New Mastering Limiter & Exciter / Imager Alternatives?


Hey guys,

As of recent testing within Danny’s Test Kitchen, it seems that Eventide Audio’s Elevate and Fabfilter Pro L2 have been strong options for our Maximizer / Limiter and in most occasions thus far, been beating out our previous favorite: Ozone 7’s Maximizer on IRCIV.

With that being said, I’m sure many students may have missed out on picking up Ozone 7 and in return, don’t have the Exciter and Imager as well as the Maximizer. Or, a handful of students might dislike Ozone 8’s Maximizer. Me being one of them.

For our course and new students arriving, should we look towards an alternative? A new plugin for the imager and exciter outside of Ozone and go with Fabfilter L2 and or Elevate as our Limiter? Given the fact Ozone is quite expensive and Ozone 8’s Maximizer isn’t to our particular taste.

Thanks guys, hopefully we can survey the field and through testing, find the best possible solution.

  • Jamie


speak for yourself brother, Izotope Maximizer is to my taste. I actually find it sounds pretty phenomenal and just so crisp and clear. I haven’t demo’d the Pro L2 yet but I hope it sounds better than the Pro-L. either way we all have our tastes so to each his own. cheers : )


Absolutely true, in the end it’s all about personal preferences, finding your taste, and creative approach. Because I wasn’t a fan, doesn’t mean everyone won’t be a fan as well.

With submitting this forum post, I had two goals in mind.

Number 1: To post the results and thoughts of our A/B testing through different limiters VIA the Friday Test Kitchen. It seemed that Elevate and FabFilter L2 were the popular favorites. For those who share these same thoughts, is it still worth buying into Ozone 8? Is it worth buying Ozone 8 just for the Imager and Exciter? All questions and thoughts I would love to hear input from.

Number 2, if a student decides to omit Ozone 8 entirely, because they are personal favorites of a different limiter, what sort of alternatives are in store for a harmonic exciter and a Stereo Imager? Do these “alternatives” come close to the same sonic quality of Ozone’s Exciter and Imager?

Perhaps I should have been more clear with my aspirations and goal set in mind when posting. Nonetheless,
I’m happy to hear that you are thoroughly enjoying iZotopes Maximizer (Not sure if you are using 7 or 8). Perhaps, with more testing I will grow to like it, just requires more time haha.

Cheers to you as well, and thanks for the response and honest feedback!


On my side, I was pretty amazed by the results I got on the 2bus with Elevate compared to the competitors (Ozone, Fabfilter, Oxford, IK Multimedia…). The downside, it’s super CPU hungry, and it’s a problem because I like to have the limiter on from the beginning to the end of my mix.


Personally for me, I was intrigued by the band process within the Limiter (The “Filter Bank Sub Module Page”) . The fact that you can solo bands at specific frequencies, seems to be a serious game changer. Gives us the ability to specifically hear what the limiter is doing throughout the whole frequency spectrum and edit accordingly.

One of the downsides that I will have to add, is the fact that it has a serious learning curve. You can jump into Elevate like it’s Fabfilter Pro L2, set the attack / release and squeeze down and get your desired result. But in my opinion to get the best possible result, following the signal flow from beginning to end is highly recommended.


Agreed… Elevate is amazing, but CPU hungry as all hell… Hopefully they optimize the code as it develops…

I usually export my mix, then master separately… Using Pro-L as a placeholder’s never been an issue for me, be it Ozone, Elevate, or any other limiter…


Yeah I’m equally happy with Ozone 7/8’s limiter. I just can’t stand what they’ve done to Ozone as whole. Turning it into a Neutron-esque ‘magic bullet’ (that’s hardly magical at all) leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Izotope’s right across the bridge from me too. I’ve known a few people that coded there, and for a long time it was kind of a hometown pride thing for me… After Ozone 8 I’ve lost that loving feeling. :musical_note:

Not to say that 8’s fidelity isn’t fantastic, but making Ozone a plugin competitor to LANDR is the kiss of death for me. I’ve lost a lot of respect for them personally… I’m terrified to see if they strip the soul out of RX. If they do Izotope’s permenently barred from my Christmas list.


@TheSheep has found that loving feeling for Elevate. More cpu on his Christmas list for this year then!


@Elton @justinc @Jamie @FrancisBourre Hi Guys,

I agree that Elevate is a wee bit CPU hungry, but then I always found Ozone 7 (plus other iZotope plugs) to be just as CPU thirsty. I agree with Justin, do your mixing and mastering separately. When you master you use some substantial mastering plugins in your chain and it will hit the CPU hard.

I’m now getting to grips with Elevate, it is being used to do all the heavy lifting and I’m very impressed with it. Try not to freak out about the learning curve as I can assure you, you’ll not be sorry. CPU side, if you’re not using some of the features on Elevate (eg during mixing) turn off some of the bits you don’t need. If you’re just using it as a flat limiter (again mixing) then reduce the number of bands to around 16 or less. You will find that helps too. If I can help, please give me a shout and good luck :slight_smile: