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

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Why I like it, conclusively
This is what I call a 'make it sound good' box. Put sound through it, make some adjustments, and the audio coming out sounds better than what went in. I recently recorded music I wrote for a film trailer, and used the L2 for the first time on that project. The producers wanted the piece to be exciting and punchy, and there were many big orchestral hits and hard-edged sound design type effects. We tracked a combination of prerecorded tracks from the original film score layered and intercut with sequenced music played on my collection of samplers and synths. Everything was mixed to stereo and sent to the L2 for A-D conversion and limiting, then S/P-DIF from the L2 to a MotU 2408 MkII, and from there to disk. The results exceeded my expectations and were noticeably better than the last recording I had made in my studio, pre-L2. Needless to say, the L2 has become a permanent fixture in my signal chain!

I also plan to use it recording acoustic instruments. When I play piano I tend to have a wide dynamic range, which in the past has created the need for multiple takes due to sometimes pegging the meters in loud passages. There is a comfort in dialing -.5dB and then setting reasonable record levels, knowing that there will be no overs on any of the takes thanks to the look-ahead limiting of the L2. Put the preamp outputs into the L2 analog ins, and enjoy a clean signal path right to disk.

As far as IDR versus Apogee UV22, as I stated earlier I didn't do extensive listening tests so I won't make any comparisons. IDR sounds excellent to my ears, and while I'm sure this gets argued very passionately by proponents of either box, I suspect IDR is roughly equivalent to UV22 in terms of sound quality. I bought the Waves L2 for its combination of quality A-D conversion and limiting, and also for the excellent and easy user interface that makes using the device a pleasure.

At a street price of about $2,000 US, this is rather pricy for the home studio owner. However, for the musician or mastering engineer looking to raise the quality of his/her recordings, the L2 definitely provides a step up into a world of high quality professional audio.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
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  • WAVES L2 Pages

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