By combining the tools of several Sonible plug-ins, Smart: Limit provides transparent limit, automatic parameter identification, sound shaping, and monitoring of loudness and dynamics in one device. The selector mastery market is a crowded place – can this new kid on the block dump the tried and tested tools into your plug-ins folder?
Clever: The border looks incredibly clean, with plenty of feedback that helps visualize exactly what’s going on. The base selector offers controls for cap, input gain, attack, and release, with a smart auto-editing option for more transparency. Without using any of the other functions, simply pushing the audio to the selector provided excellent results, and we were able to get a little louder than some competing plug-ins before things started looking distorted and compressed.
A handy “constant gain” feature keeps the output at the same level while adjusting parameters, making it easy to hear any audio changes. There’s also a delta listen button that lets you just hear what’s being removed by the selection process, and a unique distortion monitoring graph that highlights parts of the spectrum that distort through plug-in processing. This window would be more useful if it was a little larger and easier to read.
Intelligent: Limit four sound shaping dials to optimize your route. The pattern allows you to go from softer and more transparent limited patterns to a more powerful sound; Saturation adds warmth and thickness; Volume control improves and strengthens the low end; Balance and Balance gently smoothes out spectral propagation and removes echo (Based on Sonible’s smart: EQ3 plug-in).
You may already have other plug-ins that you normally use on your carrier for these functions, but it’s nice to have them built in so that you can tweak right away and experiment with different settings. When used in small amounts, we find it to be a useful set of sweeteners on top of the main limiter.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Sonible plug-in without the smart part. You can select a pattern from 26 different types, then press the Learn button for smart sound: listening limit, then set the parameters for perfect sound. You also have a drop-down list of broadcast targets and broadcast loudness which has an additional impact on the settings. For the most part, this gives good results, although you may need to further tweak the input gain and final output level to ideally achieve certain goals. If you’re familiar with crafting club masters, you may find the resulting levels a little light, but fortunately you can upload your reference tracks as profiles, which gives more relevant results.
The loudness control section is another area where intelligence: the limit really shines. This graph plots loudness on one axis and dynamics on the other, and helps you focus on the best balance between the two. You are presented with target areas that change as you select different delivery systems, and a great quality check feature tells you what you need to adjust to achieve those goals. This also includes a built-in penalty number that tells you how much the platform has shifted your path up or down based on your current settings.
As a learning tool, Clever: Limit is cool. Never before has so much useful information been offered in a single plugin, it is sure to help beginners gain a better understanding of loudness, and help professionals achieve their goals more efficiently. It wouldn’t mean anything if it didn’t look good, but we’re happy to report that it excels in this department as well, providing an open top end and good passing definition. The AI part works mostly, but it will require more tweaking to get the best and most accurate results. No limiter is going to be the best for all mixes, but as a package, Smart: Limit offers a plethora of useful tools that make it very worthy of a place in your toolbox.
- Auto selector settings
- Wide loudness monitoring
- Optically guided loudness and dynamic targeting
- Broadcast service objectives, loudness standards, types and reference paths
- 4 sound shaping tools for fine-tuning and styling
- Anticipate the immediate impact of a smooth workflow
- Quality check to make sure the settings are set
- Screen distortion and intelligent automatic editing
- Device Permission or iLok
- Introductory price 89 euros until January 22, 2022
- Contact: Sonible