Want To Go To 11? You’re In the Right Place
In the 20s to the 30s, technology for audio remained a bit troublesome because you needed to use rare transistors that are often broken when overloaded.
But with today’s technology, it’s almost nearly impossible to overload an audio system without destroying your ears (or your neighbor’s ears). Today’s technology also allows audio engineers to push the sounds as loud as possible through the use of limiters.
Waves’ L3 is based on the hardware of L2 and the usefulness of both L1 and L2 both as limiters.
While both function effectively for any kind of situation, L3 has more flexibility.
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The signal from the source track is divided into five frequency bands. It is a multi-band dynamics processor after all.
You see linear-phase crossovers that allow you to split frequencies. Once you perform limiting, you’ll see peak detection and attenuation use the sum of the Threshold value and distributes the value throughout the five frequency bands.
In theory, every band attenuated the most has the most energy, but you could always redirect the L3’s concentration of gain reduction to frequency bands that may hide the high energy. This allows you to go get that volume up to 11.
While it does this, astoundingly it does not kill much of the dynamics of the source. There’s no coloration and no trouble at all.
The L3 comes as the Ultramaximizer, which looks like a traditional limiter that looks just like the L1 and L2. The MultiMaximizer allows you to have a set of controls for each of the five frequency bands with some master release characteristics thrown in for some fun.
While it may look confusing seeing the large number of parameters on display and setting such as Priority and Separation becoming a bit of a head-scratcher, you could learn as you go fairly quickly in just one session.
The crossover frequency visuals also serve as useful visual representations of how your audio is working as you go along your mix.
The Priority function is something that made me drool when I learned to use it effectively.
It allows you to shape the psychoacoustic element of the process. Increase the Priority on a band above zero, you direct the L3 to prioritize the importance of that band and then add a generous proportion of gain reduction to the other bands and less with that band.
Negative values allows the L3 to dump all that band’s content everywhere else. The gain bands allow me to bypass an equalizer to save some CPU load in the process.
Separation allows you to use the Peak Level Metering algorithm used by waves to have MultiMaximizer operate as a mutli-band device or you want to hear some crossovers from other frequencies to create a unified sound.
With more transparency for transients comes lower release settings. Functioning like a multi-band compressor, you could use certain settings to use aggressive to light settings depending on the genre and energy you need for a song.
So What More Can I Say
It’s like Waves answered every mastering engineer’s needs. The L3 is something that everyone should watch out for definitely because of advanced algorithms that guarantee great transparency while bringing your sound to an uncoloured 11 indeed!
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