The Limiter vs the
compressor, who's cleaner?
Limiters act a little differently than compressors. Instead
of working with the whole signal and compressing some of it, they
limit the amount of signal passing through and discard the sound
that's too loud.
This can be handy for mastering purposes, when you
want to raise the overall volume of a track, but can also be useful
Let me elaborate. The main difference is that when a compressor pushes down a sound that goes
over the threshold and compresses it, a limiter would completely cut it
Using limiting instead of compression can be beneficial in
some cases, and does sound different as the sound bites below will
demonstrate. You can turn your compressor into a limiter by putting the
ratio to its highest value, or at least a higher value than 10:1. By
having such a high value, any sound that reaches the threshold is
completely squashed down. The threshold therefore acts as the limit of
the sound signal and limits the signal from going any further.
But it doesn't sound exactly the same. Listen to a snare
sample that has been treated with limiting on one hand and compression
with a high ratio on the other. Listen to the following snare sample
that has been treated with high ratio compression and then limiting.
Here is the untreated snare sound.