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Compressor VS Limiter

 
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Liviou2004
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:52 am    Post subject: Compressor VS Limiter Reply with quote

Hello,

I'm quite sure this topic has been adressed earlier but there is so much thread, I'm unable to find it.
So, here is my question :

What is the difference between Compressors and Limiters in the Kronos.
Normally, a Limiter is a compressor with an infinite ratio, beyond the threshold.
But here in the Kronos, Limiters and Compressors get quite the same parameters (threshold, ratio, attack, release, EQ, and so on)

In the parameter Guide, page 910, it is said that "It is similar to the Compressor, except that the Limiter compresses only signals that exceed the specified level to lower unnecessary peak signals". Right, but it is exactly what the Compressor does : reducing signal level beyond the threshold according to the ratio !! By the way, the Limiter graphic is exactly the same.

On another side, on the Parameter Guide, most Limiter parameters send us to page 905 and 906, which are.....Compressor Parameters.

So, do you have any idea of the difference bertween these two effects in the Kronos ?
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KK
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2021 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Liviou,

I just did a test for kicks comparing the Stereo Compressor and the Stereo Limiter and if you set all parameters the same (with the Soft Knee Width at 0 for the compressor), their effect is near identical.

So even though the main difference between more "conventional" compressors and limiters is usually that only compressors tend to make softer input sounds louder, as you mention in the Kronos it seems it is not so true depending on parameter values. My understanding of this is that the Kronos effects offer more flexibility, just like the MS-20 engine goes way beyond the original, etc.
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AntonySharmman
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: Compressor VS Limiter Reply with quote

Liviou2004 wrote:
So, do you have any idea of the difference bertween these two effects ?


Usage of limiter is strictly for reducing the gain of a signal when it passes the threshold that is set , for instance 0 db due to avoid pre-amp distortion.
We use it in case we want a higher gain of a sound in lower velocities without altering the timbre of it , up to 0 db where sound is compressed.

Compressor is acting also as a limiter at high level threshold but also amplifies the overall lgain of sound to reach 0 db depending of 2nd lower gain
threshold parameter (f.e. -20db).

Compressor (in default settings) might be useful for mastering a commercial song but lMO it will destroy acoustic instruments natural timbres dynamics
amplifying unwanted natural artifacts , therefore I always use only limiters.

Hope this helps
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Liviou2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KK wrote:
Hi Liviou,

I just did a test for kicks comparing the Stereo Compressor and the Stereo Limiter and if you set all parameters the same (with the Soft Knee Width at 0 for the compressor), their effect is near identical.

So even though the main difference between more "conventional" compressors and limiters is usually that only compressors tend to make softer input sounds louder, as you mention in the Kronos it seems it is not so true depending on parameter values. My understanding of this is that the Kronos effects offer more flexibility, just like the MS-20 engine goes way beyond the original, etc.


Thank you, KK, for this testing. That's exactly my conclusion.
I also noticed that some other effects are repetitive. For example, depending on your settings, you can use the 004 : Stereo Multiband Compressor as a Stereo Isolator (with ratio 1:1, so no compressing). So the 015 : Stereo Isolator is useless !! Even more, the Stereo Multiband Compressor is more powerfull as it works on 4 bands VS 3 bands for the Isolator.

My conclusion is that Korg has artificially increased the number of effects.
Basically, it's not a problem, of course, a little curiosity.
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Liviou2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:01 am    Post subject: Re: Compressor VS Limiter Reply with quote

AntonySharmman wrote:
Liviou2004 wrote:
So, do you have any idea of the difference bertween these two effects ?


Usage of limiter is strictly for reducing the gain of a signal when it passes the threshold that is set , for instance 0 db due to avoid pre-amp distortion.
We use it in case we want a higher gain of a sound in lower velocities without altering the timbre of it , up to 0 db where sound is compressed.

Compressor is acting also as a limiter at high level threshold but also amplifies the overall lgain of sound to reach 0 db depending of 2nd lower gain
threshold parameter (f.e. -20db).

