Waves L1 Ultramaximizer
Waves L1 Ultramaximizer

L1 Ultramaximizer, Other software dynamics processor from Waves in the Ultramaximizer series.

tarrtime 12/14/2012

Waves L1 Ultramaximizer : tarrtime's user review

« Simple Digital Limiting »

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Waves L1 is a software effects plug-in to be used in a DAW. All Waves plug-ins can be installed by downloading them off the Waves website. Authorization is completed using a USB stick as a dongle, or using an authorization manager application if your computer connects to the internet.
Waves plug-ins are know for being stable, and rarely have any bugs. The 'L1' plug-in has been around a long time and has been tried and tested in all popular DAWs.


The L1 limiter is easy to use. There is 'threshold' slider to adjust how much limiting is occurring. There is an 'output ceiling' slider if you want the signal to be limiter at a particular amplitude level. If you are using a limiter as the final plug-in on your mix bus, I definitely recommend setting the output ceiling to -0.3 or -0.5. The main reason to do this is to prevent inter-sample peaks. Digital limiting prevents the digital samples of a signal from exceeding a particular amplitude. However, when the digital signal is converter to analog, it is possible that the digital samples do not occur at the true 'peaks' of your signal. Because of this, the digital to analog converter will 'clip'. If you set your output ceiling to be less than 0.0, then the inter-sample clipping can be prevented.
I received the L1 plug-in because I purchased the 'Gold' bundle from Waves. I have several other limiters (Maxim, FG-X, MaxxVolume, etc.). The 'L1' is definitely not my 'go-to' limiter on my mix bus. The 'L1' has been around a long time, and digital limiting techniques have significantly advanced since it was released. At this time, I would definitely recommend checking out some never digital limiters (L2, L3) if you are specifically looking to get a mix bus limiter.


Digital limiting with a plug-in has a unique feature - 'look ahead' limiting. This means that the processor knows what it is going to 'limit' prior to having to process it. The 'L1' limiter was one of the first plug-ins to utilize this kind of processing. I don't recommend using the 'L1' for heavy compression. I notice that this plug-in doesn't sound very good when I have to really squash a signal. If you are going to use the 'L1', I would recommend only using it subtly.
The 'L1' can also be used for dithering a signal. This is a necessary processing step if you have recorded a signal at a bit rate (like 24 bits) but your mix down needs to be a different bit rate (16 bits).