Multi-band Compression

I’ve intentionally avoided using multi-band compression in the past for a number of reasons. Over the last couple years however, I’ve been recording mostly collaborations on the modular with others on external instruments (voice, flute, violin, guitar, etc.), and now I’m usually recording just a stereo pair out of my WMD Performance Mixer. I find it to be a great practice of my intuition to limit myself to record in this way. Wondering if multi-band compression may be a tool that could be particular useful in the mixing stage for me in this context? Would love to hear other people’s experience in general and recommendations for any particular software.

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I also avoid multi-band compression. What I do instead is break a track up into three frequency ranges and I apply different kinds of compression and effects to each. Then I use a mid/side EQ on the master mix bus. Now I have total control over the lows, mids, highs, center, and sides. This can result in a much more focused low end and better stereo spread of the mids and highs.

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for post-production on a stereo recording of multiple sources, i usually rely heavily on fabfilter pro-q 2… typically notching out specific frequencies with a tight Q via automation in a daw. i like having the flexibility of applying the eq tweaks to either the left or right channel, or the mid or side channel in M/S mode. with 5-10 bands, can usually achieve enough control to be able to “mix” the relative level of different sources pretty well.

for instances where a specific frequency range is particularly active and i want to save the time of automating (sometimes for hours), i’ll occasionally use the fabfilter pro mb, a pretty nifty multiband compressor. i find that using multiband compression gives one less control overall, but is much faster to get set up and achieve adequate results. so for something quick like an instagram video i might use the multiband, whereas for a commercial release i’d likely go through and notch out specific frequencies via eq.

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MB compression sounds pretty decent in two scenarios:

  1. a little compression on each band, aiming to up the overall level by a dB or few
  2. corrective compression for unpredictable or otherwise wild signals without makeup gain

In the 1st scenario (somewhat more than the 2nd), the crossover points are important to get right, so that the spectral balance doesn’t change too noticeably.

related: multiband expansion is pretty good at eliminating noise in a gentler way than a crude gate.

FabFilter’s Pro-MB is awesome - tons of control. Much better than e.g. Logic’s Multipressor, though the latter wins on price.