Luveler Free VST mastering limiter

Every so often I discover a plugin that’s really different in a useful way. So the Luveler plugin is one.

The LUveler VST/LADSPA plugin is one such. Most of the limiters I have access to, use RMS level as the reference for setting the threshold. LuVeler is built to address the LU loudness scale, which is a modern ‘intelligent’ replacement for RMS level when calibrating loudness.

The cool thing about it for me is that you can set a floor, below which the input signal is left intact. Above that level it applies leveling to a target LUFS level.

A good discussion about LUFS vs other loudness measurements: What Are LUFS? The Complete Guide

I do mastering as a sideline, though I don’t promote that aspect of my practice as well as I might. But the Luveler is a good, free way to work on pre-mastering your own music.

Specific to Rack, even though most people’s go-to mixer, Mindmeld Mixer does a good job of soft-clipping overloaded signal, but if you really care about how your track sounds (and to leave some room for a mastering engineer to do their work) then you’ll mix so your stereo recordings have a fair amount of headroom.

My personal approach is to mix so that even the occasional stray peaks stay well below 0dbFS. That means that in order to sound ‘finished’ when compared to the usual standard levels for commercial release, you need to increase volume, and to some extent apply limiting to peaks. Even for pre-mastering - where a mastering engineer will eventually work on the final version for release - you want to get a healthy level, not to far off of broadcast standard.

My own standard is to pick the loudest section of a track, and adjust the limiting of that loudest section is -14LuFS and the True Peak never exceeds -1dB. That sounds, to my ears, close enough to finished to share with other people, but still leaves room for mastering.

Luveler makes it easy to achieve that kind of pre-master leveling. You have to add a LUFS meter after Luveler, since it doesn’t have it’s own metering. I use the MLoudnessAnalyzer, which is part of the MeldaProduction VST suite.

Since Luveler doesn’t affect audio signals below a set floor, it can be very transparent. It does enough limiting to sound good, but mostly it’s simply passing through the input, with a linear gain transformation.


Nice find, and golden information on how to sound better! Thanks.

When I worked at a well known DAW company I was always complaining that all of our stuff was set so that “0 db” was 12 db below clipping. In the modern world of 24 and more bits of resolution, that seemed like an idiotic choice. But still to this day there are people who try to get their peaks up close to clipping… which made sense… before most ppl were born…

It seems really interesting but i find the parameters explanation a bit cryptic notably regarding the Max gain for someone like me not used to mastering.

So, for example, if you want to boost the quiet parts by up to 10 dB, and you have a Target Level of -16.0 LUFS and a measured integrated loudness of the source material of -23.0 LUFS, then the Max Gain must be set to 17 dB. 7 dB is needed to boost from -23.0 to -16.0 LUFS.

Is it to say that the quiet parts are finally boosted by 17 db ?

Wow LADSPA, some things never die :wink:

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I have to say that given you said you work as a mastering engineer this surprise me a lot. -14LUFS is low enough in a lot of genres that you absolutely can reach it without having to clip your transients, obviously you can and in the end it is a creative choice when done consciously, but I do not recommend doing anything (as in “pre” mastering) if the track is going to a mastering engineer afterward… There is absolutely 0 risk in being “too far off” the loudness target as long as you don’t export in less than 24 bits.

=> let’s say you’re peaking at -12dBFS, recording at 24 bits, your highest peak is 120 dB higher than your “silence”, that is absolutely enough that you don’t have to worry about noise floor or anything like that, and can leave the science of level boosting to mastering. Don’t you think ? I get that when you know what you are doing you can start that kind of treatments before, include them in the mix etc, but I would not recommend doing that “in general”.

let’s say you’re peaking at -12dBFS, recording at 24 bits, your highest peak is 120 dB higher than your “silence”, that is absolutely enough that you don’t have to worry about noise floor or anything like that, and can leave the science of level boosting to mastering.

I guess what I meant by pre-master is I’m reducing the dynamic range enough that it sounds full, but not so much that there’s no headroom for a mastering engineer to play with. I base this on getting masters that are already so compressed that there’s no room for EQ changes. You always want to hand over your best mix without reducing the mastering engineers options.

also you really don’t want intentional clipping inside the patch. which leads to the “gain staging” discussion. Although I’ll admit inside VCV is a little different than inside a DAW…

Ok, got it.

When I mix electronic music (with a beat) I always have a Youlean Loudness Meter on the master, because if I don’t pay attention to loudness variation in the whole track I tend to end up with too wide a loudness range (say about 15 to 20 LU), which would make master hard afterwards, if trying to get to a confortable streaming listening experience. I do not limit anything except tracks or buses for creative intent (smash a kick into a limiter to change its sound, etc). But nothing ever gets close to clipping on the master track. The things I check for mastering compatibility are mostly individual sounds balance (spectral and dynamic), definition, space, overall spectral balance, and dynamic movements during the different parts that could have too wide a level change…

In VCV though, I do not see it as a DAW at all, and I feel there is no way to really “mix”, I approach it as I do my hardware synths going into my analog mixer, that I record in stereo and that is it… I will check the limiter you pointed at because I leave a Bogaudio Limit before recording and I am not satisfied with it but I don’t want to use those that I do like the sound of but introduce to much latency for my taste…

If I wanted to really mix music made in VCV I think I’d multitrack it to mix it afterwards in a traditional DAW…

You all actually mix in VCV ? Like individual treatments, buses, EQ’ed reverbs etc ? I am curious…