If you’re looking for a limiter plugin, here is a list of some of the best FREE limiters VST / AU plugins used by many music producers and sound engineers.
LoudMax certainly is among the most popular free limiter plugins. It preserves as much as possible the original character of the sound even at high compression.
- Supported Sample rates: 2kHz – 384kHz
- Latency, Look-Ahead and Attack Time: 1.25ms
- Release Time: Automatic – depending on the input signal
- No audible distortion
- Possible overdrive: 740dB
- Very low CPU usage
2. Limiter №6
Here’s a little more complex tool! The Limiter №6 by vladg/sound sounds great, looks great, and offers a lot of possibilities to adjust the sound so you’ll get clean and high-quality sound for your final mix.
- 5 modules: RMS compressor, peak limiter, high-frequency limiter, clipper, true peak limiter
- high-quality signal processing to use for mastering purposes
- brickwall and soft limiting with different timing settings
- M/S and multiband modes
- optional 4x oversampling
- true inter-sample peaks (ISP) limiting
- analog-style indication
- 2 different GUIs
Download: Limiter №6
D16 Group’s free limiter plugin, named Frontier, can be applied to any stage of dynamic processing. The input control is configurable so the user can apply the tool to a single track, channel, or bus. Frontier free plug-in is designed to handle high amplitude peaks and provide transparent results when mixing or mastering.
D16 Group Frontier is available for Windows and Mac, all you need to do is to log in (for existent customers) or register a new account at the D16’s website (link below).
Now let’s move on to something lighter. The easyLimiter free plugin is perfect for removing many audio problems such as rattles, crackling, distortions and other unwanted sounds. So, no unwanted sounds!
It’s quite easy to use but a powerful and advanced limiter, capable of detecting the peaks before sound playing and it’s EXTREMELY low on your CPU resources.
- Peaks detection before sound playing
- Attack attenuation envelope
- Release attenuation envelope
- Stereo link combines attenuation with stereo balance
- Left and right attenuation with memory storing
- Available in VST format for Windows 32 or 64bits
5. W1 Limiter
W1 Limiter is a clone of the well-known Waves L1 plugin with identical output, as well as an approximation of Waves L2. To achieve this result the developer modified the existent 4Front YLimiter by simplifying the release curve, increasing the release time 3 times, altering the softening circuit filter.
If you’re looking for a free limiter that sounds like Wave’s L1 limiter W1 limiter is the perfect choice for you.
W1 Limiter is available for free download in VST, AU, and RTAS plugin formats for both Windows and MAC (32 and 64-bit).
2021 Update: This plugin is not available anymore!
6. Maxwell Smart
Maxwell Smart free limiter is a transparent peak limiter/loudness maximizer with look-ahead, featuring the CPU-friendly 4x ISP (inter-sample peak) detection which is compliant with the latest ITU, EBU and ATSC recommendations.
- Adjustable threshold and ceiling (-24dB … 0dB)
- 3 modes to control the sound: smooth, normal and loud
- Compensated latency of 4ms
- Support sample rates of 11.025kHz and above
- Ideal for mastering, or as bus limiter for drums
Maxwell Smart is available for Windows, free of charge via KVR Forum in VST 32-bit format only.
Download: Maxwell Smart
LVC-Audio’s ClipShifter is a free wave-shaping audio plugin that functions like a clipping-style limiter that can be used in almost all mixing and mastering stages.
Features (Free version):
- Process stereo information separately through the clipping algorithm
- Controls for Clip Shape and harmonics
- Scalable waveform history view with click-and-drag editing of threshold controls
- Standard LVC-Audio metering
- Low CPU usage
These are some of the features included in the free version of the plugin, if you want more you can buy the commercial version for $12.5 and you will get access to many functions such as:
- Independent frequency clipping
- Mid/Side processing option
- Oversampling with Double Processing
- …and more
ClipShifter is available as a free or paid version for both Windows and MAC OSX in AU, VST, VST3, RTAS or AAX plugin formats.
I hope this post will help you to find the right limiter plugin. Do not forget to share this post with your friends!