I don't have favourite settings... varies as to what problem solving I am doing.
However, I will say that if engaging the lowest band, I will tend to use longer attack and release times than if I were using an upper band.
50ms attack is a good starting point and will go later if required. Shorter attack times on the sub region and there is a danger that you will clamp down on individual frequency cycles. Of course, it still depends on the task at hand. I have gone shorter in the past.
I still see them marketed as "the mastering engineer's secret weapon" ---
So secret evidently, that even mastering engineers don't use them.
Yup that is because if mixes are done correctly you should not need one. I'm currently looking for a multiband to remaster crappy sounding albums that I own. Because I don't have the multitracks, it helps to hone in on certain instruments on master tracks.
If you are working on your own mix and find that you need to use a mulitband comp, it is always better to go back and correct your mix.
Sounds like what the op is really looking for is a good bus compressor.
I love multiband compressors. The ones that sound good anyway. They are few and far between.
I generally let the quality potentiometer self level. Then I turn it until I reach the setting called good. Then I turn it a little more. If I notice the meter going backwards as I'm turning the knob from the good setting to the great setting I back off.
Honestly, I use multiband compression on vocals more than anything.. but if you are trying to learn how they work better I can only suggest taking advantage of the SOLO setting for each band if your compressor has that. Also, try making your own multiband compressor sometime.. make a few sends, EQ out the lows on one, mids on another, and high on the next.. and follow that by a compressor of your choice so you aren't just limited to your multiband compressor sound only.. Example; sometimes the API might sound better on bass and an 1176 could handle mid range bettertutt.. by doing this technique you can choose your own transparent/colored compressor for each frequency band! Can give cool results sometimes..
What I'm curious about multibands is that I rarely find a necessity to use them, unless there's a big issue in the high mids, maybe to tame the snare a bit in the case of transients, or to tame the low end in the case of a soft kick, or a low bass guitar. What I'd like to know is what would you prefer as attack/release settings on the low end, low mids, high mids, and highs, what usually reacts better in each frequency range?
Well, in which case, you could try quicker attack times if looking to take the edge off high-mid snares or longer attack to keep a bit more edge on the snare while tightening up the 'body' a bit more.
If you were tightening up a kick, same principle, I be a little more likely to veer towards a a looser / longer timing than you would for the higher bands. I think it helps then to keep the natural frequency flow.
If you wanted to keep the whole drum more or less untouched but clamp down on something that occasionally rises up 'behind' that drum (like the occasional over-enthusiastic bass note for example) then you can use a longer attack still and quite possible a slightly longer release.
Release tends to depend on speed of the track but can have a bearing on the amount of reduction too dependent on the duration of the peaks which penetrate the threshold.
Last edited by huejahfink; 10th November 2011 at 09:33 AM..
Reason: terrible struc____turreeee
I would start by considering the minimum bands necessary for the job. Often two or three will be enough. If the MB compressor allows I'll get rid of the other bands completely.
The second thing to consider is where to place the crossover of the filters. I'd aim for isolating the regions that bother me and try not to 'dissect' the important elements like vocals straight through the middle..
I typically use low ratios on all bands, rarely over 3:1. If i chose to use 3 bands I will usually start by setting up the mid band with similar settings to a regular bus compressor and see how the compressor reacts and adjust from there.
The low end band really varies a lot for me. If I can get away with it, i might chose a faster attack than on the mid band. Depends on the task. Release can literally be anywhere.. Impossible to say.
You can sometimes get away with very fast attack and release on the high band. Other times it will choke the mix or is just unnecessary..
Last week i did use a multiband compressor with 1 band engaged to get rid of some mid/high peaks that where pointing out every now and then.
The last time i used it before that one was... hmm... i really don't remember.
So hardly any use here and if i use it is when i can't find another solution to 'fix' it but that is always the case when something is wrong with the mix and fixing it in the mix is not possible.
I think multiband compression can do more harm than good, same goes for stereo wideners if used in the wrong way and in the wrong hands.
Everyone needs to hate something and I think the multiband compressor is a tool where people can repeat the same thing again and again ... and again and exert their superior knowledge and accumen over the "crazy fools" who use one. I am fully aware of the preposterous perception that mastering is purely about slapping on the heavy duty MBC, but there is no value in not being able to see the forest for the trees.
I use one and when it gets used it improves the end results of the master, like everything, you need the right one at the right time. I can think of numerous uses. Rarely is more than 1 band ever used but the tool is no less called a multiband compressor for it.
Most commonly here it ends up being used like a dynamic equalizer and rarely more than 2dB GR (maybe 3dB). It is by far not in constant use but
it can be vey useful indeed.
Haha! I find it quite amusing sometimes how some must see a thread named "what's your favourite plugin / multiband compressor" or whatever and decide that they absolutely must jump in to say that they almost never use them except for last year when a single crossover caused one divorce and three suicides.
Yup. I have that same conversation with clients all the time. Usually after they say how great the masters sound...
I had a guy say he never thought his stuff could sound that great and asked about what kind of compression I used etc. He was shocked to hear that I used no compression at all... I just manually brought up a few soft parts added a little EQ. It really was a great recording and just needed a little nudge here & there.
i dunno, i like what it does with all the bands engaged. if the mix is already there, and you've dealt with any issues that require eq earlier in the chain, then I have found the MB to be almost like a bit of saturation, epecialy the higher frequencies.
when i mix into a compressor, part of the payoff is playing with the pumping and dialing in how much of that you want by adjusting how hard you hit it.
recently i mixed something that sounded good when I was finished and in mastering i dialed out a bit of 300, filtered out unwanted sub stuff, took a db off the upper mids and added some 16k... nothing major so i wasn't looking for the MB to change the overall EQ, although I have had a friend say that they like the sound of boosting the high end with a MB, and I can understand why.
like someone else posted, i tend to load a preset and then start listening to the sub, and will lengthen the attack/release if required. otherwise i'm just looking for the different bands to just.... firm up a little I guess. you get a little compression but it sounds different, it doesn't sound like bus compression, and so it's useful. i set it to soft kneee and i kind of barely kiss it.
now, if you're looking to magically get a hot level by slapping a MB and a limiter on your mix to master it then thats a whole other conversation. my mixes can be from -12 to -8 rms WITHOUT a large amount of compression/limiting going on the mix bus. so when i master with compression or MB compression it's for tone, not level.
i used MB on the last two masters i have done, but previously had not pulled it out for a few YEARS. same with the stereo widening i did, i don't pull that out every day.
I try to stay away but find myself going to one from time to time. Some people send me PT projects to first 'finish' the mix, before mastering. I'll buss all music/instruments to an aux and use multiband there. And then buss all vox to another stereo buss but won't use multiband on the vox. I often use one on the instrument buss, but rarely on the vocal buss. I use it most in those situations. Sometimes a good multiband will make the drums and bass work together a little better than a single band compressor. The API 2500 is also beast in dealing with some frequencies differently and can preclude the use of a true multiband.
Reading this thread I'm still surprised so many recording/mix engineers do their own mastering. Why is that? Budget? I just don't understand how you can mix an album and then master it yourself? Why then don't you just mix and master it at the same time?