On December 5th FabFilter released Pro-L 2, a new release of FabFilter's Pro-L limiter plug-in. We had the chance to review the new limiter in our Noizefield test lab.
The Pro-L 2 is a professional true peak limiter plug-in for mixing and mastering. Fabfiter themselves describe the Pro-L 2 as a combination of all different limiting flavors and qualities in one plug-in, making it suitable for any type of music/audio. It can be as transparent as needed, and can go as loud as you want it to go. Equipped with excellent (loudness) metering, true peak limiting, surround support, oversampling and dithering, Pro-L 2 is everything you need in a limiter.
A modern, simple and intuitive GUI
A reason why FabFilter became more and more famous over the last years and why more and more people are using the FabFilter plug-ins is probably the extreme well designed and unique approach to the graphical user interface (GUI). Instead of displaying a virtual emulation of a real hardware, FabFilter has gone into a totally different direction and tried to be as functional and flexible as possible.
New limiting algorithms
True peak limiting and true peak metering
Another new feature of the Pro-L 2 is true peak limiting. True peak limiting can be enabled by a simple click on the corresponding button in the bottom menu bar. The true peak limiting avoids inter sample peaks that could be higher than the level of the real sample. If the true peak limiting option is enabled, the output values will be displayed as dBTP which stands for dB True Peak instead of dBFS (dB Full Scale). In general the true peak limiting feature does make a lot of sense and some would ask why this is not enabled in general for all limiters. The answer is that the detection of inter sample peaks does need a bit of time and adds extra latency to the process. Depending on the DAW the Pro-L 2 limiter will add about 5ms latency if true peak limiting is enabled. More about true peak limiting can be found here: www.broadcastbeat.com/
Surround, Side Chain and other new features
All the core features of the Pro-L 2 in short:
- Great transparent sound combined with maximum loudness
- Eight sophisticated, carefully tuned limiting algorithms, all with their own character and purpose
- True peak limiting
- Up to 32x linear-phase oversampling to minimize aliasing and inter-sample peaks
- Low CPU usage
- Highly accurate output and gain reduction metering including true peak metering
- Extensive loudness metering with support for the EBU R128, ITU-R BS.1770-4 and ATSC A/85 standards
- Various meter scale settings, including K-System support
- Surround support including Dolby Atmos 7.0.2 and 7.1.2 formats with flexible surround channel linking
- Unique, highly informative real-time level display, showing input, output, gain change and loudness levels over time with key gain reduction readings and four different display modes
- Optional DC offset filter
- External side chain triggering for stem mastering
- Unity Gain option to easily listen to the effect of the current limiting at unity gain level
- Audition Limiting option to listen to the difference between the input and output signal
- Adjustable Look-ahead, Attack and Release settings to fine-tune the sound of the algorithms
- Separate, freely adjustable channel linking for both the transient and release stages
- Professional dithering with three different noise shaping algorithms
- Easy to set up for common limiting situations with the included factory presets
- Adapts automatically to stereo, mono and surround channel layouts
- Full Screen mode for precise adjustments and insightful metering
- Multiple interface sizes: Small, Medium, and Large, as well as a separate Compact mode
- Retina support on OS X and High DPI support on Windows
- GPU-powered graphics acceleration
- Supports common Pro Tools hardware control surfaces
Is the Pro-L 2 the answer to all limiting tasks?
The only thing on my wish-list would be a multi-band version including a mid/side option for each band, but most probably this is a task for the FabFilter Pro-MB...
All in all the Pro-L 2 is one of the most advanced and professional limiter plug-ins on the market.
FabFilter Pro-L 2 is directly available for EUR 169 / USD 199$ / GBP 149£ at the FabFilter website here: FabFilter
FabFilter Pro-L 2 Review
Overall Sound Quality
All in all the Pro-L 2 is one of the most advanced and professional limiter plug-ins available today in the market.