bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free Limiter VST/AU Plugins

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bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free Limiter VST/AU Plugins

In this edition of bpb Freeware Studio, I’ve tried to list all the quality freeware limiters, and for a good reason.

From my experience, it’s often better to have several different limiters working together (especially when increasing the loudness of full mixes!) than pushing one limiter to its, erm, limits.

Follow the links for screenshots & download info:

My favorite limiter on the list is LoudMax by Thomas Mundt. It can be pushed hard and still remain quite transparent, has a nice clean GUI, and works flawlessly on my machine.

W1 Limiter by 4Front Technologies is an almost perfect recreation of the L1 Limiter by Waves. A comparison between the two is available on RedFaux Transmission website. Although W1 is GUI-less, a version with a GUI is available via BetabugsAudio (Windows only).

TbT has made some awesome freeware VSTs in the past, and TLs Pocket Limiter is a great examples of his work.

Back when I first started producing, Classic Master Limiter by Kjaerhus was my main limiter VST. It’s a simple one-knob design and is a great tool for quickly snatching a few extra dBs of loudness.

You Wa Shock! was a marketing experiment by Image Line, who released it under a false name in order to test their (then) upcoming Maximus maximizer plugin. So, You Wa Shock! basically includes four presets from Maximus in a simple one-knob interface. Best of all, if you keep the main setting at zero, it works very well as a transparent brick wall limiter!

FR-LIMIT 87 by eaReckon is a very interesting zero latency brickwall limiter. I haven’t used it too much yet, but a commercial limiter developed by the same company (using the same algorithm as FR-Limit 87) is actually used in live program by a well-known German television company.

BuzMaxi3 by buzzroom is an oldie, but still a very good transparent limiter with a built-in spectrum analyzer and very low CPU hit.

BuzMaxi3 by buzzroom.

BuzMaxi3 by buzzroom.

Make sure you check out other limiters on the list too, leave your impressions and suggestions in the comments section below, and have fun mixing!

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About Author

Tomislav is a musician and a blogger. He writes about free and affordable music production tools on a daily basis here at Bedroom Producers Blog.


16 Comments

  1. BuzMaxi3 is my choice. It’s the most transparent from the free limiters I’ve tried. And it doesn’t have that nasty pump some limiters have when pushed too high. And uses virtually no CPU.

    Great blog, BTW! :)

  2. Hi friend,
    I just wanted to say that I love your site and visit it daily, and everything is super cool, but in these round-ups, I would prefer more pictures of listed software, that’s just an idea.

    Super si i samo napred.

    Pozdrav.

  3. FYI…Jeroen Breebaart’s formerly commercial offering of Barricade Pro is now free. This is BY FAR the best limiter available for free.

    http://www.jeroenbreebaart.com/audio_vst_jb.htm

    I also love limiter 6 but its a much more complex beast and does alot more than brickwall peak limiting. I find it is the best one stop Vocal and Bass compressor for my uses. You can absolutely lock down the dynamics without damaging the tone.

    When i want to put a straight up limiter on the main buss I reach for Barricade

  4. Lookahead Limiter is my favorite out of all of them, by FAR. W1 Limiter is also not bad if you ask me but not as precise as Lookahead Limiter imho.

  5. Just tried out loudmax for the first time , as I realised there isn’t a great selection of free limiters compared to how many free synths , eq , distortion etc….plugins there are , and I was surprised. Such a diminuitive unassuming interface but it does great things to beats…..its like a supercharger.

    • Bedroom Producers Blog on

      i’ve used LoudMax as my main limiter for a long, LONG time! it’s an awesome plugin. you should also check out Limiter6 (listed above), though. it can be incredibly transparent when tweaked properly.

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