How to Set a Final Limiter for Mastering
In this tutorial learm all about setting the final limiter – which is probably your last step.
This is about how to use a limiter mastering, which is probably the last step in final mixing. The key to setting a limiter is constant gained monitoring. What that means is however much is being input into the limiter, the same amount is being attenuated on the output for monitoring purposes, and this will give us a more honest perspective of what the limiter is actually doing to the sound.
We will use the Fab Filter Pro L. There are two little controls; the gain and the output. These controls are going to be the two most important controls that we work with, and that is true of any limiter. There is nothing more important than the amount of limiting being done and how we monitor it. Everything else that we do down the line is going to be used to fine tune.
How to use a limiter mastering starts with playing the record then figuring out how much room we have until we hit the absolute peaks. Play the record from the loudest part of the overall song because that is where the limiters are going to start working the hardest. Once you hit absolute peak volume, we are going to go a little bit further past that point and find the point of distortion, then start backing it off (turning up the gain and turning down the output). You will hear the signal hitting the limiter without changing the volume. Adjust as necessary until it sounds right.
You will need to know how to use a limiter mastering in order to fine tune aspects of sounds. Not all limiters are built this way. For a lot of limiters, you will set it, find the level where it sounds best (no pumping or distortion) and you leave it. But, we have a couple of other little tools in the Fab Filter Pro L. We have an advanced section, which has style setting, look-ahead, attack, and release. These are all tools that can optimize the sound.
How to use a limiter mastering for optimization starts with minimal distortion, minimal pumping, and the most natural articulation on the transients. Start with inputting the transients first because that is usually the most distinct part. The other things that matter are the attack and release. Dynamic better preserves the sound for most sounds. The look-ahead function is a little function, so if it is turned too short or too long the transient will disappear. Set the default and you can go between the new settings (what we just came up with) and the default setting.