A British classic
- An expertly emulated version of the Chandler Limited® Zener Limiter, fully-endorsed by the creator of the original hardware, Wade Goeke
- Big and punchy, with all the vintage vibe of the equipment used to record The Beatles and Pink Floyd
- A superb and versatile secret weapon of high-level engineers
Dynamics / Console 1 Ready
Chandler Limited® Zener Limiter
Descended from the iconic limiters of Abbey Road Studios, the Chandler Limited® Zener Limiter is a legend in its own right. With the vibe of the vintage hardware used to capture Pink Floyd and The Beatles running through its veins, the Zener Limiter is a rock and roll blueblood—with an appealingly modern streak.
In collaboration with Chandler Limited®, we proudly continue the legacy with the Zener Limiter plug-in. A true emulation of its forebearer, christened by Chandler Limited’s Wade Goeke himself, the Zener Limiter plug-in is a versatile, state-of-the-art limiter and compressor that stays true to its illustrious sonic roots.
"The character of this historic compression circuit is where it all began for me. When I designed the Zener Limiter, it was to allow it to be amenable to a wider array of sources. Softube’s model of it broke the mould for compressor plug-ins and at the same time extended it further."Founder and Chief Designer, Chandler Limited®
Have a listen
"First saw Jerry Finn use this on his records back when I was runner at a studio. Early stages of my Chandler obsession. Having this as a plugin for my ITB work was a game changer. Love it!"Mixer/Engineer (Dr. Luke, Prescription Songs, Kim Petras, Doja Cat, Allie X, Azealia Banks)
Blessed by Chandler Limited® founder, Wade Goeke, the Zener Limiter plug-in embodies the heritage of the limiters that recorded Pink Floyd and The Beatles. That’s why we made sure that our apple fell close to the tree.
Add understated, vintage vibes to a track or thoroughly transform the tone, character, and transient behavior of a drum bus or room mic channels. The Zener Limiter plug-in is the most versatile member of your studio family.
Breaking the Mold
Input stage with variable impedance, THD mode, the different comp modes, the rare form of the attack and release—the exclusive features of the Zener Limiter plug-in make it a compressor without a twin.
This product supports
We love VU meters, Bakelite knobs, and analog quirks. But we want modern precision and workflow. The answer? Softube Extended Features. Easy-access panels with the innovations you need close at hand.
"This has become my go to plug-in because of its tone shaping capabilities. Provides me with everything I love – punchy, full of character, and flexible."Producer/Engineer (Sara Bareilles, The Smashing Pumpkins, Kris Kristofferson, Friday Pilots Club, Jennifer Nettles, Mutemath, Caifanes)
The Chandler Limited® Zener Limiter is a rare breed. The construction and functionality are unique compared to other popular compressors. Like the legendary Abbey Road limiters, the Zener Limiter’s circuit employs zener diodes, which are notoriously challenging to employ. Softube expertly emulated the Zener Limiter’s entire circuit—including transformers, circuit nonlinearities, and germanium transistors. A painstaking, yet thoroughly satisfying endeavor, because this speedy, colorful limiter has personality to spare.
The input stage with variable impedance, the THD mode and the uncommon way it distorts when pushing the level. The Zener Limiter plug-in is truly one-of-a-kind. With the Input Gain toggle, you can drive the signal for more or less distortion, while the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) toggle disengages the limiter’s threshold. The effect is a smooth, pleasing distortion that features a high-frequency bump caused by the discrete amplifiers and zener diode limiting circuit. This plug-in simply has no peer.
When it comes to tailoring the overall tone of the Zener Limiter, the Comp 1/Comp 2/Limit switch couldn’t be more critical. Both Comp 1 and Limit were originally designed to emulate the compressors of Abbey Road Studios, while Comp 2 gives a more modern response. While the Comp 1 is a 2:1 ratio with slower time constants and the Limit is super quick, Comp 2 places the limiter in the middle, giving you the compression curve of Comp 1 with the faster release of Limit.
