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What is a Limiter?

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asked Apr 14, 2015 in Audio Terms by AlexTinsley (902,820 points)
What exactly is a Limiter or how should I use one?

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answered Apr 14, 2015 by AlexTinsley (902,820 points)
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A limiter is defined as a processor that limits the level of a signal to the setting of the threshold. For example, if you have the threshold knob set at 0dB, and the ratio turned fully clockwise, the compressor becomes a limiter at 0dB. This means that the signal will be limited to an output of 0dB regardless of the level of the input signal.  Ratios above 10:1 are considered hard limiting.

Limiting refers to the point at which the signal is restrained from going any louder at the output. The level of input signal at which the output is reduced is determined by the compression threshold. As the compression threshold is lowered, more and more of the input signal is compressed (assuming a nominal input signal level). Care must be taken not to ‘over compress’ a signal. Too much compression destroys the acoustic dynamic response of a performance.