Q. What is the limiter option and how does it work?

The limiter is a feature in VirtualDJ v7.3 and above that helps prevents excessive sound output levels that can cause distortion and poor sound quality.

When enabled, it will apply if the song output level would exceed 0dB. This will occur if either too much gain or positive EQ has been applied to the song. Unlike a traditional analogue mixer, digital sound cannot exceed 0dB. This will result in distortion and poor sound quality. The limiter helps avoid this by automatically reducing the output level where necessary so that it does not exceed 0dB.

Ideally, you should adjust the gain of your songs appropriately so that they do not peak above 0dB and also avoid applying excessive EQ. This will give you the best sound quality and optimal output level. VirtualDJ's auto-analysis will automatically adjust the gain to 0dB for each new song that's scanned, but occasionally it may get it wrong and will need manual adjustment by you using the gain knob.

Using a recent skin that has indicators to show when the limiter is active can help you adjust your songs correctly. Simply adjust the gain down until the limiter indicator no-longer illuminates excessively. Occasional triggering is not a problem and unavoidable for some songs with a wide dynamic range (Otherwise the gain would be adjusted to a point where the song is too quiet overall.)

The headroom option in CONFIG -> Options reduces the overall output level by the given amount for all songs. This gives you more headroom to work with for boosting the software gain/EQ where necessary for quieter songs, those that need more bass, etc.

NOTE: Most songs that have been analysed by VirtualDJ and not manually adjusted by you will already be the correct level, but in some cases you may need to make some manual adjustments, particularly if the limiter is triggered excessively.

IMPORTANT: Don't try to use the software gain and/or EQ in VirtualDJ to make your sound louder and/or compensate for speakers that aren't loud enough. This will just result in a 'pumping' effect due to excessive limiting or distortion if you disable the limiter.

NOTE: When beat mixing, make sure that you initially take the bass out of the incoming track (Turn down the bass EQ) and then gradually bring it back up whilst simultaneously turning down the bass EQ on the outgoing track. This will avoid having two bass kick drums sounding at the same time, which depending on the song will either cancel each other out or will result in up to twice as much bass, which will trigger the limiter, resulting in pumping. Using the bass EQ correctly will avoid this and result in a smoother mix transition.

For best sound quality, setting your gain structure correctly and avoiding applying excessive EQ and/or bass boost is strongly recommended. If you use an analogue DJ mixer in your setup or your amps have VU meters, make sure that you keep the levels in the green. Never allow your levels to hit red. This will result in poor sound quality and could cause damage to the speakers if a hardware limiter is not being used.

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