Big Clipper is a combined limiter and clipper plug-in with much more control over both processes. It comes with its own preset menu and is available in VST, AU, RTAS and AAX Native versions. It has an interesting stereo mode where you may select processing in conventional stereo, Mid/Side, Mid only or Side only.
The main controls include: Push to control input gain to the clipper--good for low level subtle noises or sources with great dynamic range
The Pull control adjusts the clipping threshold and the Shape control varies between soft (smooth) and hard clipping (edgy) effects. Lastly there is the Blend cross-fader that works differently for the four different Blend styles. The four Blend styles define exactly how the limiter and clipper work together and better control what you are trying to achieve with this plug-in.
The Crossover mode [C X L] has the clipper in the low band and the limiter in the high band with the Blend fader setting the crossover frequency anywhere from 100Hz to 20kHz. With minimum Push level and high Pull limiter threshold, this works great to put a little "hair" around a sterile direct bass track. I crossed over at 140Hz and Shape was on the soft side at 29%.
The Crossover mode [L X C] puts the limiter in the low band and the clipper in the high band. This can be an all-in fuzz tone but with careful adjustment of Push and Pull, you can keep this effect musical.
You can switch over to Blend Mode where the cross fader now mixes between a full bandwidth limiter and full bandwidth clipper. The same bass took on a cleaner but more aggressive tone after I rolled out a lot at 200Hz and boosted the high mid-range with the Frequency Sensitivity controls (see below). Lastly there is Series mode where first in the chain is the limiter and then comes the clipper.
Newly added is an Output level control that's great when deciding to clip a track that you've already automated its level in your mix. Big Clipper will add a tremendous amount of level and the Output control will dial that back to your previous mix level you had before adding it. Awesome upgrade.
Key to Big Clipper's utility is that all these different modes are easily auditioned at any time without any re-patching. You can find just the right sound to musically fit your source and song usage. Further controllability comes from the limiter's Attack and Release time faders and the Frequency Sensitivity controls.
Frequency Sensitivity is a three-band filter in the side-chain that constrains or boosts certain frequencies more/less into clipping/limiting. I found this very useful to only process a certain frequency range and keep from distorting other frequencies that didn't sound good broken up.
I liked that there is a helpful text window at the bottom of the GUI that tells you what each control does as you mouse over it.
The Big Clipper sells for $149 download and for more: bozdigitallabs.com.
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com