Stealth Limiter best practices?

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Stealth Limiter best practices?

Postby carlaz » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:25 pm

This may be a question that betrays my ignorance, but please bear with me … :mrgreen:

I use Stealth Limiter as the final limiter on demo tracks, just to provide some pseudo-mastering that brings up the levels for in-car listening. I’m fairly safe and conservative with my gain-staging throughout my mixes, so even my stereo/mix-bus (ahead of Stealth Limiter) is at fairly low levels, down around -18 dBFS. So, when it hits Stealth Limiter, there’s little gain reduction unless I really crank the input control on Stealth Limiter up to around +10 dab (or more).

So I guess my question is: would it be better to gain the signal up in front of Stealth Limiter (for lower settings on its input) or is this really just the same as using the input control in Stealth Limiter (since I can get the same amount of gain reduction, either way), and it's just that I have uncharacteristically game mix-bus levels? :lol:
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Re: Stealth Limiter best practices?

Postby jggrant » Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:23 am

Hi carlaz. I'm not an engineer, I'm not sure about your specific question. But one thing that I like to do on the master buss when finishing off a mix, is to use multiple compressors/limiters in the chain, and use each of them very sparingly. They'll each contribute a little bit of their own magic, hopefully, and if you need to bring the gain up, you can do it gradually through the chain. I like White 2A, Bus Compressor, and model 670, for example.

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Re: Stealth Limiter best practices?

Postby garfy » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:01 pm

Hey carlaz

carlaz wrote:or is this really just the same as using the input control in Stealth Limiter


^^^This :D

Turning up the input control on the Stealth does the same job as if you increased the output from whatever you have previous to it in the mastering chain.
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Re: Stealth Limiter best practices?

Postby carlaz » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:49 pm

garfy wrote:
carlaz wrote:or is this really just the same as using the input control in Stealth Limiter

^^^This :D
Turning up the input control on the Stealth does the same job as if you increased the output from whatever you have previous to it in the mastering chain.

OK, that's kind of what I figured. :D I guess I just have unusually conservative gain-staging in my mixes! :geek:

That said, I also agree with John's suggestion:
jggrant wrote:use multiple compressors/limiters in the chain, and use each of them very sparingly

Yes, my usual mix-bus chain has the Precision Compressor/Limiter (i.e. Neve 33609) and the Vintage Tube Compressor/Limiter model 670 (i.e. Fairchild 670) on it, both just barely registering any gain reduction. They probably provide "color" as much as they provide some subtle "glue". (I know most people probably go for SSL-style compression in the mix-bus, though I usually prefer the Neve-style as per the TRackS Precision Compressor/Limiter unless I'm going for something with a more '80s vibe. I don't actually have IK's take on the SSL -- the imaginatively named Bus Compressor :lol: -- but I'll probably pick it up in some future group-buy deal, if I can.)

I have the Stealth at the end of the mix-bus chain as the final limiter, so that I can decide just how loud I want things to be at that point. :lol: Since, as noted, my mix-bus is perhaps relatively "quiet", I do have to crank the Stealth's input quite a bit, but I would seldom crush things by more than about 4 dB or so, even at that point. There is usually plenty of compression happening in small stages earlier in the mix!
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Re: Stealth Limiter best practices?

Postby Peter_IK » Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:55 pm

I would increase level before Stealth Limiter (if you're interested in mixes louder than your current levels), leave it last in the chain and let it do its job only when necessary (to keep your peak level at whatever you prefer). Also, make sure you let it do its job with regard to inter-sample peak limiting.
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Re: Stealth Limiter best practices?

Postby carlaz » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:09 pm

Hmmm, so ... gaining up the signal in another plugin before Stealth would actually be better/different than gaining up via the input control within Stealth?
Last edited by carlaz on Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stealth Limiter best practices?

Postby garfy » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:18 pm

Hmmm (as well)...I couldn't make out any discernible difference, apart from a psychosomatic fear of having the input level that high up :lol:

@Peter_IK - why the suggestion to increase level into the plugin? Is there a difference sound wise?
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