Last Updated on March 18, 2021.
In this article, I will be listing the best Limiter VST plugins currently out there. I will be including 10 premium ones as well as 5 free plugins.
In most cases, I’d recommend starting with the free plugins since they usually work extremely well, and only upgrade once you really need to.
So, without any further ado, here’s a table with the overall 5 best Limiter VST plugins.
|Fab Filter Pro L2||VST, VST3, Audio Units, AAX Native, AudioSuite and RTAS||Windows, Mac||$169|
|Ozone 9 Maximizer||AAX (64–bit), AU, VST2, VST3. All formats are 64-bit only.||Windows, Mac||$99|
|Oxford Limiter||AAX , VST2, VST3, AU 64-bit||Windows, Mac||$264|
|L2 Ultramaximizer||AAX Native, AudioSuite, VST, AU, SoundGrid||Windows, Mac||$36|
|Limitless||VST, VST3, AU and AAX as 32+64bit, RTAS 32bit||Windows, Mac||$209|
Now, let’s move on to the actual list!
Fab Filter Pro-L 2
Fab Filter’s Pro-L 2 has been lauded by more mastering engineers than any other limiter plug-in, and for good reason. It’s a powerful, modern, and reliable tool that would give any hardware limiter a run for its money.
Pro-L 2’s interface has lustrous visuals and is astutely organized. It offers true peak limiting with 8 algorithms to choose from: transparent, punchy, dynamic, all-round, aggressive, modern, bus, and safe are all available.
It also features K-system and broadcast standard metering, your lovely LUFS will be kept in check! Other noteworthy inclusions are its unity gain and audition listening modes, which helps you keep an ear on how much squeezing you’re really doing.
Pro-L 2 is available as a 32/64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows and as a 64-bit VST/VST3 for Mac. A fabulous limiter will set you back $199.
Find out more about Fab Filter Pro L2 here.
Ozone 9 Maximizer
iZotope’s Ozone 9 Maximizer is a compact but mightily versatile limiter, it’s capable of everything from nuanced and delicate leveling to over-the-top demonically crushed sounds. Whether you know it or not you have heard this limiter in action, with engineers like Butch Vig (Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins) and Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry) both offering their applause.
Its GUI is glossy and minimalistic, with ease of use its main priority. It includes 5 Intelligent Release Control modes; with IRC III featuring pre-sets of balanced, pumping, crisp, and clipping, while IRC IV offers classic, modern, and transient.
Stand-out features include its threshold learn option, which complies with LUFS standards, and threshold and ceiling link, which allows you to clearly hear your dynamic reduction.
Now for the bad news! Maximizer is only available as part of iZotopes Ozone bundles, and on top of that you can only have access to it as a 64-bit VST2/VST3 plug-in for Windows and Mac in their Advanced bundle, which costs $499!
It is also available as a module in their Elements edition priced at $129, and Standard edition which is currently on sale for $99.
Find out more about Ozone 9 Maximizer here.
Sonnox’s Oxford Limiter is another plug-in which has found acclaim in all of those oh-so hard to please audio forums. It’s a true peak limiter which will make itself at home on your master bus, offering up both transparent and coyly colorful sounds.
Oxford Limiter’s GUI is relaxed looking with 3 modules: input, pre-process, and output are all controllable while you are pushing it to the limit. Its enhancement option helps you to increase the perceived loudness of your audio while adding new harmonic content.
Oxford Limiter requires an iLok account prior to installation and is available as a 32/64-bit VST2/VST3 for Windows and Mac. This ox of a limiter costs $264.
Find out more about Oxford Limiter here.
Waves released L2 Ultramaximizer back in 2000, since then it has been bringing consistently awesome squashing for a bargain. This is not the most transparent limiter, but the coloring it adds is pleasant and buoyant to say the least.
L2’s interface has a somewhat outdated look to it; it is however simple to learn and is one of the most beginner friendly limiters out there. It offers control over threshold, ceiling, and a release with ARC. An attenuation meter allows you too clearly see what you’ve lost while you’re gaining.
Waves have made this plug-in available as a 64-bit VST3 for Windows and Mac. A Limiter that can make waves is only $36.
Find out more about L2 Ultramaximizer here.
Next up, we have the most aptly named limiter you will find on the market. DMG Audio’s limitless is a multi-band limiter, in which the word versatile doesn’t do justice. If you need an elite level multi-band, look no further, this is the one!
