Analog Limiting In-The-Box
There are an abundance of excellent digital limiters out there but sometimes you want something that just feels a little more old school. The following are a couple of my personal recommendations for plugins that provide a bit of that analog flavour to buses, groups or whatever you throw at them.
This limiter comes as part of the Creative Extensions pack made available to all Ableton Live 10 users shortly after launch and has the same excellent build quality and sonics as the native Ableton effects. This limiter provides a distinctively distorted and larger-than-life character when pushed but can also be used as a more subtle peak limiter. As the range of the meter would suggest I believe this limiter is best used for creative effects and excels at this task.
This limiter provides a few more precise controls, including a built in soft clipper that makes it well suited to characterful bus or group limiting. The ability to control the input sidechain can create some interesting effects and the variable release definitely helps maintain a more analog-like limiting behaviour.
Limiter No.6 has had an interesting development history. Currently there are two versions available; the original release which is freely available and the version published by Tokyo Dawn Labs that provides a number of extra features for a very reasonable price. More than a single limiter this plugin chains a number of powerful tools in series providing very precise control over final sound, allowing both characterful and transparent final limiting.
Not exactly a limiter or clipper but none the less an excellent tape saturation emulation that is perfect for creating that classic overdriven tape sound when desired. Simply push the input and you can add colourful distortion and soft clipping to drums or mixes. With plenty of controls and extra features this is often my go to tape saturation tool.
An excellent compressor from API and Waves. This particular emulation can perform as a robust clipper when overdriven with analog mode enabled. Excellent for squeezing that extra bit of headroom before a final limiter or adding a bit of extra saturation or edge to drums or vocals in addition to its excellent versatility as a VCA compressor.