX DSP, VST2, AAX Native, and VST3 plugin formats and is compatible with macOS 13 down to macOS 10.11 and Windows 11 down to Windows 8 operating systems.
6. UAD Fairchild Tube Limiter Collection
The Fairchild Tube Limiter Collection embodies the iconic warmth and compression reminiscent of legendary records by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Motown classics.
This plug-in faithfully recreates the analog characteristics of the Fairchild 670 and 660, offering great accuracy in emulating these distinctive tube compressors. The plugin allows mono or stereo use, subtly altering the unit’s behavior. Its valve compression, inherently soft-kneed, can be further edited with DC Threshold pots.
Notable additions include control linking, low-frequency sidechain filtering, and parallel compression for versatile usage. With six preset Attack/Release times, including variations from fast to slow, the plugin offers flexible dynamics.
Replicates the entire tube-powered amplifier and transformer sections. This first-of-its-kind modeling ensures faithful emulation of these legendary hardware units, delivering classic Fairchild vibes within a digital realm.
The plugin offers an array of controls like Wet/Dry Mix, Sidechain Filters, and Headroom adjustments, providing flexibility in shaping the compression and coloration, allowing for nuanced and tailored sound manipulation.
UAD employs Fairchild’s Sidechain Filtering for precise control over tracks, boosting drum bus impact without affecting the compressor threshold, a game-changer for refining dynamics.
While the 670 offers expanded stereo capabilities with mid/side, left/right stereo, and dual mono operation, the 660, its aggressive counterpart, ensures versatile mono and stereo applications, catering to varied mixing needs. That ensures Comprehensive Stereo Operation.
Available in AAX, VST, and AU formats, the UAD Fairchild Tube Limiter Collection is compatible with Windows 10/11 and macOS 10.15 Catalina, 11 Big Sur, 12 Monterey, and 13 Ventura operating systems.
7. Plugin Boutique PeakLimit
PeakLimit features four distinct limiter styles to maximize your track’s loudness.
This limiter elevates volume and infuses color and punch into individual instruments while offering precise control over dynamics. With intuitive metering and multiple modes, PeakLimit is great for crafting dynamic, commercially loud masters, optimizing tracks for streaming, and ensuring a polished, clipping-free audio experience.
It offers a diverse array of four distinct limiter styles tailored to suit various audio needs. The Lucid Mode ensures transparent limiting, maintaining the original tonal balance without coloration. The Warm Mode accentuates lower frequencies for those seeking depth, creating a warmer, fuller sound. Punch Mode amplifies dynamics, ideal for individual tracks, while Bright Mode infuses brightness by highlighting higher frequencies, enriching the audio spectrum with a vivid edge.
The plugin provides precise control over transients through Hard, Soft, and Transparent transient modes. That enables you to manage how transients are handled within their audio.
Additionally, the lookahead and sensitivity controls empower fine-tuning of the limiting process, ensuring that the source material receives the precise level of limiting needed for optimal audio quality.
Visualizing your track’s dynamics and levels in real-time, PeakLimit’s metering offers a comprehensive view of gain reduction, RMS signal levels, and output waveform. It also provides live readings of LUFS, RMS, and Peak levels, enabling optimal loudness adjustments and ensuring an audio experience free from clipping or distortion.
PeakLimit boasts an intuitive user interface designed for effortless navigation and operation. Adaptive release control allows for detailed adjustments, ensuring a user-friendly experience while fine-tuning audio perfectly.
The plugin offers up to 8x oversampling, significantly enhancing audio quality. Furthermore, the preset manager feature allows you to save and share your preferred settings, providing convenient access to 50 presets for quick application and experimentation within different projects.
PeakLimit is available in VST, AAX, VST3, AU, and Standalone plugin formats and is compatible with macOS 10.15 or higher and Windows 7 or higher operating systems.
8. Korneff Audio Talkback Limiter
Talkback Limiter is an assertive, punchy, and colorful limiter with a dash of destructiveness!
