Digidesign Maxim
Digidesign Maxim

Maxim, Other software dynamics processor from Digidesign.

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tarrtime 03/05/2013

Digidesign Maxim : tarrtime's user review

« Outdated Limiter »

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I received the Maxim Peak Limiter with the Pro Tools Factory Bundle. I used it for a long time because it was the only limiter I had (besides the stock Digi Comp/Limiter). Eventually when I tried out other limiters, I never went back to Maxim. The plug-in is very old, and the signal processing is outdated compared to more recent plug-ins. It still sits in my plug-in folder, but I rarely insert it in my mixes. On the plus side, it can make your mixes louder. On the down side, it accomplishes this by audibly destroying your mix.
Installation isn't too complicated, however it requires an iLok. I don't mind iLok too much, but I know other people despise it.


The thing that makes a quality limiter is its ability to increase the volume of a signal, without making it sound noticeably worse. There are no limiters that can exist that are perfectly 'clean' and can always make your mix really loud without sounding bad. But there are limiters that do this better than others. The Maxim limiter is much worse than many other limiters at this criteria. It can squash a mix with even slight limiting, which takes the 'life' or 'energy' out of a song. This is most obvious for drums. The Maxim Limiter really destroys any transients in the signal.
There are some decent features with the plug-in. The histogram visualization is pretty unique, and it nice to see how the dynamics in the signal change over time. The 'mix' is also unconventional because typically the point of the limiter is to not allow any of the original signal to pass through it. However, this can be used very carefully to mix in some 'dry' or 'unprocessed' signal if the limiter is squashing your song too much. The Dither is functional, and might be the only real reason to use the plug-in if you have better limiters that don't have dithering.


The Digidesign Maxim plug-in is a peak limiter to be used in a DAW. Its main purpose is to control the dynamic response of an input signal. Basically it does some advanced processing to make the maximum amplitude level of a signal stay the same level, but allows you to increase the overall perceived amplitude level of the signal. This is appropriate for bringing up the level of a final mix so that it can be at radio or CD volume. If you have ever completed a mix, then listened to it next to your favorite music and your mix was significantly quieter, you need to add use a limiter.
The Maxim limiter has been around for a long time. At this point there does not look like it will ever be updated with any new advanced signal processing. If you get it for free with the Pro Tools Factory Bundle, then it might be worth playing around with it to see how it works. Otherwise, I can only recommend looking elsewhere for limiters (Waves, Slate Digital, new Avid Limiter, etc).