Limiting, compressing a stereo track


When compressing or limiting a stereo recording, Audition (ver 3.5.1) treats the left channel and the right channel separately. For example: there is a trumpet on the left, a singer in the middle, and a piano on the right. If the trumpet is too loud, the left channel-volume is lowered bij the limiter, while the right channel is not affected (because the singer and the piano are not too loud). Resulting the singer to move to the right. When, some moments later, the piano sounds too loud, the volume of the right channel is limited and the singer moves to the left.
How can I compress or limit Left and Right equally in order to prevent the stereo-stage from moving back and forth?
I’ll be grateful for any help.

That’s just the way that these new real-time limiter / compressor effects work. It can’t be changed without rewriting the code.

The old (non-real-time) limiter applies the same compression to both channels to avoid this issue. The old limiter looks like this: Limiter - Audacity Manual

Hi Steve,

Thx for your answer. The limiter you link to is the one that’s included in Aud ver 3.5.1. Is the old (non-real-time) limiter stil available? If so: how/where ?


This is the old limiter:
limiter.ny (4.6 KB)

…Different situation but when Metallica’s Death Magnetic was released everybody was complaining that it was over-compressed and it sounded like mono.

That made me realize something - Compression pushes everything toward the same loudness so anything that’s not hard-panned will be pushed toward the center. The mixing engineer was probably carefully positioning everything across the soundstage, and then the mastering engineer fouls it up!

(I don’t have that album. I’m not a big metal fan.)

Thanks a lot Steve! I just tried it and it works well!


@ DVDdoug:
It’s the same in audio drama, of which I do the technical part. In music the instruments don’t move around, but in audio drama the voices and the sound effects do. Participating in this loudness war would kill the impact of these effects.

In Audacity 3.6, the new limiter applies the same gain to both channels in stereo tracks, so that shift across the stereo field should not happen (though as Doug commented, compression of any kind does tend to have a slight narrowing effect on the stereo spread).