It is crafted to embody the real deal’s anti-social charm! An homage to the vintage British recording console, TBL 1.1 embodies the 80’s drum sound while extending its prowess to diverse instruments, amplifying bass, accentuating guitar attack, and infusing vocals with gutsy qualities.
With a 100:1 compression ratio and a fast, FET-style circuit, the plugin has an aggressive sound. You can also lower the threshold using LISTEN 1 for an intense, punchy compression effect, injecting vitality into any source, from a delicate bug’s sneeze to a metal core singer’s scream.
The plugin lets you switch between LINE and MIC input levels, offering 30dB of gain and rich harmonic saturation, transforming even the quietest signals. Its ANALOG button accentuates nonlinear analog responses for added warmth and distortion.
Balance the wet/dry signal using the WET/DRY control, allowing fine-tuning of punch and character within the final mix. Versatility extends to various instruments and applications, offering subtle enhancements and aggressive crushing.
Talkback lets you explore additional controls like the “Other Side” features for distortion and compression curve adjustments. An adjustable Low Pass filter and oversampling options empower you to manage CPU usage while shaping the audio palette.
The plugin’s intuitive interface mimics analog compressor inner workings, providing options for GUI scaling, oversampling, distortion trimming, variable low-pass filtering, and transistor Bias control, offering a broad, pleasing sonic spectrum.
Talkback Limiter is available in AAX, VST3, and AU plugin formats in Mac OS X 10.7+ and Windows 7+ operating systems.
9. Softube Weiss Compressor/Limiter
Softube Weiss Compressor/Limiter is a transparent mastering compressor/limiter drawn from the revered DS1-MK3 dynamics processor, favored by global mastering maestros.
It focuses on refining your sound, offering precise control over attack, release, ratio, threshold, filters, and more. With great-sounding compression algorithms, this tool ensures clean, dynamic sound even at high levels.
Visualizations empower signal monitoring, aiding precision in adjustments, while its versatility extends to individual instrument tracks, offering detailed enhancements or aggressive treatments.
The plugin has a clean interface with five main knobs, supported by a discreet side menu, and offers nuanced control without overwhelming complexity, streamlining your workflow. These knobs let you access threshold, knee, ratio, attack, release, and parallel mix.
Incorporating waveform and frequency views, this plugin provides detailed visual feedback, aiding informed decisions during compression and limiting. In addition, its expert menu allows access to more DS1-MK3 parameters, including auto-release, simplifying complex settings for quick yet professional results.
You can apply low-pass and band-pass filters on your frequency range and use its parallel compressor and safe limiter switches for more customized processing.
With mid/sides processing capabilities, you can fine-tune the center and sides independently, emphasizing or softening specific frequencies to refine your mix.
Softube Weiss Compressor/Limiter is available in AAX, AU, and VST plugin formats and is compatible with macOS Big Sur 11, Monterey 12, Ventura 13, and Windows 10/11 operating systems.
7 Best Free Limiter Plugins:
1. Slate Digital Heatwave
Heatwave is a single-knob saturator with a Clip switch that you can use to maximize loudness and add interesting colors to your mixes.
It offers a fast and efficient method to create intensity and energy into various sounds without compromising their initial sharpness and transients.
It introduces an edge to drum beats without compromising their punchiness, enriches the depth of a funk bass without diminishing its sharpness, and distresses an acoustic guitar while maintaining the delicate intricacies of fingerpicked notes.
You can engage the Clip button to install a clipper at the Heatwave algorithm’s output, so when you push the loudness from the input, it doesn’t exceed 0dB. This feature assists in managing unruly transients or can be utilized to introduce a more aggressive or distorted quality to the sound.
Drive is the primary control on Heatwave, adjusting saturation, EQ, compression, and more. It serves as the cornerstone for shaping the sound. When using Heatwave, this is the control to start with, often providing an excellent sound without needing additional adjustments.
The plugin allows you to adjust the gain and level at the input and output stage to give you more control over the loudness and tone of your plugin. You also get a bypass button to disable the plugin within its interface, monitor your sound with/without it, and monitor two different plugin settings using its A/B button.
