Transient shapers, compressors, and limiters

I’ve only used a transient shaper briefly but it seems to me that I can achieve a similar effect using a chain of compressors and volume envelopes…or am I wrong…if I am correct me…also noticed that when using a limiter it boosts certain frequencies as I increase the volume up against a set db ceiling…I just normally eq it after application of the limiter…compressors I dont use because I will blow out my ear drums just through my tendencies with experimentation…

So what is your experience using them…
Also do you find yourself mixing both the dry and wet signals using these effects?

I love multiband transient shaping and use it in nearly every track if it’s not ambient or something like that. I have good experiences with Elevate Punctuate (up to 26 bands), Transify (4 bands, feels much more clunky in general) and the Neutron transient shaper (only 3 bands, but works great). Btw., Physion is interesting, too, although a very different effect…

In general, you can get roughly similar effects with multiband volume shaping or sometimes even dynamic EQing depending on application and settings, but the sound will be different, as is the case for various transient shapers, and you might not have much options for finetuning, or the available options might not work well for the job. The fastest results for completely reshaping the sound of transient-heavy stuff such as full beats I mostly get with either Neutron transient shaper or Punctuate with low band number settings.

That said, I mostly don’t like the effect of single-band transient shapers that much since I always feel the need to split up at least some bands, and I don’t use any plugins or settings in that regard regularly.

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I think transient shapers, compressors, and limiters are doing the same thing more or less (changing signal level over time). But the label really makes all the difference for me. A limiter is different from a compressor in the extent it will change volume. A transient processor is different from either in that you aren’t really looking at specific levels or specific gain like with a compressor, but you are much more concerned with the level in regards to time.

Honestly, my favorite transient processor right now is DS-10, and it doesn’t have any level readout at all, just a clipping light to let you know if you’re going too far.

My favorite compressor, meanwhile is Presswerk and that has 4 different meters related to level that I’m looking at closely whenever I use it. I care about .3-.5 db changes in that instance.

And limiters, I meter even more than compressors. I have independent metering outside the limiter in a mastering context, and I make full use of the in-limiter metering as well, which is multiple pages in either Izotope Ozone or Newfangled Elevate, my two main mastering limiters.

So, while I know full-well that I COULD make all this stuff manually with nothing but volume automation with enough patience, I like to use the tool that’s best suited for the job and get on with my life.

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I don’t know if it’s already been said, but you could technically do it with a volume envelope. I rarely use transient shapers, but they can be really handy for fleshing out drums IMO. Most of the time when I get to using them, my drums start sounding too unrealistic to use since essentially, they are; having a drastic volume curve that accentuates the attack is far less natural than applying subtle compression and layering.

Then again, I’m usually going for realism. Transient shapers are an excellent design tool when working outside of ‘normal’ boundaries, so I could see them being excellent for electronic stuff.


I hadn’t really thought about it, but yeah, I don’t tend to pull out the transient shaper when I’m after natural. I can’t share yet because it’s my sub for the current open-genre compilation, but I just did my most transient processing for a track so far, and it’s not what you’d call subtle.

Us electronic folks get all the cool production toys.

Metal nerd.


It won’t if you don’t mess with make-up gain and dial it to 11, gain staging is important.

Again, endless possibilities. Gotta love destroying transients with hard compression. Glue compressors are amazing tools to flatten everything, lowest threshold and you’re set because why not. Transient shapers are great for more sound destruction, squash them, apply this effect in parallel separating between frequency bands… Or do the opposite, amplify transients, remove sustain. Then there’s stuff like every broducers’ favourite OTT preset of Live’s multiband compressor (free vst exists if you’re not a live user). Can be a fun thing to mess around too. You’re FL user, try Maximus, it’s very capable and easy to work with. Compress low-end, expand highs, whatever… Then there’s compression in dynamic EQs, can be life saving, depends on your purpose.

Now with limiters, it’s basically compressors with a very high ratio so I would only use them in mastering stage.

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