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In-depth Feature:  Waves L2 Ultramaximizer
Albert Potts writes: .

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What it does, directly
While I can't claim to have carried out scientific testing, I can tell you that the A-D/D-A conversion is noticeably better than the stock converters on my Panasonic SV-3700 DAT machine. What comes out of the L2 sounds exactly like what went in, and that's a really good thing. No flattening or narrowing of the stereo image, no brittleness or lifelessness. There's a realism and naturalness to the sound that still catches me by surprise when I listen to playback. Put simply, the L2 sounds superb.

And that's just the converters! Now for the really good stuff: the digital look-ahead limiting. I think what really sets this box apart from the Apogee offerings is the limiter, and the simple but very effective user interface that makes using the limiter a pleasure. The limiter sounds invisible until pushed to extreme limits. For smooth, mastering-quality limiting the L2 is just the ticket: there is an almost magical feel to what it does. No artifacts, nothing that calls attention to itself, just clean invisible limiting. If you really push it you can still get a bit crunchy; if you're into 'volume wars', the L2 will get you up to 0dB and keep you there.

However, you can easily control how much dynamic range you want in your songs by adjusting the threshold control. As you dial down, for example -6dB, the actual volume will be increased by +6dB. To keep from getting digital overs the Out Ceiling control can be set anywhere from 0dB to -30dB. I keep my out ceiling set to -.5dB, just to ensure that no errors will show up on the final CDs. The out ceiling is firm, there will be nothing over that level.

Finally, the release time can be adjusted manually with the Release dial, or automatically by engaging ARC Auto Release. Unless there is some special reason to manually set the release time, I would suggest always using ARC, which is invisible and works extremely well.

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