Waves L1 Ultramaximizer by Enlightened Hand
Bob Katz says: It's not how loud you make it, it's how you make it loud.
I agree. But in the world of the loudness wars, if there was ever a plug-in to blame (and there isn't but for the sake of making a point) for the sheer dynamic carnage one can have these days and the "how loud can you make it" attitude that is so pervasive then it all must have started with the L1 Ultramaximizer. Why? You ask.
Because like most of Waves' products it's simple to use. It also has virtually no sound and in about two seconds you can pretty cleanly crank the volume of a mix to ridiculous levels. It is probably one of the most dangerous pieces of software to hit the audio production community, ever.
The controls are simple: you have an input attenuator a threshold control an output ceiling slider and a release time fader. That combined with the attenuation meter and an output dithering processor and you're good to go when you want to make it loud. And really that's what the L1 is about. It's so simple, so easy and so addictive to be able to crank the level on anything that it's more of a drug than a plug-in limiter. As loudness maximizer plug-ins go this one is the champ, besides those that do multi-band work. If you need it loud, quickly, simply and without added coloration the L1 has you pretty much covered.
I use the L1 mainly for raising the level of stereo mixdowns so that they can be auditioned without the listener needing to crank the volume on their system too high. I usually don't push things too hard and I'll leave room for them to do some work. With the L1 however you get the option of using just the L1 as a limiter, without the output dithering processor attached. In that form I use the limiter like any limiter and I have to say the great virtue in using the L1 and maybe all Waves plug-ins is the simplicity and power of their controls. You can really do what you need without having to think of how to work the thing too deeply and this appeals to novices because they simply don't know. It appeals to experienced folks because they don't like to have to over think things and they just want the thing to work. With the L1 you get exactly what you need from a limiter and nothing you don't. It's very useful and I do recommend it. But be careful. It's so easy to go overboard with it. If there was anything negative about the L1 that I could honestly say it would be that I don't hear much of a characteristic sound from it and sometimes a person might want more of that extra flavor.
Good luck not being seduced by it's charms.