Difference between Limiter and Compressor

Many people fail to understand the difference between a limiter and a compressor and regard it as the same. However, there is considerable difference in the features and characteristics of the two devices. One of the main differences in the compression ratio. While limiters have a very high ratio, compressors have a lower one.

Limiter is basically a type of compressor and its main function is to eliminate all the sound that is above a particular threshold, set by the user. On the other hand, a compressor’s main function is to compress the sound that passes through it via a ratio, which is set by the user beforehand. So, limiters eliminate the sound rather than compressing it.

The two devices have different uses as well. Limiters are used control the sound of a song which is being composed or to control its overall mix. It is helpful to eliminate certain levels of sound above or below a set threshold. Compressors, on the other hand, are suitable  for instruments. They can be used on instruments such as bass guitars, kick drums or snares. The main reason why they are more suitable on instruments is that they tend to give an even sound.


  • 1


    A Limiter is a type of a compressor. It has a very high ratio and its main function is to limit the level of sound to a certain threshold. Anything above the set threshold is eliminated and it is used to control the overall mix of a certain song that is being composed.

    In case of a limiter, the threshold is an extremely important factor. You need to determine the limit that needs to be set otherwise the sound generated would not be effective.

  • 2


    Compressor is a device that compresses the sound that passes through it by a ratio that is set by the user beforehand. It does not eliminate any sound but compresses it to a certain level as per requirement. This device can be used with musical instruments such as kick drums, bass guitars and snares. They are pre-set on a very low ratio and give an even and a much wider range of sound.

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