Slate Digital gives you access to various factory presets, from Crispy to LoFi to Retro. This gives you pre-loaded settings of various tonalities to try on your sounds.
Heatwave is available in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats in macOS 10.15 or later (macOS 11 or later rec.) and Windows 10/11 operating systems.
2. Kiive Audio XTRESSOR NUKE
XTRESSOR NUKE is a powerhouse compressor/limiter, compact yet impactful.
Ideal for enhancing drum sounds, it offers three distinct release modes for a gritty, punchy mix. Its standout feature, the adjustable Sc hpf, ensures versatility across various audio sources, making it a valuable addition to your toolkit. Its mix knob allows for parallel usage, while its straightforward design enables effortless integration into your workflow.
You can choose from three distinct release modes – fast, normal, and slow. Each mode offers unique sonic characteristics, catering to different audio elements. Fast mode creates explosive, transient-rich sounds, perfect for enhancing drums.
Normal mode balances control and intensity, while slow mode provides precise and controlled compression, ideal for refining nuanced dynamics in your mix.
The mix knob facilitates parallel processing, allowing you to blend the compressed and original signals seamlessly. By adjusting the mix, you can strike the perfect balance between a controlled, punchy sound and the organic qualities of the untreated audio.
XTRESSOR NUKE is available in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats for Windows and Mac operating systems.
3. Sender Spike SN05-G
The SN05-G is a robust brickwall limiter specifically designed for sample peak control.
With an input gain range of 0-24dB and a ceiling adjustable from 0dBFS to -24dBFS, it provides precise control over signal levels. The release time spans from 0.1ms to 20ms, offering versatility in shaping dynamics. Featuring a fixed attack time and a dedicated GR meter, it ensures comprehensive monitoring and control over your audio peaks.
With a versatile ceiling control ranging from 0dBFS to -24dBFS, this limiter grants precise management over signal peaks. You can seamlessly set the limit for your audio without distortion, ensuring clean, controlled output.
You can fine-tune the low-frequency response with precision using the Hipass knob. This control filters out unwanted low-end frequencies, allowing you to sculpt and refine the audio by attenuating bass frequencies, ensuring clarity and focus in the mix without compromising overall tonality.
The Sidechain knob enables dynamic shaping by adjusting the sidechain signal’s influence on the compression or limiting process.
You get a Limit/Clip switch in the plugin that toggles between two distinct modes – Limiter and Clipper. The Limit mode applies controlled attenuation to prevent signal peaks from exceeding a defined threshold, maintaining a more subtle and transparent compression.
Conversely, the Clip mode allows for intentional clipping, providing a more aggressive, distorted effect.
SN05-G is available in VST plugin format for Windows operating systems.
4. Analog Obsession LALA
LALA, crafted by Analog Obsession, emulates the iconic Teletronix LA-2A optical limiter/compressor, renowned for its subtle warmth and transparent compression.
This software simulation embodies the original’s optical tube compression, offering a gentle, warm tonality and subtle dynamic balance. Its slow attack and release enhance vocals, guitars, and pianos, providing nuanced compression without overwhelming the sound, making it versatile across various instruments.
LALA boasts a filter sidechain with three bands: HPF for low-end attenuation, MF/MG controlling mid-frequency compressor sensitivity, and HF/Flat for high-frequency sensitivity, an enhanced version of the original R37 setting.
The plugin’s Mix function seamlessly blends compressed and dry signals, granting flexibility in achieving the desired dynamic balance, which is crucial for maintaining the natural character of the sound.
LALA by Analog Obsession is available in VST and AU plugin formats for Windows and Mac operating systems.
5. Antress Modern Amplifier
Modern Amplifier is a versatile compressor/limiter that enriches audio dynamics.
Its Power On/Off switch ensures optimal control, accompanied by the Gain Reduction meter and concealed OLED level meters for meticulous monitoring. Tailor sound with the Gain control (0 to 50 dB) and Peak Reduction (0 to -50 dB).
Swiftly alternate between Fast/Slow modes and switch effortlessly between Compress/Limit modes for nuanced audio sculpting.
