Some months ago the Polish audio wizards Bettermaker sent us a digitally controlled analog Mastering Limiter of their own design. Everyone at mix:analog is very impressed by the sound and the features! But that goes without saying for any Bettermaker product.
With the integration and testing now behind us, we are proud to bring it to our esteemed users of mix:analog! As we are sure you know, mix:analog has been created to bring the best audio processing tools into the home of every producer, engineer and songwriter.
We do not use emulation but use real hardware units that we put online with our custom technology. The audio passes through real gear in real time and you stream the result back to your computer for monitoring or making bounces.
Bonus points if they are digitally controlled analog, which we believe is the future! And Bettermaker only make such products.
What is it?
What we have here is a mastering-grade all-analog brick wall limiter with tools to handle stereo width, plus additional clipping and colouring sections.
Great care and thought went into the development and implementation of its analog section. High quality capacitors and low noise op-amps are used in the analog path. Relays were used, whenever creating the shortest path for the audio signal was necessary.
The analog section consist of high quality input/output buffers capable of passing thru high level audio signals (up to +23dBu, balanced, THD < 0.1%)
All these modules are controlled by the digital section of the Mastering Limiter, so no mechanical switches or knobs are required to adjust any of the parameters.
Give me the Bettermaker!
In order to use the Bettermaker Limiter, you need a mix:analog profile. You can simply create one here with a Facebook, Google or any email address.
After logging in, you can upload your files to the mix:analog cloud and reserve a session. Eventually you will arrive to a screen like this:
The most interesting part of the screen is of course the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter, its controls are outlined in the image below:
In order to change a parameter, simply click and drag with your mouse. Save and recall settings, upload your own files and download the results. Think of the possibilities!
To change the audio level before the limiting, colouring or clipping circuits are applied, use the INPUT knob. This changes the level inside the limiter using an analog gain / attenuation circuit. You can monitor this level by clicking to label above the peak level meter until it reads INPUT LEVEL.
You can also influence this level digitally (before the D/A converter) adjust the OUTPUT LEVEL (send) on the Distopik IO unit.
Are you looking for smooth overtones of even harmonics or the aggressive bite of even harmonics to add to the master? The Bettermaker Mastering Limiter can give you both.
Before the Limiting circuit, there are two independent Colouring circuits that bandpass the signal around a chosen frequency, apply harmonic enhancement and mix that back in. You can use the FREQ controls to set the corner frequency of the filters, the DRIVE % controls to overdrive the signal with a specific type of harmonics and AMOUNT % to mix the result back in with the input.
The Mastering Limiter is a stereo (L-R) device, but it can also work as a Mid / Side (M-S) device. To enter this mode, use M/S enable button. You can then use the WIDTH control to correct for the amount of signal each VCA will see and as a result what kind of stereo image you will get as a result.
The Bettermaker Mastering Limiter is a fixed threshold type limiter. It means that applying more signal to the input results in more VCA compression (and clipping). The thresholds of the VCA limiter and clipping circuit are set approx. 3dB apart, so the VCA limiting takes place first. Any transients that pass thru the VCA stage (due to limited attack time of the VCA type limiter) will be “caught” by the clipping circuit.
The Attack and Release times can be set using the ATTACK and RELEASE settings while the IREL toggles an "intelligent release" setting that adjusts release times intelligently based on program material you feed it. It is worth noting that the attack time cannot be adjusted when the CLIPPITER circuit is engaged.
With the "Clippiter" circuit inside the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter, you can control the ratio between VCA Limiting and hard clipping. If the CLIPPER setting is enabled, the ATTACK parameter is replaced by the CLIPPITER % parameter.
The CLIPPITER % value is simply the ratio between the VCA limiting and signal clipping. In fact, you are still adjusting the attack time of the VCA limiter – set longer attack time (higher ratio) and more transients will be passed to the clipping circuit; set shorter time (lower ratio) and the VCA will do most of the job.
If you set the CLIPPITER % value to 100% the VCA limiter circuit will shut off completely and the Mastering Limiter will start to reduce the signal amplitude only by using the clipper circuit. The amount of clipping can still be adjusted with the INPUT knob the same as with the limiter circuit.
You can listen to the playlist below to get a general feeling, or download the HR WAVs down below for more critical listening. In any case, the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter sounds GREAT and we are very happy to give you FREE access to it on mix:analog.
High Resolution WAVs:
- McLovins - Building It Up (Without Processing) (WAV 60MB)
- McLovins - Building It Up (With Distopik Gold Can VCA) (WAV 60MB)
- McLovins - Building It Up (VCA Followed by Bettermaker Mastering Limiter L-R mode (WAV 60MB)
- McLovins - Building It Up (VCA Followed by Bettermaker Mastering Limiter M-S mode (WAV 60MB)