FabFilter Pro-L Trick: Foolproof Gain Reduction

Here’s a quick tip for all my FabFilter Pro-L users out there. This one makes it easier to figure out exactly how much limiting a track needs!

Hey! This is Jason Moss from BehindTheSpeakers.com.

Today I want to share with you a trick that will help you know exactly how much limiting you need when you’re using FabFilter’s Pro-L limiter.

When you’re using a traditional limiter, the problem is that as you apply more and more limiting, the track gets louder. And since louder sounds better, it becomes really difficult to determine when enough is enough.

So this trick will actually help you solve that problem.

Now you need FabFilter’s Pro-L for this to work, but there actually are a variety of other limiters that have a similar feature.

Let me show you how this works.

[Switch to Pro Tools]

Okay, so we’re here in Pro Tools. I have the FabFilter Pro-L pulled up. This is a track by Dylan Owen called “The Glory Years.”

If we were to limit this track, normally what we would do is we’d just pull up the gain slider until we start seeing some limiting and until our ears tell us it’s okay. It would sound something like this.

[Track plays]

So obviously we can see, as we bring the gain slider up, the volume gets much louder.

So I’m going to pull this back down.

[Pulls gain slider back down]

Now I’m going to do exactly the same thing, but I’m going to hold down the shift key on my keyboard.

[Track plays]

So you can see, as I turn the gain slider up, the output volume actually turns down by exactly the same amount. So this allows us to listen at a volume-compensated level. Everything’s even.

The advantage of this is that we can actually start to hear when the mix becomes smaller.

So right around here [points to gain slider], I started to hear the snare dip out a little bit and get kind of soft. And the whole mix kind of collapsed a little bit. And if we push it beyond that point, we can hear very clearly that the mix starts distorting.

[Track plays]

So obviously that’s way too much.

But the trick here is that it’s actually much easier to hear these things when the level doesn’t change when you’re adding gain into the limiter.

So the takeaway is to use the shift key while you’re adjusting the limiter’s gain, so you always know exactly how much limiting you need.

Hope you found this helpful. You can check out more mixing tips at BehindTheSpeakers.com.

Have an awesome day!

Features the song “The Glory Years” by Dylan Owen.