Limetless’ interface is colorful and bouncy, giving real vibrant visualizations of your processing. It offers a 6-band linear phase EQ and an uber transparent true peak limiter.
It comes with 7 styles to choose from: warm, smooth, aggressive, punchy, tight, transparent, and manual are all on offer. Presets are also made available: voice of god, bring back shimmer, mastered for iTunes, and several others are in reach.
Multi-bands tend to make more of a mess than good sometimes, but Limitless offers nothing but a dashing tidiness.
DMG Audio have made their limiter available as a 32/64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows and Mac. Hopefully, your wallet is limitless, the damage is $209.
Find out more about Limitless here.
IK Multimedia’s Stealth Limiter’s goal is to get your levels to the desired volume without ever introducing discerning distortions and aggravating artifacts. It does a tremendous job; Stealth Limiter works as sneakily as Splinter Cell in night-vision goggle mode and leaves your audio as transparent as a window.
Its GUI is a lowkey balance of vintage and modern vibes. Input and ceiling pots, a unity gain monitor, infrasonic filter, and bypass switch are all at your fingertips. 4 modes are on offer: tight, balanced, harmonics 1, and harmonics 2.
One of the best things about Stealth is its metering display: crystal clear RMS/Peak visualizations are given for its input and output, and a precise representation of your gain reduction is also in view.
Stealth Limiter requires the installation of IK Multimedia’s free T-Rack CS application, which comes as a 64-bit VST2/VST3 for Mac and Windows. The wealth you need for some stealth is $125.
Find out more about Stealth Limiter here.
A lot of people feel digital clipping is always unpleasant and amplitude distortion should be left done by your uncle’s dusty old fuzz box, Boz Digital labs begs to differ! Big Clipper is not intended to be used for graceful and restrained mastering, its purpose is to tread where, so few audio enthusiasts have yet to, the realm of digital distortion!
Its GUI has artsy graphics displaying its parameters: push and pull act as input and ceiling pots, blend lets you dial in a balance between normal limiting and clipping, and shape lets you decide how gentle or aggressive you want the clipping to be.
An excellent module they have included is its frequency selection section, it contains 3 band-pass filters which allow your clipping to be frequency dependent.
Big Clipper comes as a 32/64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows and Mac. The cost of some clip is $169.
Find out more about Big Clipper here.
Next, we have another multiband limiter with Wave’s L3 Multimaximizer! It’s not something you can throw on any old mix, but there will be a time and a place where the L3’s precision could glue a gem of a jam all together.
Looks wise the L3 leaves a bit to be desired; but it does give you an adequate view of your frequency and dynamics intermingling. It includes a 5-band linear phase EQ, giving you more than enough room for your surgical work. It features 3 extra versions of the limiter: a broadband version of the L3, a low latency version of the multiband, and a low latency version of the broadband.
L3 comes as a 64-bit VST3 for Mac and Windows. The maximum limit can be all yours for $39.
Find out more about L3 Multimaximizer here.
Soundtoys’ Devil-Loc Deluxe is based on the classic Shure Level-Loc, a limiter originally designed for PA systems that through some experimentation was found to be a beast on drums. Devil-Loc-Deluxe is an excellent emulation and has received praise from Joe Barresi (Tool, QOTSA) and Fab Dupont (Jennifer Lopez, Andre 3000). This is another plug-in intended to be used for effect rather than mastering.
Devil-Loc-Deluxe’s GUI has a rack insert vibe, offering crush, crunch, darkness, and mix pots. It also includes the stripped-down version of the plug-in, which contains just crush and crunch dials. Devil-Loc-Deluxe sounds nasty in the best way possible, it could make “When the Levee Breaks” sound like it was played by a wimp in his mom’s basement.
Soundtoys have made their plug-in available as a 64-bit VST for Mac and Windows. The deal on a dip in devilry is $129.
Find out more about Devil-Loc Deluxe here.
Chandler Limited Zener Limiter
Softube’s Chandler Limited Zener Limiter is an emulation of the classic EMI limiters used on legendary albums from The Beatles and Pink Floyd. It captures the analog warmth of hardware limiting, so someone looking for a completely transparent sound is out of luck, but those who need a blast from the past will dig this!
Chandler Limited Zener Limiter’s interface has a realistic hardware look. It’s a stereo limiter with the ability to switch between 3 different types of dynamic compression. Keeping with the times, Softube have also included important modern features, such as sidechain capability, M/S processing, and a stereo linking option.