The Second Coming
The Softube + Chandler Limited® Zener Limiter is truly its father’s son. But, like every good son, the plug-in strives to accomplish just that much more. The Zener Limiter plug-in has features you won’t find on dear old dad, like Mid/Side processing, External Sidechain, and Link Channels. Link the left and right channels in stereo mode, and the Mid and Side in Mid/Side Mode or use the External Sidechain to total change the behavior of the compressor and its parameters by including an external sound source as a sidechain. The special attributes of the Zener Limited plug-in give you unprecedented control.
Softube & Chandler: recipe to rock
You can’t rush perfection. If any sentiment captures the spirit of our relationship with Chandler Limited®, that’s it. Take two companies known for perfectionism, add in some beers, and bake for a decade. We invite you to take a look at the Zener-Bender and everything else we've been cooking up.
Learn more about our partnership with Chandler Limited®.
"The Zener Limiter is great on everything, especially Drum Room and Parallel processing. It just brings your tracks to life!"Mixer/Engineer (Tommy Lee, A Perfect Circle, Street Drum Corps, Phil X and the Drills, Papa Roach, The Smashing Pumpkins, Mötley Crüe, Courtney Love)
Console 1 Ready
This plug-in can be used within Console 1, our mixing system. Click to learn more.
- Expertly emulated and fully-endorsed by the creator of the original hardware, Wade Goeke
- The vintage vibe of the equipment used to record The Beatles and Pink Floyd
- Console 1 Ready: works as a native plug-in and in Softube Console 1, our mixing ecosystem. Learn more about Console 1
- Superb versatility that makes it the secret weapon of high-level engineers and mixers
- Essential switches, such as Input Gain, THD, and Comp 1/Comp 2/Limit
- Plug-in exclusive features, such as Mid/Side Processing, External Sidechain, and Link Channels
- Also included in Zener-Bender. Learn more
- Included in Zener-Bender.
- 2 input modes, 3 compression modes and 1 THD mode.
- Plugin exclusive features: External Sidechain, M/S Processing and Channel Linking.
- The secret weapon of high-level engineers and mixers.
All Softube products require a computer with appropriate DAW host software (none of which are included).
Versions from 2.5.18 and newer of the Softube plug-ins have the following minimum requirements:
All native versions
- Mac OS X 10.13 up to 11.6.1 - MacOS 12 Monterey support pending
- Windows 10 64-bit - Windows 11 support pending
- Mac: Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 / Xeon - M1 support pending
- Windows: Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 / Xeon / AMD Quad-Core or newer
- Screen resolution larger than 1280x800
- 8 GB RAM or more is recommended, as well as at least 8 GB hard disk space for installation (individual plug-ins take less space, while sample libraries may require additional disk space).
- Softube account
- iLok account
- Internet access for downloading installers and managing licenses
- iLok generation 2 and up, if you intend to use an iLok key for authorizing your plug-ins (note that a physical iLok USB key is not a requirement)
In theory, any 64-bit VST, VST3, AU, or AAX (Pro Tools 11.0.2 or higher) compatible host application should work. However, due to plug-in host differences between DAWs - and our own rigorous testing standards - we only officially test our plug-ins and instruments in the most recent versions of Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Ableton Live, Studio One, Reaper, and Cakewalk. Softube plugins are not tested in non-listed systems, but they most likely work as long as the system requirements are met. We cannot guarantee a solution for issues in unsupported systems.
Note: We have checked the basic functionality of our plug-ins, and Softube Central, in macOS Monterey running under Apple Rosetta 2, and initial tests do look promising. Silicon M1 native support is pending.
Note: We have run initial tests of Softube Central and our plug-ins within Windows 11 with positive early results. Further testing and announcements will follow.
With regards to the different VST formats, we strongly recommend using VST3 as some of our plug-ins have features that are not present in the older VST format. Supported sample rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz, in both mono and stereo. The most recent maintenance release of your DAW application is recommended. AAX DSP is not currently in active development. TDM/VENUE is no longer supported (old downloads are available on the Legacy Installers page)
Find the Softube installer you need both Softube Central and individual plug-ins.
AAX DSP version
- For AAX DSP you need to meet the above requirements for the Native versions. You also need to have an Avid HDX processing card. For plug-ins available for AAX DSP, see Which Softube plug-ins support AAX DSP?