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masteringhouse
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Multiband Parallel Compression

I'm running across a few issues with a track that has a very predominant snare (particularly upper mids), guitars a bit muddy in the lower mids, and has a strong but uneven bass with a kick that's low in the mix. Also the client wants is fairly loud as far as overall level, but not sounding smashed. Let's assume a remix isn't possible. The intent is to thicken the snare without bringing up the mud in the guitar range, and help bring out the kick more and smooth out the bass.

Here's a thought that's may send a few running for their torches to burn me at the stake, but has anyone tried using a multiband compressor in place of a regular comp and parallel compression? I'm going to try this later today (just at home now and this idea occurred to me). Offhand thinking about using a little upward compression on the snare in the 300-500 Hz range, and possibly some around the kick to help bring it out.
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I don't know how it sounds ... but sometimes after working to hard with too many tools .... I finally find the solution to what I want to hear

.... less is more .. less gear used .. keeping much more depth and space .. only analog gear instead aff all analog/digital tricks ....


just EQ' well and only a tiny bit off compression ...

everybody talks about compression .. what about decent EQ'ing ...

but again .. good luck and for sure try .... but be critical about what you do .. or just send the bill ...


predominant .. before being dominant .. almost dominant ... I'm dutch .. ?????

greetings Tom !!
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i find parallel multi-band can be very powerful but you have to have linear phase filters or it will just turn to a mess.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl View Post
.... less is more .. less gear used .. keeping much more depth and space .. only analog gear instead aff all analog/digital tricks ....


predominant .. before being dominant .. almost dominant ... I'm dutch .. ?????

greetings Tom !!
Hi Wim!

Yes I absolutely agree with a minimalist philosophy. I spent a fair amount of time using different EQs (both analog and digital) but can't quite seem to pull out what I want using them alone. I view it more as an issue where the EQ is also dependent on the dynamics.

Predomininant - LOL, yeah what you've given seems to be the logical definition.

This is what I meant: predominant - Definitions from Dictionary.com
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie View Post
i find parallel multi-band can be very powerful but you have to have linear phase filters or it will just turn to a mess.
Gotcha.

In what situations have you found it useful and what tools did you use?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
Gotcha.

In what situations have you found it useful and what tools did you use?
Multiband parallel compression is one of the most powerful tools in my arsenal. I never thought I would say that!

It is possible to set up a parallel compressor to bring up the delicate low level passages, and to very subtly tailor the levels of the gains of the five-band MD4 to tailor the tonality of the low and mid-level material without getting influence on the high level material. That's just one use of it... It's a very powerful tool.

If you have an MD4 and a TC 6000 here's the trick. Set it for parallel compression. Normalizer set to +6 dB. This gives you UNITY gain with the gains of the parallel comp off (below -18). Start by setting the threshold for 2 or 3 (or possibly more) gain reduction with a very moderate ratio, long attack and moderate release. Then slowly raise the gains (altogether, all gains equal to start) until you have started to "fill in the holes". At that point you can raise or lower by only a dB or so any of the gains of the individual bands (which are linear phase, by the way) to tweak the tonality of the material in a way completely distinct from a simple equalizer. You can fatten, or add presence, or both, without muddying up or brightening the loud passages, for example.

The same tool can work on the most delicate of classical material that may need a little nudge (or presence) at extreme low levels, OR on the hardest of rock and roll that needs help and "attitude" without destroying the impact of the loud transients.

I could write a book about this :-)

BK
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well there you have it Bob Katz has spoken i have to say i agree with it all although Bob has a much better way with words than i do.

anyway as i dont have a system 6000 i set up my multiband split with waves linear phase eq (i know i want to get away from waves completely but its the best thing i know of) make sure you get the processed sound to cancel with the original out of phase before you go any further. i then use the Sony Oxford compressors as they are very clean but you could try anything you like.

when you compare the sound of an un-mastered song to several different masters it seems although alot of the top guys are using parallel multiband to some degree.
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I guess Bob has let the katz out of the bag so I'll fess up to using a Tube Tech SMC2B in parallel duties on mastering and, more often, mixing. Helps to fill in the holes and is quite flexible in tone "tapering".
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Thanks gentlemen!

I tried it yesterday and felt that it worked exactly as I had intended, hopefully the client feels the same way I do about it :-)

Multiband often gets a bad rap, more than it deserves IMHO. Why blame a tool for its misuse? It's great to get a sanity check from other folks using this technique. That, or we're all crazy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
Thanks gentlemen!

