What is multiband compression? This Icon Picks roundup features a selection of multiband compressor plugins that offer a combination of high-quality processing and optimized workflow.
What is Multiband Compression?
Multiband compression is a mixing treatment that uses a dynamic processor to divide the frequency spectrum into different frequency bands. Each of the bands also has their own unique compression settings. Additionally, multiband compressors offer a higher degree of precision and control over different elements in a mix. Also, the results often sound more transparent than a standard single-band compressor.
Most multiband compressors feature up to six different bands and all the essential compression controls. The crossover filters define the range of frequencies contained in each band so you can process them independently. There is also a solo function to focus on one band at a time while dialing in your desired sound. Moreover, many multiband compressors also have mid/side processing features.
1. FabFilter Pro-MB
FabFilter’s Pro-MB is one of best multiband dynamic processors on the market. This professional multiband compressor/expander sports six processing bands that can be freely placed anywhere in the audio spectrum. This flexibility helps to dial in compression settings with more precision. This versatile tool can be used for audio mixing and mastering applications such as studio recording, post-production, and more.
Instead of splitting the entire spectrum with crossovers, Pro-MB enables you to directly create a new band at the precise frequency range. If desired, you can also easily snap bands together to recreate a traditional crossover system. Each band is fully customizable with a host of controls and advanced processing options all accessible from FabFilter’s signature interface. The powerful combination of high-quality processing, optimized workflow using the interactive multiband display, and all the pro features you need, makes Pro-MB both a lifesaver and timesaver!
2. Waves C6
The C6 is another widely used multiband dynamic processor that features six fully adjustable frequency bands and a detailed paragraphic interface. This diverse tool combines multiband compression, equalization, limiting, expansion, and de-essing capabilities into one simple interface. With its advanced features and precision, the C6 is a perfect weapon for post-production, sound design, in the studio as a creative tool for music production, and for live use, particularly on vocals. The C6 gives you all the multiband compression and dynamic equalization you need to control, tame, and shape your sound with ease.
3. UAD Precision Multiband
The Precision Multiband plugin for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces is a specialized tool that provides five spectral bands of dynamic range control. Each of the five bands offers compression, expansion, or gate modes that can be chosen separately for unparalleled flexibility.
The Precision Multiband plugin can handle everything from complex dynamics control to simple de-essing. It’s two filterbank modes provide tons of uses whether you’re crafting a drum bus for maximum punch, or putting the final touches on the entire mix. In addition, its user-friendly helm of controls makes it the ideal tool for both novice and seasoned users. It’s also a top choice of Grammy-winning mastering engineers such as Emily Lazar (David Bowie, Foo Fighters) and Paul Blakemore (Esperanza Spalding, Arturo Sandoval).
4. iZotope Ozone 7
Ozone’s flexible Dynamics module is another processing powerhouse that comes with Ozone 7. Easily fine-tune the dynamics of your mixes with a host of independent controls for up to four frequency bands. Each band also sports separate limiting, compressing, and expanding capabilities.
The Dynamics module comes equipped with some impressive advanced features. For example, it will intelligently automate the difficult task of finding the right release times with Adaptive Release mode. It will also automatically set crossover frequencies based on incoming audio with Learn mode. There is even a handy Gain Reduction Trace view option. This feature finds the ideal compressor settings by plotting the gain reduction of all dynamic bands on top of a scrolling waveform, which is displayed with the modern looking Dynamic Transfer Curve and spectrum analyzer. You can also adjust the dynamics of the center of your mix independently of the sides of your mix with Mid/Side Processing mode.
5. Vengeance Multiband Compressor
The Multiband Compressor by Vengeance is a fully-featured dynamics processor that’s incredibly versatile. Not only is it a prime choice for getting a punchy, loud mix, it also creates some unique effects that will elevate your sound to an entirely different level! This creative tool stacks up to four independent frequency bands that can operate as either a compressor or limiter. Furthermore, each band features a suite of sound sculpting controls that provide all the essentials.