The plugin is fairly easy to use with only two knobs: Gain and Peak Reduction and three switches: Power on/off, Fast/Slow, and Limit/Comp. That makes your workflow quite simple. In addition, it has quite an analog feel with its toggle switches and a Gain Reduction meter.
You can also use the plugin as a compressor, with a lower ratio and less aggressive dynamic range shrinking. You can use this on individual elements and buses for subtler compression.
Modern Amplifier is available in 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows operating systems.
6. D16 Group Frontier
D16 Group Frontier introduces flexible dynamic control prowess across single tracks, buses, and master outputs.
It has great functionalities for a free plugin, like a limiter across left, right, Stereo L/R, and Mid channels, fast/medium/slow release, threshold knob, output level knob, a dB meter, an Output meter, and an on/off soft clip switch. It also has adaptable GUI sizes, HiDPI support, and MIDI learning capabilities.
Frontier’s Soft Clip Switch provides pleasing saturation, marked by clear knob labeling, enabling effortless transition to extreme settings for creative exploration.
D16 Group introduces Auto Gain Normalization for post-compression level restoration, facilitating adjustments post-compression and ensuring optimal sound balance.
The plugin’s Three-object switch for release options enhances usability, allowing tailored settings for different audio contexts, which is particularly beneficial for mastering.
Frontier boasts an Optimized CPU Load, with Quality settings catering to lighter usage, which is crucial when employing two plugins in a series, ensuring seamless functionality even on underpowered systems.
Frontier works with VST2/AU/VST3/AAX compatible DAWs in Windows 7 and later or MacOS 10.13 – 14 operating systems.
7. vladgsound Limiter №6
The Limiter №6 plugin by VladG is a versatile and advanced mastering tool that gives paid dynamic processors a run for their money.
It features five modules: a high-frequency limiter, a true peak limiter, an RMS compressor, a clipper, and a peak limiter.
This free plugin boasts high-quality signal processing with soft and brickwall limiting options, analog-style indication, limiting true peaks between samples, Mid/Side, and multiband modes, optional 4-times oversampling, and two different GUIs for convenience in mastering tasks.
The plugin’s RMS compressor provides adjustable gain and ratios from 1 to 5, with attack settings from 2 seconds to 50 milliseconds, suitable for bus compression.
Next, its peak limiter features threshold settings from 0 dB to -14 dB, offering brickwall and soft limiting modes. Further, the high-frequency limiter in the plugin focuses on controlling harshness, featuring a de-esser-like function, subtly softening the top end.
With various threshold adjustments, Limiter’s clipper offers oversampling options to eliminate aliasing and knee control for nuanced clipping. Unique mid-side and multiband clipping modes provide flexibility for emphasizing specific frequency areas.
The protection stage comprises digital clipping, ISP fast, and ISP precise modes for controlling peaks and providing output gain compensation.
VladG Limiter №6 is available in AU and VST plugin formats for Windows and Mac operating systems.
1. Sonnox Oxford Inflator
Sonnox Oxford Inflator maximizes volume without compromising the sonic intricacies, ensuring an impactful yet in-depth enhancement.
Ideal for salvaging previously clipped signals, the Inflator acts as a dynamic rescuer, restoring and enhancing the apparent dynamic range with precision. Navigating the Inflator is a breeze, thanks to its user-friendly interface. The controls are designed for simplicity without compromising the depth of functionality, ensuring a seamless user experience.
The plugin gives you the flexibility of both Direct and Band-split modes. Whether you’re refining the entire mix or focusing on individual frequency bands, the Inflator adapts to your creative demands.
Beyond merely boosting volume, the Inflator enriches your sound with harmonic depth, elevating the character and warmth of your audio sources. It introduces subtle yet impactful tonal enhancements that impart a sense of fullness and character to instruments and vocals alike.
The Curve slider in the plugin adjusts the plugin’s processing characteristics, subtly shaping the tonal coloration or warmth introduced by the Inflator.