I tried it yesterday and felt that it worked exactly as I had intended, hopefully the client feels the same way I do about it :-)

Multiband often gets a bad rap, more than it deserves IMHO. Why blame a tool for its misuse? It's great to get a sanity check from other folks using this technique. That, or we're all crazy.
thumbsup
its just mis use but there are alot of very bad multi band compressors out there, then they all get mis used and over used. once you have found get it right and its wonderful. dont tell the client that its a the multiband comp and they will never know.

what did you end up using do to it?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie View Post
i find parallel multi-band can be very powerful but you have to have linear phase filters or it will just turn to a mess.
Took the words out of my mouth.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
Thanks gentlemen!

I tried it yesterday and felt that it worked exactly as I had intended, hopefully the client feels the same way I do about it :-)

Multiband often gets a bad rap, more than it deserves IMHO. Why blame a tool for its misuse? It's great to get a sanity check from other folks using this technique. That, or we're all crazy.

Great post, Tom. I was just thinking about the concept yesterday.

MB has saved my butt lately.....used judiciously, of course.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
Thanks gentlemen!

I tried it yesterday and felt that it worked exactly as I had intended, hopefully the client feels the same way I do about it :-)

Multiband often gets a bad rap, more than it deserves IMHO. Why blame a tool for its misuse? It's great to get a sanity check from other folks using this technique. That, or we're all crazy.
Hey Tom, now you've stirred my curiosity again... darn it!

I've tried parallel comp a few times in recent years, never liked the results.

Adding MultiBand to the equation makes it appear even more alluring.

You doing this in PT(?) or OTB ?

If in PT, are you using the automatic delay compensation to fix the latency induced by the LPMB(?)

Since you're an educator, would you like to share your configuration with us(?) that would be interesting : - )

I'll experiment with it again in PT with the LPMB and report in if the results are positive.

Best - JT

p.s. we all are crazy, but it helps!
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Hey Jerry,

I'm doing it in Protools. I send the audio to two aux tracks, both with an instance of Waves Linear Phase Multiband. One aux track has the MBC set for a positive range/ratio on the areas for the kick and lower part of the snare. The rest of the bands are bypassed. The other aux track is setup to provide "latency compensation" with all parameters reset, with dither. Not sure why, but it just sounds clearer with this instance on rather than bypassed (bypassing adds the delay to take care of latency). I don't trust automatic delay compensation in PT, I think that some plugs don't report the correct amount and have been bit by this. Both of these tracks are then sent to the same bus and a master fader added to this bus to prevent overload.

This whole mess then goes to my analog chain and back.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
I don't trust automatic delay compensation in PT, I think that some plugs don't report the correct amount and have been bit by this.
Same experience here Tom, sounds like a smart way to handle it.

And thanks for the report & rundown on the technique.

Cheers - JT
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hmm, interesting read. never thought about that, than again I'm not a ME. For some reason I always assumed that MBC is always used in mastering.
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MBC is certainly not always used in pro mastering, if at all by many and even then maybe just the low band. Parallel however, for subtle upwards compression, can work wonders & I've had great success with it for jazz & similar. I find its best when set for zero gain reduction in the softest parts of a mix. The louder the track gets, the less compression is contributing to the final output.

But the initial post here could also call for trying upwards expansion, to bring things out, as in the Weiss. I know Bob K's had success with that, though probably used a lot less than parallel comp and I'd assume works best for enhancing HF attack... Bob?

In any case, anybody tried the Chandler Germanium comp for its parallel mix ability?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
I'm doing it in Protools. I send the audio to two aux tracks, both with an instance of Waves Linear Phase Multiband. One aux track has the MBC set for a positive range/ratio on the areas for the kick and lower part of the snare. The rest of the bands are bypassed. The other aux track is setup to provide "latency compensation" with all parameters reset, with dither. Not sure why, but it just sounds clearer with this instance on rather than bypassed (bypassing adds the delay to take care of latency). I don't trust automatic delay compensation in PT, I think that some plugs don't report the correct amount and have been bit by this. Both of these tracks are then sent to the same bus and a master fader added to this bus to prevent overload. This whole mess then goes to my analog chain and back.
Hey Tom,

So I found a little time yesterday to experiment with the MBPC technique in PT.

But I took a slightly different, more simple approach:

Drop the test audio into two stereo tracks in PT.

Place Waves' Linear Phase Multiband RTAS plug-in on one stereo track, but not the other.

Check to make sure the Automatic Delay Compensation is set to Off.

Advance the test audio on the track to be processed 3840 samples using the Nudge button, which is the delay created by the LPMB plug.

Turn the faders of both stereo tracks down 6dB.

Output to my usual Analog Chain, and return on another PT stereo track.

