Unlimiting Sauce

Digital limiting is one of the worst manifestations of the Loudness Wars in which the music industry has become stuck in a degenerative spiral of greater and greater levels of compression and limiting in order to make each "product" as loud (or better, louder still) than the competition.

In fact, it's fair to say that CD has become debased as a medium precisely by pratices such as these.
The figure below illustrates an absolutely typical example taken from a very popular and well recorded album.

Apart from the quiet introduction and coda (largely designed to be spoken over on the radio of course), the tracks main section has been digitally limited during mastering so that there is just a "square box" of audio. (Here, the audio level has actually been reduced by 3dB to illustrate the limiting effect more clearly.)

Now let's be clear, these mastering processes are destructive and some information from the original master-tape is irrecoverably lost.

However, we have pioneered a process in Stereo Lab (Ver. 2) in which some of the information may be recovered: thereby restoring some of the dynamics of the original track as the artist and producer signed it off.

The result is illustrated in the screen shot below in which the original waveform has been recovered.

This process, and the incorporation of loudness measuring and adjustment processes in Stereo Lab are Pspatial Audio's contribution to the pernicious effects of the Loudness Wars.


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