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Ask, August 2011

August 1, 2011
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Studio One Pro''s Multiband Dynamics processor is providing a little bit of compression in the upper midrange (1.2 to 4kHz), and a slight volume boost (no compression) above 4kHz.

Studio One Pro''s Multiband Dynamics processor is providing a little bit of compression in the upper midrange (1.2 to 4kHz), and a slight volume boost (no compression) above 4kHz.

When would you use a multiband compressor instead of a standard type? I understand multiband compressors are used for mastering, but what about for vocals, drums, etc.? What makes them better than standard compressors?
MATTIAS SCHNEIDER,
HAMBURG, GERMANY
via email

Whether a multiband compressor is “better” or not depends on the application. With a standard, single-band compressor, any signal that exceeds the threshold—regardless of frequency—will trigger compression. For example, a strong kick drum could affect the cymbals and hi-hats. Multiband compressors split the signal into multiple bands (typically four or more), and each band has its own compressor. Compression can occur in one band independently of any other band.

Multiband compressors are popular for mastering, because they can handle complex program material where there''s energy spread across the audio spectrum. However, they can also be effective with individual instruments—like slap bass, where you might want to compress the lower frequencies for a “rounder” tone, and use the upper band not to compress the slap, but simply reduce its level.

Another trick is to set multiband compressors so they don''t compress, and use them as crossovers for multiband processing. This issue''s Power App (page 102) shows how to use Logic Pro 9''s multiband compressor plug-in to create multiband distortion.
—The editors

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