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Bettermaker Mastering Limiter

Digitally Controlled Analogue Limiter
Published December 2017
By Hugh Robjohns

BettermakerMastering Limiter

With its DAW integration, colour touchscreen and harmonic generator, Bettermaker’s latest processor is much more than just a limiter.

Despite the amazing technology now available to pro-audio manufacturers, I frequently find myself disappointed at the dearth of truly innovative new products — so much of the industry seems committed to looking backwards, and happy to market homages to vintage equipment. Thankfully this isn’t the case with Bettermaker, an inspiring company which grew out of a recording studio set up in 2004. Their mission seems to be to build equipment that’s genuinely useful to fellow recording engineers, and to that end they’re more than willing to move things forward with new tools and new ways of working.

Overview

The latest member of the company’s small but interesting product portfolio is the stereo Mastering Limiter and, as with Bettermaker’s other products, it’s a digitally controlled analogue device that can also be operated remotely through a DAW plug-in. It’s housed in a substantial 2U 19-inch rackmountable chassis, with a large colour screen front and centre — from which you might already surmise that this is rather more than ‘just a limiter’. You’d be right!

At its core, the Mastering limiter is a reasonably conventional but high-performance analogue limiter, with options to operate in either stereo or Mid-Sides modes. The gain-reduction element used for the limiter is a fast-acting VCA with a fixed ratio of ∞:1 (infinity to one) and a maximum attenuation of 20dB. It’s a fixed-threshold design, so the limiting level is determined by the output level control, and the amount of gain reduction by the input level control. The attack and release are adjustable manually, but there’s also a programme-dependent automatic release mode. As everything is controlled digitally, all settings are incremental, precisely repeatable, and recallable, which is ideal for mastering applications.

So far, so ordinary... but...

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Published December 2017