Glow Shrimp Limiter
A limiter that doesn't get in your way. For free!

Download v23.4.1.0

It's free!
Mac   PC

This plugin used to be a paid plugin but nobody bought it (I never really advertised it). Currently, the Mac version will still ask you for a license. At some point maybe I'll recompile the Mac version on a Mac and make it so it doesn't ask you for a license, but for now use license code CLMU-KQWK-MUNX-LWJU-6H6N

The Story

The idea for Glow Shrimp Limiter all started with my go-to brickwall limiter plugin from about 2009-2016: a free VST called TL's Pocket Limiter. Back around 2009 I was in High School and I had just begun producing music. I wanted a limiter that sounded good without spending hundreds of dollars, or having to wade through lots of options that I didn't understand or care about. Those features tend to distract me from, you know, actually making music.

Fast forward to around 2017. I was getting really tired of using 32-bit audio plugins. I use REAPER on Windows as my main DAW, and I'd constantly exit REAPER and notice my CPU usage was still sky-high. For some reason, those 32-bit plugins would stick around after exiting REAPER and I'd have to go kill their process with Windows Task Manager. And even if that weren't the case, why were we still using 32-bit software in 2017? It seemed very silly to me. I was determined to get rid of all my 32-bit plugins.

Unlike 2009 in High School, I actually had money to spend on a limiter in 2017. I looked around to find a replacement for TL's Pocket Limiter, but to no avail (more on that in "How It Compares"). I wondered how difficult it would be to make my own limiter, and I actually managed to develop a limiter using JSFX, an audio effect creation platform inside of REAPER. I was able to get it sounding really good, as good as my old standby TL's Pocket Limiter! I released it for free on GitHub and called it Starfish Limiter. That became my go-to limiter from about 2017-2019.

In 2019 I noticed something I didn't like about Starfish Limiter: its CPU use. REAPER's JSFX platform is great for experimenting and prototyping, but the resulting audio effects take a TON of CPU compared to traditionally-created VST effects. I decided to look around for other limiters again. Nothing out there exactly seemed perfect to me. I decided to make Starfish Limiter into a real VST plugin, and hence Glow Shrimp Limiter was born. I believe I have created the perfect brickwall limiter plugin. The combination of sound, CPU use, and ease-of-use is unmatched as far as I am aware.

How It Compares

As mentioned earlier, I created Glow Shrimp Limiter after shopping for a good limiter and not being able to find exactly what I wanted. The closest competitor is probably a free limiter called Unlimited by Sonic Anomaly. Make no mistake, Unlimited is a very good limiter. However, I personally don't like how the release sounds (it takes a long time to come back after something ridiculously loud, something TL's Pocket Limiter didn't do), and the 5.1 surround features detract from it's simplicity. It's controls are also very large, and it took more CPU than Glow Shrimp Limiter in my tests. As mentioned earlier, TL's Pocket Limiter is free and it used to be my go-to limiter, but it's 32-bit only. I also mentioned JSFX, which includes some great-sounding limiters such as my own Starfish Limiter and Geraint Luff's Smooth Limiter, but those have quite high CPU use. Waves Limiters just plain don't sound good to me. They sound quite crunchy and some of them seem to mess with the sound quite a bit. Fabfilter Pro-L 2 is probably one of the most popular limiters out there right now. When I demo'd it I felt it took a lot of CPU, had a lot of features I didn't want/need, and seemed to cause weird swoops in volume when things got very loud/quiet. I'm sure this could be adjusted, but as mentioned I'm a fan of dead-simple limiters. Plus it's very expensive. The Ozone Maximizer and Limitless mess with the sound a lot (at least, most presets do), use tons of CPU, and are very expensive. As far as other free limiters, Xhip Limiter showed clipping in REAPER and didn't have very transparent compression, easyLimiter showed clipping in REAPER in my tests and didn't sound very transparent, Frontier also seemed to clip in REAPER and used more CPU than Unlimited for a very similar sound, Limited-Z used a lot of CPU and just sounded really bad (it sounded exactly like a clipper when pushed hard!), Limiter No6 used lots of CPU and messed with the sound a lot, and LoudMax was, despite the name, not the loudest limiter I could find.

Some of the limiters mentioned above don't work on Mac either, and Glow Shrimp Limiter does work on Mac.

Glow Shrimp Limiter does not currently have a Linux version, but if you'd be interested in a Linux version of Glow Shrimp limiter, let me know. That shouldn't be too hard to do.