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Eq vs multiband compression
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carambo
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Eq vs multiband compression

Hi, trying to balance a master track, what would be the difference between using a multiband compressor, and compress the frequency range instead of cutting the frequency with the equalizer, and at the opposite boosting the frequency with the Eq vs increase the gain of the frequency range with the multiband compressor ? Under which circumstances one would use any of this 2 options ? Thanks
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15th January 2012
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Understand.......I still suck at this....but.


Playing around with multiband compression (Mcdsp).
and PSP linear eq.


Linear eq much more betterer......erer.....
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15th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carambo View Post
Hi, trying to balance a master track, what would be the difference between using a multiband compressor, and compress the frequency range instead of cutting the frequency with the equalizer, and at the opposite boosting the frequency with the Eq vs increase the gain of the frequency range with the multiband compressor ? Under which circumstances one would use any of this 2 options ? Thanks
With compressors you have stuff like attack time, knee, release time, and so on, that can be manipulated to influence the quality or nature of the effect. EQs generally lack those types of variable parameters.
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15th January 2012
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Originally Posted by Theramax9 View Post
With compressors you have stuff like attack time, knee, release time, and so on, that can be manipulated to influence the quality or nature of the effect. EQs generally lack those types of variable parameters.
I understand this, but when would you use one solution (Eq) rather than another one (MB compression) ? In the end at the latest stage, limiting will increase the overall level and smooth any difference between both techniques, right ?
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EQ will change the spectral slope of the program material regardless of input level. If you set an EQ to 3KHz by 3dB, that action will happen if the input level is -10dBfs RMS or -40dBfs RMS. If the bass is always too loud, pull down a low shelf by 3dB... now the bass is always 3dB lower. Multi-band compression is a different animal. You know what a compressor is I assume. The output level of a compressor gets reduced when the input level exceeds a certain threshold. Now, split the input signal into several bands. Now you can turn down the bass, but only when it's really loud. You can tame that hollow snare drum that jumps way above everything else without greatly affecting the sound of the voice.
It's not a miracle cure and introduces its own problems, so EQ and conventional, wide-band compression is usually the first thing attempted and multi-band compression is reserved for a "last resort" kind of thing.
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15th January 2012
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You can count on a multi-band being used by broadcasters. If you put two in a row, it's easy to hear that this can become a train wreck for the broadcast listener.

Gentle Eq. is much safer. If you get too "tweak," you can easily end up with something that only sounds good on the monitors you are using to adjust your signal processing with.
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carambo
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15th January 2012
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Ok, thanks, if I summarize:
- Eq for permanent adjustment during the song
- MB compression for ponctual adjustment (meaning the mix is weird...)
Just another question, if I use only the gain (+ or -) of the MB compressor, without any compression at all, would it be the same technically speaking as using the Eq ??
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Not exactly. Minimum phase EQs only really affect the portion of the signal that's being EQed. So, if you wanted to cut 1KHz a little, only 1KHz would be affected. With a multi-band compressor, the audio is always being split into separate bands and that causes changes in the audio, whether you're boosting/cutting or doing nothing. Then there's the question of whether or not the compressors themselves are every actually completely neutral.
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16th January 2012
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@ carambo:

At the risk of being "captain obvious" I would suggest that you actually try a few different approaches to the same piece of music, so that you can hear how the two processes differ.

We can describe things to you, but you'll benefit a lot from actually hearing things for yourself.

See if you agree with what people have posted in response to your good question, and maybe report back to us with your take on it.
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16th January 2012
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I find that multiband compression at its best offers control over your mix. If you eq problem areas before you go into the multiband the mix that comes out the other side will be a lot more balanced and controlled.

Try doing minimal reductions in each band though, mb sounds best when it is only tickling the gain reduction in each band with low ratios and returns to 0 every so often.

in conclusion I dont use Mb to fix problems, thats a good way of messing up a mix quickly, I just use it to control the mix as a whole.

ZED.
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17th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theramax9 View Post
@ carambo:

At the risk of being "captain obvious" I would suggest that you actually try a few different approaches to the same piece of music, so that you can hear how the two processes differ.

We can describe things to you, but you'll benefit a lot from actually hearing things for yourself.

See if you agree with what people have posted in response to your good question, and maybe report back to us with your take on it.
Actually I read this from a mastering tip in FutureMusic where they compared the same mix from 3 sources : abbey road mastering, a pro mastering engineer, and a guy from the magazine. The latter explained this tip, to use the MB compressor to adjudt frequency, rather than using Eq. I was surprised to hear this and then I tryed myself, and well, under certain cirumstances it works ! So in the last few weeks, I had to master some of my friends tracks, and I've been experiencing both methods in order to balance the tracks. Keep in mind that I am a newbie here and I do not pretend to anything ! Just use my ears, but I realized that I had very good result using the MB compressor from Logic or Ozone 4, slightly adjusting the gain and compression parameters of the frequency range involved. Slightly means for me max +/-2db, with 1.5 ratio. This way is more efficient than using the Eq, I am still talking about the whole track after mix stage, obviously if I could change the mix, I would do it. By the way, my question was more form a technical perspective, what are the differences between both methods, and I don't really understand why using the MB compres. would introduce a structural mess in the track compare to Eq !
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18th January 2012
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Multiband compression causes smear at the crossover points between bands (especially when there are significant differences in threshold/attack/release/makeup settings between bands [the whole point of MBcomp right]).

