Limiting is used in audio production to reduce the dynamic range of a track or program material. In audio mastering applications the limiting effect is used to raise the level of a track or mix, thus making it louder, by pumping more input level into the limiter and setting a “ceiling” threshold transient peaks will not exceed, avoiding any digital overs. The principle behind this is basically the same of a compressor where the ratio is set to ∞ :1, so that no signal is passing over the threshold, and time constants are set for very fast attack and release.
The IK Multimedia Brickwall Limiter was designed to be used in mastering applications (though it also can be creatively used in mix contexts) as a final tool to bring your track or mix to “industry standard” RMS levels. Its transparency and ease of use make it a very fast way of achieving finished, master quality tracks that stand out with all the level and boldness demanded by modern digital audio. Just set the Output Ceiling and raise the input until the desired loudness is achieved.
The possibility to choose among a set of custom designed algorithms (or “Styles”) makes the Brickwall Limiter very flexible, so that it can be tailored to best suit the program material it's being used on.
The “Clean” settings are designed to have the most invisible result on the program material, so that distortion will be minimal.
The advanced settings introduce a mix of very smooth saturation and limiting resulting in slightly more punch and color compared to the clean setting.
The Sat settings use various forms of saturation as limiting for increased color.
A few words should be spent on limiting use: a louder master will inevitably be perceived as “better sounding” to the human ear, though as too much limiting is applied to a mix, the end result will be squashed, dynamic-less or even worse distorted, so care should be used when applying limiting to a mix in order to achieve a perfect balance between loudness and sound quality.