Compressor (in default settings) might be useful for mastering a commercial song but lMO it will destroy acoustic instruments natural timbres dynamics
amplifying unwanted natural artifacts , therefore I always use only limiters.

Hope this helps


Thank you Antony for this reminder.

I would want to remind us that many studio compressors or VSTs are called Compressor/Limiter !! The same unit for 2 main functions

My topic here, is to notice that the Kronos Compressor can perform Limiter function...with the right setings, of course. You're right on this point.
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Liviou2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2021 7:17 am    Post subject: Re: Compressor VS Limiter Reply with quote

AntonySharmman wrote:
Liviou2004 wrote:
So, do you have any idea of the difference bertween these two effects ?


Usage of limiter is strictly for reducing the gain of a signal when it passes the threshold that is set , for instance 0 db due to avoid pre-amp distortion.
We use it in case we want a higher gain of a sound in lower velocities without altering the timbre of it , up to 0 db where sound is compressed.

Compressor is acting also as a limiter at high level threshold but also amplifies the overall lgain of sound to reach 0 db depending of 2nd lower gain
threshold parameter (f.e. -20db).

Compressor (in default settings) might be useful for mastering a commercial song but lMO it will destroy acoustic instruments natural timbres dynamics
amplifying unwanted natural artifacts , therefore I always use only limiters.

Hope this helps


Thank you Antony for this reminder.

I would want to remind us that many studio compressors or VSTs are called Compressor/Limiter !! The same unit for 2 main functions

My topic here, is to notice that the Kronos Compressor can perform Limiter function too...with the right setings, of course. You're right on this point.
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blazerunner
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Limiters "limit" the overall volume of a mix

Compress "compress" the signals within that mix

A limiter won't change your sound but will help you keep the signal from becoming too distorted due to the overall loudness of the mix.

Compressers will compress frequencies within your sound and change the overall texture of it depending on what range of the audio you're attempting to compress.

Sometimes people use compressors to reduce loudness on sounds and to give them a deeper more resonate sound like on the 808 for example.

But if you have a sound where you're happy with the body of the audio (lets say a singer hitting a high note) but you need to bring up the volume of that sound it in the mix but you don't want to compress it and change how the singers voice sounds, you'd use the limiter to help keep it in tact as you bump up the audio levels.

They serve different functions but they both are used to "tame" the sound output of your audio so much so that they're bundled together as "compressor/Limiter" combos'.

Or to Keep it simple...

One alters the volume.
The other alters the sound itself.

As far as its use on the Kronos goes though... to me I use it on the sequencer and I find the compressor and Limiter features on the Kronos to be very sensitive at times or not very effective at all depending on what I'm trying to mix. Sometimes I feel I get a better compression effect using the EQ parameters vs. The Compressor effect.

The age of the Kronos really shows with the sequencer.
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Stereo Compressor is technically a better limiter than the Limiter or Stereo Limiter in the Kronos in terms of catching peaks. However the Stereo Compressor has more latency than any other processor whereas the regular Limiters have no latency. The Mastering Limiter is also great for catching peaks and boosting volume but it too has latency.

The sidechain parameters are different between the Stereo Compressor and Limiter. Speaking of which the Limiter is a better sidechain ducking unit than the Stereo Compressor since it has no latency.

The time controls have different minimum and maximum values between the two units. The Stereo Compressor has a faster attack time.

Side note, the RMS and Peak labels are actually switched in the Stereo Compressor. That is, RMS mode is actually Peak and vice versa.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. For more exact details I’ll have to look at my notes.
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Liviou2004
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2021 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CharlesFerraro wrote:
The Stereo Compressor is technically a better limiter than the Limiter or Stereo Limiter in the Kronos in terms of catching peaks. However the Stereo Compressor has more latency than any other processor whereas the regular Limiters have no latency. The Mastering Limiter is also great for catching peaks and boosting volume but it too has latency.

