When mastering, is limiting a good or bad idea? Here are my thoughts…
I recently recorded some songs, they sounded fantastic in Ardour but when I mixed then down I found then slightly unsatisfying. Let me explain why… When mastering with JAMin, a limiter is activated by default. Essentially what this does is it takes all the louder peaks of your music and just chops them off. This can be seen in the figure below.
This made my music sound… well…crap. As you can see in the picture, whenever the music got louder like in the chorus, some of it was chopped off, creating slight distortion. The solution to my problem was to simply bypass the limiter (there is a button for this in JAMin). This yielded an undistorted, more pleasing recording as seen in the figure below.
One more thing…please understand that limiters have their purpose and can help you out in a tight spot, but never limit your music drastically – it is simply a bad idea.