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Techniques for Mixing with Multiband Compression


In this video I’m going to be demonstrating a conventional way to use multiband processing to compress across your mix buss for a typical pop/rock song. I’ve got C6 inserted on my first slot on my mix bus and I’m just going to do is play you back the song so you can hear how it sounds. The way that I like to typically get set up when using the processor is to start out by picking the frequency divisions of the channels I’m going to be using. I start out from the bass and work my up until the low mids, the high mids and finally the highs.

To do this, I like to start on a part of the song where I have all the instruments going. So, I’m going to switch over here from past the introduction to the next part and solo the low frequencies. What I want to do here is find the frequency division where I basically go up and include as high a frequency as possible for basically just the kick drum and the bass. Tighten the queue a little bit. Here I’m starting to get some piano acoustic guitar that’s too high. That’s great.

Next, I’ll go up to the next frequency band. This is the low mids. Again, I’m looking for kind of the rhythmic elements of the track, things like piano and electric guitar that are going to be part of this frequency band. Next, my high mids is where the acoustic guitars and cymbals are really located. Finally that really high brilliant or sparkle part of the track and I’ll usually just start off by focus on these four bands before I even get into the floating ones that are part of C6.

Right now I don’t have any compression actually going on. What I need to do is change the threshold, change the ratio and change the range. So, what I usually do is start out with compression about three dB decrease as the maximum possible, but the low frequencies, I’ll use a slow tack time and I’ll use a kind of longer release as well. Focus on this one to begin with. Next up, the low mids. For this one I’ll use a slightly faster attack, slightly faster release. High mids and we’ll do a fast attack or a faster release. Might have a higher range here, but set the threshold so it’s not going to maximize the decrease very often.

Finally, the really highs, very fast tech, very fast release. Bring the threshold down and then what you can do is listen back and then you kind of use the gain as an equalizer over these different ranges. So, what I’ve basically done now is just set up a simple compressor across the full mix. What it’s going to do is really control the level of the overall song and just add a subtle effect on it, nothing too dramatic just by using these four bands of compression.


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Eric Tarr

Eric Tarr

Eric Tarr is a musician, audio engineer, and producer based in Columbus, Ohio. Currently a Professor of Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
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