The sidechain parameters are different between the Stereo Compressor and Limiter. Speaking of which the Limiter is a better sidechain ducking unit than the Stereo Compressor since it has no latency.

The time controls have different minimum and maximum values between the two units. The Stereo Compressor has a faster attack time.

Side note, the RMS and Peak labels are actually switched in the Stereo Compressor. That is, RMS mode is actually Peak and vice versa.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. For more exact details I’ll have to look at my notes.


Thank you Charles for these interesting observations about the Kronos effects behavior. (We all know you've performed some very accurate studies of some Kronos effects).
But I don't understand how the Stereo Compressor can be better in terms of catching peaks while it has more latency than Stereo Limiter. It seems contradictory, don't you think ?
And concerning this latency, when you check the "Look ahead" box, did you notice an improvement ?

And, did you try to use the Stereo Compresor as a Limiter ? (with infinite ratio). Except the latency you spoke about, did you get the same sound quality with the both ?
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liviou2004 wrote:

I don't understand how the Stereo Compressor can be better in terms of catching peaks while it has more latency than Stereo Limiter. It seems contradictory, don't you think ?
And concerning this latency, when you check the "Look ahead" box, did you notice an improvement ?

And, did you try to use the Stereo Compresor as a Limiter ? (with infinite ratio). Except the latency you spoke about, did you get the same sound quality with the both ?


All great questions. Latency is caused by the buffer of samples the computer looks at before it starts processing. If you increase the buffer size you add latency and the system will run smoothly and accurately. If you decrease buffer size the computer will have less latency at the cost of higher CPU usage and potential audio dropouts (clicks and pops as the audio cuts in and out). The Kronos is no different:
The rule is:
High buffer size = long latency and smooth/accurate processing
Lower buffer size = short latency/fast response but less accurate.

The look ahead function increases the buffer size of the Stereo Compressor which lets the unit process the incoming audio more accurately. With look ahead enabled you also have the most latency delay of any effect in the Kronos AFAIK. The upside is that it can catch stray peaks a lot better. Similarly if you want to catch peaks be sure to put the compressor in RMS mode (which is actually peak mode). If you want more transparent compression then use peak mode (which is actually RMS mode). Think of the backwards labeling as the button displaying the mode you want to switch TO instead of which mode the compressor is in.

The Mastering Limiter is probably the best limiter to use as a maximizer. It strikes a sweet spot between latency and function. Plus it’s easy to use. The Stereo Compressor might add too much latency at that point if you’re using multiple instances of it.
The regular limiters are more suited for side chaining and other latency-free dynamics processing. They just won’t catch peaks like the Stereo Compressor and Mastering Limiter can.
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2021 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liviou2004 wrote:
I also noticed that some other effects are repetitive. For example, depending on your settings, you can use the 004 : Stereo Multiband Compressor as a Stereo Isolator (with ratio 1:1, so no compressing). So the 015 : Stereo Isolator is useless !! Even more, the Stereo Multiband Compressor is more powerfull as it works on 4 bands VS 3 bands for the Isolator


Two differences to keep in mind between those two units. The Stereo Multiband Compressor adds a significant amount of latency delay to the incoming audio whereas the Isolator is latency-free. Also the lower number of bands means you lose less data at crossover points.
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Liviou2004
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CharlesFerraro wrote:
Liviou2004 wrote:
I also noticed that some other effects are repetitive. For example, depending on your settings, you can use the 004 : Stereo Multiband Compressor as a Stereo Isolator (with ratio 1:1, so no compressing). So the 015 : Stereo Isolator is useless !! Even more, the Stereo Multiband Compressor is more powerfull as it works on 4 bands VS 3 bands for the Isolator


Two differences to keep in mind between those two units. The Stereo Multiband Compressor adds a significant amount of latency delay to the incoming audio whereas the Isolator is latency-free. Also the lower number of bands means you lose less data at crossover points.


Thank you Charles for these very precise informations.
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