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FabFilter Pro-L 2 Review

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Pro-L 2 Featured

Pro-L 2 is a Mastering limiter plugin released by FabFilter, Pro-L 2 is a Major update to their previous version Pro-L, it is available for only $199 on FabFilter and Plugin Boutique.

FabFilter Pro-L 2 is an improved version of Pro-L with new features and functions. If you already have Pro-L, you can use it alongside the new Pro-L 2, it is the best plugin to achieve the maximum loudness with total transparency or add flavors if you want. Of course, you will find various limiter plugin in the market which does the only specific job for you, some will be transparent and some will only be loud without taking care of unwanted distortion, but Pro-L 2 gives you almost every type of limiting functionality within itself for all kinds of mix and mastering jobs.

User Interface Tells the Truth

The user interface is very simple and easy to use, no complex things need to get the professional mixes and master tracks.

Pro -L 2
Pro-L 2 Default User Interface

The real-time display shows the levels of the incoming audio tracks, see the above image, the light blue color shows the input audio(unprocessed audio), the dark blue color shows the output audio(processed audio) and the red color is the gain reduction. It is the best and the correct way see what is happening to the sound and adjust the settings according to it.

On the left-hand corner, there is a gain slider, one of the most important functions of the Pro-L 2. The gain slider makes the audio louder and louder and louder. It is the easiest way to make your mixes and masters louder but the end result will differ and depends on what algorithm or settings you choose.

At the bottom left side below the gain slider, there is an advanced setting panel, can be open and close by clicking on ADVANCED, it features the style menu to choose various musical styles, the lookahead knob to set the lookahead time, so the limiter can identify the incoming audio in advance to set the gain reduction according to the requirement. Very short lookahead time may add distortion to the incoming audio.

Other knobs are Attack and Release which are self-explanatory, the longer attack and short release can add overall loudness and presence to the audio, the Pro-L 2 has the slower release envelope that can react to the average dynamics of the incoming audio signals. To link and unlink the channels, set release to the 100% and the Transient knob controls the amount of channel linking for the ‘transient’ stage that mainly operates on short peaks.

Professional Metering

The FabFilter Pro-L 2 offers the most accurate metering available, from normal metering, needs to the K metering systems for more advanced needs also a dedicated loudness scale for loudness metering.

Click next to the TP to open and see available metering options, let’s start with the normal metering. There are 16 dB, 32 dB, and 48 dB metering scales available for normal metering with linear precision in the upper part of all three scales. The 16 dB has the small range and the 48 dB has the large range, makes it useful for all purposes.

Pro-L 2 also has the K Metering System, a K-System was developed by Bob Katz, a Grammy award winning Mastering Engineer. The K meters has the RMS meter and the Peak meter for each stereo channels makes them useful for analyzing the RMS level of EBU R128 standard.

Pro-L 2 K Meter
K Metering System

The top red zone of the meters is the loud or fortissimo zone. In music recording, the RMS level should only reach the red zone in the loudest passages, climaxes or occasional peak moments.

K-12: This scale is intended to be used exclusively for broadcast material, be it radio or television. With this system, -12 dBFS = 0 VU = 85 dB SPL. The limited headroom of 12 dB explains its exclusiveness to heavily compressed the broadcast material.

K-14: This should be the standard for the majority of commercial recordings created for home listening. Pop music and home theatre mixes are examples of material that would fall under K-14, where -14 dBFS = 0 VU = 85 dB SPL. The available headroom is 14 dB. The K-14 scale is probably the most widely used of the three standards.

K-20: Offering the widest available dynamic range of the three systems, this scale should be used primarily for large theatrical mixes, dynamic music mixes, and classical style mixes. Any material with a wide dynamic range should be reserved for the K-20 standard. In this system, -20 dBFS = 0 VU = 85 dB SPL and the headroom is 20 dB.

Now let’s see the dedicated loudness meter of the Pro-L 2. It is a full-featured EBU R128loudness meter. The ITU-R BS.1770-4 standard describes a way of pre-filtering the audio signal to mimic the way the human ear perceives different frequencies, together with a way to calculate the average (RMS) signal level and use it to calculate a loudness level for an audio fragment of any length.

Metering Section
Loudness Meter

This loudness level is expressed in LUFS (Loudness Units Full Scale) and is typically combined with true peak level metering. Pro-L 2 implements this standard and offers elaborate loudness metering. Simply set the Meter Scale
button to Loudness to enable it, refer user manual for detailed information.

Louder the Better

Fabfilter Pro-L 2 is a professional true peak limiter (i.e. the final true peak level won’t exceed the specified maximum output level of the plug-in) for mixing and mastering purposes with four newly added algorithms. You can choose the algorithm by clicking the Menu under the Style section. Modern, Aggressive, Bus, and Safe are the names of the newly added four algorithms.

Modern is the default algorithm and suitable for all of your limiting needs, it is the best limiting algorithm among the others and produces better results. Aggressive is “as the name suggests” an algorithm focuses on getting the audio loudest possible, it works best on EDM, Metal, Rock, use it creatively. Bus is an algorithm designed especially for individual audio tracks, groups and bus channels, this algorithm is not transparent at all, use it to add colors to your individual tracks and buses. Safe is an algorithm used for distortion-free limiting and it is first priority is the safe and sound final result.

Style menu to choose various types of limiting algorithms from transparent, punchy, modern to the aggressive mode. The Loudness meter and professional metering options are amazing. Easy to understand user interface and the real-time display to see what is happening to the audio and much more.
Didn’t notice any.

About FabFilter

FabFilter is famous for creating the professional audio plugins for music production, the plugins are being used by famous artists, mix and mastering engineers around the world. The company founded in 2002 by Frederik Slijkerman & Floris Klinkert and is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.


FabFilter Pro-L 2 Review
Design
Features
Performance
Sound
Pricing
Summary
Pro-L 2 is an amazing all in one mix/mastering limiting plugin for all your limiting needs.
98 %
Awesome!
User Rating 4.2 ( 5 votes)
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