For example, most instruments are not simply contained between 200hz and 500hz or 500hz and 1500hz. Most mixes have instruments that span frequency ranges with significant amounts of amplitude in their harmonics and multiband comp will muck up the amplitude relationships between the harmonics of a single instrument.

Most people don't have the ear training or patience to detect this right away, but many listeners will subconsciously find it produces a fatiguing mix. Double use of it like mentioned before (mastering and then radio processing) produces a very noticeable hash or cloud of phase artifacts on the mix.

Just my opinion but, If you're making dubstep or other "flavor of the year stuff" MBcomp it to death and call it a day, but on the other hand if you lean more towards "timeless works of art", then hashing it up with MBcomp seems the wrong way to go as the long term fidelity of the mix will be compromised. It's just the artist might not notice how crappy it sounds for a few years and then it's too late to do much about.

No offense to makers of dubstep, or the last wave of minimal kids, or before that the prognobs or the now defunkt trance heads... Those formats/genres/movements are more about communicating and partying than about preserving something for the future. Knowing the aim of your work can help you know if you should be fast and dirty or consumed with details and reverence.

I do enjoy it when *anyone* puts the energy into their "chosen framework/canvas" to make it genuinely sound good. But cultural trends change so fast who has time to make a meticulous record for party goers and casual listeners? (I digress, this isn't about that, but I'm just making a point about knowing your audience and culture).

Most all MEs prefer if the mix is well balanced before the mastering stage so the balancing, coloration and loudness can be performed without mucking around in MBland. If possible, fix in the mix and aim to just EQ and Limit the master - a reasonable goal... In the meantime multiband to taste, but don't be surprised if the artifacts of aggressive MBcomp start to bother you in a year or two, esp if your output has long term relevance to your career.


Hth,
carambo
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18th January 2012
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@DSPaudio, got it, thanks
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18th January 2012
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Enjoy!
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18th January 2012
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@ Carambo

Your example of +/-2dB at 1.5 ratio could be fine depending on the song, the crossover points of the bands and how much divergence there is. MBcomp can give movement to a flat mix, it's just easy to overdo it (both in using too much and overlooking the smear).

When a mix needs help, I'm all for using multi-band or it's advanced cousins like Dynamic Spectrum Mapper and Voxengo Soniformer.

Thanks for asking so many good questions.
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18th January 2012
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In the analog domain, BSS made a "dynamic equalizer". It's a four band stereo box with VCA dynamics across 4 bands. You can compress or expand any of the frequency groups, very effective. That's another under the radar box that is very powerful.
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18th January 2012
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Do you guys ever use single band compressors on vocals, or only multiband?
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19th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craze3 View Post
Do you guys ever use single band compressors on vocals, or only multiband?
I have NEVER used multi-band compression on any kind of individual track. I probably only use it even in mastering if the mix is really screwy, which is probably about 5% of the time.
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Multi-band, outside of many quirky uses, primarily revolves around the idea of frequency consistency. If you compress a frequency, the dynamics within that band even out.

In mastering, this is useful if there is frequency information that is unpleasingly inconsistent. Or, the reverse can be created through attack and release time manipulation - something in a frequency domain that is too consistent can be made less consistent.

In mixing multi-band compression can be used for similar purposes, but rather than addressing elements of the mix, it addresses tonal elements on a specific sound. The most common use is a split-band De-Esser, which is a simply a fast multi-band that targets high frequencies.

The trade-off is that multi-band compression tends to produce tone anomalies which make the sound "false", and micro-time inconsistencies that diminish a sense of "depth." For target frequency control I prefer two alternate methods:

Frequency dependent side-chain compression. Sounds complex, but basically says that when a certain frequency exceeds a threshold, the entire signal is pulled down. An example of where this is useful - often when singer or rappers become emphatic, they will project more through their nose which will cause the upper mid-range to jump. This provides a more transparent way of evening out the tone than multi-band compression - even more transparent than EQ for that matter (in many cases).

Equalized parallel compression. A good way to keep a tone consistent on a source is to create a parallel version, squash the living bits out of it so there's no dynamics, and then eq'ing up (or in some cases down) the tone you want. This is good for adding "sparkle" to cymbals where regular EQ would make them harsh or thin the midrange.
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20th January 2012
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Voxengo GlissEQ. This looks like an interesting middle ground alternative. Its an EQ that effects individual frequencies dynamically. Kind of reminds me of the Oxford Suppressor. The difference it seems is that it can affect individual frequencies, where the multiband compressor tends to affect more of a frequency range. So you can EQ boost or cut something, but it does it dynamically. It might work really well for deessing, but might also be sort of a multiband if you set a broad Q, but can also do other things I bet, like really help with controlling things almost at a notch level. Hmmm.
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lately i've been starting to mix into the Waves C6 just a little bit for stuff that needs to be "loud" or "modern." (1 to 1.5 db per band, with maybe a little low mid scoop + hi shelf). liking the results so far. i insert it prior to my 2-bus outboard.

this is after years of hating on MB compression.

i know some of the serious metal guys like their multiband (Andy Sneap, among others, i believe).

and from the sound of the top 40 pop stuff i would guess it ends up there a fair amount of the time.

but this is all in my mixing world. i could see it being useful in mastering if the mix was really wacky. otherwise i'd worry that it would alter the balances too much.
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