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