In my search for a broadcast limiter plug-in, I saw with interest the announcement from Blue Cat about their new Protector 2 brickwall limiter plug-in, and decided to take a look at it to see if it would work for me in a post context. But music readers don’t skip this, its really for you…
In starting to use it, I quickly released that the Threshold is effectively set at 0dBfs, which of course is what Blue Cat say it is when I took the trouble to read the details on it! However they have included Pre Gain and Post Gain controls so it is possible for me to set it to limit at -10dBfs by setting the Pre Gain to +10dB and the Post Gain to -10dB. There also a nice feature that tells you if your gain reduction hads increased the loudness displayed as an RMS Boost display below the Post Gain control.
But as the folks at Blue Cat explained Protector 2 has been designed mainly for musicians or music producers looking for a 0 dBFS protection. It has been kept as simple as possible for this particular 0 dB limiting scenario, and to be fair it very much does this job, it is simple and easy to use and in a music setting to have this as my last plug-in in the Master channel would give me the confidence to know that everything is being kept in the ‘safe zone’. A Soft Knee on a limiter is an unusual but great addition so that you can gently approach the brickwall
That said I still have to keep reminding myself that it is OK to have audio prior to the plug-in going about 0dB as the there is still plenty of headroom in the Pro Tools mixer at this point. Remember it is OK to pull the Master Fader down if you are getting ‘overs’ on the Master Track as the master fader is before the insert and the level architecture of the Pro Tools mixer can cope.
Although the folks at Blue Cat have kept the interface simple it doesn’t meean that the plug-in can’t do clever things, it can. Like most of their plug-ins, Protector also offers a powerful side chain capability thanks to its MIDI CC output. This feature, not only lets you do side chain limiting, but also parameters modulation: control any parameter of any plugin to create side chain effects in real time. For more info on this feature take a look at the Tutorial Pages on the Blue Cat web site.
They also offer separate downloads for all the different hosts, currently it is AAX Native and they do plan to produce an AAX DSP version at some point in the future.
So all in all an excellent product for all you music guys and when you see the price it gets even better. Currently they are offering a 25% discunt so its 59 Euros instead of 79 or $74 instead of $99. They have demo versions so go and try it out for yourself.