Works just fine, phase seems to be OK.

The overall effect of the parallel compression is interesting, could be useful in certain situations.

JT

Last edited by Jerry Tubb; 28th December 2007 at 05:04 PM.. Reason: removed past tense
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Hey Tom,

So I found a little time yesterday to experiment with the MBPC technique in PT.

But I took a slightly different, more simple approach...
Cool Jerry! Always more than one way to kill the cat

I'm not sure if this is easier though if you have to add more tracks to a session and keep nudging them though, you can also use the time adjuster plug for latency adjustments.

I did notice a difference however when I fed the original signal through the MBC with all thresholds and ratios at 0 compared to just performing latency compensation with delay. Give 'er a try and let me know if you hear this. If you like I can post a template of the session I used.

Best,
Tom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Multiband parallel compression is one of the most powerful tools in my arsenal. I never thought I would say that!

It is possible to set up a parallel compressor to bring up the delicate low level passages, and to very subtly tailor the levels of the gains of the five-band MD4 to tailor the tonality of the low and mid-level material without getting influence on the high level material. That's just one use of it... It's a very powerful tool.

If you have an MD4 and a TC 6000 here's the trick. Set it for parallel compression. Normalizer set to +6 dB. This gives you UNITY gain with the gains of the parallel comp off (below -18). Start by setting the threshold for 2 or 3 (or possibly more) gain reduction with a very moderate ratio, long attack and moderate release. Then slowly raise the gains (altogether, all gains equal to start) until you have started to "fill in the holes". At that point you can raise or lower by only a dB or so any of the gains of the individual bands (which are linear phase, by the way) to tweak the tonality of the material in a way completely distinct from a simple equalizer. You can fatten, or add presence, or both, without muddying up or brightening the loud passages, for example.

The same tool can work on the most delicate of classical material that may need a little nudge (or presence) at extreme low levels, OR on the hardest of rock and roll that needs help and "attitude" without destroying the impact of the loud transients.

I could write a book about this :-)

BK
Thank you very much Bob
I must try this
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob katz View Post
Multiband parallel compression is one of the most powerful tools in my arsenal. I never thought I would say that!

It is possible to set up a parallel compressor to bring up the delicate low level passages, and to very subtly tailor the levels of the gains of the five-band MD4 to tailor the tonality of the low and mid-level material without getting influence on the high level material. That's just one use of it... It's a very powerful tool.

If you have an MD4 and a TC 6000 here's the trick. Set it for parallel compression. Normalizer set to +6 dB. This gives you UNITY gain with the gains of the parallel comp off (below -18). Start by setting the threshold for 2 or 3 (or possibly more) gain reduction with a very moderate ratio, long attack and moderate release. Then slowly raise the gains (altogether, all gains equal to start) until you have started to "fill in the holes". At that point you can raise or lower by only a dB or so any of the gains of the individual bands (which are linear phase, by the way) to tweak the tonality of the material in a way completely distinct from a simple equalizer. You can fatten, or add presence, or both, without muddying up or brightening the loud passages, for example.

The same tool can work on the most delicate of classical material that may need a little nudge (or presence) at extreme low levels, OR on the hardest of rock and roll that needs help and "attitude" without destroying the impact of the loud transients.

I could write a book about this :-)

BK


Bumping this because I've been looking for this "how to" for hours.

(I even trawled through Bob's 2nd edition thinking I'd read it there a few weeks ago)
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Funny reading this thread now. The client sent stems to replace the stereo mix. And no, I did not ask for them. All of the issues were much easier to resolve at that point.

For times when this isn't possible though parallel MBC is a very useful tool.
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sliiiightly off topic

Since i don't like Waves' multiband that much, i came up with a 'light' version to adress a specific area:
Throw in a hi- lo- or band-pass eq before a single band compressor (like Waves' Renaissance) and add that 'colored' compression by way of the parallel method.

To compensate for the delays, add the same plugs' on both pairs with everything set for 1:1 on the main channels. Indeed, not by using the bypass switch!

Next time i'll try Jerry's method of delay compensation, since it seems like a cleaner way.
Indeed some plugs' seem to alter the sound already with every parameter reset.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by finetuner View Post
Since i don't like Waves' multiband that much, i came up with a 'light' version to adress a specific area:
Throw in a hi- lo- or band-pass eq before a single band compressor (like Waves' Renaissance) and add that 'colored' compression by way of the parallel method.
Psychotic minds think alike

I was using that technique last week, again for another snare based issue. It seemed to bring up too much muck around the snare in this case though, maybe more useful on another track...

