Do you know what multiband compression is?

(If not, go to and watch the free video.)

A multiband compressor is one that splits the audio into 3-5 different “bands” of frequencies. It then compresses each of these bands separately.

It’s like having a separate compressor for your lows, mids, and highs, if you will.

A few years ago, I only used regular compression when doing any mastering work. I’d use my SSL compressor or something similar to squash the mix and help increase the volume.

The problem with regular “single-band” compression is that it doesn’t differentiate between low and high frequencies. If there’s a ton of bass in the mix, the compressor will hear that bass and compress the entire signal, both the lows and the highs.

There’s a term for that. Anyone know, class?

It’s called “pumping and breathing.”

That can be a desirable thing, but not always.

Multiband compression, on the other hand, allows you to compress the bass frequencies DIFFERENTLY than the other frequencies, eliminating a lot of that “pumping.”

The result? A more controlled sound. (At least that’s what I hear when I use it.)

As you can imagine, multiband compression can become very complicated very quickly. (And it’s really easy to screw it up if you don’t know what you’re doing.)

And that’s where my good buddy Ian Shepherd comes in. 15+ years of being a professional mastering engineer pretty much gives him a TON of credibility in my book.

He’s got an eBook on multiband compression that gave me many an “ah-ha” moment.

If you even THINK you want to do some mastering, Ian’s book is a must-read.

Here’s the link:

(And yes, I get paid a percentage if you buy using my link.)


Joe Gilder

2 Responses to “Mastering: Regular vs Multiband Compression”

  1. hrflikk

    Compressors are actualy not nessesery. If u make a good mix, u dont need alot off comp. Maby only -1 db. 2:1 soft nee. Copressors was nessesary in the old days. But now u sould fockus on a good mix/eq and loudness

  2. Xan

    Multiband comps are awesome. Pretty much a necessary tool. If you don’t use ’em you’re missing out on a lot.

    For a quick & dirty mastering, that will make your mix sound 6.66 times betterer (if you do it right) in a few minutes just slap one ov these puppies in your mastering chain followed by a maximising limiter like the L2. 🙂


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