Negative Limiting using Valley People Dyna-mite

What is negative limiting, how does it work and how to use it. In this tutorials I show you how to use negative limiting to process vocals.


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Sometimes along comes a process that is not so commonly available on dynamic processors but is a weapon nonetheless and this tutorial expounds one such processor and in particular one specific process that the processor provides albeit in a strange way.

I am, of course, referring to the all in one Swiss army knife processor – the Valley People Dyna-mite.

Valley People Dyna-mite

Paul Buff, the original founder of the company that became Valley People, created this Swiss army knife processor which incorporated a number of hardware processor topologies that were both rare and highly sought after. Nowadays we have the wonderful Softube emulation of this hardware and it really is very useful in both production and sound design tasks.

The Dyna-mite is essentially a limiter/expander, and through a sophisticated combination of switch positions, it is capable manipulating the dynamics of audio from gating to Peak/RMS compression/limiting, from keying and ducking to ridiculously extreme leveling.

In this tutorial we are going to explore one of its weirdest yet highly usable features – that of Negative Limiting.

Negative limiting is achieved on Dyna-mite by using the gate and limiter at the same time. With negative limiting, the ratio is set to 1:-20 (as opposed to 20:1 for the normal straight forward limiting), meaning that for a 1 dB increase in gain at the threshold the limiter will reduce the signal by 20 dB at the output. It is a crazy mode in that it is quite challenging to achieve a smooth response BUT that is what makes this feature so good – it can actually degrade the signal with weird static and crackle artifacts!

In this tutorial I am using negative limiting to add some grimy dirt to a female vocal take.

In the video I show you how Dyna-mite works making sure to explain the combination of features available on this plugin and how they affect drastic changes to the audio being processed. I run a female vocal take through the beast and show you how to shape the settings to achieve different textures.

Plugin used in this video:

Valley People Dyna-mite

Topics covered in this video are:

  • What is Negative Limiting, when to use it and how to use it
  • Mode and Detection
  • Range and Expansion
  • Internal/External
  • Expansion and Gate
  • Peak and AVG
  • Tips and Tricks