Any comp will work with this though including analog, just side chain the EQed signal. Latency comp can also be dealt with in the "old fashioned" way using the time adjuster plug (PT) or a delay that is sample accurate.
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i use Multiband Parallel M/S Compression almost all the time, if the vocals are too loud and/or does not has much compressor and it sound weak,it helps a lot to use it fit in the mix. M/S and parallel are the tools that i love the most, if you have to do a lot mod. in the job better than any other tool (thanks to TC 6000). Today i dont use that much brick wall just under 1db if even that.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussie_techie View Post
well there you have it Bob Katz has spoken i have to say i agree with it all although Bob has a much better way with words than i do.

anyway as i dont have a system 6000 i set up my multiband split with waves linear phase eq (i know i want to get away from waves completely but its the best thing i know of) make sure you get the processed sound to cancel with the original out of phase before you go any further. i then use the Sony Oxford compressors as they are very clean but you could try anything you like.

when you compare the sound of an un-mastered song to several different masters it seems although alot of the top guys are using parallel multiband to some degree.
I have the Waves Mastering package that has the linear multiband compressor and EQ. I found them to be pretty transparent and certain taming of freq's was done very nicely with them. I don't have a System 6000 either, but the Waves Mastering is pretty decent for a plug in. The UAD mastering package adds more character which may or may not be a good thing.
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Originally Posted by masteringhouse View Post
I'm running across a few issues with a track that has a very predominant snare (particularly upper mids), guitars a bit muddy in the lower mids, and has a strong but uneven bass with a kick that's low in the mix. Also the client wants is fairly loud as far as overall level, but not sounding smashed. Let's assume a remix isn't possible. The intent is to thicken the snare without bringing up the mud in the guitar range, and help bring out the kick more and smooth out the bass.

Here's a thought that's may send a few running for their torches to burn me at the stake, but has anyone tried using a multiband compressor in place of a regular comp and parallel compression? I'm going to try this later today (just at home now and this idea occurred to me). Offhand thinking about using a little upward compression on the snare in the 300-500 Hz range, and possibly some around the kick to help bring it out.
It's a matter of whether you want to approach the fix by ADDITION or SUBTRACTION.

Downward compression to fix the snare is a kind of "SUBTRACTION" while upward (parallel) compression is a kind of "ADDITION".

If the snare is prominent, narrow band DOWNWARD (not parallel/upward) peak style compression can help. This is your SUBTRACTION. Upward (parallel) compression is coming in from the other side, as it can fatten and fill in the holes in the lower midrange (for example) that would by ADDITION reduce the emphasis of the upper midrange snappy peaks from the snare. So a combination of both approaches, along with possibly EQ (or dynamic EQ) can get you there.

It's a similar philosophy to when people ask if you EQ mostly with boosts or dips. For example, you can arrive at a simillar tonality by dipping 250 or boosting 5K. In my book I discuss reasons why you might choose one over the other depending on what the problems in the music might be.

This is why different mastering engineers with completely different toolsets and even different approaches can both make excellent "similar sounding" masters! It is possible to get similar tonality with one engineer using a compressor (delicately) as his main go-to tool and another engineer using an equalizer as his. The combinations of the two in synchronicity get the tonality. It's a soup, and if it's too salty one engineer might add a little pepper but another might add a touch of potato and both soups end up tasting good!

BK
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It's a matter of whether you want to approach the fix by ADDITION or SUBTRACTION.
Absolutely, everything is relative. Sometimes I think that MEs would make good politicians. Both are about finding the right compromise and balance among the elements.
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using multiband compressors for bringing up levels..

Just wondering...... Mix engineers are always using manual gain riding..... so .. why not a mastering engineer ? I've just read through this post.. and heard that using parallel compression can bring up the low levels.... but.. do any mastering engineers just ride gain levels on their compressors ? Why not ?? Seems a lot easier than messing with a parallel compressor.....
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Just wondering...... Mix engineers are always using manual gain riding..... so .. why not a mastering engineer ? I've just read through this post.. and heard that using parallel compression can bring up the low levels.... but.. do any mastering engineers just ride gain levels on their compressors ? Why not ?? Seems a lot easier than messing with a parallel compressor.....
Absolutely. We do it all the time. But if all you want to do is "generally" bring up low level passages, parallel compression done properly can do so quite invisibly. It's quite amazing. I distinguish between two different types of parallel compression in my book, 2nd edition, one I call "transparent parallel compression", where the object is for it to be as invisible as possible. The second is a form of "tonalization" or "parallel compression for attitude". The differences are in how you adjust the attack, release, thresholds, ratio and look ahead.

BK
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