This classic limiter has been reincarnated as a 64-bit VST/VST3 for Windows and Mac, and an iLok account is required before installation. Big spenders who need a Zener will fork out $360.
Find out more about Chandler Limited Zener Limiter here.
ISL by Nugen Audio
Nugen Audio’s ISL is a true peak limiter which is ideal for broadcast engineers. This is another plug-in which eschews analog coloration for a modern transparent form of limiting. It’s even received the stamp of approval from Netflix’s Post Technology Alliance, so you know it’s the real deal!
ISL’s GUI is glossy, offering up clear metering visualizations so you can keep an eye on your ears. It can be set to adhere to broadcasting standards such as ITU-R B.S. 1770, and can be optimized to make sure there are no distortions added to its sound if it’s converted to a lower quality file format, such as MP3.
It can process in up to 7.1.2. surround sound. So, if Spielberg ever comes to his senses and picks up the phone, at least you will have a plug-in to glue it all together ready to go.
Nugen Audio have made ISL available as a 32/64-bit VST/VST3 for Mac and Windows. Taming the dragon of cinema’s dynamics will cost $229.
Find out more about ISL by Nugen Audio here.
Best Free Limiter VST Plugins
VladG’s Limiter N°6 is one of those free plug-ins that’s so good it makes you scratch your head in wonder of why that mad lad Vlad isn’t charging a rouble for it. It’s a versatile limiter suited for both those who prefer their dynamics as wide as the river Volga, and those who are full-fledged admirals in the loudness war.
Limiter N°6’s GUI has VU meters and pots reminiscent of old hardware. It features 5 modules: an RMS compressor, peak limiter, HF limiter, clipper, and a transparent true peak limiter.
The order of the compressor and peak limiter is interchangeable, and both M/S and multi-band processing options are also at your command.
You can find Limiter N°6 on Tokyo Dawn Records webpage as a 32/64-bit VST2 for Windows and Mac.
Find out more about Limiter N°6 here.
Sonic Anomaly’s Unlimited is a freebie those in the filmmaking community will want to add to their plug-in folder. It’s similar to a stripped back version of ISL, and although lacking in features compared to its paid competitor, Unlimited’s sound is incredible and capable of professional quality mastering.
Unlimited’s interface is sleek, with faders available to control all parameters. It’s capable of processing in up to 5.1 surround sound, includes a LUFS meter, and has a mode designed specifically for film and television standards, so you can really squeeze your score ‘til its peaks get sore.
Unlimited is available to download from plugins4free.com as a 32/64-bit VST exclusively for Windows, no love for the big Mac.
Find out more about Unlimited here.
LoudMax is a true peak brick wall limiter which is ideal for those who like to keep their fader fiddling and pot pinching to a minimum. No fancy features with this one, just a decent squash that’s free of cost.
LoudMax’s GUI isn’t all that impressive looks wise; but its 2-fader setup lets you get down to the nitty gritty immediately. Its threshold and output are linkable, so you can get a feel for how much dynamic damage you are doing. Don’t let the look of this plug-in fool you, LoudMax offers a transparent sound that defeats any stock DAW limiter.
LoudMax can be found on loudmax.blogspot.com as a 32/64-bit for Mac and Windows.
Find out more about LoudMax here.
D16 Group’s Frontier is a self-adaptive limiter which is capable of both a transparent sound and a harmonically colored vibe. This versatility means you will find a place for Frontier, both on your master bus, as well as for effect.
Frontier’s interface captures the essence of a piece of hardware kit. Its self-adaptiveness comes in the form of an automatic make-up gain which normalizes your audio post limiter. Its stand-out feature is its soft-clip, when your waves get that little chop it adds a charming character to the sound.
Frontier is available to download from D16 Group’s webpage as a 32/64-bit VST for Windows or as a 64-bit VST for Mac.
Find out more about Frontier here.
To round off our list we leave you with Kilohearts’ Limiter. Simplicity, transparency, and modernity are what Limiter strives for; it does not disappoint. This plug-in will suit people who need to pump up the volume without an attack of the artifacts taking place.
Limiter’s GUI is minimalistic and can be rescaled to any size. It offers input, output, threshold, and release nobs. It has a meter which works threefold: showing input level, threshold setting, and attenuation amount.
Even when pushed to the edge, Limiter shows minimal distortion, so for those who like things clean but loud as hell, look no further!
Limiter is available on Kilohearts’ webpage as a 64-bit VST for Mac and Windows.
Find out more about Limiter here.