The Best Maximizer Plugin

The Best Maximizer Plugin

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You’ve recorded your track or finished your mix, but you can’t help how “quiet” it sounds compared to a professional recording. One way to fix that is with a maximizer. So in this article we’ll take a look at some of the  best maximizer plugins that can easily take your recording from raw mix to a radio-ready production.

The top choice is the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer thanks to its straightforward GUI design, transparent sound, and relative easy to use. Outside of the somewhat dated look, there isn’t much to dislike about this plugin.


Table of Contents


About Our Top Choice

Waves L2 Ultramaximizer

Waves L2 Ultramaximizer
See price @ Waves Audio / @ Sweetwater

More details…

The Waves L2 Ultramaximizer is a great choice for anyone who is looking for an easy to use, great maximizer with an incredibly transparent sound.

Pros
  • Straightforward GUI
  • Transparent
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • None

Top 7 Best Maximizer Plugin

  1. Waves L2 Ultramaximizer
  2. Waves L1 Ultramaximizer
  3. Audiority Harmonic Maximizer
  4. Waves L3 Multimaximizer
  5. Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer
  6. MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer
  7. WaveArts FinalPlug

Best Maximizer Plugin Reviews


Waves L2 Ultramaximizer

Waves L2 Ultramaximizer

Pros
  • Straightforward GUI
  • Transparent
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • None
See price @ Waves Audio / @ Sweetwater

The Waves Audio L2 Ultramaximizer is one of the flagship plugins of the legendary Waves Audio. This renowned manufacturer is known for making all of their equipment and plugins of high quality, and is pretty affordable too. Also, the coolest thing about this maximizer is the unbelievable transparency of the sound.

Best features and specs

The Waves L2 Ultramaximizer features many cool features such as look-ahead brick wall peak limiting that makes everything better in a smart way. And you can do that with both auto and manual release, which gives you more control over the sound. And on top of that, you can use the built-in top-shelf IDR with double precision re-quantization and dither with a 9th-order noise shaping filter.

User impressions

Users say that the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer is very intuitive to use and efficient, and they use it on the mastering stage each time, getting the loudest volume possible without giving any distortion.

What we think

We think the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer would be a joy to work with, because it has a very straightforward GUI, and it doesn’t have a lot of unclear parameters to get to know, which would cost extra time. Also, this maximizer gives you an incredibly transparent sound.

Bottomline

The Waves L2 Ultramaximizer is a great choice for anyone who is looking for an easy to use, great maximizer with an incredibly transparent sound.


Waves L1 Ultramaximizer

Waves L1 Ultramaximizer

Pros
  • Straightforward GUI
  • Useful
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Sometimes you may want to get some flavor
See price @ Waves Audio / @ Sweetwater

The Waves L1 Ultramaximizer is totally worth being regarded as the industry standard. This is because it’s one of the original maximizers that has been updated 25 times. Each update added a bunch of cool features, but the best of all is that you can use the previous version along with the current version.

Best features and specs

The Waves L1 Ultramaximizer is a combination of the maximizer and limiter. It has a true peak domain setting, which helps you to get rid of any inter-sample clipping. This plugin also offers you automatic release and various options of oversampling and dithering.

User impressions

Users like the Waves L1 Ultramaximizer for being easy to use to get rid of the nasty peaks. They also comment positively on the really effortless ability to get the desired loudness levels without making the audio unlistenable. Users add that they most often put this maximizer on the end of their mastering chain.

What we think

The coolest thing about Waves L1 Ultramaximizer is that when it had a previous update, it was way less cool than L2. But now, as it gets the 25th edition update, it comes with a few new features, which makes it even more advanced than L2. Also, in contrast with L2, L1 offers you the ability to control left and right channels separately.

Bottomline

The Waves L1 Ultramaximizer is a great choice for someone who is looking for the industry-standard high-quality maximizer that offers you very precise control over the sound without making you deal with a cluttered interface.


Audiority Harmonic Maximizer

Audiority Harmonic Maximizer

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Affordable
Cons
  • A bit outdated design
See price @ Plugin Boutique

With the Audiority Harmonic Maximizer, it’s close to effortless to make the tracks sound way more powerful and bright, thanks to a wonderful combination of a multi-band exciter and a top-quality maximizer.

