iZotope Vintage Limiter

A really quick introduction about what Limiters are and when to use them:

We compress for many reasons! We might want to shape the feel of an instrument, or conversely, to shrink its dynamic range to occupy a more manageable space. We may compress for color as well.

A limiter, however, is commonly used for one reason first and foremost: to catch the loudest moments of a source, bringing them down in a way that a) protects against unwanted distortion, and b) maintains the integrity of the mix’s overall balance or color.

Here, think of the limiter as the bouncer standing just outside the door, keeping the harsh digital overs outside of the proceedings, and doing so with the force of a brick wall.

The Izotope Vintage Limiter, modeled after the Fairchild 670 Compressor, allows you to create a louder and fuller master by limiting the dynamic range and boosting the overall level of your mix!


First, the Controls

The Vintage Limiter has following controls in the control panel:

  • Modes
  • Threshold
  • Character


There are three separate limiting modes available, each with unique characteristics and sounds:



With a fast attack and variable release time, this mode provides a tight bass response with a “thick” limiting quality. Brings out the low-end transients while still providing the smoothness that is characteristic of analog circuitry.


A more balanced limiter with variable attack and release times. Provides smooth feedback limiting with a wider range of sonic characteristics that vary depending on your incoming signal. Despite its non-linearity, it still allows for modern precision in preventing any clipping or peaks.


Blends thicker vintage characteristics and wide range of non-linearity with modern IRC limiting, variable release times, and transient reproduction.



Adjust the threshold to set the level at which limiting takes place. The threshold control includes the following sub-controls and meter:

  • Threshold Meter
  • Ceiling
  • Link
  • True Peak

Threshold Meter:

  • Displays the applied gain reduction on the module’s input level.
  • The two meters on the far left and right of the threshold meter display the input audio level.
  • The two meters that appear in between the input meters display the gain reduction applied.


Adjust to see the maximum output level of the Vintage Limiter.


Enable to link the Threshold and Ceiling controls. Adjusting either control in linked mode will adjust the other control by the same amount and vice versa.

True Peak:

Enable to engage the limiter to include the levels of each digital sample and of the analog signal resultant from D/A conversion. This is useful in situations where your analog signal’s peak level exceeds the corresponding digital signal’s peak level by more than 3 dB. In layman's terms,  here’s where a “true peak” or “ISP” parameter comes in. Use true peak whenever you want to make absolutely sure there is no clipping when your audio is run through a D/A converter.


Adjusts the attack and release times of the Vintage Limiter. The attack and release times used are dependent on the selected Mode, and allows a continuous range from Fast (0.0) to Slow (10.0) in each mode. Read that again! A FAST attack is towards (0.) and a slower attack is towards (10.). This is not like other digital compressor/limiters where they show the timing in milliseconds; you need to use your ears to dial in the best settings for the program material. 

Sign-up for a Peer Training today if you’d like to learn more about these and other topics at library.berklee.edu/training

Training Subject
iZotope Mastering Mixing Plug-ins Post-Production Audio Production
Creative Technology Center Knowledge base iZotope Limiter Compressor plug-ins
Last modified
Thu, Apr 14th 2022