FREE LIMITER VST PLUGINS
Limiter no. 6 by Vladg. (Windows and Mac)
Limiter no. 6 is a free VST mastering grade limiter of very high quality created by Vladg. I have tested it up against several other limiters – free and commercial – and it delivers very convincing and satisfying results.
Limiter no. 6 has five sections that can be switched in or out as you wish to suit your needs in the situation at hand.
The first section is a RMS compressor that gives you the choice of working in stereo or mid / side mode.
Section two is a peak limiter and again you have the choice between several modes: multiband, mid / side, soft , or brickwall limiting. On top of this the peak limiter can work in different speeds and you can chose from several types of peak limiting.
Section three is a high frequency limiter and section four is a clipper that can work either in multiband, mid / side or normal mode.
Last Limiter no. 6 has an output section where you can set your ceiling and chose between intersample peak limiting or digital clipping.
Limiter no. 6 can be tweaked in many different ways. It may take some time and experimenting to fully understand the way it works and the many possibilities it offers. But it is worth the effort.
If you simply need a brickwall limiter then try to engage only the peak limiter section and the output section with intersample peak control enabled. It is a very transparent brickwall limiter and as mentioned above one of the best I have come across. I highly recommed Limiter no. 6.
Loudmax by Thomas Mundt (Windows and Mac)
Loudmax by Thomas Mundt is another good free VST limiter. It is very simple to operate and works in a transparent and musical way. If you need an easy to adjust limiter Loudmax is a good choice. You simply set your output ceiling and then tweak the threshold to get the amount of gain reduction you aim for. You will see the gain reduction on the gain reduction meter on the right side of the plugin.
Loudmax can be used as a brickwall limiter but be aware that it does not have intersample peak limiting. However, you could easily combine it with another limiter that has intersample peak limiting – for instance Limiter No. 6 or JB Barricade Pro (see below). If you do so you would have to put the Loudmax before the intersample peak limiter. Since Lodmax sounds very good this could be a good solution.
JB Barricade Pro by Jeroen Breebart (Windows only)
JB Barricade Pro by Jeroen Breebart is a very versatile free VST limiter. Like Limiter No. 6 it gives you several options in one plugin. First of all it has classic peak limiting (the envelope limiting section) for classic brickwall limitng. This section of the plugin also has a hysterisis knob and by tweaking this knob you can make the plugin calculate and ”remember” what to expect from the particular audio material you are working with and it will adjust the peak limiting according to that. In other words this feature makes the plugin work in an intelligent way on the audio material.
JB Barricade Pro also has an RMS limiting section which targets the average volume instead of the peaks. To control the side signal it is a side gain limiter that limits only the side signal (and not the mid part of the audio signal in stereo material). This can come in handy since limiting and compression can bring out the reverb and room sound of a mix and since most of that is found in the side signal you are able to attenuate just that with the side gain limiter.
To top it all JB Barricade Pro gives you the option of soft clipping the audio material for a warmer (more analog) clipping effect (that also introduces more artifacts / saturation / distortion) and finally an intersample peak limiter (switched in by the ISP knob).
The metering gives you all the information you need and you can even choose between different metering scales.
JB Barricade Pro is a very good free VST limiter indeed. It can be a good choice if you need a transparent brickwall limiter with the extra security of intersample peak detection (to avoid intersample overshoots).