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Update: 2022-08-08

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BasicLimiter

BasicLimiter is a basic single band limiter. The sound is nothing new, but the design of true peak mode is a bit luxurious.

An extended version BasicLimiterAutoMake is also available. Added features are automatic make up gain, sidechain, and switching between left-right (L-R) and mid-side (M-S). Note that CPU load is over 1.5 times heavier than BasicLimiter.

The package includes following builds:

Linux build is built on Ubuntu 20.04. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu 20.04, plugin will not likely to run. In this case, please take a look at build instruction.

Contact

Feel free to contact me on GitHub repository or ryukau@gmail.com.

You can fund the development through paypal.me/ryukau. Current goal is to purchase M1 mac for better macOS support. 💸💻

Installation

Plugin

Place *.vst3 directory to:

DAW may provides additional VST3 directory. For more information, please refer to the manual of the DAW.

Presets

Extract preset zip, then place preset directory to the OS specific path:

Preset directory name must be the same as the plugin. Make Uhhyou directory if it does not exist.

Windows Specific

If DAW doesn’t recognize the plugin, try installing C++ redistributable (vc_redist.x64.exe). Installer can be found in the link below.

Linux Specific

On Ubuntu 18.0.4, those packages are required.

sudo apt install libxcb-cursor0  libxkbcommon-x11-0

If DAW doesn’t recognize the plugin, take a look at Package Requirements section of the link below and make sure all the VST3 related package is installed.

REAPER on Linux may not recognize the plugin. A workaround is to delete a file ~/.config/REAPER/reaper-vstplugins64.ini and restart REAPER.

macOS Specific

When trying to run plugin first time, following message may appear on macOS.

<PluginName>.vst3 is damaged and can't be opened. You should move it to
the Trash"

In this case, open terminal and try running following command to unzipped .vst3 directory.

xattr -rc /path/to/PluginName.vst3

Plugin may be considered as unsigned/un-notarized application. In this case, try following the steps below.

  1. Open terminal and run sudo spctl --master-disable.
  2. Go to System Preferences → Security and Privacy → General → Allow apps downloaded from, then select “Anywhere”.

Beware that steps above degrades security of your system. To revert the settings, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to System Preferences → Security and Privacy → General → Allow apps downloaded from, then select option to “App Store and identified developers”.
  2. Open terminal and run sudo spctl --master-enable.

Reference

GUI Style Configuration

At first time, create color config file to:

style.json will be loaded for each time a plugin window opens.

Several color themes are available on the link below.

Below is a example of style.json.

{
  "fontFamily": "Tinos",
  "fontBold": true,
  "fontItalic": true,
  "foreground": "#000000",
  "foregroundButtonOn": "#000000",
  "foregroundInactive": "#8a8a8a",
  "background": "#ffffff",
  "boxBackground": "#ffffff",
  "border": "#000000",
  "borderCheckbox": "#000000",
  "borderLabel": "#000000",
  "unfocused": "#dddddd",
  "highlightMain": "#0ba4f1",
  "highlightAccent": "#13c136",
  "highlightButton": "#fcc04f",
  "highlightWarning": "#fc8080",
  "overlay": "#00000088",
  "overlayHighlight": "#00ff0033"
}

Font Options

Following is a list of font options.

To use custom font, place *.ttf file into custom font path: *.vst3/Contents/Resources/Fonts.

Notice: If the combination of fontFamily, fontBold, fontItalic is not exists in custom font path, default font of VSTGUI is used.

If fontFamily is set to empty string "", then "Tinos" is used as fallback. If the length is greater than 1 and the font family name doesn’t exists, default font of VSTGUI is used.

Styles other than bold, italic or bold-italic are not supported by VSTGUI. For example, “Thin”, “Light”, “Medium”, and “Black” weights cannot be used.

Color Options

Hex color codes are used.

First letter # is conventional. Plugins ignore the first letter of color code, thus ?102938, \n11335577 are valid.

Do not use characters outside of 0-9a-f for color value.

Following is a list of color options. If an option is missing, default color will be used.

Controls

Right Click on the controls pops up a context menu provided by DAW.

Knob and slider can do:

Caution

The algorithm used in BasicLimiter causes over-limiting when input amplitude is extremely high. When over-limiting happens, higher input amplitude turns into lower output amplitude. This problems is expected to happen when input amplitude exceeds 2^53, or +319 dB.

Block Diagram

If the image is small, use Ctrl + Mouse Wheel or “View Image” on right click menu to scale.

