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Since starting out I have been built up with an inherent fear of using multiband compression and I am fully aware of the potential hazzards that misuse can do at the mastering stage.
However, listening to a lot of commercial RnB stuff it sounds like the vocals have been multiband compressed on thier own. Is this a practice that many of you guys use or do your leave it all to the mastering engineer.
In practice I seem to have had nice results with a single band beofore a multi, just to sit the overal dynamic better.
I would be greatly interested in any comments you may have.
I never use or have used multiband compression on vocals ... neither lead nore backings. Don't ask me why ... I just haven't and don't feel the need to either. for any kind of music, including R&B.
I used to use some multiband compression on drums / percussion busses. Usually C4 waves plugin. But I haven't done that lately either.
I recently bought a Tubetech SMC-2A multiband compressor and I have been tempted to insert that one on individual tracks like a lead vocal, thinking I'd use it as an eq/compressor. But for now it seems to be very happy sitting at the mix bus. And I guess that's where it's going to stay for now. Maybe next times during tracking I'll give the SMC-2A a try though.
As for leaving it to the mastering engineer, yes I do ... Although the compressor is on the mix bus most of the time, I tend to hardly listen to it. Especially not during the first stages of the mix. I try to get it right without, and towards the very end will listen to it while finetuning the mix. And even then I use it with care.
I feel like if I have to use too much multiband compression to make it sound 'close to mastered' ... something went wrong during the mixing process to start with.
I think MB is more useful on mix elements than on the 2-buss....it's a shame that ALOT of people seem to think 2-buss MB is compulsary these days......does more damage than good 90% of the time IMO.....these comments don't apply to the Tubetech MB box which i haven't used.
BTW, would anyone like to see a Cranesong multiband compressor (3-band)?
Originally posted by jazzius I think MB is more useful on mix elements than on the 2-buss....it's a shame that ALOT of people seem to think 2-buss MB is compulsary these days......does more damage than good 90% of the time IMO.....these comments don't apply to the Tubetech MB box which i haven't used.
BTW, would anyone like to see a Cranesong multiband compressor (3-band)?
I bet a multi-band Cranesong would be desirable to a lot of GS's.
I'm really curious to hear the Tubetech.
jazzius, what do you consider to be a shame about multiband 2 bus behaviour? in what way does it do more damage?
. if you're not referring to the SMC-2B what bad multibands do you mean? plug-in's?
I don't discount it totally....sometimes i might use a bit to thicken up some dance or Britney-pop.......but i think there are often better ways to get that thickening effect.......EQ or tape simulation..
..my main problem with MB is that it can make a mix static and lifeless...i'll give you an example of this:.....
.......imagine a song with a heavy chorus (guitars, big drums)...the next verse begins with one bar of vox on it's own.......with broadband compression, the compressor (which may have been working overtime in the chorus) would ease up during this bar, applying no compression.......with mutiband, the band with the vocal in would probably stay somewhat in compression, giving less of a breathing effect......this is what i don't like about MB......it doesn't follow the natural dynamics of a song........it's like 4 (if it's 4 band) ignorant little hands holding down the music, preventing it breath......
I often use a BSS DPR-901 multiband compressor (or "dynamic equalizer" as they call it) for lead vocals. Usually at the end of the vocal chain after standard compression. It's the most transparent "EQ" you'll find. It's kind of like an analog C4 with more control. I'm surprised no one else makes a unit like it. thumbsup
C4 is the bomb on digital piano samples.. very effective on cleaning up the 1.5 to 3 khz region on Kurtz and most others.
The BSS unit is the way to go for vox live, I have used it there a ton, never in the studio though, not because of any reason, I just have never has one handy in the studio.. ( note to self.. try this out...)
Originally posted by OKden I often use a BSS DPR-901 multiband compressor (or "dynamic equalizer" as they call it) for lead vocals. Usually at the end of the vocal chain after standard compression. It's the most transparent "EQ" you'll find. It's kind of like an analog C4 with more control. I'm surprised no one else makes a unit like it. thumbsup
I wouldn't call the BSS DPR-901 totally transparent, just like the SPL Transient Designer isn't transparent either.
They both have a certain sound. To me the BSS DPR-901 was always a little too "peaky" in the mids for vocals(this peaky quality actually worked great for snares or sucking out room sounds for snares).
For multiband on vocals i prefer to split up the vocal on different channels and manipulate it that way.
As a multiband compressor alone for a vocal I really like the TC DBmax.
Thanks for responses, you've put my mind at rest somewhat, I think there is a real danger with some of these tools for emence misuse by people who don't know how to use them, especially when your mixing a lot of stuff for release on vinyl.
I really do like the waves stuff, might be worth the investment for the C4, I've got a mix in a studio soon thats got it so will be flexing it to its entiraty hopefully.
Incidently can anyone draw comparison with multipressor in logic to C4 in terms of transparency?
I've always been a C4 fan. But IMHO C4 and the Multipressor sound very different. C4 seems more aggressive to me and less musical but much more powerful. Multipressor sounds magnificent - almost has an analog thing going - with the right setup.
Multi-band compressors can sound great on a vocal.
It's the nature of the way a MBC handles a vocal slight changesaren't easily perceived as they sound so natural. It's very easy to forget the sound of the original vocal because of this and by the time you realise the vocal is sounding weird you will have cranked a given frequency band.
