The limiter: The final link in the chain of command that glues everything together, and can take things to 11, bringing out the best in your track. Adversely, it can bring out the worst in your tunes and make it sound like a massive pile of shit. Granted, the reason for this would be either a) you’re pushing too hard, or b) you most likely have a poor mixdown. In either case, the limiter is not to blame, but that’s for a different post. Although most times a limiter is used as the final step in a mastering chain, it can also be used creatively throughout a track, to add interesting characteristics to various elements. In today’s review, we will be taking a look at the latest limiter from Eventide and Newfangled Audio, Elevate.
Eventide, a company that has been around the block many times, and introduces the world to some of the most legendary studio hardware ever, teamed up with Newfangled Audio to produce a limiter like nothing else on the market. Not only that, but they’ve enlisted the help of some of the top audio experts around, one of which being Mau5trap staple Matt Lange.
What is it?
Elevate is, at it’s most basic, a high quality limiter plugin with easy to use controls and and intuitive interface. If you’re an advanced user, it allows for one to dive deep into its controls to create truly incredible audio results that aren’t possible in an all-in-one plugin.
How does it work?
Unlike most limiters, Elevate sends your audio signal through multiple controllable parameters. The main parameters are standard procedure, save perhaps the selectable frequency bands. Where things really heat up and set this apart is in the sub-modules. In these stages, you can control everything from the amount of frequency bands the limiter hits, adjust the exact frequencies of said bands, then adjust how much the limiter actually affects each frequency band, which happens to be my favorite feature, to how much of the transients are let through of each band, and finally the amount of clipping that happens on each band. This might sound intensive, or over your head, but in reality it’s actually very simple to understand. Basically, Elevate allows you surgical control over how your limiter affects each desired frequency range of your audio signal. The most intimidating part of the plugin is getting used to how things have been visually presented to you. Other than that, it’s very user friendly.
What do I think?
I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed when I first opened Elevate. I’ve been using L2 from Waves for years, and it’s the exact opposite of Elevate, at least from a visual standpoint. There is a lot to take in, from the colors to the meter to the tabs. But, after a bit of noodling, I quickly came to find that Elevate is in its own playing field. Like I said before, the surgical precision that is possible from this plugin is unmatched, at least in my opinion. The closest plugins I can think of would be either Pro L from Fabfilter, or Ozone from Izotope, but even they fall short.
Another thing I must admit, I’m not the most technical producer out there. I say this to emphasize just how user-friendly this plugin is. The more I used the plugin, the more I came to find just how essential it is. The EQ-based limiting section was the turning point for me. It just made sense, and I began to question why other limiters didn’t have such an option. Sure you can get wide band limiting like on Ozone or Pro L, but what if you want to apply more reduction on specific frequencies, and not others? How about if you really want the beater of your kick drum to shine through just a touch more, but not stress the limiter? This plugin really does it all. My second and third favorite things about this limiter are that it is by far the most transparent sounding one around, and you seem to really be able to push it further than any other limiter before you start getting serious clipping. l
Some plugins work, some don’t. Some claim great things, others do great things. Elevate by Eventide and Newfangled Audio have absolutely nailed this plugin. Not only does every feature work, it excels. The different modules allow for total control over your signal processing, and the clarity of the plugin ensures all that hard work you put into your mix down and track creation shines through.
Pros: Surgical precision control, easy for any level of experience
Cons: May be a bit daunting when first opened
Final Score: 10/10