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  • Writer's picturehorizonsoundstaff

Introduced sonible smart:limit.

Austrian developer sonible, known for its sophisticated features and design, has released the latest installment of its smart series [smart:limit], which uses AI.

There have been a number of AI-based mastering limiters, including cloud-based ones such as iZotope's Ozone, but this plug-in seems to be sonible's answer to those.

It gives the impression of limiting as clear as or clearer than the A.O.M Invisible Limiter, but when the saturation is set to zero, the sound quality is clear and to my liking. Of course, you can adjust the amount of saturation added. It also has a low frequency enhancer to control the texture of the bass. Rather than oversampling and adjusting the volume with A.O.M Invisible Limiter, I prefer to use smart:limit, which is easier to use and less CPU-intensive.

The design philosophy seems to focus on dynamics. Loudness normalization (LN) has become the norm in today's mastering environment. It's more of a design philosophy than a specification. A two-dimensional matrix with loudness on the vertical axis and dynamics on the horizontal axis is used to map the status of the song being played back. If the crosshairs are in the green area, it tells you that everything is fine. This is very easy to understand and will be advantageous for the sound quality in the final mastering process.

The main feature is the AI function that advises you on the settings. It will advise you according to various loudness standards. This allows you to adapt to distribution and broadcasting standards without losing dynamics.

Quick Tutorial

When you play an audio file and start learning, the AI will analyze the song and suggest the settings it thinks are best. After that, you can adjust the parameters until you get the sound quality you like. The simple usage of each parameter is as follows.

Working with the limiter controls

  • Limit line: A kind of ceiling. If there is nothing special, leave it at -1.0dB.

  • Gain line: Controls the gain input. If you raise it too much, you will lose dynamics, so check the meter and adjust it accordingly.

  • Attack/Release: Attack and release, press A for auto release.

  • Constant gain: This function allows you to keep the level the same before and after processing. You can compare them without gain-up bias.

  • Delta: Allows you to listen to the signal components removed by the limiter processing.

Sound Shaping Tools

  • Style: Allows you to adjust the limiter style (engine) to match the content.

  • Saturation: This was popular at one time in Rydness War. It can be applied lightly to add warmth.

  • Balance: A function that adjusts the spectral balance.

  • Bass Control: Emphasizes or tightens the bass.

I don't like to use limiters as they spoil the dynamics unless I need them for sound creation. However, this is a great meter and easy to check the dynamics, so it will be very useful. (However, I still get a good response from customers when I use the limiter to increase the sound pressure.)

If I had wanted it to have a dither function, it would have been perfect.

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