Saturday, July 29, 2006

How does a limiter work and who am I?


You are a MUSICIAN, and a recording one at that. So, you have a limiter and you want to know how it works.

First, what is a limiter? A limiter limits; it essentially reduces the amount of gain, or level coming into the device, and keeps that sound at a determined level set by the user of the device.

To put it simply it limits audio peaks that would otherwise cause distortion in the audio chain.

A limiter is also the same thing as a compressor, except that in the compression mode, the limiter is used to squash the overall signal, not just catch and reduce peaks.

The result is that you hear sounds that you wouldn't have before and it brings down loud offensive levels, smoothing out the track or live sound and giving it a more "polished" sound.

A basic limiter consists of input control, a threshold control, and a gain reduction control. The threshold is set by the engineer, and determines the point at which the limiter/compressor does its gain reduction.

The gain reduction control is typically expressed in terms of a ratio. For example, a 3:1 setting would mean that for every 3 db of level over the threshold, the limiter will only output 1 db.

Musical Tidbits

In other news, Sting, formerly known as Sting, published his memoir, Broken Music, in Estonia this last week. On Friday at 2pm, he will meet fans & sign copies of the book before his concert at the Saku Arena - featuring a new energetic and stripped down rock show from the Broken Music Tour.

The concert will feature music spanning the course of his career. The opening act for the evening and the special guest of the show is Sting's son Joe Sumner with his band Fiction Plane.

"I am delighted by the recent publication of "Broken Music". It has been 5 years since I've played Estonia and I look forward to meeting fans and performing there again," says Sting.

In the words of concert producer Peeter Rebane this is the first time in his 11 years and 400 show experience when a top world artist meets people in person and gives autographs signing books.

So there you have it, limiters, Sting, gear and fab-u-loso advice. Use it wisely.


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