Universal Audio is known for its quality products in the audio world. In 2007, the American company initiated a new series of plugins: the Precision series. Among these plugins, the Precision Limiter. Since a few weeks, I use this plugin in all my mixes, and I can’t get rid of it. Let’s take a closer look…
Universal Audio’s Precision Limiter is a plugin announced by the company as a single-band, look-ahead brickwall limiter. Designed to be used on full mix material, this plugin has in fact everything to be used in many other situations.
Unlike many complicated limiters whose interface sometimes leaves something to be desired, the UAD plugin has a simplistic and easy to understand interface. To start enjoying it, all you have to do is push the input knob and adjust the output volume as you wish, just to the right.
UAD also offers the possibility to adjust the release time, but in many cases choosing “AUTO” will be the best option, especially on buses where transients can sometimes extend the release time unexpectedly. Just below this delay pot, 2 modes will be offered to you. While mode B will be more suitable for softer sources, mode A will be able to grab aggressive transients without creating aliasing or distortion.
In the product description, Universal Audio states that the plugin does not use upsampling to perform limiting. They also state that the attack is supported by a 1.5ms look ahead. This prevents any kind of clipping inside the plugin. It should also be noted that no filters are involved in the process.
All these elements make this plugin an extremely transparent limiter. And that’s exactly what makes it strong. Indeed, even when pushed to the extreme, the plugin will react to transients without coloring the signal and without changing its tone. This is why it can be very interesting to use on many different sources.
What’s the point of having a limiting plugin if you’re going to get bad meters? No worries, Universal Audio thought about it, and not only a little!
Indeed, in the design of this plugin, they were inspired by the legendary Bob Katz’s “K-System” of Bob Katz specification.
Simply put, this premium quality metering system will allow you to view peaks and RMS levels differently depending on the dynamics of the source. To put it simply, K-12 is generally recommended for pop and hip-hop, K-14 for anything rock, soul or country, and K-20 for anything classical or, these days, film scoring.
The great thing about this UAD plugin is that it lets these meters work, even when the plugin is bypassed. Very handy!
With this plugin in your hands, the result is guaranteed! With a little tweaking of the mode (between A and B), the input level and the release time, it’s almost impossible to miss a professional quality limiting.
Now that you know how this plugin works, let’s see in which situations you can use this Precision Limiter!
A. Mix bus
The UAD plugin has been designed for mastering. It goes without saying that the situation in which it is most effective is on a mix bus. But where in the chain? Well… last!
At the end of your mastering chain, or simply alone on your mix bus if you are more into mixing, the Precision Limiter will simply bring that touch of power without changing the accuracy of the signal.
In this kind of case, I advise you to use the AUTO mode of the release time. You can trust Universal Audio, with this plugin, the technology does it right.
Some microphones react very aggressively to voice transients. In the vocal mixing phase, this can quickly become a problem.
In such cases, a limiter can be of great help. The Precision Limiter will allow you to get rid of too strong transients with an outstanding transparency.
If you are doing this, I advise you to place the plugin at the very beginning of your vocal chain.
The simplicity, ease of use and especially the transparency of the Precision Limiter make Universal Audio’s plugin an almost essential tool in a mix bus. The absence of filters, the look ahead technology and the “auto” release mode also make this plugin a trustworthy tool, which will not alter the tone and frequency spectrum of the processed source in any way.