Best features and specs

The Audiority Harmonic Maximizer offers you a very capable maximizer on top of a four-band exciter. The maximizer itself is capable of parallel processing and offers you auto gain and auto release.

User impressions

Users say that the Audiority Harmonic Maximizer is a really great plugin that they value for functionality and great sound. Also, it’s really versatile and adds presence and some color to any instrument and vocals, as well as the final master.

What we think

The Audiority Harmonic Maximizer is a really cool maximizer that does its job just fine, but we wouldn’t necessarily use it as such. Instead, we would use its exciter since it is perfectly capable of delivering the exact amount of sparkle and shine to give your tracks some edge.

Bottomline

Audiority Harmonic Maximizer is a great choice for someone who is looking for a powerful combo of maximizer and exciter. Even if you prefer your masters to sound completely transparent, it is generally a good idea to have such a tool in your arsenal.  After all, it is very reasonably priced and you can always use it on individual tracks rather than on the master itself.


Waves L3 Multimaximizer

Waves L3 Multimaximizer

Pros
  • Very straightforward
  • Excellent GUI
  • Versatile
Cons
  • None
See price @ Waves Audio / @ Sweetwater

The Waves L3 Multimaximizer is the first choice of many sound engineering experts because it helps enormously in the mastering, making the mix smooth and very polished. Also, it’s remarkably affordable and is produced by Waves Audio.

Best features and specs

The Waves L3 Multimaximizer isn’t that different from L2, but it has a few peculiarities. Such as multiband functionality, which lets you use maximizer and limiter simultaneously on separate frequency bands. Also, it has linear phase EQ that prevents drastic shifts of frequencies and gives you punchy low-end and smooth and sweet high-end. What’s more, you can use the built-in top-shelf IDR with double precision re-quantization and dither with a 9th-order noise shaping filter.

User impressions

Users like the Waves L3 Multimaximizer because it’s affordable and it lets you reach the maximum volume possible without adding any distortion. Users add that they prefer L3 more than L1 because having a multiband option really adds flexibility and the sound is way more transparent.

What we think

It’s best to use all L3 options in combos. L3 proves its worth when used for the final polishing on the mastering phase, if only you don’t engage the extreme settings. At the same time, you can use L3 for the separate frequency bands.

Bottomline

Waves L3 Multimaximizer is a great choice for someone who is looking for an extremely affordable maximizer that comes in a package with 2 more additions that can make your master shine.


Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer

Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer

Pros
  • Effortless control
  • Transparent
  • Affordable
Cons
  • A bit outdated design
See price @ Plugin Boutique

The Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer is capable enough to make your sound transparent and at the same time, it adds a lot of analog saturation. This change is possible with the help of the Texture knob, which controls harder or smoother character.

Best features and specs

In contrast with other entries on this list, the Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer is so powerful that it may give you a chance to have your track sound transparent or saturated. It has a few really cool features embedded, such as latency compensation and adjustable attack and release controls, which always come in handy. If this is not enough for you to love, it has 3 modes of bit depth and 3 dithering options to satisfy the most fastidious music producers.

User impressions

Users agree that the Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer is really a joy to work with because you don’t need to waste tons of time figuring out which knob does what. Users add by far, Kratos is one of the several top tools in their arsenal, which is reliable and is proven to change the sound of the track to be smoother and more polished.

What we think

The Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer may actually be among the plugins that you’ll use from time to time, and for a very good reason. Firstly, this plugin is simply awesome. Secondly, you should choose it if you need to add a more analog vibe and feel to the master track. Though, we would advise against using it on a day-to-day basis. Precisely because of that analog feel, if used each time, you will quickly become bored and uninterested.

Bottomline

The Kuassa Kratos 2 Maximizer is a great choice for someone who is looking for a maximizer that is capable of switching between saturated and transparent modes.


MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer

MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Stylish GUI
  • Fast
  • Analog character
Cons
  • Some may feel that the interface is way too complicated
See price @ Plugin Boutique / @ Sweetwater

The MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer made a stand to be as affordable and straightforward as possible, causing huge numbers of music producers to vie for it.