With a tube-like musical warmth, the Inflator isn’t just about loudness; it excels at crafting depth within your mix. It doesn’t merely emphasize low-end EQ; it enhances the perceived distance of instruments or vocals within the sonic space, adding dimensionality and a captivating depth of field. You get to amplify the harmonic density of your sound sources, effectively making them larger, more aggressive, and incredibly dynamic.
This augmentation enriches the texture and presence of instruments, providing a bigger, more impactful sonic footprint. Unlike conventional tape saturation or harmonic distortion plugins, the Inflator offers a remarkably smooth and refined emulation across the entire frequency spectrum. Its emulation of tape saturation delivers a distinct sonic signature that augments your audio in ways that elevate your mix’s overall quality.
The plugin’s Effects Slider determines the intensity of the Inflator’s processing effect. As you increase this slider, the plugin applies its enhancement algorithm more aggressively, resulting in a perceivable boost in loudness and harmonic richness.
Sonnox Oxford Inflator is compatible with AAX, AU, and VST3-compatible hosts/DAWs and is available in macOS and Windows operating systems.
2. Newfangled Audio Invigorate (Limiter & Compressor)
Invigorate is a multifaceted fusion of compression, limiting, and overdrive, meticulously crafted to infuse vibrancy and vigor into your music.
This dynamic processor morphs seamlessly from compressive warmth to assertive limiting, even venturing into rich distortion, all effortlessly controlled by the standout MIX knob. You can navigate its radar control in its unique interface, shaping the gain spectrum from compression to distortion and allowing nuanced tonal shifts.
The curve and morphing options within the radar interface allow for extensive control over the processing, enabling a spectrum of sonic transformations.
Invigorate is quite versatile because of its standard compression elements, such as level detection, attack, release times, and an anti-pump filter, coupled with a mix knob and auto-gain compensation. Notably, its learn function for setting ideal input levels is a standout feature, ensuring proper gain staging and facilitating a smoother workflow.
The plugin’s tone section comprises three segments – sensitivity tone, input exciter tone, and output tone – all multi-band controls that influence the output’s dynamics processing, input excitation, and EQ, respectively. These tone controls provide an array of tonal shaping possibilities.
Its versatility is further enhanced by its two modes: compressor and limiter. While the compressor mode is slightly elastic, the limiter mode delivers a firmer response.
Invigorate’s interface, while utilitarian, is meticulously laid out and offers a clean aesthetic. It provides the flexibility of skin customization and full resizing, ensuring ease of use.
When you engage or adjust the plugin’s settings that affect your audio’s dynamics or tonal characteristics, the overall output volume might change. This change in volume can be perceived as a gain, increase, or decrease, potentially leading to an imbalance in the mix.
The plugin has a “Compensate Gain” function that automatically adjusts the output level to counteract these changes caused by the plugin’s processing.
Newfangled Audio’s Invigorate is available in AAX, AU, VST2, and VST3 plugin formats and is compatible with Windows 8 and later (64-bit only) and macOS 10.9 and later (64-bit only) (macOS 12 Monterey and M1 Apple Silicon supported) operating systems.
Now that we have discussed all the plugins let’s do a quick roundup. Suppose you’re looking for a simple plugin with easy control to process your mix/master in as few steps as possible. In that case, I suggest Sonible Pure: limit as it detects the audio and suggests genre presets and controls using its AI algorithm.
If you’re looking for a plugin only for mastering purposes, Mastering The Mix’s LIMITER is a great option, as it offers dedicated controls, meters, and presets for mastering platforms like Spotify, YouTube, etc.! Next, Brainworx bx_limiter True Peak is great for analog sound and warmth!
The UAD Fairchild Tube Limiter Collection is also great for the classic analog and vintage touch.
Pro L2 by FabFilter and SSL X-Limit are versatile and flexible and can be good options for a multi-purpose limiter. D16 Group Frontier and Limiter №6 are also very versatile among free plugins. Analog Obsession LALA and Antress Modern Amplifier are some free vintage-sounding limiters.
I hope this article was of help! Thank you for reading.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.