Diagram only shows overview. It’s not exact implementation.

Parameters

Threshold [dB]

Threshold of limiter output amplitude.

When True Peak is off, output amplitude is limited under Threshold.

When True Peak is on, output amplitude might exceeds Threshold. This is due to the limitation of real-time algorithm.

Gate [dB]

Threshold of gate. When input amplitude is less than the value of Gate for the duration of Attack, output amplitude becomes 0.

Attack [s]

Transition time of smoothing filter which applies to internal envelope. The value of Attack also adds to the latency.

For the sound with sharp transitions like drums, recommend to set Attack under 0.02 seconds. This value, 0.02 seconds, is based on a psychoacoustic effect called temporal masking.

Release [s]

Smoothness to reset internal envelope to neutral position.

Internally, the inverse value of Release is used as cutoff frequency. This means that the value of Release is not exact. Because of temporal masking, setting the sum of Release and Sustain under 0.2 seconds is recommended.

Sustain [s]

Additional peak hold time for the internal envelope.

Sustain causes more ducking when applied to sounds like drums. For sounds like distorted guitar or sustaining synthesizer, Sustain might sound cleaner than Release, because it works similar to auto-gain. Note that when sustain is longer, it deviates from the curve of temporal masking.

Stereo Link

When Stereo Link is set to 0.0, limiter for each channel works independently. When set to 1.0, maximum of all the input amplitude is used for both limiter. Following snippet shows the calculation of Stereo Link

absL = fabs(leftInput).
absR = fabs(rightInput).

absMax = max(absL, absR).

amplitudeL = absL + stereoLink * (absMax - absL).
amplitudeR = absR + stereoLink * (absMax - absR).

When Stereo Link is set to 0.0, and input amplitude is leaned to left or right, it may sounds like the pan is wobbling. To reduce wobbling, set the value to 0.0, then gradually increase the value to 1.0. Stop increasing the value when pan wobbling becomes inaudible.

True Peak

Enables true peak mode when checked.

While true peak mode is enabled, lowpass filter is applied to remove the components near nyquist frequency. This lowpass filter is designed to only change the gain over 18000 Hz when sampling rate is 48000 Hz.

Sample peak might exceeds Threshold. Especially when sample peak exceeds 0 dB, the value of Overshoot becomes greater than 0. Lower Threshold in this case.

True peak restoration at nyquist frequency requires infinite length FIR filter (sinc interpolation). Therefore, it’s impossible to compute in real time. This is the reason that lowpass is applied, and true peak mode overshoots.

Reset Overshoot

Resets Overshoot to 0 when clicked.

When output sample peak exceeds 0 dB, the value of Overshoots changes to greater than 0, and Reset Overshoot will be lit.

BasicLimiterAutoMake Specific Parameters

Auto Make Up

Enable automatic make up gain when checked.

When Auto Make Up is enabled, output amplitude become lower when Threshold is greater than Auto Make Up Target Gain.

When Auto Make Up is enabled, and Threshold is increasing, overshoot may occur. Recommend to set the target gain to -0.1 dB (default) or lower in this case.

If Threshold needs to be changed when input signal is hot, insert another limiter for safe guard.

Auto Make Up Target Gain

Maximum amplitude after automatic make up gain is applied. This is a control placed on the right side of Auto Make Up. Unit is decibel.

When Channel Type is set to M-S, maximum amplitude is +6 dB of Auto Make Up Target Gain.

Sidechain

When checked, enables sidechain and disables Auto Make Up.

Auto Make Up is disabled because source amplitude is not affected by Threshold while sidechain is activated.

BasicLimiterAutoMake has 2 stereo input. No. 1 is source, and No. 2 is sidechain. For routing, refer to your DAW manual.

Channel Type

Switch the type of stereo channel between left-right (L-R) and mid-side (M-S).

When the type is M-S, sample peak becomes 2 * Threshold, or +6.02 dB over Threshold. Therefore, when using Auto Make Up with M-S, it is recommended to set Auto Make Up Target Gain to -6.1 dB or lower. This behavior aims to provide the same loudness when comparing L-R and M-S.

Change Log

BasicLimiter

BasicLimiterAutoMake

Old Versions

BasicLimiter

BasicLimiterAutoMake

License

BasicLimiter is licensed under GPLv3. Complete licenses are linked below.

If the link above doesn’t work, please send email to ryukau@gmail.com.

About VST

VST is a trademark of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH, registered in Europe and other countries.