Multiband Compressor – Not only for Mastering | #mixing

I’m sure many of you have already seen / heard of multi band compressors, but I doubt the majority has used one. Specially because it has always been tied to mastering (that is a whole different world, right?!), not so much to be used on single instruments. But that’s not so true, and it’s why I’m writing this post.

Let’s start with knowing it better. I know, it is a bit intimidating and has “scary” looks… all those graphics, and buttons, and cross-over fades, etc etc etc. But, it’s not hard if you understand the concept. And it’s a pretty simple concept.

Ozone 6, by Izotope

Ozone 6, by Izotope

All a multi-band compressor is a processor with multiple compressors, that divide the sound into different frequency bands, and compresses them separately. So, it’s like taking that whole signal and splitting it in different frequency parts, and using a different compressor for each one, so you can have better control on how to process them.

So, thinking about it, you can see that you can benefit greatly by using a multi band compressor on instruments. For example, on a drum sub group, where you get all the kit mixed, but something is still missing or too much present. For that, you can use it (instead of an eq.) to help dealing with those problems, because the eq is fixed, and can be harsh on attenuating or boosting some frequencies on an overall sound. Also, you can have a good use of it on vocals, overhead drum mics, a mix group of an strings ensemble, etc.

To show how that works, I have separated two things. First, this video where Tony Maserati tells us how he uses multi band compression on vocals. Great video, great tips.

Second, this link where Joe Albano talks about (with audio examples) how he uses multilane compression to cope with problematic drums: Mixing Tips: Understanding Multiband Compression

Well, hope you enjoy them!

Mauricio Ruiz –


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