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The Pendulum Audio PL-2 is a stand-alone two channel version of the very popular peak limiter in the Pendulum Audio Quartet II Tube Recording Channel. It uses a novel approach to brickwall limiting in the analog domain, one that is fast enough to prevent digital overs without using time delay or phase-shift delay techniques. This allows us to keep the analog signal path short, and keep the limiting circuit 'switched out' of the signal path below the peak limiting threshold. Distortion for all levels below the the limiting threshold is low, and does not rise as the threshold for limiting is approached. Unlike analog peak clippers, which chop off the top and bottom of the waveform, our limiter retains dynamic information at the top of the peak.
The PL-2 has two modes of peak limiting, using either junction field-effect transistors (JFET) or metal-oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFET) as the control elements. While both are equally capable of brickwall limiting, each type has its own characteristic sound. The JFET tends to be a stiffer, harder mode of limiting, while the MOSFET has a softer, more compliant response. The resulting waveforms look different, and each device has its own characteristic sound.
In addition, Input and Output gain controls allow the user to scale the gain structure for a wide range of applications, from driving the front end of an A/D converter at +22 dBu, to inserting it as an effect into a +4 dBu patch bay.
Each channel also has an expanded 13 segment LED display which accurately indicates peak reduction.IN/BYPASS Switch: With the switch in the 'IN' position, the peak limiter activated, and the LED near the switch is illuminated. When in 'BYPASS', the PL-2 is entirely out of the signal path.
INPUT: The INPUT control is an 11 position stepped switch that increases the gain of the input stage in 1dB increments from 0 (unity) to +10dB.
OUTPUT: The OUTPUT control is an 11 position stepped switch that increases the gain from 0 (unity) to +10dB, or decreases the gain from 0 (unity) to -10dB in 2 dB increments.
CEILING: The CEILING control determines the signal level at which the peak limiter is activated. It can be set from +22dBu to +10dBu. This encompasses the range of 'digital zero' most often encountered with typical A/D converters, as well as having additional margin for using the peak limiter creatively at lower levels. When the OUPTUT is set at unity gain, the CEILING control indicates the maximum output level.
JFET/MOSFET: The JFET/MOSFET switch determines which type of device is doing the peak limiting. The JFET gives a stiffer form of limiting, while the MOSFET is more forgiving. Due to the differing nature of the JFET and MOSFET devices, slight re-adjustment of the CEILING control may be necessary when switching between the two modes.
LINK: This switch links the two channels for stereo operation. The IN/BYPASS, CEILING and JFET/MOSFET controls are linked and controlled by Channel 1. The INPUT and OUTPUT controls are not linked and must be set individually.
LED Display: The 13 segment LED display gives a true indication of the amount of peak limiting applied to the signal. It displays the amount of peak reduction in 0.5 dB increments from 0 to -4dB, and 1 dB increments from 4 to greater than -8 dB. The LED ladder uses a 3 color scheme to indicate how audible the peak limiting might be on transient source material.