Brickwall Limiter no output level control?

Well, ‘negative attack time’ wasn’t very accurate. But all I meant was lookahead.

On L1/L2…/Ozone Maximizer/etc threshold controls output gain at the same time. If you set e.g. L1’s threshold to -6dB, it brings up the output by 6dB, such ‘threshold’ parameter controls the make-up gain, too.

It’s the same as setting a threshold to -6dB, at an infinity ratio, and output to 6dB on a compressor. It’s indeed an internal thing, but that’s what it is. If the signal is above a given value, go back in time a little bit within the buffer, multiply a ratio that goes to infinity in the lookahead time, then multiply the result to match the output gain that is often 0dB. It’s not too hard to design these algo, you can try that with max, supercollider, juce or whatever.

That’s what I mean. It’s not the same, it leads to similar results with less interaction.
Auto gain compensates the average gain reduction most of the time.
But sometimes it’s not what you need.

In most cases, these differences are irrelevant.
But sometimes we need to know why a different processor is better for a task.

That was the initial problem of the topic, I think.

Any limiter that hopes to be taken at least half seriously needs an output level control. Actually that goes for any plugin.

The Steiny limiter is unusual in the sense that it doesn’t auto-gain the signal when you pull down the threshold (almost all other limiters do), so all the more reason you would want an output gain control.

I agree about the level matching thing…there are many cases where, after limiting something, you’re able to turn it up a bit louder, so an output gain control is needed for that, and it’s nice to be able to compare before / after by just clicking one plugin on /off.


  1. In your head, just relabel “Threshold” in the brickwall limiter to “Ceiling”, and then it should all make sense.

  2. If you need the other controls just pick one of the other plugins.

The good thing about this brickwall limiter is that it has basically just the one setting. Can’t f-it up. That’s a good thing.

Adding an output gain control is the simplest imaginable addition and would make the plugin a lot more useful. Why anyone would argue against making the plugin more useful is beyond me.

Why aren’t you using the regular limiter if you want the output gain control? Isn’t that an even easier solution?


What’s wrong with that one?

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Yes but Limiter only limits what is above 0.

This has been bugging me for a while already. Why do Steinberg don’t simply call their Brickwall Limiter Limiter, and add an Output knob to it ?
Or just combine Limiter, Brickwall Limiter and Maximizer, and call it Limiter 2, which could have the same functioning as Waves with the Threshold and Out Ceiling faders ?

That’s some real design fails, and this is the same with other plugins. Look at the distortion category, many of the small ones could be definitely combined into a single plugin, such as BitCrusher, DaTube, Distortion, Distroyer and Soft Clipper. One convenient interface with multiple tabs so we can switch rapidly between the different distortion types and compare them on the fly. Those old plugins are just begging for this.

I don’t really see how that’s a significant problem though. It has an input gain of up to 24dB which should be plenty for all music situations I would think, and has an accompanying maximum attenuation of the same. So if you have a signal that you want to limit and it doesn’t go above zero you can push it above zero and then just lower the output to bring levels back.

Well, I already mentioned that at least I think it’s probably a good thing to have a brickwall limiter that doesn’t offer more than the brickwall. I think it’s pretty useful. If you add an output knob with the ability to add gain then there’s the potential to not only brickwall limit the input signal but to also then increase the output which makes it not a brickwall any longer because the output would all of a sudden be larger than the signal at threshold. From the standpoint of use-cases that’s not really doing the job. And of course if it’s about lowering the output only then the answer to that is to just lower the input and threshold. It’s not a level control plugin, it’s just a brickwall limiter.

But if you add all of that together you have a different plugin doing different things, and the opportunity then exists to think you’re brickwalling something without adding a bunch of loudness while actually being wrong about that.

And just for context - for us in post production for broadcast stems need to sum to the main mix so any limiting on the master(s) should really only be catching the occasional peak to comply with broadcast specifications, and should never ever be used to increase loudness. That’s why I think this plugin is great - very easy to use and very predictable. I wouldn’t want to sit down in front of a project that someone else had touched with a limiter that could also maximize and boost etc. because I wouldn’t know what the plugin was actually doing without looking into it further. With this one it’s fast and easy.
I look at what the threshold is set to and that’s the output.

I don’t think it’s a fail. I like the design.

As for the other plugins I totally see your point about being able to quickly switch between types of distortion, but I can also see how that could be slightly annoying. I’m all for options though so I wouldn’t be mad if they did that. To me it’s really in a different category of potential use compared to using the plugin this thread is about.

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I think you are mistaken about the brickwall thing. It is not about how the plugins work with their available controls, but about how the signal is limited.

A standard limiter (formerly analog units or plugin emulations) let the peaks pass through because they have an attack time, which can be set with a knob.

A brickwall limiter on the other hand, doesn’t let the peaks pass through, and for this reason there is no need for an attack control.
In the case of Cubase, all those three plugins are brickwall limiters, none of them have an attack knob. Only the available controls are different but the internal functioning is exactly the same.