Best features and specs

The MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer offers a huge range of various amazing features such as mastering multiband limiter and saturator, which allows you to raise the volume of the track without adding unwanted artifacts. Also, you get over 8 channels of surrounding audio, which opens the world of top-shelf audio production that is used in games and movies. By clicking one button, you can change a whole lot of settings while looking for those that suit you the best. On top of that, you get an easily resizable and reshapable GUI, which adapts to your needs.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with the MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer because of how powerful it is, offering an enormous amount of features that, when applied, easily upgraded their audio to the next level.

What we think

The MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer is universal because you can use it in transparent mode and then engage saturation so that you add some color if that’s what you desire. It’s actually what we really like about it, in addition to the fact that it has a free trial version.

Bottomline

The MeldaProduction MUltraMaximizer is a great choice for someone who is looking for an insanely versatile maximizer that allows you to change between transparency and coloration. If you haven’t ever encountered MeldaProduction, this plugin has a free trial version so that you can engage it in your workflow and see whether you get satisfying results.


WaveArts FinalPlug

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Very transparent
  • Simplified design
Cons
  • Not exactly budget-friendly
See price @ Sweetwater

The WaveArts FinalPlug has the simplest interface, which is backed up with enough power and features to ensure that you have the loudest volume possible without any useless artifacts.

Best features and specs

The WaveArts FinalPlug is designed to use on the mastering stage as a volume maximizer or limiter, depending on what you exactly need more at the moment. It has an adjustable release that can be set manually or in auto mode. Also, you can choose between 12 noise shaping options while looking for one that matches your demands. What is more, it offers bit depth truncation, TPDF dithering, latency compensation, and a choice between mono or stereo.

User impressions

Users like the WaveArts FinalPlug because it has a really straightforward GUI and is easy to use. Though some wish they wouldn’t spend extra, especially when the market has plenty of more affordable options.

What we think

We like WaveArts FinalPlug because it provides some of the most transparent sound of all. And it has a free trial, which is quite useful for making a decision on whether to purchase or not.

Bottomline

The WaveArts FinalPlug is a great choice for someone who is looking for a very transparent maximizer that is near to effortless to use.


Maximizer Plugin Buying Guide

What is a maximizer?

A maximizer is a plugin that raises the general loudness of the track, while preventing clipping by limiting the peaks of the signal.

Why would you need a maximizer?

Maximizers can give you a very transparent sound or add some coloration. Most often, music producers use maximizers during the mastering stage of the mix when they want to add a few final touches. But in some cases, a maximizer can be used on the mixing stage as well. Generally, every time when there is a necessity to increase loudness, the maximizer comes in handy.

Important features

When choosing a maximizer plugin, you should check whether you need more transparency or saturation, read carefully through sound quality, and opt for effortless usage.

Transparency vs Saturation

The choice depends on which maximizer you need to widen your arsenal. If you have plenty of those that make your sound warmer, then you opt for transparency, and vice versa.

Sound quality

Although most modern DAWs offer you a very extensive arsenal of high-quality audio processing, it is always better to have digital plugins that have such options as dithering and oversampling.

Straightforward GUI

No one wants to spend some additional time reading through the manual and browsing the web looking for the mysterious marking near that particular knob. So, to save yourself from wasting time in vain, you should choose a maximizer that is really easy to use and pleasant to look at.

How to choose the right one for you?

When you are choosing the best maximizer plugin, you should have an idea of which item will be a valuable addition to those that you already have at your disposal. As you want the best sound quality possible, you should choose one with dithering and oversampling. When choosing an interface, it’s better to have one that is comfortable to look at for a very long time and is simple to grasp all embedded functions.


FAQs:

What is the difference between a limiter and a maximizer?

The limiter sets a specific limit that the sound can’t cross, while the maximizer enhances the signal so that it’s louder. Typically maximizers implement limiting algorithms but use far more advanced compression to increase the overall loudness.

What does a maximizer plugin do?

It simply makes your tracks louder by limiting the output signal and bringing the signal level itself up to the ceiling.

What is Maximizer used for?

It’s used for mixing and mastering stages to make a few final adjustments before the audio material is streamed elsewhere.