Easy Ways to Use Multiband Compression in Your Mix

It is common for sound producers to get confused while using Multiband compression. This is the very reason why it is the most exploited tool. For honing your mastering skills, it is important to have a great hold of multiband compression. But what to do when you are mixing? Should you leave multiband compression to the mastering stage or are there any effective ways to master this tool in early stages?

Let us discuss the 9 practical ways that can help you enhance your mixes with multi-band compression. With this done efficiently, you can enjoy a number of benefits including fuller vocals, better control, limited harshness, compact low-ends and finer top end.

So, let’s dive into these many ways:

  • Controlling lead vocals:

Vocals are undoubtedly the most critical element of the mix.  Multiband Compression can be utilized in the vocals through a variety of means. You cannot rely on an EQ for this as it is apt for static sounds whereas, vocals are unpredictable in nature. Using the EQ alone can ruin the tone of different areas of your mix as the tone varies. You can remove the ugliness but cannot be effective on the vocals.

The solution to this is using a multiband compressor alone. You must adjust the bands first, singlehandedly and then focus on the threshold solving the problematic issues one by one.

  • Adding a consistent bottom to the Vocal:

Be cautious when you are adding a low end to the vocals. Vocals have a diverse nature which depends upon the register, range, vibrato and other factors. The tone may become thin or thick and weak or strong according to the movement of the vocalist. You cannot get master results in boosting the low end, so what; you can always work on the consistency. You must try and compress everything below 80Hz and then with makeup gain, pull everything to the same level.

  • Using sidechain:

This is again a method focused on vocals but this time, for a change, we will target an instrument that competes with the lead vocal. Utilizing the multiband compressor on an instrument, when it meets the vocals makes enough space for the vocals.  You do not have to focus on the entire mix but only on the frequencies that are equivalent to the vocal.

  • Bass & Kick Bottom:

The vocal part is over; let’s talk about the bass & kick. Just like the tick number 2. It is now time to compress the bass and the kick, but with more aggression. This is an incredible way to make the bass and kick more powerful and consistent. You may try and squash everything (or whatever is important) below 100 Hz.

  • Controlling the ringing drums:

Your toms or snare are always a threat to your perfect mix. No matter what efforts you give, they will have a ring on them most of the times. Usually, people prefer EQ for sweeping the frequency but with multiband compressors, it is easy and effective. It handles the frequency just perfectly by adapting to it and making the changes accordingly.

  • Controlling the loud and cymbal Hits:

Cymbals can be a threat to your vocals when they become loud. To ensure a balanced mix, you must automate the louder hits. The problem is, we usually record cymbals with overheads and not closed mics and any change in the sound might affect the kick, snare or toms. Here multiband compressor comes into the role, all you need to do is find a section with loud cymbals and adjust the threshold manually. There is no need to apply makeup gain as the results are way better without it.

  • Reducing string noise:

De-esser is an effective tool to use for string noises. De-esser is a compact form of multiband compressor. But, often times, it requires more control. All you need to do is find the guilty frequency range utilizing your EQ skills and when you get hold of it, use your multiband compressor expertise on it. Makeup gain is not favorable here as the results will be fine otherwise.

So, these are the best 7 ways to use your multiband compressor in your mix to make the best results.

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