WTF? Really?

RMS and Peak limiters in millions of PA processors have no level control.
Right tool for the task. That’s all what’s needed.

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You didn’t get the point.
If you don’t like the implementation, don’t use it. That’s all we are saying.
There is no need for any reprogramming to add a level control.
We simply have other tools available.


Why use only one plugin when we can use three. You guys are old-school for real. You just see the brickwall thing only by judging the plugin based on its control set.
No output trim = signal cannot go above the set ceiling = brickwall. :nerd_face: Insane logic. Wtf.

In this case the basic Limiter should behave like a real limiter with a high ratio and an attack value, but that’s not the case. It is just another brickwall limiter but with a fixed threshold at 0 dB, which ultimately works the same as a maximizer thanks to the additional output knob.

So yeah, huge design / naming fail.

This is all about how someone wanted a specific control for this plugin, is it not? And for the purpose of actually doing work I don’t care at all what a plugin does on the inside as long as the outcome is as expected and wanted.

They all do level control slightly differently. The Brickwall has intersample peak limiting and the others don’t as far as I can see.

The maximizer in turn is at least stated as having two different algorithms that are used to work on levels as well as a soft clip algorithm.

So I don’t see how the three are the same internally.

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And why Brickwall Limiter does have the intersample, and the Limiter does not ? What’s the purpose of this ? Shouldn’t it take advantage of it too ?

Oh actually no, this won’t work because of the control set… so in fact for a master, we need to use the Limiter first to increase the gain thanks to its output knob, followed by a Brickwall Limiter with the threshold at -0.2 and intersample enabled. Only this can achieve maximizing. Yes, because the Maximizer plugin is still very different with an “Optimize” knob that shows % values. :smiling_face_with_tear:

That’s not what we wrote and you know it.

You know what a “brickwall” is, yes? It’s a hard wall. Stuff don’t go through it.
This topic is about the Brickwall limiter

If you feel like talking about how the other limiter should have that then start a thread about it.

Sorry but we do not have the same definition of “brickwall”. Stuff don’t go through it, but in terms of audio processing it’s the input signal that never goes above the threshold. This is used for limiting the peaks without any chance for the transients to pass through. After this we can still increase the level as we please, and that’s not part of the brickwall thing, since the signal has already been processed with brickwall limiting.

Brickwall was the term used back in the days for this exact processing method. Nowadays many brickwall limiters are only called limiters, just like the Steinberg Limiter.
They just use this term to differentiate the two plugins simply because they feature different control sets, but this design choice is bad from the start, perhaps Steinberg have the same “brickwall” definition as you do.
And that’s what this topic is about, why the Brickwall Limiter doesn’t have an output control ?

I don’t even use these so why do I bother.

What’s wrong with using the main fader on the channel for level matching?
The point of brick wall limiter is to avoid saturating the digital signal, it’s not to impart a particular sound profile on the sound.
If you want that kind of hard compression for sound sculpture, I suggest using a fast-acting compressor/limiter with better control, and put it in a pre-fader slot where you can do whatever you want with gain, and then level match using the fader.

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I tend to see/hear things the same way as Mattias and others on this. There are other subtleties at play here too. In the following comments I’m referring specifically to the Brickwall Limiter plugin and not the Brickwall Limiter on the channel strip.

If Brickwall Limiter had an output level control it would defeat the whole object of the plugin. Brickwall Limiter is primarily designed to be used as a final level control in a processing chain (just before dithering if you are mastering for example). This can be to avoid the odd digital over, for example. The idea of control over the final level is also the reason why this plugin features the Detect Intersample Clipping function. The plugin can of course be used in many other ways but peak level control of some kind is usually involved.

The plugin is designed to limit occasional unwanted peaks in the signal… and most importantly to do this in an extremely transparent manner, meaning that it can reduce peaks without any change whatsoever in the signal below the threshold. Most other limiters are not capable of this kind of transparency and often their limiting action has some subtle effect upon the characteristics of the signal below the threshold. In other words, Brickwall Limiter maintains the pristine quality of your audio signal more than most (its internal functioning is not the same as the other Steinberg limiters).

AFAIK there is no misunderstanding in the use of ‘Brickwall Limiter’ as the name for this plugin. It is the classic description and name for this kind of limiter, and describes what this limiter does.

Of course, the Brickwall Limiter plugin can be used in other ways where you might start to want an output level control but, in my opinion, if you added an output level control this would just become an unecessary obstacle when using this plugin for its main purpose. To a great extent the addition of an output level control would destroy the purity of its design. In my opinion, the design is a classic case of less is more. If you need limiting in any other part of the plugin chain where you require an output level control then maybe use Raiser, Limiter or Maximizer, or a Limiter plugin from another developer. And, by the way, Raiser also features a Detect Intersample Peaks button.