The audio world doesn’t really need another limiter plugin, but if one comes along that’s more versatile than most others, then I say bring it on. That’s the case with the new X-Limit, another in the X-series of SSL plugins, which has uses beyond the master mix buss.
SSL says that X-Limit is designed to be used on tracks, buses, and mixes thanks to its choice of four limiter styles: Transparent, Glue, Punch, and Auto. These are selected at the very top of the plugin.
Transparent is meant to keep the tonal color to a minimum and stay true to the original sound. Glue is tailored to buss and group processing but can also be used on individual stems and tracks. Punch introduces pumping and flavor, but with as little distortion as possible, and is used to add weight to tracks and busses. Finally, Auto automatically adjusts the attack of the limiter based on the transient content of the signal.
As expected, X-Limit also has the normal Gain, Threshold, and Ceiling controls, along with an adjustable release time and Auto Release feature. There’s also a True Peak mode for limiting inter-sample peaks, as well as Lookahead processing, which is now an essential feature in any digital limiter. A Gain Lock feature keeps the applied gain in place to quickly demo different presets and styles on your source material.
Ducking And Steering
The plugin also has a couple of unique features that help keep a stereo image from drifting when limiting is added unevenly to one side. First of all, the Channel Link control blends between stereo or independent left/right limiting. When the Channel Link is set to more than 0%, then when one channel in a stereo signal exceeds the threshold, both channels are limited – including the quieter signal, which gets limited unnecessarily.
The Ducking meter indicates the extent to which the quieter signal is being limited when it doesn’t need to be so you know to reduce the amount of Channel Link. However, this means that each side of the signal will be limited more independently, and will effect the stereo image of your signal. When that happens, the Steering meter illustrates the direction that the signal is being steered in as a result of the stereo channels being limited independently.
One of the best parts of the processor is the All-in-One Waveform Visualizer that allows you to see how the limiter is working on the signal, coupled with Gain Reduction and Ceiling meters. Threshold and Ceiling sliders let you easily set parameters against the incoming signal level.
X-Limit runs on MacOS 10.15 or higher (including native support for Apple Silicon processors) and Windows 10 or higher (64 bit). It’s available in AU, VST2, VST3, and AAX formats, but you’ll need a iLok account or dongle for authorization. The price is $99.
Find out more info here, or watch the video below.