Using an EQ is easier for the opperator but sometimes using a multi-band leads to a better result. So the way I learned to use a MBC was in conjuction with an EQ switching them in and out to see if I could better the results by comparing one with another.
I generally use EQ then ride the fader into the compressor as I think it is quicker to make a connection with hearing the emotional impact of the voice and to react to the phraising and lyrics.
Just my two cents: I am an amateur recordist/engineer. But I am VERY persnickety about my mixes. I tried to bring them to as near perfection as possible before I ever started even thinking about mastering. I mean, hundreds of automated mixer moves, reverb automation, EQ automation. I also have been using full-band compression on some tracks -- the ProTools C3. So I know about that, and what it achieves. I thought my mix was pretty darned good after many hours. Well I just got the Waves C4 multiband. I have a piece that is very complex, with many parts, and it's been hard to get my idealized definition for all the interweaving parts -- even with so many mix moves. I guess it was "muddy." Curious about mastering and compressing the entire mix, I threw the C4 onto this music, just using their pre-set "Basic Multiband" or something. Wow! I was richly rewarded. I invited my kid (a musician) over and showed her. She was blown away. We said, "It sounds like an album now." The phrase "glued together" works -- it somehow "glued together the mix." Amazing, there was more definition of the parts; more space between them somehow. Yeah, the thing is voodoo to me at this point. There was one part where some vocals go squashed. Their dynamics were gone. I bumbled in and was able to find which band was involved, and raised the slider there. Problem solved! Messing around with that preset, I found I could easily RUIN my mix, as well. I am eager to understand multi-mand more. To me, it IS rocket science. :alien: I'm a believer in multiband for the total mix, especially if it's complex. Haven't tried it on things like vocals or bass.
We sell two: a Drawmer multiband and a Tube Tech multiband. I'd say there is an extremely diverse crowd of users who like these but for diofferent reasons. From drum mixes to "finishing".
We also offer a device from Drawmer that is the front end of a multiband without the compressors. You to use 3 compressors of your own choosing, expensive or not. Its called the 3 Sum. TransAudio Group - 3-Sum
I used to "C4 and L1" everything that went out of my place. I grew weary of the brittleness and shallowness that it seemed to give everything.
Lately I have been using the C4, as some of the other slutz have said, on things like pianos, loops, and drum busses.
Then... the Logic Adaptive Limiter works its magic. I have gotten mucho mucho better results out of that little puppy then the L1. It seems to me to be warmer, punchier, and louder.
Just a thought.
I also used to have C4 and L1 on the mix buss but lately, I've stopped using the L1. I found my mixes to be too harsh.Maybe my settings weren't
good but nontheless...Since I often mix a final for either tv or cd-rom,
I'll mix with the C4 only and then go through a mastering pass using Izotope's Ozone 4. My mixes are less muddy and more transparent
with presence in the highs highs and more definition in the low end. It works for me.
I prefer using multiband compression on mix stems or full mixes. Sometimes over using it on vocals can have a disasterous effect.
Then again , if you like that flat dynamic less type of vocal sound it may suit the track you are working on.
Curious about mastering and compressing the entire mix, I threw the C4 onto this music, just using their pre-set "Basic Multiband" or something. Wow! I was richly rewarded. I invited my kid (a musician) over and showed her. She was blown away. We said, "It sounds like an album now." The phrase "glued together" works -- it somehow "glued together the mix." Amazing, there was more definition of the parts; more space between them somehow. Yeah, the thing is voodoo to me at this point.
Don't forget that "basic mulitiband" preset has 4dB gain on each band...thus making it louder so it will always sound better when engaged. Make you you level match when making comparisons.
C4 on vocals can be cool. I usually only use it on the low mids though to help with proximity issues before the main compression. Or maybe something peaky in a female vocalist who gets a little screetch-y at times in the upper mids. I'll try to use as narrow a band as possible, and really one one band of it... if at all. Usually don't need it.
It also works well in parallel with a main vocal sound.
I confess, I have been using the UAD MB liberally on a current batch of mixes!
It seems a rather elegant solution for guitar players who not only use too much low end, but to a varying extent, depending on what they're playing at a given moment.
I feel guilty for some reason.
My favorite thing to do is to EQ the guitars to where they sound pretty good most of the time and allow space for the bass guitar. Then I'll set up the MB to stomp on the billowing low end peaks (palm muted parts for example) and compress the low end fairly conservatively the rest of the time. Then I'll automate the mix control allow the guitars to be as fat as possible at any given moment. I've even been known to compress the bass and the guitars through the same MB to tame that area between 80 and 200 Hz that is sooo hard to get right.
I've been thinking about recording this little acoustic guitar lead part for a song. It ranges from the low e string to up high...so it's bassy and trebly...I was wondering about how I could get it to sit nicely in the mix...thinking the bass sections may get swallowed.
So today I was thinking I wonder if some kind of multiband compression would be the ticket...to kind of put a cap on some of the low notes and their volume.
To play the part I know I have to put some attack on those bass notes...and I just know they are gonna record too loud. It's gonna be too hard to distance my playing from the mic on the bass notes, because it'll be heard, me moving around and whaty not.
I suppose I could use eq to round off the bass notes and reduce their volume...but could a multiband compressor also help me in this instance?