Universal Audio Precision Limiter

Master full mix material with this single-band limiter.

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There were a number of classic compressors and limiters already available for the UAD-1 -- the LA-2A, 1176LN and Fairchild 670, for instance. But there was no dedicated mastering limiter -- until the Precision Limiter.

Described as a single-band, look-ahead brickwall limiter, Universal Audio's Precision Limiter is designed primarily for mastering full mix material. It presents a relatively straightforward face to the world at a time when other limiters/maximisers are becoming increasingly complex. The Release can either be user-adjustable (from one second to 0.01ms) or two program-dependent Auto modes are provided, whereby occasional peaks have a faster release time than the rest of the material.

Details

Performance-wise, the Precision Limiter nails 100 per cent attack courtesy of its look-ahead capabilities (1.5ms), which ward off any threat of digital clipping. Attack and release

curves have been designed with mastering in mind to minimise aliasing. Also, notably, no upsampling is used in its operation and no filters are involved at any stage.

Totally accurate metering is crucial in a limiter, so Universal Audio have deployed mastering guru Bob Katz's K-System specification. The high-resolution meters display RMS and peak metering simultaneously, plus adjustable peak hold, with a separate meter for gain reduction.

The vividly coloured bars make it easy to tell at a glance what is happening with your audio, be it too much or too little. Plus, you can bypass the plug-in's effect and still use the meters -- a nice touch. To your liking, dial in a little more or less. Tweak the Release and Contour controls to finetune the results and it's almost impossible to make it sound bad. Even at extremes, sonic integrity is maintained. The results are as transparent as you'd like them to be: songs simply come out 'one louder'.

Conclusion

One of the principle strengths -- and thus attractions -- of the Precision Limiter is that it preserves a wide frequency spectrum superbly across an entire mix. Some limiters appear to attenuate the bass to allow for greater loudness, but at the expense of the overall dynamic range. Ultimately, which is more important to you -- volume or dynamics?

The Precision Limiter is an excellent tool. It's not necessarily the ultimate weapon in the ongoing loudness wars, but for $199 you get an absolutely excellent plug-in for the end of your mastering chain. You're guaranteed stellar results, and at a price that simply blows the competition away.

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

Deals with sonic extremes superbly. Perfected attack effects. Well-priced plugin.

Cons

Not quite the ultimate loudness weapon. Limited dynamic range.

Verdict

UAD proves a software limiter really can be good at this price.

Additional Information

also included in Ultra-PAK bundle at 999USD

Additional Requirements

Mac: 800MHz, AU, VST, MAS, RTAS, HTDM or AudioSuite-compatible host. PC: VST host

OS Requirements

Apple Mac OS X 10.1.2 or later Microsoft Windows 2000 Microsoft Windows 98 SE Microsoft Windows XP

Platform

MacOS/Windows

Plug-in FX Type

Compressor/Limiter

Processor Type Required

Power Mac G4 or higher

Ram Required (MB)

512

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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