A precise peak limiter is an essential tool for every mastering or mixing engineer, but choosing the right limiter plugin for the mastering chain can be a difficult challenge. Using a low-quality limiter can ruin the mix. Therefore it’s always better to aim at some high-quality instance out there. One of those is the Pro-L by FabFilter.
Discover FabFilter Pro-L
FabFilter Pro-L features precise true peak level meters and extensive loudness metering with support for the most up-to-date metering standards. Combined with its unique real-time level display, you have all the information you need to reach the best possible results. With highly advanced algorithms, linear-phase oversampling, professional dithering and noise shaping intelligent channel linking, FabFilter Pro-L is the complete solution for every mixing and mastering job.
Of course, you also get all the usual FabFilter goodies: perfectly tuned knobs, MIDI Learn, Smart Parameter Interpolation for smooth parameter transitions, an excellent help file with interactive help hints, SSE optimization, GPU-powered graphics acceleration and much more.
As said above, in the next tutorial, I will guide you thru the Pro-L interface. What’s more, I’ll use it on the mastering chain of the track I recently have done to show you the difference and transparency in the quality of the amplified output it produces.
Once we first open the interface, we can see a compact design of it. On the top, you can see the section with presets, undo and redo arrow icons, A/B switch, and the help tab. A/B switch is pretty useful when you want to compare two different limiter settings. You can jump from one to another fast and spot the difference.
The larger portion of the interface is taken by a visual representation of the actual limiting being applied. The grey waveform represents the signal before limiting and the red one the limited signal.
On the left side, we can see a master gain fader which applies the limiting amount in dB. On the right side, we can see an output meter and just beside (marked in red) the meter for the amount of limiting applied.
It is possible to engage or disengage the meters and the visualizer by clicking on the small icons on the lower right of the interface. Just below those we have the meter scale button which sets the resolution of the main level meters and the level display. Furthermore, you can choose between the normal modes and three different K modes. Finally, there is an ISP (stands for Show Inter-Sample Peaks), which enables inter-sample peak detection in the meters.
The Advanced tab, when clicked, takes us to another part of the interface. Here you can choose the style of the limiter behavior. There are options for Transparent, Dynamic, Punchy or AllRound styles. Also, you can adjust Lock-Ahead, Attack, Release and Channel Linking.
In the very bottom of the interface, we can see a MIDI learn button which you can use to associate any parameters to your MIDI controller. Besides that, we have an Oversampling button, which can increase the precision of the processing, Dither, and Main Out.
It is an excellent piece of audio software which I encourage you to use. Now let’s hear sequence I have done in SoundBridge: DAW before and after applying the limiting with Pro-L by FabFilter.
~ Sequence – Without Pro-L
~ Sequence – With Pro-L